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This past weekend I had the privilege of boating the very first 4 Fun for its virgin run. I had previously spent some time in the proto of the Fun, but it is clear to see that the Fun is not my size boat. In fact I feel that I am spot on for the 4 Fun. I am 6’5”, 225#, 36” inseam, and size 13 feet. I was leading a group of boaters down the Lower Gauley for the World Kayak first timer’s event. This was the perfect setting to really try out the 4 Fun as a one-boat quiver.

In my opinion the Gauley is a play boat run. Since I was leading a group the boat needed to be able to carry some extra group safety gear, be fast for rescues, and all the other friendly attributes you look for in a boat in addition to entertaining me. I got plenty of opportunity to play on great features like diagonal ledges, lower mash, and all the other great lower Gauley play spots but more on the play in a minute. This is a river running playboat after all so lets look at the river running ability first.

I got to tow a boat or two with my rescue vest, and pushy water ferries while towing a boat were no issue at all. The boat handled the extra weigh of safety gear really well. It is super easy to boof and like to stay on the surface. The 4 Fun is predictable, easy to correct and stay on line in pushy water, and it of course rolls easy. I paddled the day with the seat in the center position and was able to wear some barefoot running shoes in the boat. That has never happened for me in a short boat other than the super fun, which I was a bit small for. Comfort level was great and that alone is worth it weight in gold for me. I think with the extra gear I will likely move the seat back one position but with normal day gear I would leave it centered. It seemed like the weight range either way would be fairly forgiving as long as you play with the seat position.

Like I said before the Gauley is a play run and I like to play. Down river moves like wave wheels and kick flips were a no brainer. I mostly needed to adjust my timing to accommodate for the longer length relative to my play boat. The stern squirts with ease and splats are super in control. I got a number of catch on the fly surfs as we headed down stream. The extra hull speed made catching all of these features a snap and the hull is surprisingly loose when kept flat and as carvy as you could hope fore when on edge. Canyon doors hole proved that this boat loves to sling ends! Once we got to diagonal ledges it was time to surf. The ease of surfing is the first thing that stands out. Once again it took a little while to start to adapt from a full on play boat to the fun but even after a few surfs blunts, sidekicks, and the base wave moves were all coming out. Give a bit more time and shorter lines I think a skilled boater will be able to do just about all wave moves in this boat. At the end of the day the boat truly hit the mark as a one-boat quiver! I like paddling play boats in big water, and the 4 Fun only make this easier and did not take away from the play fun at all. I am excited to get one at home and take it on some of our easier intro to Cali creeks and the ocean to really test the versatility. Take one for a test drive. I dare you to not like it!

Later; Colin
Team JK