Beginner canoeing

Need help!!

I’m a 50 year old male with a wife and a 70lbs golden retriever want to start canoing but need to choose the right for us.

I look at the Spirit II (17’) and the Penobscot 16’. which one ?? Confussed !! and frustrated with all the choices.

Get thee to a Paddling Dealer
You will miles and dollars ahead if you go to your closest Canoe/Kayak shop. No, not the Gander Mt store or the local Wal*Mart where they do sell canoes and kayaks. The small local shops that specialize in paddle sports usually have the product knowledge to sell you the boat that will suit the type of paddling you want to do. The miles you drive to find a “real” canoe store and the extra you will pay for the right boat will be time and money well spent. You will end up with a boat you can and will use, not an exspensive yard ornament.

Don’t ask me how I know ----


What part of Ohio?
Are from Steelers,Ohio; Browns,Ohio; Bengals,Ohio; or Lions,Ohio. That info might help someone recommend a paddling shop or waterway where you can find someone to help you define what you really want or need.

LOL powelljk

I agree to check in with your closest paddling store (not one of the big box stores) and while getting a good education there, ask about any upcoming Paddling Expos (we have one called Paddlesport every year). It could be worth waiting for one if it is soon to get some good deals and a wider selection than any single store could give you.

Is in Bengals Ohio in a few weeks:

Begginner canoeing
Browns Fan all the way !!

Get the Spirit II. Much better boat for
what you want to do.

Possible place to look
Depending on what side of “Browns Town” your at, There is a place called ‘The Backpackers Shop’ in Sheffield.

What part are you in?? (Clevesburg that is)

Spirit II all the way
There is really no place that the Penobscot is better than the Spirit II. The 16’ Pemobscot vs the 17’Spirit II gives the Penobscot a slight edge on Whitewater, but handicaps it for stability against the Spirit II.

For most close boat comparisons I would second the advice that you paddle both boats, but these are very familiar boats to me and the Spirit II is the way to go.

Unless you intend to drag your canoe over rocks and do whitewater, buy the Spirit II in composite construction, you will be ahead in weight and paddling efficiency. The Toughweave and Kevlar constructions will take the occassional bump and scrape, drop from the car roof and drag over the beaver dam with no ill effects. I can send you photos of mine with almost 25 years of Boy Scout trips and races, it is scratched from end to end, but does not leak or oilcan.


Love our…
Spirit II. Now if I could just rack it correctly… :slight_smile:

Begineer Canoeing
I,m acctually in Akron. My plans are to canoeing in rivers and lake and not white water. My wife will not do the white water.

Thanks for all the advised and I think I’ll go with the spirit II.

Not only that …
but the canoe shop if they have a “Demo Days” coming up> The way it works in my neck of the woods is that most of the day is set aside at a local flatwater (like a lake or river with no current). You have the canoe shop people there and reps from the various manufacturers that have canoes there. There is food and soft drinks. Sometimes they’re grilling hot dogs and hamburgers.

The atmosphere is very relaxed. Talk to anyone – the reps, the shop people, and the other folks that are there paddling the boats. Sometimes with this last group you can get the best information. They have no vested interest.

Then watch people paddle. Once you’ve made some observations you and your wife can paddle a few different canoes. It is best to go with your normal paddling partner.

Dogs may or may not be welcome. Here, generally well behaved dogs are welcome. However, occasionally the demo will take place in a park where dogs are not allowed. If you can take your dog, bring a third person to watch your dog while you and your wife paddle. Once you’ve narrowed it down, take your dog out to see which canoe performs best with him in it.

Go with the idea that you’re going to spend at least a couple hours there. You might want to bring a change of clothes just in case.

I saw on another posting that you want to get a used canoe. I think you will be challenged finding a used Spirit II at a fair price within a reasonable driving distance from Browns-ville, Ohio. It could be weeks or months before you get it out on the water.

In your profile, you indicate you want to do small lakes and flat rivers. You can do both of those in a less sophisticated canoe AND you could be doing it within a couple of weeks. You can spend this summer developing your strokes and your wife can get more comfortable with faster water.

After a summer of paddling: you may find that faster moving water is your thing; you may find that you want to do camping trips; you may find that fishing is your best use of a canoe; or in the worst case, your wife turns the canoe into a backyard planter (excellent for growing lettuce!).

If you enjoy paddling, you will rapidly tire of paddling around small lakes. Once you know where you want to go after the small lakes … the canoe decision will be a lot easier. And you can spend those winter months (after the inevitable Browns elimination) wondering the various paddle shops along Lake Erie.

The most important thing for a beginner isn’t the canoe; it’s getting out on the water, getting comfortable, being safe, and learning how to paddle efficiently.

Another opinion for a different canoe
Nothing against any of the aforementioned, all good canoes, but you might also take a good look at the Old Town Stillwater 14 or 16. They are made out of fiberglass, and have sharp entry and exit lines, as well as a keel. They paddle extremely well for a canoe of their length and high initial stability. Also significantly less expensive than many other models. Not made for white water, but excel in flat water. We enjoy ours, and that includes a big dog. Many of the “tripper” designed canoes require more than 500 lb. of payload for their hulls to work right, but the Stillwaters will function well with much less than that, and still have some reserve capacity. Happy paddling!

As I’ve said before, one cannot go shopping for the perfect canoe, but if you paddle often enough and stay with it the perfect canoe will find you.

Buy any decent boat and hit the pond before summer’s half over.

5 suggestions…
…shop for a used boat, since you’ll want to get a different one with a season or two of experience;

…consider TWO solo boats, (or a solo and a small tandem if you MUST take your dog). My wife and I find having separate boats improves communication and gives each of us a chance to explore indepenently. It’s also possible to grab a smooch if you’re careful.

…See if there’s a paddling club in your area. Great people, I’ll bet, some of whom may lend boats for tryouts, as well as having group outings and possible classes.

…I agree that you should avoid big-box stores if you want a real boat.

…Keep the open side up.

Talk to other visitors
Ask about their experience with the boats they use.

Demo anything. Have fun.