For the books I am 165 lbs, 31″ inseam, and size 10.5 feet.
I recently got to try both the vibe and the chronic. First in the lake then at a low flow park. Anyway my first thoughts when I finally got too see the boats in person was wow, the outfitting is awesome the thigh braces are super adjustable, the seat has a lot of room to move it front to back, and the back band is super positive, but not the most comfortable out there. These boats have an amazing hull support system in them the best I have ever seen. I found both boats to be really comfortable with lots of foot room.
The Vibe – Flatwater
The first boat I took out was the Vibe this is the boat I was most interested in. First impressions in the lake was that it was fast for its length, at 165 the nose sat 4 inches out of the water and the tail maybe two. It also carved very well and had good secondary stability.
Next I started to flatwheel it I was able to get it down well. It wasn’t as easy as many of the boats I have paddled lately i.e. session, s6, and skip. This was to be expected though and I am not buying a boat for the flats. It was easier than the pop, and space cadet though. It bow and stern stalled well and if I were better at my flatwater loops it definitely would have done them, it had good bounce off the bow. All in all I would rate this boat a 7.5 for flatwater at my weight, 7 for cartwheels but an 8 for loop potential.
The Chronic – Flatwater
Next the chronic, this boat was easier to wheel. It had better slice to it but I definitely would not even rank it in the same category as the session for ease of flatwheels. It felt very fast though and again had great balance on end. One other interesting thing to note about these boats is the height of the seat. I am accustomed to sitting very high in my boats, these felt low to me which might explain why they were tougher to throw. The seat could easily be raised though for super customization. I would give the chronic an 8 in the flats easier to wheel but not going to loop.
The next day I got to take them to the park, the features were OK, a couple of faster waves to measure hull speed and looseness and one OK hole for spinning and one OK hole for wheels and blunts.
The Vibe – WW
The vibe was first to hit the water. I expected this boat to be much edgier due to the concave sidewall, however it did not seem all that squirley, just when ferrying I had to be quick with my edge transitions. This boat has great rocker I was seldom concerned about the bow and when it did grab it was easy to get back to the surface. I thought the boat was good at spins in the hole but not as loose as the s6. for blunts I liked the boat – the bow seems to be well shaped for them. Back stabs were a little tougher but this was a pretty lame feature on something with some power I don’t think it would be no problem. The best feature I got to try this boat on was a 1.5 foot tall green wave. the wave was fast so I got a good sense for the boat when it is plaining. Here is were the boat excels the nose rides up nicely and it carves like a demon.
It was faster then the s6 here but not quite as loose and it was ready to bounce. One thing that really impressed me was the hull. It was solid there was no flex in it while surfing I have never felt anything like it. This made the boat feel more responsive, faster, and looser. The more time I spent in it, the more I liked it. The vibe is very aggressive boat, it needs to be driven into dynamic moves, and it will respond better than any boat I have ever been in.
The Chronic – WW
The chronic was looser for spins and friendlier down river, it also wheeled a bit better in the hole. It to was a blast to surf, when in these boats you can definitely feel the surfing roots in the design. Final thoughts are the chronic is a more friendly design it was designed for more traditional playboating i.e. wheels, spins, and blunts. this boat is more for the average paddler looking to get better. My only complaint with these boats is I need about 10 more lbs to really see what these boats have to offer, good thing summer weight is coming on.
Anyway I would definitely recommend you try one of these boats if you are in the market. They are in my opinion some of the best new designs available.