Dagger GT Max - Review
A classic river runner with fully adjustable outfitting. Great for improving skills and instruction.
River running, coaching, instruction, skills development. This comprehensive range is the choice of paddlers of all abilities wanting a fast boat that carves on its edge. With four models in the range there is a boat for all sizes of user, all fully adjustable for personalized fit.
The GT’s are great to coach from, learn new skills in, or style down your favourite river. The long planing hull is quick and, combined with continuously curving rails it gives the GT’s their characteristic carving style. Double release edges run into rounded sidewalls, helping initial and secondary stability. Quick edge to edge transition and gentle rocker at the bow and stern make this a great surf boat. The deck is gradually tapered providing space for both comfort and storage in the stern. Solid safety features such as full plate foot braces and anodised clipping points are backed up with mini-cell floatation pillars. Outfitting is fully adjustable with the seat, thigh braces and backrest all variable for a personalised fit and padded for comfort.
Planing hull with double release edges • Smooth volume distribution • Continuous rail for controlled edging and carving • Excellent initial and secondary stability • Bulkhead foot brace • Adjustable seat with removable booster wedge • Precision adjustable thigh braces • Thigh brace mounted ratchets adjust the Whitewater backrest • Multi adjustable contoured hip pads • Seat and thigh brace padding • Mini-cell foam centre pillar buoyancy • Moulded drain bung • Anodised aluminium grab handles and security bar • Outfit kit, including water bottle
I took the GT Max out for a spin on the middle Usk from Tal y Bont down to LLangynidr, a little grade 2 stint with one set of falls that are a 3. Now lets make it clear I'm on the large end of the paddlers scale, 6'4" and over 18 stone, and on this trip the Usk was pretty low, a bit of a rock bash in places.
This boat was very easy to get setup for a comfortable days paddling. I was trying the full WW specification, so a little adjustment saw the footrest in the right place, there's a comfy seat, dial in the thigh and hip pads, then a little adjustment of the back rest and I was ready to paddle. There are loops behind the seat to anchor safety kit / dry bags and the dagger bottle holder between the legs is perfect for a throw bag.
Paddling the boat:
Well to me it paddled well, it turned nicely and felt positive on the water. It was fast on the wave, and carved enough to have a little play, I can see it being ok in the surf. The nose re-surfaced nicely from under water. It's a big boat, a great platform for coaching or for those who want to carry more gear. I felt it was a touch big for a Welsh river in low levels, I can imagine this boat shining in the Alps or Norway. In all I enjoyed paddling it, I have a feeling that dropping down to GT would be too small for me, but in honesty with no trips abroad planned and the fact that I'm not a creeker, I won't be buying one. Not because there was anything wrong with the boat but because it's not what I'm looking for. I would also say that I think the GT series would be a good choice for beginners, the edges are forgiving enough not to trip you up too much while still being good for you learn how to edge the boat. Very nice boat overall.