I have had the pleasure of paddling my new redesigned Mamba 8.6 over the past few days, and I have to say that this boat is blowing my mind! I never thought that I would say this, but it may replace my Nomad 8.5 as the primary creekboat.
Warming up for the Teva Mountain Games Homestake Creek Race!
Why is this boat so incredible? Well, it wasn’t designed as a Nomad replacement. The Nomad is tried and true after 8 years on the market, and it has a cult following throughout the world. These people trust it to get them out of trouble when s*#! hits the fan, and things get scary. It is a predictable, stable, quickly resurfacing tank.
The Mamba, on the other hand, was designed to be a great beginner boat and river runner, but also to extend that learning curve into the class V realm. Dagger designer Mark Robertson and his team of testers have done that and more. This boat is unbelievable!
Here is what I like about it:
This thing is a monster! It has 11 gallons more than the Nomad 8.6, and is designed to comfortably float the 250 lbs crowd. At 165 lbs, what this means for me is that I am on the surface at all times. I have to muscle the boat a bit, but the volume squirts me out of rapids like I am a watermelon seed. I love it.
Also regarding size – the storage capacity for overnighters is massive. This thing is going to swallow gear for breakfast. I will report back on loaded performance once I have a chance to try it in that setting.
It differs from the Nomad in that the Mamba is a planing hull boat, with some aggressive edges midships that taper on the ends. That makes it snappy in and out of eddies, and the combination of the flat hull and a stern parting line mean that the boat absolutely rockets over holes. Seriously… it skips out of rapids like nothing I’ve ever paddled (other than the Green Boat).
At 27.5 inches wide, this is the widest boat that I have ever paddled. I’m still getting used to that aspect of it, but the primary stability on this boat is unreal. It feels firmly rooted in the water no matter what is going on around, and I am really digging the predictable stability.
Overall, I am psyched and very pleasantly surprised by this boat. With its universal application for beginners all the way through class V+ boaters, this seriously may be the best whitewater boat on the market today. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to take it out for a rip yourself!