Submitted: 02-22-2002 by Walter Ruckdeschel
I've bought a kevlar foam core ultra light design with sliding bucket seats - looks a bit technical in the first moment, but: this canoe is very light, stiff, stable, fast and comfortable to sit in and paddle. The only drawback is the price and that the Itasca doesn't like heavy winds on open waters when empty (just because of its size: You can't beat physics...just put gear or some friends in, and tracking will be very good, when the wind picks up and waves rise - the Itasca loves waves).
In detail: The foam core makes this canoe really stiff, and the moderate arched bottom together with the sleek lines and the length make it fast. When unloaded and trimmed well (sliding seats for paddlers with different weights), it feels like a cruiser and really glides. Initial stability is good, but secondary stability is fantastic. Paddling ergonomy is very good because of lots of tumblehome at the seats, so paddlers can move their paddle very close to them.
When searching for an extra big and stable, but fast and light canoe, the Itasca is one of the most serious choices out there. Most Paddlers here rate their canoes high between 8 and 10, so objectivity might not be given, when paddlers write about their own, with hard earned money buyed canoe. But be sure - the Itasca gets 10 of 10 for the purposes it's made.