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Showing off. My remodled Old Town Slolom

-- Last Updated: May-09-13 4:16 PM EST --

Just wanted to show off the fruits of my labor. Spent the last 5 or so weeks breathing new life in to this classic 1974 Old Town Slolom boat. It's not quite complete yet. I just need to add the deck bungies and a bulk head behind the seat and repaint the hull since it has a few rough spots I want to fix in my original paint job. I bought this boat last summer and added a skeg and it proved to be an awesome creek boat. Now I is set up to do some longer distance and overnight trips. I did a test paddle down Tonawanda Creek, and managed 1.55 miles at an easy pace in under 30 minutes. Taking it for a 10 mile paddle this Saturday.

The end result:


  • Nice
    I like the paint job. Float bags up front? (when not jamming it full of camping gear)
  • Options
    No. I do not have any float bags right now. the plan is to put another hatch in the very front, and add a bulkhead between that and the front hatch, just in front of the foot pegs. Maybe throw in insulating foam up there and make it a cooler, lol. Some freeze packs and a 6 pack and I'm good to go!
  • Nice work
    Looks good.
  • Nice, but not a slalom boat.
    It's kind of like a whitewater downriver racing boat.

    I don't think Old Town ever tried to make a true slalom or downriver racing boat. Yours may be designed as a fast river cruiser. HIPP, another early US kayak maker, used to offer fast cruisers. PS Composites still offers one as the "Cheta".

    I notice that some folks on the east coast call any old glass ww boat a "slalom" boat. But that isn't correct. It isn't a slalom boat unless (a) it was designed with slalom racing in mind and (b) people actually raced it in serious slalom races with at least decent results.

    Your kayak will not turn easily, and that's the first thing a true slalom boat *must* do.
  • Options
    As best as I can tell...
    It is an old town. There was a thread where someone was looking for a better boat for shallow water. Someone posted a craigslist add, and it had this exact boat listed as an old town. Now whoever posted that boat could be mistaken, but it is the only other one of these boats I have ever seen. Regardless, I have modified it so much, it really doesn't matter what it used to be, lol.

    It used to turn on a dime. I added the skeg, so now turning is a little more work.

    Anyway, maiden voyage yesterday. 6 miles solo then 4 more with a group. Didn't sink, I didn't die, and I wasn't the guy who went in the water, so I would say that was a success! The first 6 miles (just a hair over 6) I covered in 1:45. Never expected it to be that quick.

  • Wait until you try a modern ww kayak.
    It'll turn on a dime and give you a dollar's change.

    I'm not disputing that it *might* be an Old Town. I'm just saying that as far as I know, Old Town never, never made a serious racing kayak, downriver or slalom.
  • Options
    And I could be wrong. Who knows. And honestly, does it really matter? It is nothing like it originally was anyway, lol. I'm just happy to have a nice boat. We had about 40 kayaks at my outdoors meetup paddle this weekend, and everyone told me mine was the best looking one there. Given, pretty much everyone was in a rec-boat of some kind. 90% plastic boats. So I guess it wasn't a hard beauty contest to win, lol.
  • nah, it doesn't matter
    -- Last Updated: May-13-13 11:48 AM EST --

    here, but you'd get laughed off any more specific paddling forums for sure. I'm still laughing about a skeg creating an awesome creek boat.Creeking around here means cl. 4-5 streams with lots of big drops. Thanks for the laughs, I'll share 'em with my river buds and buddettes.

  • Yeah, you might want to remove the
    skeg. With the right technique, you simply will not need it. A skeg makes turning harder on creeks and twisty rivers. It's useful mainly on open water.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: May-13-13 1:28 PM EST --

    It gets me out of the house, and on the water, and it's something I can say I did myself. Laugh if you want, I enjoy it.

    I do not intend to do any WW with this thing. And certainly not any 4-5s. I'd die! lol. But it handles great on flat water streams and creeks.

  • Options
    I am a bit of a novice, so....
    I really need the skeg to keep it in a strait line. I tried without it, and it liked to spin out on me. Nothing I could do would correct it until it finished whatever type of turn it wanted to do and slowed down. It does make turning slightly more difficult that originally, but this also allows me to keep it in a strait line. Like I said before, it gets me on the water, and it out performs all of the boats my friends have. Given, they are almost exclusively EMS and Dicks Sporting Goods bought boats, but I am proud of it.
  • someday
    you'll look back and chuckle. I stand up and pole up rapids I could barely paddle down 14 years ago. You have no knowlege, but a good attitude. Get out and paddle, play around with stroke technique, experiment. Hopefully you'll find some experienced people to learn from.
    My prediction is the "need" for a skeg will have you laughing in a couple years, maybe sooner.
  • Make sure it isn't trimmed down at the
    nose. That would make the stern more inclined to spin.

    On your stroke, don't lean back like a rec kayaker. Sit up straight. For each stroke you need good forward extension, with your paddle "high angle", the shaft 45 degrees vertically to the water, or more. When you take the catch, it should be prompt and firm, but not vicious. Your stroke should end relatively early. Make sure that your power comes from torso twist, not your arms.

