Submitted: 04-19-2006 by WhyAyeMan
I bought my Nova Craft Prospector in May of 2005 and to this point, according to my log book have about 338 kilometers on her. I have paddled lots of other canoes but fell in love with this one. Simply put it is like the Jeep of the canoe world, agile, maneuverable, and able to go anywhere it is pointed. Like the 4X4 Jeep it’s not a speed demon, but since when was canoeing about speed? Tandem it is a dream to paddle with a load of gear and it still has room for the dog to relax. Even fully loaded it remains responsive and sideslips with ease. Solo it becomes like ballet dancer turning on a dime with change to spare. You wouldn’t expect that from a large canoe but with one good box stroke I can spin the nose around well past 180 degrees from where I started and with the second stroke can be powering in the opposite direction to what I was traveling two seconds ago. Leaned over hard and paddling Canadian style will bring much of the volume out of the water increasing ease of paddling and handling even more. The weight is not so much of an issue to me. At 85lbs it is about half my body weight but learning how to pick a canoe up solo properly and building that muscle memory is the important part. Without learning how to roll a canoe up onto your shoulders properly even lighter canoes are a pain to handle. Once you learn the proper technique the 85lbs seems to melt away, at least until at end of the first kilometer of portaging! Also the Nova Craft stock yoke is a deep dish made of ash and is quite comfortable unpadded in comparison to anything else I have seen. Some people do not like the rope carry handles on the ends, and I have to agree, but after the first week I stopped noticing them. I always carry my canoe solo on my shoulders, it is just so much easier to be self reliant, so I only use the end ropes to tie the nose and tail down when on the car. This canoe is tough too, and will take a beating and still work like a million bucks. I have seen older Nova Craft Prospectors that looked like they had been through a war or something, but they were still graceful and dignified on the lake, even after taking on the arduous white water. This may be the best all around canoe in the world today coming in three different lay ups to suit individual needs, and the company is very easy to deal with as well. They have returned my questions the same day they I e-mailed them and even sent me replacement decals free of charge when they came off on a trip. This combined with a lifetime guarantee on their product has won my loyalty.
I would rate this canoe a 9.5/10 as is and if I could afford a custom build, to add a few minor changes I would give it a full 10/10. If you can only afford one canoe and you want it to do everything and last a life time, buy the Nova Craft Prospector.