Liquid Logic Braaap 69
Volume: 69 Gallons
Weight: 44 lbs
Weight Range: 100lbs-220 lbs
- 5’10”, 160 lbs
- Shoe Size: 10
- Inseam: 31”
Test Locations: Deerfield Dryway, MA; Taureau section of the Jacques-Cartier, Quebec; New Haven VT; Blackfoot ID; Snake River, Greys WY; Logan River, UT; Housatonic River, CT
Test Conditions: Class II-V, steep creeks and larger volume river-running
The Braaap 69 represents a significant departure from common boat design practices of the last decade. Manufacturers have been producing playboats, creekboats, and river-runners for a long time, but the river-runners were usually targeted toward the class II-III boater who wanted something more stable than a playboat, but more playful than a creekboat. This included boats like the Liquidlogic Freeride, the Jackson Fun series, Dagger’s Axiom, and plenty of older boats.
Recently, companies have been marketing flatter-hulled, fast creekboats as “river-runners,” like the current rendition of the Jackson Zen, but the Braaap doesn’t fall into any of these categories. It’s a river-runner, yes. But it’s not a forgiving boat geared toward class II-III boaters, nor is it just a creekboat in disguise. Instead, I’d call the Braaap a river-runner intended to make paddling more fun for the advanced paddler, rather than to make paddling easier—the goal of most creekboats.
Instead of being a “river play” boat, the Braaap combines ideas from many different places—older river-runners like the RPM, modern slalom boats, and the latest trends in creekboat rocker profile—to create something that’s more of a “slalom creekboat.”
So what makes the Braaap 69 different?
For starters, it’s nearly 9’ long (which is the length cut-off for the “short boat” race class), and yet it’s only 69 gallons. This is a departure on both counts. Rarely are creekboats so long with so little volume. The closest is the Liquidlogic Remix 69, which clocks in at 8’8”.
River-runners, on the other hand, are typically lower volume and shorter. The classic Dagger RPM (which the Braaap gets compared to a lot by people who’ve never paddled it) comes in at 8’11” (same length), but it’s only 60 gallons.
The Braaap’s stern incorporates elements of traditional river runners, slalom boats, and the newest generation of creekboats. Its volume profile is in many ways similar to an RPM—it’s skinny and ends in a point. It’s a little wider near the cockpit than the RPM, but the key difference lies in the rocker profile, not in the volume distribution.
The rocker is actually similar to that of the Waka Tuna and Pyranha 9R, but takes the idea behind those boats even further. Under the seat, the hull is essentially flat (on the front-back axis), but just behind the seat it makes a very abrupt angle change of around 30 degrees.
From there, the hull just continues up to a point—no more changes, abrupt or gradual. In combination with the length of the stern, this gives you a tail end that’s actually as high if not just a touch higher than the back of the cockpit. Just like the Tuna, this flat but pronounced stern rocker profile has a dramatic impact on how the boat performs, and encourages it to shoot out of features and plane into eddies on the stern (raising the bow slightly).
The bow—and by bow, I’m referring to the entire front half of the boat—is extremely round. It may be one of the roundest hulls ever made, and it’s certainly one of the roundest hulls of the last decade. It doesn’t have the slightest hint of chines or planes, differentiating it from pretty much every other boat on the market. It’s also got a lot of rocker, comparable to the Stomper in terms of sheer height.
These characteristics may seem a bit odd for a boat described as “high performance,” but when utilized in conjunction with the slicey stern, they can make boofing at any angle more effective. The bow also has much more volume than boats like the RPM—particularly around the knees, but all the way forward—which is one of the key attributes that makes the Braaap a feasible boat for difficult whitewater: the volume allows you to stay on top of the water rather than being stopped by every wave that breaks over your deck.
NEXT: Boofing, Speed, Etc.