Dagger Katana E Crossover Specifications (9.7 & 10.4)
|90 x 51cm
|94 x 52cm
Dagger Katana E Crossover Features
- Super liner HDPE hull
- Back rest
- White water capable full plate footrest
- Spring loaded drop-down skeg
- Large oval dual density stern hatch
- Mini-cell foam pillar buoyancy, sealed bulkhead
- Rubber covered webbing carry handles
- Security bar
- Deck elastics
- Drain bung in the cockpit area for easy draining
- Contour Ergo Creek seat with contour seat pad, hip pads and leg lifter (Contour Ergo version only)
- Safety step out wall (Contour Ergo version only)
- Soft Case storage bag and bottle holder straps (Contour Ergo version only)
- Outfitting kit for personalisation including seat booster seat pad (Contour Ergo version only)
The more we thought about it, the more we began to see the Katana as a perfect tool for opening up UK based mini-adventures.
In this review, the 10.4 model was tested.
The new Dagger Katana crossover kayak is named after a type of Japanese sword.
The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands.
It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan and has become renowned for its sharpness and strength.
Designed as a crossover kayak, able to hold its own in both the flat-water touring, recreational and whitewater paddling environments its been honed to suit the needs of the kayaking adventurer who wants to explore whitewater but doesn’t want to limit themselves, or their adventures to this one medium.
With ample storage, a drop-down skeg for directional stability on the flat and a hull (that has more than a passing nod to Dagger’s incredibly popular whitewater river runner the Mamba), we were keen to get it out on the water to see if it could cut it as well as its namesake.
The Katana comes in two sizes, the 9.7 and the 10.4, to accommodate a wide spectrum of paddlers.
It also comes in two outfitting specifications.
Dagger’s state-of-the-art Contour Ergo outfitting, complete with outfitting kit (hip pads etc), Ratchet backrest, leg-support stem etc., and the more basic version.
We opted to test the latter, as we felt that this is where the majority of paddlers looking for this type of craft would fall.
It’s a tall order designing a do-everything kind of boat and for every craft of this type that hits the mark, there are a couple that miss.
On first inspection it was clear that Dagger’s approach to the Katana was definitely from the whitewater side of the aquatic spectrum and, despite the storage hatch and deck-lines, it was clear that it was going to prove a solid and predictable weapon on the white stuff.
We believe that any boat intended for use on even low grade whitewater should have a full plate footrest and we were very pleased to see that both specifications came fitted with one as standard.
On The Water
The Rough Stuff
As soon as you get afloat in the Katana it’s clear that this is a boat that transmits a steady confidence.
The hull is generous with the amount of initial stability it provides, making this a great platform for those new to kayaking to learn in, but bevelled, flared sidewalls create good secondary stability too allowing you to get the boat on its edge to really drive it, or to recover easily if things get a little wobbly.
The large cockpit also was a hit with the less experienced of the test team, as it allayed the, very common, feeling of confinement, further adding to the confidence the Katana instilled in them.
It sheds water easily and has a calm, forgiving nature that encourages you to be bold.
Step things up a notch, or two, though and give the Katana to more experienced and skilled paddlers and it keeps that implacable nature but reveals a nimbleness and deft of touch that we weren’t really expecting.
Control and precision are the name of the game, plan your moves and drive the Katana and it is more than capable of handling the mid grades of whitewater and with a good paddler onboard, we’d say even the higher ones too.
It can slice in to surprisingly tight eddies for a boat of its length and cuts though eddy lines and hydraulics with ease.
If steep creeking is your thing, then obviously this boats not for you, but we’re pretty confident in saying that for the average type of whitewater run in the UK it would have no problems at all.
We loaded our test boat up with some minimal ‘over-night’ kit (sleeping bag, matt, tarp, flask) to get an idea of how it would perform loaded and the ample rear hatch and bulkhead swallowed it up with a negligible effect on handling.
We were also impressed that, unlike some other boats of this genre, the designers have thought about where they placed the skeg box, so it doesn’t encroach of the storage space or ability to load bigger items, at all.
This all means that if you’re in to multi-day whitewater adventures, the Katana’s going to be a very attractive prospect.
We know these are a rarity in the UK, but the more we thought about it the more we began to see the Katana as a perfect tool for opening up UK based mini-adventures.
We already have plans to take it on a trip down the Upper Dart all the way to Dartmouth and we have a burgeoning list of ideas for similar adventures.
We’ve not had the chance to try it yet, but we’re pretty sure the Katana is going to prove a really fun boat for a bit of coastal rock hopping too.
While its moving water capabilities and design attributes mean that it’s not the fastest crossover style kayak we’ve paddled, when things flatten out its waterline length gives it more than enough forward speed to eat up the miles at a pretty comfortable rate.
Drop the skeg to keep things tracking nicely and just concentrate on smoothing out that forward stroke as you relax and take in the environment around you.
- Handled well in all conditions that we tested.
- Comes into its own in the whitewater.
- Brilliant outfitting kit.
- Good storage space that fits with the rest of the design.
- Not the best option for steep creeking.
- Not the cheapest for an all-rounder.
Overall we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Dagger Katana E Crossover to a paddler of any level looking for a touring kayak and all-rounder.
It was consistently comfortable and well performing in virtually all waters it was tested in. A top contender of all the touring kayak reviews that we carried out.