Submitted: 01-26-2011 by buhorobuhoro
I've been a recreational canoer/kayaker all my life. In the last few years I have gotten more serious about the sport. I bought this canoe used over a year ago. Since then I have had many opportunities to paddle it on local streams and lakes since it pretty much lives on top of my truck and is there whenever I feel the need to get out on the water. My experience with solo canoes is pretty limited; most of my experience is paddling solo in tandem boats.
Initially, when paddled with the cheap-o plastic Carlisle paddle, I liked the boat, but wasn't really in love with its performance. I felt it tracked a bit loosely and could have been a little faster. Recently, I have switched to an otter tail-type paddle and discovered I really love the combination of paddle and boat. The new paddle, with more surface area, allows for easier course correction at the end of the stroke and better application of power (analogous to using a higher gear on a bicycle after previously being limited to lower gears). It also makes paddling much more silent.
I use the boat under varied conditions: alone (I weigh 165lbs), carrying a small child (50lbs) or with a 70lb black lab in the bow, paddling on flat water and slow moving streams. A couple of times I have been caught out in squall-like conditions with whitecaps and the boat performed very well – even being broadsided with waves as I turned the boat wasn’t too much cause for concern. As a platform for fishing it is great – it has enough stability when you need it for standing and casting (if you have good balance). It also has enough stability to pole it in shallow water, though you will realize very quickly it is not as stable as a tandem canoe. No boat is perfect, but this is a great canoe that does a lot of different things sufficiently well. I recently learned Mohawk will be also be making these in yellow and blue, which might convince me to buy a new one for myself and keep the other as a loaner.
A couple things to keep in mind when evaluating any canoe: use the right paddle for the job (cheap-o plastic for bumping down a rocky stream, a nice ottertail for deep water) and learn the correct stroke (I spent half my life paddling "goon style" before I understood the mechanics of the J and Northwoods strokes – you can stream many of the Bill Mason films from the National Film Board of Canada to learn the proper technique).