2011 Hero: A Short, Sweet, Sporty, Surprisingly Fast, Boofalicious RR/Creeker!

I’ve now paddled the final proto of the 2011 Hero enough to write some thoughts.  I’m 5′4″, 150ish lbs with midget legs.  I’ve been paddling the Villain S all year, but paddled the former Hero in 2008-2009.  I’ve paddled the 2011 Hero final proto (which is nearly identical to the production version) on a good variety of runs:

Steep, Small, and Technical: Low Water Bottom Creek, VA

Classic River Run: Upper Gauley, WV

Classic Class V- :  S Yuba–49-Bridgeport @ 500 cfs in CA

Pushy, steep Class V: Golden Gate on the S American @ 900 cfs

The new Hero did surprisingly well in all these conditions.  It’s a little shorter and a hair wider than the last Hero, with a good bit more bow rocker and a little more rocker through the middle.  It’s rediculously stable and forgiving, like the last Hero.  It’s easier to turn, yet VERY fast for it’s length.  Despite being only 7′4″, it doesn’t want to back-ender or pogo after a plug.  It boofs like its it’s job–often landing bow up.  For me, this is the most substantial improvement over the previous model–it’s EASY to late boof, and keeps going when you miss your boof, rather than stall.

I really expected to be uncomfortable in the big, pushy water on Golden Gate, but the 2011 Hero did great in bigger stuff: It goes over, through, or under holes and curlers well and stays on the surface easily.  It’s smooth onto and off rocks.  The only thing that the last Hero did a little better might have been to carry a little more umph into it’s peel-outs and eddy-outs, but I don’t remember it that well.

This will likely be my river running creekboat of choice in 2011.  The Villain carries a lot more speed out of drops, and carves like a turkey knife, which is a blast.  The Hero will be a great choice for those who like a more stable platform that easier to turn.

These photos were shot on Golden Gate by Darin McQuiod.

Live from Reno, NV,

Stephen Wright

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2011 Hero: A Short, Sweet, Sporty, Surprisingly Fast, Boofalicious RR/Creeker!

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