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River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:02 am
by Sir Adam
on the water report coming soon...

Here's a teaser of more updated images on their web page:" onclick=";return false;

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:15 am
by Sir Adam
The Storm Chaser is here. I'm hoping to get it on the water (flat water at least) on Sunday. So far I've worked on the outfitting a bit.

Comments so far:
-Fit and finish is one of the best I've ever seen. Not absolutely perfect, but very, very close.
-Outfitting IS the best I've ever seen. I'm not sure which I like more - the hip huggers or the knee cups. Probably the knee cups as I've never seen knee cups executed so well (and so simply).
-22.5 lbs or so for the hull I think. Not too bad:)
-Boat itself looks great - clearly a "finished product" - symmetrical and very nice lines. A lot of measuring and sanding clearly went in to the plug and mold.
-Seams look bomber. The outside seam texture is a bit rougher than I'd like, but that is a personal thing. I suspect it is Kevlar, and will hold up better than glass to abrasion. (for those who don't know unlike glass or carbon you don't want to sand kevlar as it just 'fuzzes')

I'm looking to get it in the water soon.

If anyone is passing through the Glens Falls NY area and wants to try it out in the Hudson (I'm right on the river) PM me… For creek-boat comparison I also have a Finkenmeister, and a few older designs as well.

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:47 am
by SkeeterGuy86
photos of the outfitting?

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:15 pm
by Sir Adam
Click the link in the first post… Knee cups weren't glued in yet (I glued them in when I received the boat). Be sure to look through all of them - you can only really see the depth of the cups in one of the images (far deeper than I've ever made them).

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:14 am
by unkltwisto
Hey Adam - thanks for the nice comments on the boat and we'll be looking forward to hearing your feedback after you get it on the water. I think you'll be pleased :)

In response to the thread so far:

We do use a kevlar bias tape for the outside seam for toughness and durability and you're right, its not sandable. There are a few things we can probably do to improve the smoothness there - thanks for the feedback.

The weight shown on the inside label (22.5 lbs in your case) is the hull weight including pillars and the carbon shock absorber but does not include the outfitting. We decided to do it this way to be consisitent from one boat to the next since some customers opt to outfit the boat themselves (the boat is empty upon delivery) and others have us do it for them.

For those who are interested, here are a couple of other website links regarding our outfitting:

Knee Cups: (be sure to click on the "more photos" link for various pics
Outfitting Kit:
Instruction PDFs: (these give detailed info regarding our outfitting process)

Also, thank you for offering your new boat for others to test drive - there are only a few out there right now so I really appreciate it!

River Elf

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:23 pm
by road_warrior64
Great looking boat, Chris. Good to see a freelance boatbuilder here in my home state. Do you have any plans to build an open boat?

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:52 pm
by John Coraor
What seat height can this design tolerate and still be reasonably stable?

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:09 am
by unkltwisto
Thanks road_warrior64. We don't have plans for an open boat at this time - we're mainly focusing on cboats in the short term. We do have a new "M", "M/S", and "S" version of the Storm Chaser in the works though - hopefully the mold will be ready by the end of the year.

John, most folks are using a 6" seat (give or take) - and honestly, I haven't tried the boat out with a taller pedestal. I suspect you could get away with another inch or two more for comfort and still have reasonable stability. The M/L version of the boat is 10" deep at the back of the cockpit so you would still have some contact there at 7-8" though hip blocks would probably help the higher you sit. I hope that gives you an idea.

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:08 am
by Sir Adam
A little flat water time this afternoon after a long weekend of getting the house ready for winter (low of 15 F tonight around here… and colder up north where I usually paddle).

First impressions:
-boat fits like a glove, responds well to "body english" (leans, etc…) as well as finesse paddle strokes (responsive)
-Turns on a dime. I'm not sure I've yet been in a boat that spins as easy as this one does. I didn't have a hard time keeping it going straight, but for beginners this might be a challenge.
-Primary stability was good - "comfortable" feeling, but the boat responded to weight shifts well (not fighting the boat).
-Secondary stability was excellent - you went so far over and stopped (as the water was just below the seam line for my weight and seat height anyway). I put on the wrong sized skirt so I didn't try to roll.

