Creeking is what the Stomper 90 was made for, and it does it extremely well. I have found the Stomper 90 to excel in lower-volume technical whitewater, but it is no slouch on higher-volume steep creeks like you find in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the 90-gallon displacement and friendly edges (see the “Hull Design” section below).
In the 50-plus days I have paddled this boat on creeks, I have not found any situation that the Stomper 90 could not handle well. The rounded edges and high rocker don’t get tripped up easily on slides, and the semi-planing hull carries speed away from drops well, allowing you to be on your game for the rest of the rapid ahead and not clawing out of the hole at the bottom. For intermediate paddlers just getting into creeking, and advanced paddlers who spend most of their time creeking, I think the Stomper 90 is an excellent choice.
It is worth noting that if you regularly paddle very remote runs that require carrying a lot of gear (breakdown paddle, climbing rope, overnight supplies, etc.) and you are on the taller side (6’2” or taller), you may experience some performance issues with the Stomper 90 unless you can really get your weight forward in the boat to compensate for the added load in the stern. This is not an issue for most folks, so I don’t really hold it against the Stomper, but for this reason I don’t think this boat is a great choice for long self-support trips.
Big water is the one area in which the Stomper 90 does not perform as well as other boats on the market. Again, Liquidlogic didn’t design the Stomper 90 as a big-water boat, but since many boaters don’t have one boat for big water and one for creeking, I’ll say a bit about how the Stomper 90 fares on high-volume rivers.
The high maneuverability that is an asset on more technical rivers works against the Stomper 90 in high-volume, pushy whitewater. Big waves and curlers easily knock the Stomper 90 off-line, and having to constantly make adjustments to stay on-line makes it more difficult to maintain speed and momentum, which is crucial when punching big holes or making big moves from one side of the river to the other.
Higher-volume whitewater is usually better tackled by “river-running” boats, so if you primarily paddle on higher-volume whitewater but also want a boat that can handle creeks, I would suggest looking elsewhere.
(I’ve put in time in both the Liquidlogic Remix and Dagger Mamba, and think both are good options. The Dagger Nomad 8.5 is also a better “all-around” boat that leans more toward creeking than the Remix or Mamba. There are of course other boats that fit this category as well, I just haven’t yet spent as much time in them.)
That said, I have paddled my share of big water in the Stomper 90, including racing, and I found it to be suitably fast and confidence-inspiring for my taste. I am not a dedicated big-water paddler, but I do enjoy it when I get the chance, and with a little experience with how the boat handles breaking waves and curlers, the Stomper 90 is an acceptable big-water vessel.
The Stomper 90 has a nearly flat planing hull, but instead of the hard-edged, vertical chines you traditionally see on planing hull boats (the Pyranha Burn is a great example of this), the edges have been chamfered, creating a friendly triple-edge.
So what does that mean for how it paddles?
It means that you get some of the performance characteristics of a planing hull boat, like quick acceleration and increased momentum carried away from drops, but the boat is much more comfortable in tight, rocky rivers, shallow slides, or boily whitewater where hard edges often get tripped up. The chamfered edges give the Stomper 90 excellent stability on edge, and the boat tends to lock in to moderate or extreme edging, inspiring confidence when turning in to or peeling out of powerful eddy lines.
Add the progressive continuous rocker profile (the amount of rocker increases the closer it gets to the bow and stern) to the Stomper 90, and you have a boat that handles tight, rocky, and steep whitewater beautifully, but tends to come up a little short in big water compared to more well-rounded boats.