Submitted: 08-22-2003 by gecefalo
I have had my expedition grade kevlar Kipawa canoe for about 1.5 years and use it mostly for solo paddling. I waited until now to post a review as I felt any shortcomings were due to my lack of paddling skills and was correct. The canoe is fairly fast, turns well when trimmed properly and is light enough for me to get on and off my vehicle alone. I am a fairly big guy and could benefit from the kneeling thwart being a lttle more forward (closer to the center) of the canoe than it is. When I use the kneeling thwart, the bow is out of the water quite a bit. When loaded with gear in the bow (40 pounds or greater) the problem goes away. I recommend that anyone interested in paddling solo with a canoe this big (16.5 feet) take lessons if they haven't already. The lessons have dramatically improved my ability to control the Kipawa in windy conditions. The skills I have learned have changed my perception of the Kipawa from a good canoe to a great canoe.
When tandem paddling, the Kipawa is fast. Two strong paddlers with bent shaft paddles can really move. Beginner paddlers should know that the Kipawa has lower initial stabiility and great secondary stability, so it feels tippy to anyone that is used to a flat bottom canoe.
What I like most is the versatility of the Kipawa, I can solo it or use for tandem paddling and still have plenty of room for gear. A lttle nice fact about the Kipawa is the carrying yoke, it is contoured well (very comfortable)and perfectly placed so that when you carry the canoe it is balanced.