    This is "cab forward" paddling, the same principle whether kayaking or canoeing. When you get it down, it will feel like you're pulling the boat forward by its nose. Your kayak's nose will waggle a bit through a narrow arc, but it won't show an inclination to skid out.
  • Options
    -- Last Updated: May-13-13 7:09 PM EST --

    I will have to give this a try. Never really looked into paddle stroke a whole lot, I just always went with what was comfortable, but I will definitely give this a try. From the sounds of it, It sounds like the point of propulsion will be coming from more forward on the boat?

    Not sure what you mean by "trimmed down at the nose"

  • trimmed down...bow heavyNM
  • Options
    Reread this post...
    G2D, about the questionable manufacture. I will do a little more research with the possible leads you gave me. The older gentleman I bought it from said he had it in storage for about 20 years in his garage and that it was "a British white water kayak". Before I put the skeg on it, it turned phenominally, however it would randomly spin out from the rear. I tried shifting what little weight I had in it at the time to the far back (shoes, dry bag with smokes and a towel and cell phone, waterbottle, ect) and it did not seem to make any difference.

    Regardless if some people here think the skeg is silly, redundant, or down right retarded, I like the boat as is, and it works great for what I use it for. Sorry I am not as hard core as some people on here, but I was under the impression this forum was newbie friendly. Judging from some of the posts here, I guess that is just not the case.
  • It *might* be "slalom" after all...
    Looking at page 83 in the PDF version of the book here:


    I see a boat that looks a lot like yours! Enjoy it!

    Nothing "shameful" for adding a skeg for flat water use - that's exactly what modern designs have (usually retractable for when you don't want it, on white water or to trim against wind).
  • You're absolutely wrong. No boat has
    ever been designed for slalom with that shape and conformation.

    Sue Taft and I "grew up" in the same era. I was boat inspector for the Southeastern Races for quite a few years in the 70s and 80s, and I NEVER saw a boat like that raced in the slalom events. They won't turn well enough.
  • for newbies that want to learn
    -- Last Updated: May-15-13 6:31 PM EST --

    maybe this can be a good forum. I saw no insults at all 'til your thin skinned "guess I was wrong" statement. The "does it really matter" after calling your boat a "slolom" is going to make people compare it to slalom boats. Next time call it a "boat" if it doesn't matter.Attitudes like that, you'll be the same paddler 10 years from now that you are now. Some like it that way; personally, I know a bit of G2D's background from some C1 reviews and the guys got a lot of knowledge.

    Noted the boat on pg. 83, and yeah, it looks similar. Note 1965 time frame.Also noticed the photo was on the Esopus, and that's one of, if not the largest, widest slalom course I ever saw, and sharp turns aren't required like on the skinny courses. I could run 7 gates I believe it is in nearly a straight line. Several friends have had their first clean runs on that course. I prefer running the whole river,above and below are where the action is, but have to pass through that course during slalom weekends when I'm up there.
    Looks like the same boat on pg. 88 at T-ville, doing a bow stall or ender. Tighter course up there, former Olympic training ground. A course where catching the waves right at the pictured level will influence boat direction tremendously. Lots of holes on that section. That's my home river, the Farmington.

  • Did you notice the lifted ends and
    marked rocker on that "page 83" kayak? Markedly different from the OP's kayak, where the ends are NOT lifted and rocker is low. So in '65, they already knew how a slalom boat had to be shaped, and the '74 "OT" shows no awareness of such design principles whatsoever.

    People call canoes, kayaks, and call kayaking, rafting. And a few people call ww kayaks "slalom". A really nice, big horse gets called "thoroughbred". It happens.
  • Check the year and the photo '60s
    I know very well what a slalom boat looks like today. I also know what a creek boat looks like today. Recall how a creek boat used to look decades ago - nothing like today's ones, but in their day they were used to run creeks...

    Again, I don't claim that it is today, but in its time, according to that article I quoted, it sure looks like it was...
  • Hard to tell...
    -- Last Updated: May-15-13 7:12 PM EST --

    Looking from these less than ideal angles in the book and the OP's photos it is hard to compare. The OP's boat actually has decent rocker... http://s1138.photobucket.com/user/WPFickes/media/2013-05-07_16-42-29_309_zpse2e6b93b.jpg.html?sort=3&o=4

    And I'm going to be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about boats of yester year, so going by what I see in these photos...

  • That's a bad angle for assessing rocker.
    But if that were the only photo available to me, I would never expect that kayak to have enough rocker to be used even in the cruising class of a weekend slalom race. By contrast, the "page 83" kayak clearly has lifted ends and pretty good rocker for a boat raced in 1965.

