Written by Nic Blake
It’s spring time and that means the first teases of whitewater have begun across the US. Most drainages are loaded with record snowfall and an all time season is just starting. On the tails of the Dagger RPM’s resurgence in popularity Liquid Logic, Dagger, and Jackson have all come out with modern versions of the slicey river runner. These boats have volume up front, low volume in the stern, and are designed to make river running more fun.
CKS headed out for some early season laps in the Dagger Axiom, Jackson Antix, the Liquid Logic Party Braaap, and the Dagger RPM. They were paddled on the Arkansas River Numbers section. At 300cfs the river is a playground of boofs, splats, stern squirts, and surfs. CKS has already reviewed these boats (find below) therefore this review is going to focus on the differences between the four kayaks.
Find Axiom review here:
Find Antix reveiw here:
Find Party Braaap review here:
|Dagger RPM||LL Party Braaap||Dagger Axiom 8.5||Jackson Antix (M)|
Length: 8′ 11″
Weight: 39 lbs.
Volume: 60 gal
Paddler Weight: 110 – 180 lbs
Length: 8′ 11″
Weight: 44 lbs
Volume: 67 gal
Paddler weight: 110 – 220 lbs.
Length: 8′ 6″
Weight: 40.5 lbs.
Volume: 63 gal
Paddler Weight: 130 – 210 lbs.
Length: 7′ 9”
Weight: 36 lbs.
Volume: 63.5 gal
Paddler Weight: 150 – 190 lbs.
Hull Design and Length:
Each of these boats are designed with a large bow and a tapered stern. They are all river running kayaks that are great for the beginner, and turn the river into a playground for the advanced kayaker. The above specs break the boats into two categories. The Party Braaap and RPM are the longest and the fastest with displacement hulls. The Axiom and Antix are similar in volume and both have planing hulls.
The hull design has a major impact on how each boat paddles. The RPM and Party Braaap have displacement hulls and the Axiom and Antix both have planing hulls. Hull type and length had the biggest impact on how each boat paddled. The Antix and Axiom both excelled at surfing, held a line, and were snappier in and out of eddys. The Party Braaap and RPM are longer which makes them super fast and more forgiving. Otherwise the Party Braaap has the most volume and the RPM the least.
The Party Braaap is awesome. It is truly a quiver killer and is at home on a steep creek or making your town run more fun. Its long and fast, but is able to squirt and splat with ease. It crushes over difficult whitewater and resurfaces fast. The liquid logic outfitting is classic and works well. It will suite the paddler looking for one boat to do it all.
- Lots of volume makes it stable and confidence inspiring for harder whitewater.
- The length makes it fast.
- One boat to do it all. Party Braaap has the volume for hard whitewater and a low volume stern for playing on features.
- Outfitting compared to the Antix and Axiom is the most basic.
- The largest boat making it the least playful of the four designs.
The Dagger Axiom is a stellar machine. It is quick, snappy, playful, and handles every type of whitewater. It has enough volume to boof well and paddle difficult whitewater, but it is a great length and volume to be able to throw around. The planing hull makes it excel at surfing and carving. The Dagger Contour outfitting is arguably the most comfortable on the market. The Axiom is perfect for beginners and a must-have quiver item for the river enthusiast.
- The Dagger Contour Outfitting is great. Full foam pillars, storage, leg lifters, and super bomber.
- Well balanced with volume up front, playful stern, and plenty of room for feet and gear.
- Surfs really well.
- Slower than the RPM and Party Braaap.
- Heavy for its size.
The Antix is Jackson’s response to the Dagger RPM craze and it worked. The boat is really fun. The planing hull makes carving down the river a blast, the stern makes it really easy to get vertical, and the volume around the cockpit makes it resurface really well. It’s also the easiest boat to put the stern on an eddyline and pull 360s. This boat will become an instant classic for beginners, and a quiver item for every advanced paddler.
- Resurfaces really well in difficult whitewater.
- The boat is light weight.
- The most playful of all the designs.
- Very little storage
- Slowest of the four kayaks (still faster than most creekers).
The RPM is a classic. It is probably the fastest of all these designs. Partially due to its low volume it flows in the river as opposed to on the river. It makes every run more fun. Its squirts well and can cartwheel. The outfitting is outdated and it has the least amount of room for your feet. But hey, it’s the OG river runner, you can probably find one cheap, and it’s still a blast.
- The long length, low volume, and minimal rocker make the RPM fast.
- The low volume makes it easy to squirt or cartwheel.
- The low rocker profile holds a line well.
- The old outfitting is uncomfortable, has very little footroom, and leaks.
- Low rocker makes boofing more difficult
- Low volume makes the boat not resurface well.
Everyone should paddle a low volume stern river runner kayak. Everyone. If you are looking to have more fun on your local run, or a replacement for your old-school boat check out the Axiom and Antix. The differences between the two are minimal and it comes down to outfitting and comfort. If you’re looking for a boat that can be used as a creeker but still have fun on your backyard run the Party Braaap is the quiver killer. If you are strapped for cash get an RPM. As always, a good demo in a boat before you buy it is always best. Happy Boating!
Quick Reference Guide:
|Category:||RPM||LiquidLogic Party Braaap||Dagger Axiom||Jackson Kayak Antix|
* This is a comparison between these 4 boats only. 1 = Poor : 5 = Excellent