I really look forward to seeing how well it performs on moving water. I suspect one of it's attributes (light weight - great for quickly putting the boat in any position you want with little effort) may be also one of the negatives (less momentum to carry you THROUGH some features).

I'll be curious to see how it front surfs, too. Like many creek boats it does plow a bit of water (a bit different from the "pointy little death traps" I'm used to). I'm guessing it will be an epic side surfer and may be one of (if not THE) easiest boat to spin (which as Eli can tell you is something I'm working on).

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:01 am
by gumpy
thanks for the report adam

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:50 am
by Smurfwarrior
Looks awesome!

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:36 am
by unkltwisto
thanks for the update Adam - glad you could get it out before winter - Chris

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:27 am
by Pierre LaPaddelle
Sir Adam wrote: . . . I really look forward to seeing how well it performs on moving water. . .
OK, so I’m impatient. I got tired waiting for an on-river review of the Storm Chaser. So I bought one, and I’m writing the #*+%^& review myself!

First, please understand I’m NOT a C-1er -- I'm an old open-boater. I was looking for adventure in my life, so I decided to try the transition to a C-1. (My wife suggested shuffleboard at the Seniors’ Center, but I stuck to my guns.)

Problem was, being used to a big OC-1, I always felt ‘uncomfortable’ in a little ex-kayak. (OK, ‘scared shirtless’ if you insist.)

But then I read about the Storm Chaser: “Crazy stable,” someone said. 27.75” wide, the specs said.

So I ordered one. I got an extra layer of Kevlar built into the hull, and an extra layer of s-glass in the deck. (I’ve been known to paddle obliviously onto rocks.) I got mine in bright yellow, so it will show up when floating upside down in the river. And I got it without outfitting, because I’m a cheap SOB.

Throughout the entire process of ordering, building, and delivering, Chris at River Elf took better care of me than my ol’ mom would have. His personal attention to every detail – not only in the build, but also in the business dealings -- was outstanding, fair, and considerate. The only glitch was there was no hot coffee waiting for me when I picked up the boat at the FEDEX terminal in Everett, WA.

After a couple of pool sessions to tweak the home-made outfitting job, and to practise rolling (EASY!), I finally took it to the river – a heinous Class II+ stream, which has been known to frighten kindergarten kids and old ladies in rubber duckies.

The first test came walking to the put-in. At 37 pounds, complete with air-bags, foam bulkhead, ankle blocks, saddle, and thigh-straps with stainless aircraft buckles, the Storm Chaser was a dream to carry. There was four inches of snow on the path to the put-in, and, being good Canadians, we tobogganed down in our boats. The Storm Chaser was clearly superior to all other boats in the party, sliding faster and further by far.

On the river – instant confidence! With minimal whimpering, I stuffed that Elf into every hole, wave, and eddy I could find. It featured a silky smooth transition from edge to edge, and the secondary stability, as Adam noted, was rock solid. Heading downstream, the Storm Chaser laughed at big wave-trains, and ignored boils and squirrely eddy lines. To answer John’s question, my saddle is 6”, and there was no problem with stability at that height.

Compared to my current OC-1, an Option, (Yes, I know, it’s like comparing an orange to a banana,) the Storm Chaser tracked easier, yet wasn’t difficult to turn. It was quicker by far to accelerate, and much faster in cruise mode. I gleefully attained mid-stream surf waves I’d never caught before in the OC-1. And although the Storm Chaser ain’t a playboat, and has no sharp chines for carving, it was an easy boat to control on a wave – not at all sluggish.

Best of all, at the end of the trip, no one ragged on me for paddling a boat called an “Elf.” But everyone wanted to swap boats for the carry out.

The Storm Chaser, as mentioned, isn’t designed as a playboat. I don’t know about its steep creeking ability, cuz I haven’t tried it. But as a general river-runner, especially in big squirrely water, and over long portages, I doubt there’s an equal on the market.

We’re certainly very happy together after two dates. It now shares my bed, while the wife has moved to the garage.

No shuffleboard for this C-1er! :wink:


Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:38 pm
by Sir Adam
I'm jealous! Our water is still solid here... we just got 12" of snow, and we're expecting below 0 F tonight.

Hopefully the spring creeking season will be good:)

Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you were pleased with the boat too!

Re: River Elf Storm Chaser

Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:51 pm
by milkman
Great review--thanks for posting that.