Whitewater Canoeing - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-06-2012   #1
tony1982's Avatar
McCall, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 17
Whitewater Canoeing

So, basically I'd like to get into whitewater canoeing but don't know much about it. I'm a river guide and am very familiar with water of all different kinds, rafts of all different kinds, familiar with paddling a canoe...etc but don't know much at all about whitewater canoeing. I'm really just looking for anything anyone has to offer on the subject as far as what experience people have had with different boats, how much you carry in them on certain length trips and probably good paddle choices. I have looked at Mohawk brand whitewater canoes but not paddled any as of yet. Anything will help, Thanks a ton!

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Old 04-06-2012   #2
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Old 04-06-2012   #3
tony1982's Avatar
McCall, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 17
Perfect, thankyou!
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Old 04-06-2012   #4
Scottsdale, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 48
Mohawk canoes are great boats. I have a 16" nova I bought 6 years ago I have done 2-3 day trips in that also has floatation bags that Mohawk installed for me (I like the fact you can buy from the factory and have them outfit it the way you want it so it is done right). Since then I have been more interested in more whitewater (mostly class III) so I got a used Mohawk Maxim. It is a difficult boat. It does not have a lot of primary stability which makes it hard to paddle. I have only taken it down class II water and had my share of many swims. It has gotten a little easier to paddle but if you don't use proper technique with it you are in the drink. If you can arrange it, try to paddle something before you buy it. I would not have bought this boat, the learning curve has been very steep. I have read some great things about Blackfly canoes, especially the Option. Depending on what you want to do with your canoe will also help determine which boat to buy. I wanted something short to be able to creek in or hit some bigger water. Blackfly boat are plastic instead of royalex so they take rock abuse better. Good luck,
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Old 04-06-2012   #5
tony1982's Avatar
McCall, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 17
Awesome and thanks for the info!

I'm realistically looking to mostly do anywhere from 3-6 day trips on rivers with II-IV whitewater (Middle Fork Salmon, Hell's Canyon, Main Salmon etc...) I also know that once I get comfortable in whatever boat I end up with I will want to play around also. I have always been intrigued by kayaks and kayakers, but discovered that it is not for me. That being said, I'm looking for something fairly versatile that can be packed out and also responsive and can act as a begginer/intermediate "play boat". Looking at either the Viper or Probe. I'm familiar with paddling technique but not the new technogoly of all these great canoes out there. I'm pretty excited to start just need to find someone in my area that has boats to try out.

Thanks again for sharing!
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Old 04-06-2012   #6
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Mad River

I know very little about canoes in general, or river canoes specifically. I have a friend who owns a Mad River Canoe and really loves it. He has paddled class II and III with confidence and ease in this craft.

Just another option to look at. I know they can be a bit spendy, but from what I hear, it is a quality product. I saw them at White Water West in Grand Junction last summer and the owner spoke very highly of them.

Good luck, and whatever you purchase I am sure it will be great for you.

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Old 04-06-2012   #7
Chief Niwot's Avatar
West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 683

Glad to hear you want to paddle a canoe; like you, a kayak never felt right to me. Go to cboats, you will find everything you want to know and locate local canoeists.

All of the boats mentioned by others are good boats, but they all have different characteristics. It is hard to have a tripper and a playboat as the same boat.

It is important to note that the newer Royalex boats are not as good as the old ones. The older Royalex hulls are thicker and tougher. In general, Royalex boats are lighter and fun to paddle, but they do not hold up to rock abuse.

My opinion on the Royalex boats mentioned:
Mohawk Probe - stable beginner boat, soft chine, low performance, will out grow
Mad River Outrage - good all around river runner and very good tripper, longer 12', soft chine, not good for creeks, good for beginner as well as a more advanced paddler in the right application.
Viper - good performance boat, sharper chine, probably not the best tripper
Ocoee - high performance river runner, SHARP chine, decent for creeking, not as good for tripping, not as beginner friendly
Maxim - high performance, short, SHARP chine, good creeker, not beginner friendly

PE boats are heavier, but much more durable. The newer PE boats are also better designed,easier to roll and are drier. You will have to read about these.

Older PE:
Pyranha or Esquif Prelude-river runner, creeker
Pyranha or Esquif Spanish fly - river runner, creeker, playboat
Savage Skeeter -river runner, creeker, playboat

Newer PE
Esquif L'Edge
Black Fly Option
Black Fly Ion
Black Fly Octane

There are a lot of options depending on your weight and the type of water you want to paddle.
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Old 04-06-2012   #8
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other side, of the mountain
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 118
Nice! Another open boater is born I'll have a fleet of Mohawk Canoes, the Big Dog OC1's and a couple Esquif boats (to include the L'Edge) for demo this summer when my shop opens in Utah. We are having a get together in the Payettes called Westfest in July. Check Cboats for the sticky with all the info. There will be lots of boats to try, right in your neck of the woods.
Team Esquif
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Old 04-06-2012   #9
tony1982's Avatar
McCall, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 17
Thank you guys so much for the insight. I hope to own one before the season starts. Finding that what really needs to happen is the demo-ing of a few different ones then go from there. I'm excited to get into it, can't wait to get out on the water.
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Old 04-06-2012   #10
Atlanta, Georgia
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 4
Mohawk Canoes

I have been paddling a Mohawk Probe 12 for about 15 years. Getting a new boat would be nice, but I haven't wore this one out yet. I did put a large skid plate on the bottom where it was getting close to foam core.

My biggest complaint is that the Probe 12 is a wet boat. If you plow through a hole, the boat will be full of water and lose stability and maneuverability. To help with this problem, I installed an electric bilge pump. Plan on putting one in. The only hard part is drilling a huge hole in the side of your canoe.

Pump Exploded View and Parts List

Spend the extra time and mount the pump under the saddle. I cheated and regret it.
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