I am a division one UK based paddler and level 2 slalom coach primarily for intermediate paddlers. When I compete, I use the Jem Racing Vanquish 2 C1 as oppose to the more popular and predominant Vajda model. While a smaller company, Jem Racing has shown to still be one of the more predominant makers for slalom boats even amongst the top level slalom athletes whilst still getting recognition from the veteran paddlers. Unlike Nomad (a previous brand) Jem Racing is still seen in almost all levels of the competition ranging from a local to international level.
Vanquish 2: A Kayak For Intermediate and Experienced Paddlers
Although a controversial model, I personally love the Vanquish 2 and would recommend this boat to intermediate and experienced paddlers. The reason as to why I would not recommend this C1 to beginners starting in the C1 slalom world is due to its twitchy and narrow nature that, whilst it can be more manoeuvrable to a more experienced paddler, can seem very unstable and frustrating to a novice. In place with slalom’s common reputation for manufacturing narrow boats, the Vanquish 2 is almost 8cm more narrow across the widest part of the boat to it’s more popular Vajda counterparts.
This can make for a new experience for many paddlers but I find it very beneficial in many ways:
- The overall narrowness pf the boat can promote a higher connectivity with the boat and help the paddler on controlling difficult C1 manoeuvres such as quick up-gates or staggers.
- A better control of the boats edge comes hand in hand with the Vanquish 2’s more rounded sides and smaller side surface-area. Compared to the Vanquish 1, the Vanquish 2 has a more rounded body work which makes edging a lot smoother and helps in the vital transfer of energy during a race.
- A narrow boat makes for an excellent roll as there is less distance between you and the surface along with a shorter contact period with the side of the boat and the surface whilst rolling up. This again is assisted with the rounded nature of the boat. In fact, the rolling in their boat is so efficient, I have taught a fair few paddlers to roll using this boat when using their Vajda counterparts (iscream etc) it was an unrealistic and uphill battle.
The Vanquish comes in sizes of every 5-5 kg starting from 45-55 up to 75-85 kg paddler weight. These usually come with only a minimal seat block and front knee block along with additional foam to sculpt for your personal tastes. The boats themselves apply to all international and Uk official BCU and ICF racing standards regarding nose and tail diameter, safety holds, and weight weighing just over 9 kg and also come with strap loops but no straps which is common for most C1 slalom boats.
The carbon fibre it is made of is more flexible than other models I have tried in the past making them more robust andhence an ideal boat for intermediates as they begin to progress onto larger water and more man-made courses.
In the past this C1 has served me well and I would certainly recommend it in the future. I have found that it feels a lot faster and visually more sleek than many other boats in the business and generally makes for a faster sprint along with more control over the edge lines. Due to its fast and sensitive nature however, I would ideally recommend a lower seat standing to compensate for a more stable experience and obviously straps go a long way in this type of boar; especially due to the narrowness, the straps go all long way for a speedy roll which may not be as detrimental to the race as in the past. I would personally recommend the Vajda C1 straps as I find that the layout suits the boat best and their Velcro grips last a long while.
Last Words on The Jem Racing Vanquish 2
Although there are some faults in the Jem Racing Vanquish 2, I personally feel that this boat best suits my paddling style as a slalom athlete and coach as it makes for a quick and easily manoeuvrable experience at the cost of some stability but not to the point of in-capability. I would strongly recommend this model for intermediate and experienced C1 and slalom paddlers despite its unpopularity and reputation.