Submitted: 07-02-2008 by Paul Klonowski
This is a great boat! I got it 6 weeks ago, and couldnít be happier.
It easily plays in Class 2, and with flotation & proper skills, will probably be capable of some Class 3 runs. It responds very nicely to slight adjustments in paddle strokes, and is just plain fun!
On flatwater, it doesnít track as straight as some other boats, but itís designed to be a river-running boat, so you canít be too surprised at that. With a good C-stroke, it tracks more than well enough. With a light load (havenít tried a real load yet), a following or quartering wind will blow it around, but if you adjust your trim (upwind end heavier than the downwind end), itís not an issue. That can be accomplished either by moving some of the load to one end, or, with the IQ2 Gunnels, moving the seat fore or aft, as appropriate. Once you do this, wind ferries work quite nicely.
I donít think Mad River realizes it, but this is a nice boat for Freestyle Canoeing as well. FS is "the art and science of precision boat control," also referred to as "Canoe Dancing." Although this boat is a bit heavy for the purpose (being Royalex), I have amazed myself with how effective the maneuvers can be in this boat. I get 360-degree turns out of Wedges & Posts, and can even pull off 180-degree Axels & Christies, which have always been difficult for me.
So this isnít a beginner boat Ė it requires some skills & good technique. The unprepared might find the learning curve forcibly squeezed by trying to learn fundamentals in it. But with decent skills, itís a blast!