I have taken some time before writing this post as I wanted the new boat syndrome to subside before putting my thoughts onto the site.
Putting my cards on the table I prefer the Recon. The reasons why follow below.
It’s fair to say that the Stomper and Recon sit firmly within the same genre and will naturally be compared and pondered over by prospective new owners. So it seems fitting to throw this post out there for the masses. For the many who have emailed me over the last couple of weeks – sorry it has taken so long.
The Recon and Stomper share many of the same features including a continous rocker profile, multiple grab handles/security loops, full plate footrest etc however the application/design of some of these do differ quite a lot.
Weight Range 82-125kg
Weight Range 77-122kg
From the statistics the Recon is clearly larger than the Stomper. However when lined up next to each other there is very little difference in either the length or width of the two boats. What is clear is that the bulk of the extra volume in the Recon is firmly in the stern and within the very end of the bow.
The weight of the two boats needs to be mentioned. The Recon feels heavy! In reality its around 2kg heavier than the Stomper but it is quite noticeable when you pick it up. I have found that Wavesport boats have tended to be a little heavier than similar models from other manufacturers. With the Recon this will be down partly to the outfitting and partly to the thickness of the plastic. I have paddled the Stomper and Recon back to back in exactly the same water conditions and can say that the extra weight of the Recon is not noticeable on the water.
To get the best out of the Recon and Stomper they need to be driven hard and edged to get the speedy turns in and out of the flow. They both punch through stoppers with ease and are easy to keep straight and turn when required. Some would expect that the extra weight in the Recon may make boofing (is that a word?) a little harder, but again on the water this isn’t so. Both boof easily and if pencilled resurface very quickly. In all of these respects there is very little between them. However I do find the Recon to be overall more stable in funny or confused water and can be edged more aggressively without hitting the tipping point as soon.
Probably the one single element for me that makes the Recon 93 better than the Stomper is the outfitting. This is the main reason why I now own a Recon. I want a seat that can be raised at its front edge without having to mess about with foam or spacers. The BADASS outfitting is super comfy and very effective but prevents me from adding a great deal of foam to support my legs without compromising the system itself. The new Core outfitting is designed to allow the front edge of the seat to be raised or lowered and it allows me to do this with ease through the use of the same kind of ratchet system that we are all familiar with on kayak backrests. Since paddling a Riot Glide and Disco (both with Surf Seats) many years ago I have preferred the extra support and control that a raised front edged seat can provide – so the new Core system is a huge bonus for me. That said my main criticism of the Core outfitting is its colour. It looks great at the minute but only time will tell how crisp and bright the white will remain. I would prefer black or a dark grey. Older version of the Wavesport system (Using the same materials) have delaminated, which has resulted in warranty claims by a number of paddlers.
Both boats have the obligatory full plate footrest system. It probably took much longer to set up the Recon’s footrest due to the nifty little system that ensures that there are no gaps between the footrest and the hull. This reduces the chances of foot entrapment but no doubt has increased the overall weight of the boat. The Stomper has a plate and foam system. Different sized plates are supplied with the system. Both the Recon and Stomper systems still require some foam to be trimmed to get the correct and safe fit.
Other aspects of the different outfitting systems may influence which boat you may prefer. Access to the rear of the Stomper is much easier than in the Recon. The ability to fold the backrest up and out of the way is a great part of the design. The backrest cover and coverings for the hip pads does still need to be removed but once the backrest is swung out of the way it stays out of the way. Getting anything larger than say throwbag size into the back of the Recon can be a hassle. There is plenty of room, just getting past the backrest can be a little bit of a pain. The ratchets need to be loosened off and the back rest held up and out of the way to get the same access as the Stomper. That said getting kit out quickly, i.e. yanking it straight out from the back of the boat is much easier in the Recon as nothing gets in the way or needs to be taken apart.
The “clipping in” points for kit are much better on the Recon. I have found that there is much less chance of carabiners snagging or catching on the climbing harness styled system. If I hadn’t sold my Stomper I was going to add this feature to the seat. Pyranha, Dagger and Wavesport all use a similar system.
Maybe I have become a little conditioned but I much prefer the security bars on the Stomper. They are all the same, have the same orientation and are fastened in place using the same security bolts. The Recon has a variety of bars and grab loops in different orientations. The security bar on the front deck is secured with normal allen bolts and nylock nuts, all of the other bars and grab loops are secured using security allen bolts and moulded in fittings which I find strange. As a result of the bolt/nylock combination I have found a little water does get in. Loosening off the the bar and squirting some silicon sealant in there has sorted the issue.
So overall, as I said at the start prefer the Recon. But I would also be really happy to keep hold of the Stomper. My Stomper was sold today and I was sad to see it go.
If you are in the market for a new creeker then the Recon and Stomper are definitely both worth a look. Both are superb boats and are well worth a demo. Other boats to add into the mix and are also worth considering include the Pyranha Shiva and Zet Raptor/Director (reviews to appear soon – just need to get hold of some demos).