Fjord Explorer in whitewater?

Hello all. I posted this in the General section also, but it seems in my reading that there are more Fjord Explorer owners here, than anywhere else. I was hoping to get some comments by Fjord Explorer owners and their experience with whitewater. How will the Explorer compare to the Llama? I am going to be using the boat for a variety of conditions and think the Explorer is my best option. That being said I will be running up to Class III to access some areas and was curious if the difference in the bow (not being upturned) is a huge negative in this type of water. Thanks in advance!

I have owned both and my old Ford Explorer was a good general boat (flat water fishing, plus ww up to class) but my new Lama is way better though as it does all the old boat did but better and it’s faster and less tippy.

Hi Steve and dekartes,

Steve - out of interest was your Explorer the old square butt shape or the newer big but model?

I don’t own either model so take my observations as just that. A friend who has the Explorer has had absolutely no issues paddling Grade 3 that I have seen and certainly none on the Franklin with us last year. He actually appeared to have a significant advantage over our Yaks (without Cargo Flys) as he lashes his drypack between his legs which gives him much greater stability. He has made a DIY spraydeck as the lack of this was an issue for him more than the lower bow. I agree that the Lama is definitely a higher performance boat but from what I can see it still certainly performs adequately on low volume technical rivers up to Grade 3. I suspect it is likely though to not be as good on higher volume technical rivers. It is a shame that the Explorer is not available as a self-bailer option…



I did have the older round butt version of the explorer and it flipped (bandersnatched) very easily without a pack on the front - it was very bouncy as it was too long for me and I was a lesser paddler then :slight_smile:. I have paddled one with the new butt and it was great and resolved the backflip issue but it is a bigger (less nimble boat) than the smaller Lama I now paddle. I had a stock Denali Lama modified to be wider as the standard one was very tight on my thighs and arse (more a reflection on my Viking heritage than the boat) . I am 5’10" but very heavily built so the explorer is a good width but is too long for me, the Lama is a better length but is getting tight width wise (off the shelf). I use the old style seat (with the horse shoe back) as the new model of the seat offers me no support. I have not gone to thigh straps or a forward seat position yet but that is on the mods list for this winter when I have some time to play. At the end of the day it is about getting the boat to fit you comfortably and like the boats we are all different shapes and sizes so… :slight_smile: The spray deck is a must for any ww, my first boat was a bath tub in class 2 or more, getting out to tip your boat gets old very quickly. I use and like the cruiser deck as it gives me more versatility (ie when I am fishing or flat water in summer etc)


Completely agree Steve. Thanks for the post. Cheers

I have an explorer, undecked. If I was about to pull the pin on a new boat, I’d go a smaller boat, decked. Pretty much for the reasons Steve outlined. PS - Steve, we must catch up, be good to yarn mate. Hope all is well.