Well I was lucky enough to have a go in Dagger’s new prototype Nomad the other day at Lee Valley. Having never paddled a Nomad before I was quite excited to see how this boat would feel, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
The boat that I did use was still a prototype so there is still the potential for changes to be made to the final product. For example the final product will most likely be widened at the back for a little more stability and will most likely be lighter when made with a better quality plastic.
Anyway, away from speculations about how it might feel, lets focus on the boat that was paddled! The new Nomad feels nice, really nice. I was using the large yet it didn’t feel like it was heavy or sluggish. It was quick to get going and was nice and responsive when turning. On moving water it was able to carry these traits across, remaining nice and nimble on the water (for a creek boat). It’s not quite as fast as the dedicated creek racers such but that comes with greater stability.
The Nomad is really stable on the water thanks to a generous helping of rocker. One nice feature that I liked was the smooth transition when edging and the ease for finely adjusting when in the flow as to exactly how much edge you wanted. This allowed for very precise movement when breaking out and crossing the flow. Paddling down the Lee Valley Olympic course there was nothing that the Nomad seemed to be able to easily deal with.
The hull design means that the bow stays nice and dry when boofing while the stern is nicely shaped to allow for the boat to catch the water just enough for the boat to pop out of holes allowing for speed to be easily maintained, much like with Pyranha’s 9R. Again though, it is not quite as aggressive as some of the creek racers meaning it is easier to maintain more of a controlled ride on the water. The Nomad also sits nicely in holes making it nice and easy to control for either playing of exiting.
The outfitting has seen a number of changes as well. In an effort to make the boat lighter they have cut out sections of the outfitting. The most noticeable of these changes is the removal of the tray that used to sit underneath the seat. This means that the finished product should be lighter than the original Nomad. There is also the addition of some extra webbing at the back which should come in handy. Other than that its all the same, which is hardly a problem as its already pretty damn good.
Dagger has also made the addition of the ‘go faster’ button on the back. This little tab has been put in to bring an end to the problem of the rear foam pillar moving around and it seems to have done the trick so far.
The prototype Nomad offers a great all round experience, balancing speed with stability whilst at the same time not removing any of the fun out of it. This boat will definitely be a worthy successor to the original.