Submitted: 10-23-2006 by somalley
I have owned a Probe 12 for several years, using it as my primary whitewater boat for mid-Atlantic and SE class 3 runs. I get out probably 20-30 days per year. For comparison, I have spent at least some saddle time in the following other solo boats: Outrage, Impulse, Ovation, Encore, Caption (tandem set up as a solo).
The Probe 12 is quite stable. This can be a mixed blessing - when you're learning, it makes for fewer swims. When you get good, it makes technical moves and play more difficult, since the boat doesn't register subtle changes in lean angle or paddle pressure very well. Its stability also may contribute to needing perfect technique to roll consistently in the sorts of conditions likely to make you flip in the first place. Or maybe I'm just not very good at rolling a canoe…
The Probe doesn't have as much rocker as many newer solo boats. In class 2, that won't really be too noticeable, but in bigger stuff you have to plan ahead and use wave peaks and small eddies/holes to assist with making quick turns. For surfing and ferries, you need to be very careful of your angles and assertive with your correction strokes, otherwise you'll find yourself getting blown downstream pretty quickly. The boat isn't super dry and will take on a fair amount of water if you spear a wave or hole head on. On the other hand, it's decently fast. I've done attainment moves in my Probe that I couldn't do in either an Ovation or an Outrage.
Overall, I wouldn't call the Probe 12 a great design, but it's not terrible either. I find it a decent compromise - enough performance that I can enjoy it in class 3 but not so twitchy that I have to be on my "A Game" 100% of the time. When my Probe 12 wears out, I'll probably replace it with something else, but until then it gets the job done just fine.