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Submitted: 08-10-2010 by JBIM

Mattawow! My wife and I are beginners. Up to recently, we had paddled a longer asymmetrical canoe we had bought used. We wanted something easier to paddle, smaller, lighter and better suited for solo. We just bought this canoe in Kevlar Fusion with the Carbon Kevlar trim Somewhere between 35 and 40 pounds. Two-tone red over white. Almost a piece of art you want to keep in your living room.

We've been out once in windy conditions, sometimes with gusts. The boat tracks well and is easy to turn. The lower profile allows it to ride under the wind. At the same time, we found it was possible to find a sweet spot where the boat would lean against the wind and with synchronized paddle strokes we didn't need to correct.

We bought this boat as a daily tandem for me and my wife as well as occasional overnight trips. I will also use it a a solo tripping canoe. I still need to try it out seriously as a solo. Overall, we think it will do a great job.

I must say good things about the people at the Muskoka Swift Canoe shop. I went there thinking I wanted a Prospector 16. They advised me that I would find it's a big boat, specially in the wind and specially solo. They said a Mattawa or Kiappawa may be better suited for our intended uses. I tried the P16 anyway. I came back from my test paddle and asked them to talk to me about the other two canoes. That's when I decided to buy the Mattawa, and glad I did. I have a little gripe though. They charged me a one day rental fee for trying out a canoe for one hour. I thought it was a little harsh. I went along with it because I was intent to leave with a new boat. If I hadn't bought a boat, I would have never gone back. I think this is a policy they should revisit.

I give it a 9 because I want to take more time with the boat and come back later with another review and possibly keep the 10 for next time. Specially after I've given it a serious solo paddle. Also, I want to see how the canoe will stay dry in bigger waves given the low profile.

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