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Discussion Starter #1
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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Tony,
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,
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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.

Bucket
 

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Tony,

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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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.
Welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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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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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Being able to carry multiday gear and playing by today's standards are mutually exclusive in a canoe as much as in a kayak.

To do multiday whitewater trips solo, you'd want a 14' boat in the low performance category. You'll end up taking the sneaks in class IV unless you're willing to portage gear.
 

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As many have mentioned, WW canoes have a steep learning curve, but can be a lot of fun. I swam a ton my first year at it (after being a very competent non-WW canoeist for 15 years). There are a number of very good Kent Ford instructional DVDs out there (Play Time, etc) that I recommend. As another mentioned, don't count of carrying a lot of gear in the boat. That's what raft support is for on multi-day trips. Maneuverability is inversely proportional to the amount of gear you stow. Keep it light.
 

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I've done week-long whitewater trips with all my camping gear in a solo canoe. You get a sense of freedom and accomplishment you can't get with raft supported trips. Some of these trips were low flow which would have been a pain to get rafts down. Canoes were originally designed as cargo vessels.

A non-performance hull's maneuverability doesn't change with a load, but the level of effort does increase. The biggest impact of loading a canoe is the increase in how readily the boat ships water.
 

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I've done week-long whitewater trips with all my camping gear in a solo canoe. You get a sense of freedom and accomplishment you can't get with raft supported trips. Some of these trips were low flow which would have been a pain to get rafts down. Canoes were originally designed as cargo vessels.

A non-performance hull's maneuverability doesn't change with a load, but the level of effort does increase. The biggest impact of loading a canoe is the increase in how readily the boat ships water.
It can be done, yes, but not like a regular canoe trip where I can load a barge (but also limited to pretty placid water - like Ruby-Horsethief). Whitewater canoes are typically fitted with large bow and stern bags for flotation. Fill the boat with gear and you could become a lead weight. I have done a two-night trip with my WW canoe, and squeezed in a very small amount of gear, but it was the most minimalist trip I've ever done. I wouldn't even run a III with compromised flotation and a lot of gear.
 

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I did the Gunny Gorge in a loaded Ocoee it was managable, not the best tripper. I sure didn't play, extra weight drove the Ocoee's sharp chine deep. Always load the in he middle of the boat as much as possible. Heres are a couple pics in Gunny.




 

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wow guys ive been dreaming of whitewater canoeing for a few yrs now. i raft and kayak but there is just an allure to the tradition of open boats. i live in co and almost never see a canoe on the river. but man it looks like a lot of fun...by the way thanks for posting such good info and nice pics...hope to score a open boat this spring...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
All of this is great!

I guess what I'm thinking is that I will end up buying a lower performance boat that will handle gear better (maybe like the Mohawk Probe?). But what I'm really getting is that I'm going to want to have other boats along to carry some things for longer trips, unless I'm just doing a night or two and want to use all my backpacking small light weight camping gear.

I really need to get out and paddle a few different models, my problem is that I'm not really close at all to anyone that has them available to demo. Either way I'm stoked to get into this sport and start heading out and paddling things I can't get rubber down!
 

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wow guys ive been dreaming of whitewater canoeing for a few yrs now. i raft and kayak but there is just an allure to the tradition of open boats. i live in co and almost never see a canoe on the river. but man it looks like a lot of fun...by the way thanks for posting such good info and nice pics...hope to score a open boat this spring...
NoCo -
The Poudre Paddlers is a club in Ft. Fun and we have a lot of WW canoeists that do club trips, and offer instruction (formal and informal). Weekly trips on the Poudre during the season. Check out the website Poudre Paddlers Canoe and Kayak Club of Colorado - there is the annual meeting coming up next Sunday at 5:30 - food and fellowship of like-minded paddlers. Drop by if you wish.
 

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Yay open boating! Like you, I am a guide who never got into kayaking, but fell in love with the first mad river outrage I ever kneeled in! By very serendipitous means I ended up with a mohawk rodeo, it's not quite the outrage I was looking for, but I really like it! Of course I only day trip in it, & usually only class II-III. but thats what I was looking for. (if I'm on a multi day trip, the gear pig is mine baby! I love rowing, I like being comfortable & I like sitting on a treasure chest full of beer.) ;) Anyways, sounds like these folks have pointed you to some good resources. Also, keep your eyes open on the gear swap here on the buzz, you never know when your perfect boat is gonna pop up in your area. :) Good luck & welcome to the wonderful world of OC1ing! :D

oh, & Definitely get your hands on some of those old Kent Ford videos, technique is critical in an open boat, & it's not like paddling a raft (I keep having to remind myself that when I'm in my rodeo!) And yeah, those videos will do you right.
 

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I got into whitewater canoeing from kayaking. If you have any experience with boats with edges I would stay away from the Probe series. I bought a Probe 12 from Mohawk and while it is very stable it is a bit of a dog for anyone used to paddling a boat with edges. As someone mentioned earlier it is very wet. If I were to do it again I would get a Viper 11 or 12. Either would be fine for two or three day trips as long as you don't bring barrels to haul your gear.

I have since bought a Dagger Caption (14' solo/tandem playboat), and a L'edge (9' PE creekboat). Between those two the Probe does not get out much these days. The Caption has more of an edge than the Probe, and despite being a bigger boat it has much better handling. I use it for big water and tripping. I have also set it up with removable saddles so I can run tandem or solo. You can do this pretty easily with a number of the larger playboats without getting too far ito the tripping boat category. The most common ones to see this done with are the Caption, the Probe 14, and the Esquif Vertige X.

The L'edge gets used as my go to river runner.

I think for what you want it to do you are better off getting two boats.

+1 on the pump suggestion. I am a bigger fan or removable pumps than ones mounted in the saddle because they are easier to to work on if you have problems on the river.

Kyle
 
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