    You don't need to make excuses for the OP. He didn't know what he had, but he's already showed that it's a fast boat, fast enough to race in cruising downriver events.
  • that's what I'm saying
    '60's slalom boats were undoubtedly a lot less radical than they are today.
  • Nice.
    I think you did a real nice job. There is a lot of pleasure in using something you have spent time and work on, really rewarding. Enjoy it and keep paddling.
  • Options
    I still...
    I still don't know what I have... lol. Regardless of what it is, it's a fun to paddle boat, and gets the job done for me. I really enjoyed working on it, and I plan to do more to it. In a couple years I plan to try my hand at a stich and glue model, and this was a great warm up for that.

    Just to clear up any confusion, when I say "creek boat" I mean a boat to use on Tonawanda Creek, across the streed from my house. It a local term used when talking about what they paddle or row on the creek.

    Next weekend, I guess the turning ability will really be put to the test. I plan to paddle an estimated 12 miles of the creek. The distance "as the bird flies" is only about 7 miles, but this section winds like a snake on crack. So we shall see!
  • tonawanda, eh?
    you could get together with Ness and her group, they're from that area. As a matter of fact, I'm headed to N. Tonawanda in a few weeks for a concert (primus), and may be meeting up with Ness and some paddling friends of hers, just for a get together.
  • Options
    I am always looking for new people to paddle with. I am a member of BOM (Buffalo Outdoors Meetup) on meetup.com, and we do alot of trips, but I have heard there are a few other paddling groups in the area. I am actually in East Amherst, a few miles north and east of Tonawanda. About a mile east of the cofluence of Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal.
  • You have a fast ww river cruiser.
    A few are still made today.

    You may be able to "clean up" in the cruising class of ww downriver racing events. At least you'll have a nice boat in which to compete. Most of today's ww kayaks are total pigs for ww downriver cruising.

    When I was boat inspector, I used to have problems when a racer entered cruising class with an old, fast ww boat. The racers with newer boats would whine and say, "That's a racing boat, not a cruising boat." And I would say, "I'm the boat inspector, and that is not, and never was, a racing boat. If you're in the cruising class, why do you care?"
  • Incidentally, if you are of relatively
    normal weight and height, you can probably buy a used slalom kayak of recent vintage for, say, $600 or so.

    Slalom kayaks used to be hard to paddle, but now, at least on class 1-2 water, they will make you say "This thing can do anything!" They're surprisingly sturdy, fairly easy to repair, light (~20 pounds) and very fast accelerating. Best boat you can have for just zooming around from eddy to eddy.
  • Options
    Does Ness and her group
    have a group name, or is it something more informal?
  • pretty sure it's informal.
    She's on this site from time to time. I'm a FB friend, and will let her know you're interested. e-mail me if you want, or if you find her on here, you could e-mail her. Mixed group it appears, yaks and canoes, looks like a fun gang. They've been heading into the WW direction as well. I may be paddling when I go up in a couple weeks, but will most likely hike the gorge before the show.
  • More on skegs, tracking, and experience
    -- Last Updated: May-17-13 1:15 PM EST --

    Daggermatt is right. When I first learned about solo canoes and was planning to buy one, I read comments here about a canoe by Souris River that had a rudder. One old-time poster here who seemed to know a lot about canoes gave it a higher rating than any non-Kruger canoe he'd used (in retrospect, since he was so enthusiastic about Kruger canoes, perhaps he'd learned to prefer rudders to fancy paddle strokes). At that point I thought about solo paddling as being less than ideal due to the off-center power application of single-blade paddling, and realized a rudder would be more efficient than correction strokes. I almost considered getting that ruddered canoe, but once I learned "how to paddle" I was sure glad I hadn't. Sure, the rudder would have been great for open-water cruising but it would have been terrible for everything else a general-purpose canoe is supposed to be good at. I've since learned to paddle well enough that the slight inefficiency of correction strokes does NOT provide a good reason to handicap a perfectly good canoe with a rudder. One of my canoes will spin 180 degrees within a few seconds of laying down the paddle to grab a camera, but I'm perfectly happy making it go a straight line via paddle control. The original poster will not feel like there's a need for the skeg after his skills improve.

  • Nice work!
    -- Last Updated: May-17-13 1:08 PM EST --

    I bet it isn't very often that an old, worn-out boat gets a new life in such grand style. Also, when it comes to kayaks, I don't believe Old Town makes anything other than basic plastic junk nowadays, so yours is unique for that reason as well. Looks like a real gem to me.

    Like I mentioned above though, if you decide to learn good technique, eventually you won't want that new skeg - at least not for paddling twisty creeks.

  • Zoar Valley is one group NM
  • Options
    Soon as I get back...
    I will shoot you an e-mail soon as I get back. I am busy packing for a last minute trip to MI for a Daddy/Daughter dance tomorrow. The mixed group thing sounds a lot like BOM. I wonder if she is a member, there are over 2000 members in the online group.

    And like Guideboatguy said, old boats probably don't often get refreshed much if at all. I find something peaceful about working on old items, from my old Beretta Silver Snipe to my 79 Vette, there is a special sense of accomplishment you get from completing a restoration job. Making the old, new again. Or maybe I am just crazy.... lol.
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