Buying a Wildfire

I am buying a 1994 Wildfire in KevKrystal. It is in excellent condition. My question is what was the bow and stern rocker that year? I know the later models were 2.5" and 1.5"'s. I see the specs on the Colden Wildfire is 2.5" bow and 2.5" stern.

Later models of WF have remained
unchanged in rocker.

The Rx WF should have never been named that as the mold that came from was entirely different.

If its a composite boat and named WildFire, its the same boat whether from Bell, Placid or Colden. Symmetrical 2.5 inch rocker.

Wildfire Rocker
I found an older Bell listing for the Wildfire and it list the rocker at 2.5" bow and 1.5" stern rocker: file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Marvin/My%20Documents/Wildfire.htm The canoe in question is a 1994 KevCrystal Wildfire.

Paddled the Wildfire today!!
Got the Wildfire out today for the for the first time. Great canoe! Exceeded expectations. Will post a review in a couple months when I get some seat time.

I’ll let Sissy know she doesn’t have
the only solo canoe in Fla.

WildFire and YS Solo and Rocker.
The original WildFire came out in composite in 1993. Hulls have been made from that mold every year since. It has 2.5" rocker bow and stern.

In 1999, Bell commissioned a detuned, RX version from David Yost. It had 2.5" bow rocker and 1.5" stern rocker and the shoulder was lower and less distinct to get the thing out of a RX mold. It started life with a WildFire decal on the stern.

When negotiating a settlement contract with Bell, it turned out they owed for every use of the WildFire nameplate. The name of the de-tuned boat became YellowStone Solo almost overnight in fall 03.

Bell then asked for a composite plug to match the YSS, and the WildFire mold was sent to Placid boatworks in 2005. No composite boat YSS was labeled WildFire.

The WildFire mold was transferred to Colden Canoe in 2009. SO;

If its composite and labeled WildFire it has 2.5" rocker each end.

If its composite and labeled YellowStone Solo it a YSS with 2.5" bow rocker and 1.5" stern rocker.

If it’s RX, it has 2.5" bow rocker and 1.5" stern rocker regardless of what the label says.

Charlie She’s and Original!
The canoe was made in 1993 Hull# DQH00524E393. It appears to be a White Gold. She is almond gelcoat with cherry rails and walnut decks. One unusual thing about it is it has foam flotation blocks that are not glassed covered. I have a Curtis Vagabond but as you can guess the Wildfire is more responsive.

cork style floats
Bell started using shaped plastic “corks” that were bonded into the hull’s stems. Cool idea, cosmetically challenged, maybe, but easy to remove for stem repair. The issue was that the hull occasionally flexed enough to allow the corks to float free.

Bell went to the curved tanks in summer 1994 if memory serves. Ted was climbing in the Cascades. I got two calls on wandering corks in the same week, and we did the curved floats in a week.

Fl Freestyle Symposium
Charlie I am bring the Wildfire and My Curtis Vagabond to Symposium next month. Also bringing along the Moore Cue HD Carbon stick.

If you’re learning FreeStyle
the WF will be easier to do the moves, but if you choose to learn in the Vag it will make you a better paddler.

Boats that spin too easily don’t allow the paddler to really understand the interplay of paddle, paddler, hull and motion…my two cents worth. Most of us learned/developed FS moves in touring hulls at the beginning.

Dissenter here to a degree
While the skills you learn will be most rewarding in the long run in your Vagabond, the journey will be more rewarding if you start in the WildFire.

Sure FS is a touring technique, but the feedback you get in the WildFire will be more pronounced and immediate.

I learned in a Heron and my turns were less than stellar at first. The reason was the boat needed to be heeled to the rail to give the sort of results others were getting with less heel and at the beginning, I was not ready for that.

Its good you are bringing both boats as you will be able to see the difference.

Historical dissension
I think it’s generally true that sport canoeing (not freestyle) in the early 80’s was intended to be done in touring canoes with shovels for paddles. Hiding Harolds in Curtis Vagabonds were ubiquitous.

But then the yankees, the whitewater gonzos and the boat builders began corrupting and gimmicking the sport.

Now, in order to properly freestyle, you must paddle a paper mache canoe with a depth of 8" and chine rocker of 15" – and you must be less than 5’ tall, weigh no more than 110 pounds and be eligible for AARP. In short, ideally, you should be Nessmuk kneeling in a Sairy Gamp.

Alas, none of us can attain these ideals. So we will schlep Wildfires to downtown Yulee. Looking forward to it.

The reason for my comments
is that I have thought for years (and argued with CEW and others) that the end all should not be a 180 turn with every maneuver, but a true understanding about how to turn, slip, stop and start a boat…with the 180 being an ultimate goal/possibility.

It’s not hard to turn a boat 180…just buy more rocker and you can screw yourself into the swamp with 180’s. Unless you’re bound for interpretive paddling, which 98% are not, it’s not necessary to have fun with FS technique.

I have worked with a lot of beginning students who get distracted from the learning by watching 180 turns and being frustrated that they can’t get all the way around. I feel it’s important to deemphasize the rotation for learners and concentrate on the technique…the rotation will come with increased confidence in heel and solid initiation, placement and conclusion. Soooo many paddlers get away with sloppy technique because they are paddling boats that will spin without good technique. Learning in a boat that will not will make you a better paddler.

The trick is in the training. Olympic skaters learn to jump in a box; to learn to elevate without velocity.

The 180 turn, changing your mind completely about direction, is achievable in a sport canoe and an achievement in a tripping hull. And it’s easy to measure.

In sport canoes, if one watches initiation, heel and conclusion, one should aspire to 270dgs rotation, which, while easy to measure, is pretty useless in the BWCA. It’s just another training mantra, and everyone is welcome to develop their own.

OTOH you have to go straight
before you can make a turn…And that too requires technique. Rockered boats point that out right away… and an inability to keep a straight line is the very first thing that needs remediation.

There is a tendency for students to do sixteen or a hundred strokes between maneuvers…to buy thinking time.

But sometimes we don’t have the room for that. At slow speeds three strokes is enough in something like a FlashFire or WildFire.

Then as the heeling and weight shift progress so that the rail is consistently down…move to a tripping hull. FS in the tripping environment is something I do at crawl speeds when trying to get as close to the portage as I can while avoiding a minefield of rocks.

There isnt much use for a 180 except for backing up because you got stuck in the wrong channel of the bog.

BTW to audience…this is a topic over which there seems to be passion and no right or wrong. Whatever works for you. We have emptied stevet’s portable wine bar over this one :slight_smile:

I’ve got one as well.
Actually I bought it from stevet in 1995 or 6. Yes, the cork floats did pop out. I’ll be at FFS in March but don’t have room to bring it.


Recycling is good
and we seem to be hanging on to that tradition…look at the latest round of boat swaps.

At this rate we will all wind up at the end with our original stable.

Funny you should say that Kim
…as mentioned in another post I am gravitating back to some of my original choices…now if I could just lose enough weight to make paddling them as fun as they were a couple decades ago!

I’ve been paddling that WF…
continuously from the day I got it. That hull had been to every one of the 14 La Lou’s and many creeks in between not to mention about 6 hours a week honing FS skills on the lake. The only hull I like better is my Loonworks Aria. BTW, I just amde a run to South Carolina to pick it up after being repaired. Hurricane Gus had deposited a tree on it a few years back. Tom worked on it between bouts with chemo.