Dagger may have just hit the proverbial nail on the head with the new Rewind.
Taking place of the ultra-popular Axiom, the new Dagger Rewind is a familiar, yet different breed of animal. While the Axiom was ahead of its time in regards to the “retro revolution” of slicey-stern downriver play boats, it lacked the rocker and all-around usability that many of the new boats like the Jackson Antix, Pyranha Ripper or LiquidLogic Party Braaap offer up. Dagger took the hint of the burgeoning popularity of such models and decided to up the ante with Rewind. And that they did.
While I’ve paddled the Antix, Ripper and Braaap fairly extensively and enjoy all of them, none of them really fit exactly what I was looking for. The Antix is fun, but always had too much of a playboat type feel than the fast and sleek feelings of the Ripper and Braaap. On the opposite end, the Ripper never felt playful enough and is certainly not a very forgiving design (it sure is fast though and a very fun down-river design). This left me preferring the Party Braaap overall thanks to the ample rocker and its playful stern. But it was a little too playful at times with its displacement hull and super low volume tail. The Braaap also doesn’t really surf worth a darn with its lack of edges.
Enter the Rewind.
Dagger (and designer Snowy Robertson) seemingly took their time with this design, looking at how to make a boat that would perform and play well in almost any condition. And I think they may have succeeded. The Rewind borrows its hull rocker profile from the ultra-popular Phantom (and it shows. The first comment I made after paddling the boat was how it felt like miniature Phantom), making it ride up and over larger hydraulic features with ease. The sleek design is also fast and responsive (maybe not Ripper fast, but not far off either), while still feeling “forgiving enough”. Boofing the Rewind was super easy with the high-rise bow that quickly clears the drop quickly and helps it to rise fast on rock-assist boofs.
The stern has just enough volume and length to make it feel like a true river runner, but easy enough to bury in a squirt or pivot turn when you want to. While the Rewind may not surf quite as well as the Axiom did on fast flat waves, it does surf short steeper features better by keeping the bow from pearling (something the Axiom really struggled to do) . The tapered edge profile starts at the bow, gets strongest right under the seat, then fades away at the very end of the stern, giving it a responsive feel without feeling “grabby” like the Ripper. Initial and secondary stability seem to be spot on, stable without feeling like a barge and easy to roll.
I’ve had the opportunity to paddle both the production version of the Medium and the “final” prototype of the Large. For the record, I’m 6’2 / 200 lbs / size 12 shoe, and felt that I was in the upper end of the weight range of the Medium, which was perfect for the playful feeling I was looking for. I fit comfortably without having to move the seat back from center. The Large, which didn’t feel ridiculously larger (like the Axiom 9.0 vs 8.5 did), and felt more forgiving. The Large would be my choice if I were looking to run Class V with it at my size or spending LONG days on the water (think Grand Canyon), while the Medium would be my go to for most Class III & IV runs.
While I don’t know that the Rewind would be my first choice as a beginners first boat (like the Axiom is), I also wouldn’t dissuade an adventurous beginner from purchasing one (like I would the Ripper or Braaap). It seems to fit as a perfect intermediary between playful and performance. Another first comment I made on the boat was that it felt like a more forgiving Party Braaap with edges. If you look at the comparison photo, you’ll probably see why with their similar hull profile with slightly more volume in the stern.
To be honest, there has been very few boats in the past few years that have gotten me as excited to paddle as the Dagger Rewind has. I believe that it is going to be an instant classic and best seller, and for good reason. Its a GOOD design. And IMO, you really can’t beat the Contour Ergo outfitting, with its market-leading ease of adjustability and immediate step-in comfort, and the Step-Out Safety Pilar (which is now featured in custom Red on the new Cosmo color, adding awesome looking flair detail). Now if only they’d work on making their boats a little drier…. :)
The Medium is available now (Jan 2020), while the Small and Large will be available in March / April of 2020. Look for an updated long-term review once we’ve had a chance to spend a little more time in the Dagger Rewind.
By Matt Gerhardt