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Old 05-09-2008, 08:32 PM
 
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Default Zodiac or Pontoon?

Hello,

I am debating between getting a pontoon and a zodiac style boat. I was initially going to go with a outcast discovery 9 ir, but have found a number of cheaper zodiac style boats like the one seen here SATURN Inflatable Boats Inflatable Dinghy SD260 Lowest prices in USA! . Looking at past posts it seems like the pontoons are very popular. I am looking to get a boat/pontoon to float local alberta rivers, specifically the red deer and bow river systems. The rapids get up to class IV, but are considerably less where I will be headed.

So what would you buy and why? I will be primarily using the craft for these two river systems, but may go on the odd lake. What size craft would you would you choose? I am a tall skinny guy 6' 140 lbs - super fast metabolism- so weight is not an issue. If I went with a zodiac would a 9.5' boat be enough for two people to drift comfortably? For the most part I will be going alone, but there may be instances where another wants to come. I am just not sure what to buy. I know that everyone suggests urethane bladder for pontoons, and on and on, but I want to stick to around ~$1000, I may buy a small motor later.

I am looking for advice and opinions. Any information is greatly appreciated

Thanks
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:54 PM
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Default Re: Zodiac or Pontoon?

My opinion is....COOL BOAT! The advantage to a Pontoon at this point would be the hands free feature (in other words legs and flippers) other than that I don't see much advantage.
Take a look at North Fork Outdoors OUTLAW 5X...Dude basically the same thing! You turn the frame around from the "V" and you have a Zodiac.
Maybe you could put a seat at the back where the motor is and control it with flippers...who knows.
I DO knot the Outcast 9 IR, in fact all Outcast Boat smaller than the 11 foot PAC, are all made overseas now.
Just me, but I don't look to support a country, that is one of the main reason our gas prices are going up, any more than I have to.
Thanks for the link!
Joni
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Zodiac or Pontoon?

Hi Roast,

Let me give you a little background. I have own a 11' Zodiac Mach 1. I owned a Zodiac 10' light weight and I owned an Avon 8'. I use the Zodiac's in Alaska in some heavy duty use. The Avon I had in Washington State.

The 11' Mach was a great boat on the Kenia River in Alaska. The Kenai River is big, big water and I drifted for Kings and other Salmon. With a 25hp motor I could drift a stretch of river and then motor back for another drift. My wife loved the Zodiac due to the stability of the design. From this experience I learned that as a power boat or utility boat they are super. As a drift boat they were not very good. The Kenia does not have real rapids so I usually drifted down stream sideways in the currant. I used one oar to keep me where I wanted to be from the bank. It worked OK but it was not a drift boat in any stretch of my imagination.

I think you will find that an 8'6" boat like you are looking at is too small if you plan on two people. I would not want anything shorter that 10' in this style of boat. Even then it will be cramped for two fly fishers. Spin casters could get away with it but unless one person fly cast at a time you will have problems. This is definitely not a boat for rapids. The forward hull design is great for motor power or rowing forward. You can't row backward do to the design of the transom. There is no rocker in the rear and the transom will dig into the water. If you want an inflatable raft to tackle class IV rapids you need a river raft with a rowing platform.

The boat you are looking at is a dingy intended as a tender to larger boats. It is not designed for floating rivers. A much better choice would be a pontoon boat, a river raft or a drift boat. The drift boat is not in your budget.

Frank
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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Default Re: Zodiac or Pontoon?

Thanks Joni and Frank for your advice,

I think that I have been persuaded to go the pontoon route. I think that I am going to go with a North Fork Madison River ST. I have been reading reviews and North Fork seems to have great customer support and warranty. I also like the idea of a standing platform and lean bar. I know Joni seems to be very impressed with the scadden products. Does anyone else have any experience with North Fork products? Are there any other models/ companies that you would suggest checking out?

Thanks for your help
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