Dagger Juice 7.1 - Review
A great all rounder, the Juice is ideal for surfing, playboating and intermediate river running. Forgiving, friendly, fun, it’s a great kayak for those wanting to learn freestyle moves without sacrificing downriver performance.
A seriously fun all round boat - it's good on surf, rivers, and for a bit of play. I'm way up at the top of the weight range and also at the top of the size range, at 6'4" I paddle my juice with no footrest other then a little sliver of foam at the toes - a lot like a play boat, and that is with the seat set back. I would like to pull the seat forward as it's a little tail happy in this set up - but that's part of the fun. I bought it as a boat that would be fun to paddle on lower grade stuff rather than a boat that is less playful, which would end up with me wanting to push the grades.
The boat handles beautifully on the surf and this is where it has spent most of it's time.
I think for someone of a slightly smaller size / weight this could be used on rivers with absolute confidence without it being quite so tail happy as it is for me. It rolls beautifully, with no difficulty at all and is nice and playful on features. It is exactly what I was looking for in a boat.
Why not an Axiom?
Now i know people are going to ask why a Juice and not an Axiom, Daggers newer river play boat? For me it came down to two things, the Juice in my opinion surfs a bit better, and it's also shorter - the fat bloke version of the Axiom is almost 2 foot longer, that means at some of my local play spots the Axiom is touching rocks with it's nose whereas the Juice doesn't. I wanted the shorter boat. I am sure some will say I'm wrong with respect to my view on surfing so I will explain that too, the Axiom is without a doubt faster, if you want to surf straight line to beach the Axiom is probably better, but the Juice to me gets a bit closer to a real surf boat. The high rocker at the front gives less chance of pearling when you drop onto the wave, the length makes it very maneuverable, and in my opinion the Juice has edges that can cut a bit harder - you get far closer to being able to properly surf along the wave than you can with the Axiom.
Slightly different boats, both great, and I think if I spent more time on rivers I might have considered finding the extra money for an Axiom, and that is the part that for some could be a clincher the Juice (with a bit of searching) can be found a little bit cheaper - I paid around £500 for mine, a river spec Axiom would have been at least £150 more.