Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Pyranha Burn

We had to find out if the best could be made better. With the arrival of the new 2010 version of the famous Pyranha Burn, we were about to find out. Jason McClure, ace NOC instructor picked up his large Burn and Wayner the medium. Even though we both got our boats at different times, it is interesting that we both ended up with the Furious Fuscia color. We’ll start with Jason’s thoughts first.

Jason took the new Burn out a couple times last week. He was pretty surprised for such subtle differences how different of a boat it is. Of course that is also probably due to the fact he has been paddling the old Burn so long. What he noticed right off the start is how nimble it is but at the same time it tracks really well and mentioned it was probably the best tracking creek boat he has paddled.

He mentioned that the boat flies well and boofs like a dream! When asked about the rolling potential of the boat, he really did not want to test the rolling ability but got to do so anyway and found out it rolls lightning fast.

He can't wait to get it out on the West Prong and some of the other boulder garden creeks to see how it performs.

Wayner was confined to tamer water on the Nantahala and enjoyed paddling the boat just as much. This is going to be the novice and intermediate kayakers dream boat. The hull is the perfect blend of forgiveness and performance. Even with the raised edges (compared with the previous version of the Burn) the boat still carves well and helps give the paddler confidence through great secondary stability when the boat is on edge.

The boat front surfs easily and spins well if you’re into that. As Jason mentioned, it climbs over rocks so well that you might think it has an auto-boof button built in. With just a paddling jacket on, I couldn’t convince myself to do roll practice in the Nantahala, aka. icy river of the noonday sun, so had to take Chuck Spornick’s word for it. He said it was the easiest boat he had ever tried to roll…and he’s tried a few!

I may be able to add more about my thoughts on the rolling attributes of the boat after a pool session with the gang from Davidson College on Thursday evening. One thing I can say for sure is that the new Burn will max out the Big Boomin’ Fun scale on anybody’s fun meter.

Better try one now before they are all gone. Come on over and take an NOC demo for a spin!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Video from Daniel Dutton and Liquid Logic

Thanks again to Daniel Dutton and Liquid Logic for sharing this video. The new Liquid Logic Biscuit in action.

Liquidlogic Kayaks Daniel Dutton and the NOC crowd shot this video of the Biscuit.
Playing with the Liquid Logic Biscuit. Music mixed live by DJ.

Life on the Nantahala

Life on the Nantahala

Just released, Life on the Nantahala filmed on the Nantahala River by Daniel Dutton and friends. Thanks to Daniel and Immersion Research for sharing this video.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

NOC Honored as Top 25 Outdoor Retailer

NOC Honored as Top 25 Outdoor Retailer

For the past several years, SGB and Outdoor Business have published their annual list of the Top 25 Outdoor Specialty Retailers in the country from over 2000 in the United States. This year, Nantahala Outdoor Center was honored as one of the Top 25 Retailers!

Congratulations to the great staff in the Outfitter's Store, our Buying Team and our new staff in Gatlinburg!

Checkout the full story here

NOC Outfitter's Store Finalist for Retailer of the Year

The 2010 SNEWS® / Backpacker Retailer of the Year awards were presented at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market during an after-show gathering at the Red Door on Jan. 21. The Outfitter's Store was a finalist for the SNEWS/Backpacker Magazine Retailer of the Year Awards. NOC made the final 15 out of over 250 nominations. Nominations for next year's award will begin soon, please keep an eye here to help us win next year.

How did they narrow the field? In March 2009, SNEWS and Backpacker magazine put out a call for nominations seeking the best retailers in the United States. The responses poured in, with hundreds of votes coming in from reps, retailers themselves (naturally) and customers. As was the case in 2009, the best nomination forms came from customers who typically praised the retailers and shared stories of excellent customer service as each lobbied passionately for their choice for best retailer. Over 100 stores received nominations.

For more information on this award please go to (you need to be a member to read full article).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jackson Villain Prototype - Round 2

I recently had the opportunity to test out Jackson’s new creek boat and here are my first impressions. The Villain is a creeker which also doubles as a river runner, much like the Dagger Mamba and Pyranha Burn. I just missed getting to paddle the first prototype back in December when I got snowed/iced in on this side of the TN/NC state line. Team Jackson paddled it on the Tellico and loved the boat but decided to make a couple of changes. Since I didn’t get to paddle the first version, I can’t really compare the two but one thing I can say is they seemed to have done a great job with the changes.

Paddlers Stephen Wright, Nick Troutman, Clay Wright and Joe Pulliam brought the boat over for a test drive on the Nantahala Cascades. We met in the parking lot and looked the boat over. Hmmm, I was surprised that the hull wasn’t a little flatter. I was a little concerned about the initial stability of the boat (especially for the beginning paddler). Of course the guys I was paddling with could paddle an inflatable gorilla down the Cascades, others might not have the same experience. Soon we were all on the river, except Nick who volunteered to take photos and run shuttle. We only did the Cascades section which was short and sweet but would give us a good feel for the boat.

Even though “the boys” are out there hucking huge every day, Joe and I had not been in our boats lately as much as we would like. In addition, we are both, well, let’s say…chronologically gifted. Although over the years there have been lots of times testing different prototypes on some challenging runs this time I was a little nervous. It didn’t take long in the Villain for those feeling to go away. In fact, soon I was feeling this wasn’t really a prototype at all, but a comfortable and familiar ride. Soon I was trying to push the limits of the boat, turning back against the current and seeing how well it would carry speed for such a quick turning boat. When Clay asked me what I thought, I had to say, “This might be the most easy-to-control boat I can ever remember paddling!”

By the time we were half way down the section, Joe and I were trying to keep up with the young guns. It must have been amusing to them to watch two, umm “mature” men, giggling their way down the river, boofing and doing rocks spins on everything we could find; but that we did … in a burly, manly sort of way of course.

I did have a couple of comments and suggestions for subtle changes but nothing drastic and the boat was clearly a winner without any changes. I’m looking forward to my next run in the new Villain and think others should be too.

I want to give a huge word of thanks to Stephen and Nick who took some great photos of our shenanigans and graciously let me use them for this blog!