pontoon boat lengths
another dumb question, but in my final decision-making surrounding a pontoon boat, what are the advantages/disadvantages over 9ft vs 11ft boats? This boat will be mainly for use on moving water with some whitewater.
Big difference is stability
The difference you'll have is in whitewatering and also being able to take an extra person. With an 11' boat you'll have more of a footprint in the water, giving better stability through a whitewater run. Basically the same as if you go 4x4ing with a jeep vs a suburban. A jeep can manuever quicker, but bounces around alot more, expecially through the rough areas. Whereas the suburban may not handle the quickest, you glide a bit more over rough terrain.
I'd say go with the bigger boat. Personally speaking, a 12' boat is the perfect all around one man boat. If you actually sit in one, and look at it, they're really not that big. If you go with a single fishing frame, you really aren't overkilling the boat. Plus, you can add a small passenger frame, and now you have a two man boat as well. I'm in the process of custom designed a 2 man frame for a 12' set of tubes.
So, what kind of boat are you looking at? How much do you want to spend? Really dictates on what you can get. I know I normally custom build all of mine (I buy the tubes then I have a frame builder who does the welding work on my designs). You have alot of options. I'll say this, before anyone goes out and buys an outcast/bucks 2man boat. Speak to me. I do preach Steelheaders, but can also put you into other whitewater tubes and a frame builder. Just that a Steelheader is ready to go, and really not that much more expensive then the Buck's/Outcasts I've seen. Plus he's in the PNW, and has a good guarantee. I do believe his 12' boats are going for about $2100, give or take, which is comparable to the bucks (and holds almost 800#'s more weight).
Good luck. Let us know what you end up getting. But, if you're interested in the custom route, let me know.
Longer is usually better.
If you can afford the longer boat I would go with that. There are advantages and disadvantages to straight tubes vs. bananna shape. If you are going bannana I would go at least 10' because that is where you begin to see standing platforms on bananna shape hulls. I think that the only time I see a standing platform on a shorter 9' boat is when it is shaped like the Steelheader or the Bad Cat.
I have a 1 man 10' bananna tubed boat and a 12' straight tubed 2 man boat. I plan to add a platform to the 10' boat but I haven't done that yet.
LOL banana boats
I got rid of all mine. Was best thing I did. Didn't even want a cheap rendition sitting around. Had a few outcasts at one time. No more for this kid. LOL.
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