Back in 2001, Liquidlogic debuted their first-ever design—a slicey playboat called the Session. Almost two decades later, Liquidlogic has gone full circle, releasing a bold, new slicey design. The award-winning Homeslice debuted at Paddlesports Retailer in Oklahoma City last summer and celebrates the retro whitewater revolution. It promises to cartwheel, squirt, splat and surf, while blending old-school-cool looks and tricks with modern flair and comfort.
Length 7 ft 7 in
Width 26 in
Weight 32 lbs
Volume 55 gal
The wave of retro designs flooding the rivers is all about designers getting back to their roots (see “
“I used to paddle this type of boat in the ‘90s,” says Liquidlogic’s co-founder and boat designer Shane Benedict. “The Green River has been a hotbed of the slicey boat revival. A lot of folks have been pulling out old designs and trying them out. The Homeslice takes the fun of the two-ended slicey boat and adds what we’ve learned about outfitting, comfort and ergonomics.”
Comfort is a big selling point. Marketing materials tout its ample knee and foot room, claiming even tall paddlers can fit with shoes on. The nose of the Homeslice is taller than the Session’s, giving toes more room. I wasn’t paddling during the first slicey boat revolution of the late ‘90s and early aughts, but I’ve heard flat bows created nasty calluses on the tops of paddlers’ toes.
Perhaps used to more voluminous bow designs, I found the Homeslice uncomfortable with size 10 shoes on. My ankles fell asleep and I worried my shoes might have gotten caught up on the front pillar if I had to swim out. After switching to neoprene booties I got comfortable. The Homeslice utilizes a standard foam foot-block and shim setup for feet, with a strap to keep everything snuggled together. It’s a simple design proven to be reliable, comfortable and easy to adjust. True to the claims, I did have plenty of room left in the knee pockets even though I was using nearly all of the foot shims, which makes me think someone very tall indeed could fit comfortably in this boat.
The Homeslice comes complete with Liquidlogic’s popular Badass Outfitting. It gives the paddler a contoured seat, backband and hip pads easily customized for a snug fit. I’ve paddled a Liquidlogic Stinger XP crossover for four years, and know firsthand the outfitting is well made, durable, comfortable and drains well. The seat in my Stinger features more of a mesh fabric, which I find can occasionally chafe at bare skin, but Liquidlogic has updated the fabric which does not feel as though it will cause the same issue.
For me, when I roll a Liquidlogic kayak, the rigid backband straps are not enough to keep the backband in place, and I find it moves down off my lower back and I wind up nearly sitting on it. This is easily fixed by adding bungees to my Stinger’s backband and connecting it to the cockpit rim. This keeps the backband nice and high. If the Homeslice were my boat, I would make the same simple modification.
“The Homeslice takes the lineup more aggressively towards play, as opposed to getting down the river,” says Benedict. “The Braaap and the Mullet want to play but have great river running capabilities, with more rocker and volume in the bow for creeking. When we went to the double-ended slice and more of a planing hull in the Homeslice, the play capabilities increased.”
The square-ended design of the Homeslice creates a faster carve and improves looseness on a wave, says Benedict. More progressive rocker creates easier stalls and cartwheels compared to the Liquidlogic Session, he adds, and a stern V-hull helps carving and easy spin initiation.
I first paddled the Homeslice on the Ottawa River. With the river gauge at 17, there were plenty of play spots on the Middle Channel, and Buseater was in on the Main Channel. The Homeslice made for a fun big water day— indeed, carving on waves and spinning is easy. It has decent speed and can play even on small or greener rollers. Longer ends mean having to pay a bit more attention.
Conditions weren’t ideal during the time I had the Homeslice for cartwheels, and I’m a little young for cartwheels anyways so I passed the Homeslice around. Older reviewers assured me the Homeslice cartwheels as promised—on eddylines, in flatwater, on white waves and in mid-sized holes. The cartwheels can be slow and controlled, which makes them attainable for mortals, like in the old days, like say 17 years ago when Eric Jackson beat Eric Southwick to win the World’s in Sort, Spain.
Where the Homeslice really excelled was on the lower-volume Petawawa—its low-volume ends made flatwater bow stalls and stern squirts a breeze, keeping things entertaining between rapids. Squirting eddylines, and splatting rocks was a blast. Though this one-size-fits-all design is directed at paddlers from 140 to 220 pounds, I’m convinced I may have been able to squeeze a mystery move out of this boat at 180 pounds had I tried hard enough.
The Homeslice is solidly in the playboat category, rather than in the family of river running playboats we’ve seen return over the past several years. It is a different kind of playboat than what kayakers have gotten used to over the past decade. It doesn’t charge down rapids, but plays with a slice. For those who live to shred every eddyline and splat every rock, Liquidlogic’s retro playboat revolution is here.
Homeslice (n): A close friend you have known for a very long time. Photo: Jill McLellan