The Recon is a hardcore creekboat designed to take paddlers on the steeps in comfort and safety. If you want a boat that charges down rocky mank this could be the boat for you.

Looking beyond Wave Sport’s stylish, comfortable and easily adjustable Core WhiteOut outfitting you’ll find a boat that performs in Class IV–V+ water. The Recon has loads of integrated safety features: A safety step-out wall, seven points of rescue for boat extractions and an auto-adjusting bulkhead foot brace designed to fill up empty bow space so feet can’t get stuck behind it.

Wave Sport Recon S/M/L Specs
Length: 7’9” / 8’3” / 8’8”
Width: 25.5” / 26.5” / 27”
Volume: 70 / 83 /93 US GAL
Weight: 47 / 50 / 52 LBS
Paddler: 80–150 / 140–200 / 180–275 LBS
MSRP: $1,099

At 50 pounds, the Recon isn’t light on the shoulder, but when I’m slamming into rocks all day I appreciate a beefier build. The soft end handles make the boat easy to drag around and the handle on the step-out pillar helps keep the boat on your shoulder when carrying.

Though the Recon replaces Wave Sport’s former creeker, the Habitat, “It has a new shape and paddles significantly differently,” says David Maughan, a designer at Wave Sport. “In terms of performance and features, we started with a bit of a blank slate.”

With a pronounced and continuous rocker profile, the Recon keeps its bow and stern well above the water. This means it’s super maneuverable, easy to boof and skips over holes. It’s in boulder-choked rapids and on slides where the Recon really shines as it slides up, over and through with ease.

“It’s a smooth and forgiving boat,” adds Maughan. “And its volume distribution makes it easy to roll for recovery.”

With its short waterline, the Recon jumps to top speed with a just few quick strokes. The dome-like stern sheds water and ejects the boat almost instantly. This is great for technical creeks where there isn’t room to build up speed and the moves are stacked close together.

Tilt the Recon on edge and it becomes an amazingly stable platform that you could hang out on all day. Don’t expect to carve around the river or deep into eddies though. With its edges engaged in the water, the Recon spins in and out of the current with authority. It’s perfect for grabbing a break in micro eddies or on runs where you don’t have room to make long, carving turns.

While the Recon can easily be piloted down Class I–III+ runs, it’s way more boat than these rivers require. However, if you love to tackle the Class IV–V+ steep, continuous and rocky rivers of the world, consider the Recon as your tool of choice to get the job done.

This article originally appeared in Rapid’s Spring 2013 issue. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions here, or browse the archives here.

Time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted.” —George Washington | Photo by: Jo-Anne Caldwell 

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