In 1996, 16 people lined up on river right below the Green River Narrows’ Bride of Frankenstein and hammered the half-mile of class V to a pool on river left below Rapid Transit. Ever since then, the first Saturday in November has kicked off the now famous Green River Race, the wildest and most exclusive of all whitewater creeking events. Last year 59 paddlers entered the open or longboat event, 39 of them paddling the Dagger Green Boat specialized creek racer.

Dagger Green Boat Specs
Length: 11’9”
Width: 24.25”
Volume: 95 U.S. gal
Weight: 50 lbs
Weight Range: 140-260 lbs
MSRP: $1,085

Dagger’s Green Boat tops the podium

For the last two years prototypes of the Green Boat paddled by Dagger pros have dominated this crazy race. It all started in 2006, when Dagger’s Pat Keller finally beat six-time open class winner Tommy Hilleke in his now defunct eight-time winning boat, the Prijon Tornado.

In 2007, team paddler Andrew Holcombe followed up with a win in the open class, and a new Green Race record time of four minutes, 27 seconds. The Green Boat took the top four places that year.

In 2008, even with a quiet mid-season launch in June, the production Green Boat topped the podium once more and took 11 of the best 15 times.

Drive this Dagger on edge

The 11-foot, nine-inch Green Boat falls into the race’s most prestigious and fastest open category. The Green Race combines raw power and anaerobic speed with large rapids and extremely technical manoeuvres. The crew at Dagger knew they needed a boat that could hammer the flat sections, but also power through the rapids with precision and skim over the top of the water to avoid deep plugs.

Person paddles a Dagger Green Boat kayak through river rapids
Feature Photo: Christopher Port

Dagger designer Mark “Snowy” Robertson and team athlete Pat Keller examined several different old classics that had the desired speed. Their goal was to match this speed to the agility, responsiveness and boofing capabilities of Dagger’s performance creeker, the Nomad.

“The Nomad was used as a benchmark for the stability and forgiveness needed in a creek boat,” says Robertson. “But the Green Boat adds in speed by rewarding paddlers who drive it on edge using the rails.”

[ Paddling Buyer’s Guide: See the Dagger Nomad M kayak ]

Making a boat so specific seems crazy considering what we are told of the research, development and production costs of cranking out new whitewater boats. Keller, however, sees value beyond the monetary return. “Having Dagger place so much trust in the Green Race community with this boat has really legitimized not only the race, but the mentality of kayakers out there that still like to blaze from one place to another.”

The Green Boat is here to stay

At first, many believed the Green Boat would be a limited-edition boat built only for pro athletes. Not so. It is now part of Dagger’s 2009 catalogue lineup and available to all authorized Dagger retailers.

Who will buy it? It is a little early to tell, but so far Dagger says the Green Boat is being picked up by dealers from Pennsylvania to the southeast and west to Colorado—wherever there are mountains and creeks. Dagger also foresees a demand among old-school aggressive paddlers and those looking for long-day first descents who need to pack gear and haul ass.

Race ahead with the Dagger Green Boat

“The core whitewater consumer may be a niche market, but it’s integral to the heart of Dagger,” says Cheri Mckenzie, Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for Confluence Watersports. “The Green Boat is important to the sport as a source of new, younger consumers that, we hope, will stay with kayaking all their lives.”

Not to mention, dominating the most hyped whitewater race like the Dagger Green Boat has done is good for bragging rights and morale in any kayak company’s design and marketing department.

This article was first published in the Spring 2009 issue of Rapid Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.


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