Dagger’s Mamba series of kayaks have generally been classified as river runners. Although I spent some time in the Mamba when I was learning to paddle I always felt “river runners” were a compromise, or half of two boats. There were`lots of play boats and full on creek boats at my disposal in our rental fleet at work so for the most part the Mamba wasn’t really high on my list of boats to bring home for the weekend.
Towards the end of last year I started getting the urge to paddle some new boats. For a couple months I don’t think I paddled the same boat twice. Working at a paddling shop does have its benefits. After switching back and forth between Wavesport’s Habitat and Diesel and Dagger’s Mamba and Nomad I really started to
enjoy paddling the Mamba more and more. It even became my favorite boat for a while. While I’m sure part of my attraction to the boat was simply that it was different, there were certainly some performance aspects I really liked.
If I could only use one word to describe the Mamba I think it would have to be stable. Compared to the other 3 boats I was using for creeking and river running the Mamba stood out as the most stable. The stability comes from the large flat hull with less rocker than the other boats. This large flat foot print makes a very stable platform for river running and creeking. The boat does have a fairly pronounced chine or edge to it. While this is great for holding ferry angles, and snapping in and out of eddies really quickly, it also made the
boat slightly more edgy than the Nomad I was used to paddling. The Mamba is also quite a fast boat, the speed also comes from the long water line with mild
One place I really enjoyed this boat was on a big water run we did on Clendinning Creek at the end of last year.