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I really liked the original Mamba. It was stable, forgiving, easy to maneuver and easy to roll. The perfect boat for beginner whitewater kayakers, and a fun boat for river running class III/IV.
Because we put all of our beginners in the original Mamba I was nervous about the new design and whether it would be just as good. Now that I’ve had the chance to paddle and teach in the new Mamba this season I am a convert! The new series featuring the Mamba 7.6, 8.1 and 8.6 is awesome. It’s even more stable, rolls like a dream for beginners AND is way more fun to paddle for intermediate/advanced paddlers on class IV/V whitewater. It boofs like a champ with easy edge to edge transitions on landing, it tracks better and carves beautiful turns. I’ve paddled it while teaching, while running class IV and I’ve watched beginners excel in it. If you’re in the market for a new river runner I highly recommend the new Dagger Mamba. At Girls at Play it’s our #1 boat choice!
Some small women may find that the 7.6 feels too big, but I’ve also seen very tiny women paddle it well.
I suggest that you take it out on the water and try it to see how it maneuvers and if it fits you. Here are some photos of the Mamba performing in a variety of settings during our Girls at Play whitewater programs this summer including our Mother/Daughter paddle, Beginner Clinics and Creek Week!