I have paddled Dagger Kayaks’ top end white water creek boat for more than a year now. It has been my trusty companion on trips to the tight and twisty creeks of Corsica, the big volume beauties of Norway, and of course on my home runs in Scotland. I have done a lot in this boat, and only now having owned and paddled many other comparable boats, do I feel comfortable giving it an honest review.
The Nomad 8.5 is a big round-bottomed boat with a displacement hull and little in the way of edges. This makes it very forgiving and relatively fast. It has a fair amount of rocker (curve in the hull profile) which makes boofing, and generally keeping the nose up, easy. On tight creeks the round hull design allows you to hit rocks without getting caught on an edge. However on bigger volume continuous rapids the lack of edges makes escaping from retentive waves and holes a real challenge. It fits like the proverbial ‘hand in a glove’ into almost any hole if you aren’t concentrating (trust me I’ve been there!). If you are an active progressive paddler then the speed of the boat compensates for this. However if you are a more relaxed, reactionary paddler then I would recommend a boat with more pronounced edges.