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Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Mamba, Recon, Stomper, Karma

Over the last month or so I have had around 30 emails asking if I could do I little comparison between these boats.

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Having paddled the Liquid Logic Stomper, Wavesport Recon, Dagger Mamba and Jackson Karma over recent months I thought it would be quite good to gather a few statistics and thoughts in one place.

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Mamba 8.6

Length: 259cm
Width: 70cm
Boat Weight: 22kg
Volume: 337L
Paddler Weight: 79-118kg

First Paddle Review – Click Here.

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Recon 93

Length: 264cm
Width: 69cm
Weight: 24kg
Volume: 352L
Paddler Weight: Range 82-125kg

First Paddle Review – Click Here

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Stomper 90

Length: 257cm
Width: 68cm
Weight: 22kg
Volume: 341L
Paddler Weight: Range 77-122kg

First Paddle Review – Click Here

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Karma (Large)

Length: 270cm
Width: 71cm
Weight: 22.7kg
Volume: 390L
Paddler Weight: Range 83-136kg

First Paddle Review – Click Here

Firstly the one I own is the Recon 93 as it fits the style of paddling I do best. This may not be the best one for you. With that caveat in place here we go…

Out of the four boats the Jackson Karma is both the biggest and strangely lightest for my weight it rides extremely high in the water and rides over all but the biggest of stoppers. The Karma I tried was lighter (car park lift test) than the Mamba 8.6. I find the backrest in the Karma to be really comfy but it sist very high and interferes with my spraydeck. Getting my spraydeck onto the Karma was definitely an art.

In comparison the Wavesport Recon and Dagger Mamba are pretty heavy (very similar to each other) but this isn’t felt on the water. The outfitting is definitely the best in terms of function for me but the system does impact on the overall weight. Everything is rock solid.

The Stomper sits somewhere between the Karma and the Recon/Nomad in terms of weight. It is also the oldest in terms of design as the Mamba was updated in 2012. I would say that the Stomper is still one of the best boats on the market and I have only just reluctantly sold mine on. The BADASS system on the Liquid Logic Stomper is super comfy but I just couldn’t get the fit spot on. The covers for the hip pads needs to be a little longer for the Velcro to engage correctly on the cockpit rim.

All of the boats require the paddler to really drive them to get the most out of them. You won’t get the best out of any of the designs unless you actively edge/lean and shift your body weight. When you do this the boats will come alive and are fun to paddle.

All boof and resurface well. But the Recon and Karma boof and resurface the best followed by the Stomper and Mamba. Speed wise the Karma has it followed by the Recon. But for me the large Karma is just a little too big and bobs around too much for my liking. I suspect that the medium Karma will be a better match for my weight.

In all cases the suggested weight ranges need to be taken with a pinch of salt. I would recommend that if you can that you try a couple of different sizes in each boat before you buy.

3 Comments

  1. Nice bits of info so far, thanks! … Maneuverability? Primary and secondary stability? Edginess as far as control and as far as impact on stability? 🙂

  2. Unsponsored

    August 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I would say that the Karma probably has the greatest primary and secondary stability. Now that could be due to the fact it is far bigger than the Recon, Stomper and Mamba. The stern is definitely a little less graby. Again down to size the Karma turns better than the other boats listed but can run away with itself. Out of the others the Recon 93 has the blend of features best suited to the kinds a of paddling I do.

  3. I demoed all of these boats and bought the stomper. I did like the recon but they did not have my size in stock however I am completely happy with the stomper. I thought the outfitting on the new mamba was great however just was not for me. Furthermore, I have owned several jackson boats and loved them I did not care too much about the karma, my least favorite.

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