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New Freestyle Boat Testing...

Posted: 07.11.2012 by Chris Gragtmans

It has been a pleasure to be involved in the testing of the new Dagger freestyle boat. This boat represents a true collective team effort, fearlessly led by the Dagger in-house designer, Mark (Snowy) Robertson.

Snowy started this project by interviewing the whole Dagger team to see what it is that that they want in their dream freestyle boat.  Somehow, he aggregated all of this information and began design on the boat around several core concepts:

  • Ease of paddling in all environments (wave, hole, downriver)
  • Volume distribution that allows simultaneously for massive hole aerials and consistent balance for cartwheels
  • Rotational stability for the McNasty/Phonix combos
  • Fast and loose on waves – a dynamic and sporty feel was paramount
  • Release from the bow and the stern for amplitude and control on wave aerials
  • Forgiving “catcher’s mitt” stern for landing backwards and not backendering
Andrew doing some fall testing session on the Gauley River.

With these baselines in mind, Snowy got the first protos together and distributed them around the world to Team D.  World Champion James Bebbington tested his at the unique features in the UK and Europe, Rush took his to the White Nile, Tyler sent feedback from Montana, and Snowy, Andrew Holcombe and myself tested our boats on the Gauley, New and Eternity hole in the Southeast.

Snowy looping in Eternity.

From the beginning, we knew that Snowy had created something special here, but as the kinks have been worked out, this boat has proven itself to be a game changer.  We have had a blast testing it, and had one final session with the medium size at Skook a few weeks ago.  The athlete comments on this final proto ranged from “don’t change a thing” to “best boat ever” to “the release is better than anything I’ve ever tried.”  We’ve been doing our best to be critical and keep improving, but it really is fun to be completely satisfied with where a prototype is.

Rush going huge as usual.  Credit: Snowy Robertson

Myself testing the backwards release.  Credit: Snowy Robertson

Rush floating the clean.  Credit: Hector DarbyMaclellan

Taking advantage of the elusive green ramp!  Credit: Alison with Markus Leppanon's camera.

While Snowy has poured in his blood, sweat and tears far beyond anyone else, it has truly been a collective effort, and I know that all of Team D is excited to bring this one to the world.  Stay tuned to the website for more info about sizing, release dates and specs.