Submitted: 05-29-2007 by canoedancing
I had a choice between the Pal and the Prospector so I called the manufacturer and talked with them at length about my intended use; river tripping with interspersed lakes and Class I-II about 15% of the time. They recommended I go with the Pal. It's lighter, faster on the flats, and turns well enough and sheds waves well enough to use it for moderate whitewater. It's lower ends and less rocker means it is less affected by the wind, too.
I brought the boat home and talked a friend of mine into entering a downriver race. We practiced an hour or two then showed up at the race and took third place in our division. Our time was 1 hour and 34 minutes for the 9.5 mile course, which had several Class II rapids. That is just under 6 mph. The winner only beat us by 7 minutes so I felt pretty justified in buying the canoe for fast wilderness tripping.
The fit and finish on the canoe is good, the seats are bootlaced and the rails are vinyl. The yoke is carved but tended to slip off my shoulders so I added a 1/4 inch minicell pad. I think the back seat is too far back for level trim. The front seat is already far enough forward and going any farther forward would cramp the bow paddlers legs. So I installed a minicell saddle about 2 feet in front of the rear seat and leveled the boat right out. There isn't much rocker so it takes some effort to make a snappy turn. Its important to line up early for the rapids and have a good line picked. Leaning helps. We did a few turns with an off side lean like in a sea kayak and the stern-skid turns were pretty impressive. No doubt the Prospector would be a better choice if the rapids are big and confused and long, but for most rivers that I travel the Pal is an excellent choice and the advantage of speed and ease of paddling outweighs the need for running an occasional tight rapid. I look forward to updating this review at the end of the season after I've put a good many miles on the Pal.