The Kokatat Idol Dry Suit & Passage Anorak

The Kokatat Idol Dry Suit & Passage Anorak

From whitewater to mellow float, always spectacular!

Dry = Warm

If you are a paddler in northern climates and you want to be out in shoulder seasons or in cold water conditions (which in parts of Canada is all the time) sooner or later you are going to want the advantages of a drysuit.

One of the things I have never liked about drysuits is is the big bulky zippers combined with the necessary skills of a contortionist required to get into them - and back out! And those zippers are uncomfortable under a life jacket, difficult to do up, and well … just plain ugly. So when Kokatat came out with the two piece Idol drysuit I jumped at the chance to try it out! Drysuits are expensive and the Idol coming in at around $1200 Canadian is near the top of the price pile. But I figured if I'm going to invest I might as well get something that I'm really happy with and that I'll actually wear instead of trying to avoid.

What makes it so great?

One of the great things about Kokatat suits is that you can order some or all of the suit in custom fittings. For me I chose to fit the nylon socks to my size to avoid the bunching and crunching of oversized, loose fitting nylon socks into my river shoes. Well worth it and I'd do it agin in a heartbeat! So much more comfortable and I don't need oversized shoes to actually stuff my feet, wool socks and dry socks into. This is good - very good! The lauded feature of the Idol suit is the “switchzip” technology. Nothing too fancy really - just a dry pant bottom that zippers around the waist and connects to a dry top. For the most part this design gives you a nice clean and trim fit on top. No more bulky zippers under the life jacket. No weird bunching up of materials. Nice and clean and easy to slip into or out of a life jacket. The cut of the design is very well done - its trim but I have full unrestricted range of motion without having a bunch of extra material in the way. Very good!

 

Zipper technology can be challenging. The system is difficult and awkward to thread - especially at first. I totally recommend you practice getting this thing zipped up a few times before you head out to the river and spend 10 minutes trying to manipulate the system just to get zipped up while all your friends laugh at you. Once you have it down, the technique is still moderately challenging. The zipper ends seal with a threaded knob that must be tightened all the way in order to ensure a full seal at the waste. This is not an issue - you just have to know that. And make sure you tighten it all the way. The biggest drawback to the zipped up Idol suit is that the zipper knob and seal creates a noticeable bulge on the left side of the front waist underneath the waist collar. However once you get used to it you realize that it really doesn't get in the way - your life jacket sits above it and you pretty much forget about it. At least I do. All in all pretty good but it would be great to come up with an easier threading system and less bulky seal.

 

"If you are a paddler in northern climates sooner or later you are going to want a drysuit“

If there was one thing I'd like to see with the MVP it would be lighter overall weight. It's not a monster or anything but you know it's there! But in exchange for that weight you sure get some toughness! The innegra construction in my experience is all it's made out to be. A couple seasons back I was carrying down to the Kananaskis after the flood and a big last step on an eroded staircase resulted in me banging the tail of the board off of a big nasty boulder. It was like a gunshot bang literally echoeing down the river! And I immediately thought ‘Oh man!..damn!

 

I guess it's back up to the car to find some repair stuff’. I gingerly set the board down on the river rocks to inspect the damage - and could not find a single thing! Nothing. Just the lightest scratch which could have been there before. So… for a mountain board, she’s tough enough for our rocky shorelines and rivers no doubt!

So is the two piece worth it? I say so! The seal and waterproofing have been perfect. The Goretex material actually breathes pretty well. I love the trim fit. It is very easy to strip off the top for lunchtime or rest break. And I can use the pants or the top as standalone paddle pants or dry top. Very very versatile!

"Once you have discovered SUP on the river, it will be hard to go back to the lake!"

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The Badfish 10'6 MVP

The Badfish 10'6 MVP

From whitewater to mellow float, always spectacular!

The river is calling!

Badfish Stand Up Paddle is without doubt the leader in river and whitewater stand up paddle board design. Their technical whitewater and river surf boards like the 9’ MVP, Innegra River Surfer and the inflatable Rivershreds are the class of the River SUP scene! But we’d like to highlight a board that doesn't get much of the limelight and yet is a class act in its own right - the MVP 10’6! I have been paddling the 10’6 MVP as part of the fleet here at Bearfoot Performance Paddling for several seasons now. Love this board and think that it is pretty much the ultimate all-round mountain hard board!

What makes it so great?

At 10’6 x 32 this is a board that is stable beyond its dimensions with great initial and secondary stability! I use it as one of my main teaching boards - you can almost literally just wander around on it. When guest instructing where I don't bring my own boards I always like to have the 10’6 along. Several times I have switched out clients from other boards where they were having stability and balance issues and onto the MVP where those issues disappeared and made it easier to focus on learning! A hallmark of the MVP 10’6 is versatility. The Badfish tag line for this board is “Jack of all trades, Master of Fun!”. I have paddled and surfed and toured and taught on this board in a lot of locations. For Class 1 and 2 rivers it is a beautifully performing board with technical prowess! You can really weight this board onto the downstream rail and carve out eddy turns or hold a tight ferry line! It works better than any other board I have played with in this type of water. You definitely have to shift weight back to run even small standing waves so not to bury the nose but once you know that it's a pretty smooth ride.

 

For River and ocean surfing the 10’6 is actually pretty nice on a longer wavelength. And I even had her going on the upper waves at Sturgeon falls at low water a while back! On the right wave it's a smooth and yet responsive ride - yes you can carve this board! We even had her on a wave that you could not get onto with the River surfer and barely hold with the 9’ MVP. But on the 10’6 it was a blast! And finally for flatwater touring around, the 10’6 MVP is obviously not going to be the outright fastest board, but it does have a decent cruising speed, easy to get there and nice glide to maintain. The other morning puttering around exploring Vermillion lakes I stopped paddling to look at the scenery. Thirty seconds later I was still gliding along slowly. Not bad…

 

"For Class 1 and 2 rivers it is a beautifully performing board with technical prowess!“

If there was one thing I'd like to see with the MVP it would be lighter overall weight. It's not a monster or anything but you know it's there! But in exchange for that weight you sure get some toughness! The innegra construction in my experience is all it's made out to be. A couple seasons back I was carrying down to the Kananaskis after the flood and a big last step on an eroded staircase resulted in me banging the tail of the board off of a big nasty boulder.

 

It was like a gunshot bang literally echoeing down the river! And I immediately thought ‘Oh man!..damn! I guess it's back up to the car to find some repair stuff’. I gingerly set the board down on the river rocks to inspect the damage - and could not find a single thing! Nothing. Just the lightest scratch which could have been there before. So… for a mountain board, she’s tough enough for our rocky shorelines and rivers no doubt!

Jack of all trades? Yup. Master of Fun? Yup. When you can take your board almost anywhere and still have a great time - that's fun! I think the MVP is the unsung hero of the Badfish line. The ultimate mountain board. Stability, versatility and toughness - combined with beautiful lines like no other board out there - that's the 10’6 MVP!

"Once you have discovered SUP on the river, it will be hard to go back to the lake!"

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