A quick review of the Dagger Stratos 14.5 + video
I just spent the last few days paddling the Dagger Stratos 14.5S. Its dubbed as a high performance ocean tourer that is ideal for beginners and expert alike which is a pretty broad spectrum to cover but I think they have pulled it off. I was in the market for a new sea kayak recently and I had decided I wanted a 14-15ft boat that surfs well has good speed and would be comfortable for doing daily tours, rock hopping and some day touring. After a bit of searching online I had a few contenders to consider.(The P&H Delphin, Venture Jura, North Shore Aspect and a few more.) Then I gave Colm in I-Canoe a call to see what he had available and he mentioned he was paddling the Dagger Stratos and really liked it.
To be honest I was a little surprised as I never think of Dagger and touring/sea kayaks. Anyway the feedback was good and it sounded like it was worth a try. The next day the boat arrived and a soon as it came out off the truck you could tell there was something good wrapped up. As soon as I got it opened I was impressed, the rocker profile and sleek lines looked great. I have failed to find a picture that does the boat justice and give a good sense of the rocker profile so I didn't include one. It really has to be seen in the flesh.
Winter is well and truly here and I'm sure you can feel it every time you step outside. Well its just as bad when you have to get on the water for a flat water training session or a day on a white water river. Having good thermal base layers is the key to staying warm in these conditions. There is a huge range of base layer products on the market now that offer varying degrees of protection and comfort. For me I have been using CRAFT sportswear products for about 3 years now for all types of kayaking and training. CRAFT are a Swedish company that specialise in making performance sportswear for cycling, running and skiing and have done so for the last four decades. Why CRAFT? Three reasons
I had the Sipre Marlin M surf ski for the summer just gone here in Ireland. This was my first ski to own and only my second to paddle. When I decided to buy a ski I wanted to get something that I could paddle comfortably and confidently in some decent conditions. As I would be paddling solo I needed a ski that was not a full on racing ski and that I could remount easily if needs be.
When my Marlin arrived I was delighted with what I had gotten. There isn't a lot of info on this ski on the web so it was a bit of a punt, but it paid off. When you first sit in the ski it might feel a little tippy, but once you get moving the stability kicks in and its a pleasure to paddle. It cruises on flat water at 10kmph and handles cross wind/chop really well. I have had it out in some nice swell and have clocked 25kmph into an offshore. Check the video below.
Overall I really like the Marlin. Its a perfect intermediate ski and an excellent craft to get started on if you have a bit of experience paddling racing kayaks. It's fully adjustable as well so it can cater for various leg lengths. My ski was a basic construction and weighed about 16kg.
David Horkan from Paddle & Pedal. Posting info on various outdoor adventures in Mayo and around Ireland.