Water Master vs Water Strider

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Predator, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Predator

    Predator New Member

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    Hi all. I'm new to the forum. This may have been discussed before but I cannot find any direct comments on the pros and cons between Water Master and Water Strider kickboats.

    I'm based in New Zealand so from a cost perspective the Water Strider is the better option as it is manufactured in New Zealand by Incept Marine.

    Importing a Water Master into New Zealand involves shipping costs, the NZ$ - US$ exchange rate, a 15% goods and services tax and probably a 5% import duty. So a Water Master is going to cost me significantly more than a Water Strider. I think I read somewhere that WS are more expensive that WM in the US.

    The larger WM Kodiak looks to be a more capable raft and the board seat support looks to provide a more stable seating arrangement as well as providing somewhere to stand for spotting fish and casting on calm water.

    I would be grateful for any comment on whether the pros for a Water Master would outweigh the additional cost.
     
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Kudos to you for already doing the math on the true cost of importing a Watermaster into NZ.

    The other part of the equation is to compare products. Yes, the WM Kodiak is larger, with a correspondingly higher load capacity but at the cost of considerably greater weight. The inflatable seat and cargo deck of the Water Strider will likely make that boat both lighter and easier to take down as the plywood seat deck of the WM limits one's ability to roll/fold it into a small package. That said, either boat would be an excellent choice for both moving and stillwater.

    There's a persistent rumor that the folks at Alpacka are developing an open-floor version of their craft to compete head-on with both the WM and WaterStrider. Given the much lighter yet equally strong materials the Alpacka is made from, it might well be worth waiting for as an alternative.

    K
     
  3. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    The other thing that I would consider is ease of service. If you needed factory service, it is going to be far easier and cheaper to get it serviced on the South Island than in Montana. I have a Kodiak and an early version of the smaller Water Master boat called a Float-N-Tote and while the Kodiak can handle a little bigger water, the smaller boat is far more portable. I'd actually love to try the inflatable seat as the hard board and seat are two of the biggest complaints I've heard about Water Masters. The hard seat would be better for sight casting but I've never tried to stand on mine.
     
  4. Runejl

    Runejl Josh

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    I have been harassing Alpacka for a awhile. I wouldnt be expecting anything soon. This comes from an employee that I have had direct correspondance with. He is working to convince the owner, but she has wanted to keep their focus on what they do which are rafts.

    An Alpacka would be awesome though and I really hope that they do it.
     
  5. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

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    I'm totally with you on the service aspect since Predator is a Kiwi, as well as the import costs (ouch!). I too can also appreciate the lower weight and kit size offered by the WS vs my Kodiak. For those reasons alone, and aside that from all I've heard the WS is a good boat, a Water Strider would be my hands down choice if I lived in NZ.

    I've solved the WM hard board comfort issue with a $16 ThermaRest Trail Seat and 3 stips of velcro, and it's likely warmer than an inflated seat (convection). I also have not stood on my Kodiak seat but the hard board does allow me to securely attach a jam cleat for an anchor. On the other hand I would be slightly concerned about the consequences of a hole in an inflated seat, and ease of repair, especially if it were in a fold/tuck.
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I'm not positive but the inflatable seat deck in the WS appears to be made from the same material as the inflatable seat bottom and back as in the SFC, with the same valve. I've never heard of a seat cushion failing in a SFC (although the valves can occasionally get clogged with grit, causing a slow leak.)

    K
     
  7. Dan Soltau

    Dan Soltau New Member

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    Kent,
    Are you familiar with the Alpacka fjord explorer? It is a two man, packable, rower that really looks like it could handy. I havent been able to find any reports of using it though, only the brief pics of of Alpackas sight. Chris told me they are quite tipsy, but he was talking about the one in the gear program and I was wondering if that also applied to the FE.
     
  8. Robert Easterday

    Robert Easterday Member

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    Predator,

    Some of the folks who are responding to your thread, responded to a thread I started when I was trying to make the same decision you are now. They mostly steered me toward the Water Strider, and their advice, for my purposes, turned out to be the right advice.

    So I have no experience with Water Masters (which I've heard are good), but I have had my Water Strider for several years and really like it. It's light to pack around. It seems well designed, with lots of D-rings strategically placed, and a nicely angled foot rest. The inflatable seat, which was what finally sold me on the Water Strider, is very comfortable and supportive, and keeps the boat tracking well with a low profile in the water. At 250 lbs plus gear, I thought I'd need a bigger boat, but I've had mine through some rough water and I've never come close to tipping over. The Incept materials and construction seem bullet-proof, and I've had no problems after two years of hard use. If I was buying another boat to pack back up river on my back instead of in the back of a pickup, I'd choose a Water Strider again.

    Hope this helps,

    Bob
     
  9. Predator

    Predator New Member

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    Thank you all for your comments. Very much appreciated. Bob I had a look at the thread you started. That thread and your comments were very helpful. I was under the impression that the WM Kodiak was the raft to go for but as has been pointed out there are tradeoffs with weight and portability. I was worried the inflatable seat on the WS would provide limited support and be prone to punctures. It looks to be a lighter material than the tube. Sounds like the inflatable seat may actually be an advantage. Combine that with the cost difference and the access to local backup and it looks like a Water Strider is the way to go for me.
     
  10. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    One of my partners on my backpacking trip to high lakes last weekend lugged along his 6yo Alpacka, which he loves for its light weight and extreme durability. But like the much-loved Curtis rafts, Alpackas also suffer from having a closed floor design, making them difficult craft to fish from on stillwater. Since the bulk of my fishing is on lakes, I much prefer the open floor design of the Watermaster and WS.

    During a presentation to the HiLakers earlier this year (and which I missed), Angus from Alpacka mentioned that the company has indeed been receiving lots of calls from lake fishers to produce an open floor model. While the company owner continues to focus product development on wilderness travel craft, at least demand from lake fishers seems to be on their radar. Whether that translates into a suitable model remains to be seen.

    K
     
  11. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    Predator, you are right that the inflatable seat is 'slightly' thinner material than the rest of the raft, but it is made from the very same material and has an HR valve. In 8+ years I have never has a leak on the raft and have bounced off plenty of boulders, gone through shallow chutes with very little water. I have had a couple leaks on the seat: on the front radius some rafts have creases in them. Talking with Dave from WS he says that was due to a MFG. problem; basically not cutting enough material for the front section...I made it worse by hanging over the front of the seat and 'relieving' myself over the years. Easy to fix: if it's small enough, leave inflated and just apply the 2 part glue directly. If it needs a patch, let all the air out, rough up a slightly larger area than the patch, clean with MEK[alcohol works], apply glue to both area and patch, let dry, apply again, put the patch in place and with 2 small pieces of plastic clamp the area for 24 hours. Carpenters clamps or even vice grips work. DO NOT try to repair the seat with air in it, too much of a radius. I used Gorrilla tape as a temporary fix for over a month, never had a problem.