-- Last Updated: Mar-06-13 3:33 PM EST --
In comparison to the canoes you remember, you said you are looking for a "light smaller boat that might be at least a little more fun". Well, SOTs will NOT be smaller or lighter than an "appropriate" solo canoe. There are lots of very sporty, "fun" solo canoes, many of which weigh about one-third of what a SOT does, and even the worst of them will not weigh more than two-thirds of what a SOT weighs (Okay, I should mention that both Mad River and Old Town make some small canoes that are roto-molded and weigh the same as a SOT, but those monstrosities really bear no resemblance to canoes, in my opinion). The initial part of the learning curve for paddling a solo canoe is a bit more challenging than that of a SOT (or rec kayak or touring kayak), but if that doesn't scare you and if a solo canoe is appropriate for your expected usage, don't rule out that option.
Here, a picture is worth a thousand words. The average person who remember canoes from their younger days as big, clumsy and slow doesn't realize they need not be like that, even solo, and likely won't picture a solo paddler making this kind of progress when paddling with moderate effort against the stiff current of a river in flood (the first clip is typical, and the second shows failure to see a bit of cross-wise current soon enough to react gracefully):
Oh, accidental paddle contact with the boat sounds really kutzy here and doesn't support the paddling image I wished to convey, but that's because the camera, being clamped to the boat, picked up every little bump and creak of the hull and amplified it. Even the swishing of the water was far more quiet, relative to background noises, than what's heard here.