The Black Hawk 18 is a interesting and fine looking high performance recreational cruising canoe. It is not uncommon for someone to make a remark on how beautiful the design or workmanship. The hull shape is like the racing style with narrow front and narrow stern, but with a wider central body. The black carbon fiber canoe I have is custom coated on the inside with kevlar to add stability. The wood work on the rails and bow and stern or nicely crafted and feel good against the skin. It is surprisingly light being less than 35 pounds. Closer to 30 without the added kevlar.
The canoe is a pleasure to paddle and fast. While the front is narrow it is very comfortable, even more so than many wider fronts. The narrow front also makes it easier to paddle since the strokes are not awkward as in canoes with wide bows. The rear paddling is also nice and smooth. The canoe is extremely fast, winning many races against some of the best-designed recreation class boats. It is compared with some racing designs of the same length or longer. The canoe is a favorite among some adventure racers. I find it picks up speed fast and maintains it well. It is fast up stream in strong spring run currents as well as down stream. Passing motorboats in no wake zones is a breeze, leaving only glazing stares from amazed motor boaters.
The canoe handles well and is easy to control in large lakes, and bay waters, and against fast non-whitewater current. Stability is also great with two people in the canoe but less so with one without weight to stabilize the canoe. I have not tried the canoe in whitewater but think it would perform well. Though I would be shy about banging the canoe against rocks all day. The seats are very comfortable bucket seats especially when covered with foam. My seats slide and are easy to adjust. The seats maintain their comfort even after a long day of paddling.
Customer service is excellent. The best I have ever experienced. You can tell they take pride in their work and know their boats well, not just the model but also the canoes that they built and sold.
I own 4 Wenonahs and have enjoyed them with great pleasure over the years, including the Jensen 18 fiberglass and Odyssey fiberglass. However, this canoe has quickly become my favorite tandem. I find it easy to rate this canoe a 10, and find most would give it a higher score if possible. Some canoes with high scores I have found more like bathtubs to paddle, this is not one of them.