Boat Review: Dagger’s ID

Outfitting and Comfort

Early releases of the 2002 whitewater kayaks brought with it much attention and hype about Wave Sport’s and Riot’s adjust-on-the-fly outfitting systems. Moveable outfitting is ideal for rental programs and schools but we’d say that if you don’t want to share your boat (and who does really) Dagger has perfected fixed foam outfitting. The Clutch Outfitting peel and stick hip pads and shims are essentially what paddlers have been carving and gluing for years. Seat adjustments are a snap, the backband works, the Thigh Booster extends the seat and offers a base for adding foam if you need more lift under your legs. The Pressure Plate foot blocks are again just what we’ve been doing for years but are now supplied from the factory. Compared to the Egos and G-Forces the foot box is quite narrow and the foot bumps are pretty shallow. Size 10 plus feet and long legs begged for the larger 7.0. Having the luxury of three sizes this year allows paddlers the opportunity to better match volume and comfort. 

The Hull Story

Dagger’s Egos are incredible flat spinning boats but the compromise was extreme wdth and edginess. Looking to compliment their line rather than replace anything, Dagger redesigned with some different principles in mind.

The ID’s planing surface was made as short as possible with hard rocker break. Shortening the planing surface reduces hull speed but brings the rocker closer to the body making the boa respond quickly and easily. To overcome the wide, edgy feeling of the Egos, the ID’s hull was also brought in closer to the body, the edges were lifted and it was given more curvature across the bottom. This results in quicker edge to edge transitions and less wathunking at the expense of some looseness. The nose narrows more like an Ultraguge and the volume is distributed more evenly rather than all around the knees. The stern is slightly wider, but still very Dagger looking, no radical changes there.

On the Water

The theory of the smaller boat the better is dead! The three sizes of the ID are very close to one another designed around the weights of 125, 160, and 195 lbs. Getting in the right size is important and the right size is one that allows you to trim the boat properly. The short planing surface means you can teeter forward or back on it very easily with upper body tilts, so you want to begin in a centered position.

If we had the label the ID we’d say it is a hole boat. The short length and narrow, slicey ends improve the huckability of the ID resulting in smoother end to end transfer without the beach ball bounce. Flatwater wheels and tiny hole play are very rewarding. Being able to balance the ends rather than fight to keep them down improves freewheels and splits.

On a wave the ID feels narrow under the cockpit and the picked-up edges are less catchy but limit the planing surface. It feels skippy to green grind, and bouncy in the trough of the hole. Flat spinning is still relatively easy and more in line with the Wave Sport Ace than the Dagger Ego or G-Force. Back surfing, the rockered stern seldom catches.

While we spent more time playing in the ID than river running, we did notice the boat is dry and predictable. The bow stays on the surface, keeping the boat and paddler dry and not getting squirreled around and squirted on little cross currents.

The ID is soggy on eddy lines. It tends to absorb into eddy lines and mush across or even slide downstream. Really nailing a tight spot requires aggressive paddling and a big, pulling, glide-draw to get nay snap in an eddy turn. Resorting to just plain old paddling across the eddy line without any fancy strokes is sometimes the most effective way to ensure getting out of the current. Slalom paddlers must be cringing as they read this

The Bottom Line

For a while it seemed kayak companies were building boats for their pro team paddlers. While this is likely still true, Dagger seems to have put more consideration into the end ser of the boats – intermediate paddlers. The ID series is no less a high end kayak, Dgger just dropped the bottom end of the scale making moves attainable to more paddlers by producing an easier boat to paddle. And more forgiveness allows advanced paddlers a wider margin for error so they can push the limits further.


Length: 6’10”/6’11”/7’
Width: 23”/24.5”/25/25”
Volume: 44/49/54 gal
Weight: 33/34/35 lbs
Paddler weight range: 80-140/100-175/140-215 lbs
Standard features: Precision seat and thigh braces, Clutch Outfitting system
MSRP CAD: $1649

This article first appeared in the Summer 2002 issue of Rapid Magazine. For more great boat reviews, subscribe to Rapid’s print and digital editions here.

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