Wavesport Recon 83 Review from a class 3 boater working up to some 4s
So there have been quite a few reviews here on the new Recon by Team Wavesport members, but lets face it, they are class 5 boaters, they can paddle anything and make it look good. How about us class 3, working on class 4 boaters? How does the Recon paddle and react for us? Why should I get boat like the Recon? I’m happy to report the Recon exceeded my expectations and is a great boat for not only the class 5 paddler, but those of us who are class 3 and working our way up.
I had the chance to paddle the new Recon in Ecuador this winter while on a trip with Endless River Adventures. I had been paddling the Diesel 80 which I love, but I was intrigued by the awesome looking Recon 93 and had to try it out. I was paddling on a section of the Quijos River that was a bit challenging for me. Other than a few times in a Crossfire, I had never paddled a displacement hull boat. As I set out in the Recon, I was beginning to wonder if paddling a brand new boat with a totally different hull design was such a smart idea, however , after 2 rapids I realized how much I loved that boat. It was easy to maneuver, especially for its size, went though large waves effortlessly ,and was super easy to get into eddies and make the moves needed. I had some difficulties with ferries and keeping it straight due to the different hull design and larger rocker, but quickly got the hang of it.
The new outfitting is so adjustable it enables you to get every part of your body fitting snuggly and comfortably in the boat which allows for better control . I fit so well in the seat, I never slipped, moved , or felt the need to readjust my seating position. The stability is amazing, even when I took not so great of a line, the Recon never failed me and minor bracing or just a head dink would often have it right back on target. While I don’t believe one boat is easier to roll than another, just different, the outfitting in this boat is so comfortable and secure you stay put if you flip over and it makes getting to set up easy for me and it just popped up. The seat actually has a ratcheting system that you can raise or lower the front of the seat without getting out of your boat to fit more snuggly. The thigh hooks go up and down and in and out, totally adjustable backband, and easy to adjust hip pads. Some more attention to detail, there is a tether on the bulkhead screws so you won’t lose one. I also like to move the bulkhead back and use foam for my feet, there was velcro on the foot block and on the extra foam so I just stuck it on, no duct tape or hard fiddling.
I was lucky enough to have 2 weeks paddling down there, so on the 2nd trip, I switched to the Recon 83 and got to paddle 5 more days there in the Recon 83. Now nothing is effective of a demo as 5 days paddling on very challenging rivers in a foreign country with a group of people you only met that week. I got to paddle the Lower Quijos and Jatunyacu, both big water runs. The boat handled those huge wave trains perfectly and was just so much fun. By the time we hit Monkey Wave on the Jatunyacu, this very dynamic large wave I had avoided the last 2 time down, I was feeling so confident I rode up on it and back flipped the Recon! That was super cool. And yes , of course, I totally meant to do that.
The Upper Mishaulli is a great run I had been told, everyone’s favorite. It looked way technical for me. About 8 miles or so of class 3/4- non stop boulder gardens and boofs, not my strongest skill. I put on with much trepidation. but determination. The Recon handled flawlessly. If my boofs ,well weren’t that great, it sailed through holes and off ledges perfectly. I am not sure what it is about the shape of the hull and seating position, but I found it super easy to place more effective forward and corrections strokes. Most of the moves were multiple step moves form chute, boof, ferry, ledge etc. I had no problems getting the Recon where I wanted it. By the end of the run, my boofs were much better and I was feeling more confident. I still can’t believe I ran that run. I emailed ERA and ordered one on the spot and picked it up 3 days after getting back to the states. First run here was on the Tellico Ledges at 2 feet, bit beefy level for me. Boofing was better, lines were great, fun running Baby Falls. I smiled the whole day. I have since had it on the Big Laurel at 9” as well. Love it. I am looking forward to doing some new creeks this winter and spring and maybe even Wilson Creek!