I consider myself a highly experienced paddler, having grown up on Keuka Lake. Being desirous of the following, I decided upon the Grumman Solo. Here is what I was looking for:
I found it in the new Grumman Solo. So far, it's been Cayuga Lake twice, Keuka Lake twice, beautiful streams that meander through fertile valleys of upstate, NY, and on the more open salt water of Safety Harbor in Florida-a harbor bordering Tampa Bay. In the chop she cuts through the waves just like I want. She is more of a flat water boat than the Old Town Pack. She is a lot faster. She is not quite as stable but she is what I want. With a single blade I enjoyed my pace and distanced myself from a double blade paddler in a Pack. She might not have the capacity ratings of the Pack but she is more fun to paddle, if you like efficiency, single blade with a touch of nostalgia. (Personally, I think aluminum canoes are the most under rated things in the canoe world.)
- timeless ruggedness; that is, no longer do I care for a plastic 'flower pot' that will subject itself to ultraviolet degredation and warp like a banana or degrade nor last the test of time. I wanted something proven and rugged. Grumman is as proven as it gets.
- I wanted a solo canoe that would track well and I could enjoy with a single blade paddle and not have to fight to keep it on track. This automatically eliminated quite a few solo canoes.
- I wanted something fast.
- I wanted something not pushing 3K in price.
- I wanted something not over rated.
- I wanted something I could cut through the waves with but just the right amount of rocker.
I think the only solo boat that compares to it is the Mad River Serenade, which I love. But, I love my aluminum. I love my Grumman. And I love the 400 bucks in my pocket. I personally think this is one of the top solo canoes on the market. It's not so narrow that you need to say your hail marys everytime you get into it, like some other more narrow flat water boats. I think, for what I want-flat water and some streams, with canoe camping and day tripping, this boat on the top of my 19 yr old Volvo is a beautiful sight.
I love my Grumman and would love to get a new Grumman solo. As far as I am concerned, you can't go wrong with a Grumman. ('Paddle Harder!...I hear banjo music!')