Canoe with or without rocker?

I was on the website looking at canoes, and I noticed that some of them had pronounced rocker and others were a pretty flat keel(?). I’m wondering, other than more turning responsiveness that the boat with more rocker would have, what other differences are there in how the boat would handle? more rocker mean it won’t track as well or something?


correct the rockered boat will not track as well.need to go to basics; what will the boat be wsed for.

it will be used for
slow river and lake overnight tripping as well as paddling along after a kayak for fun. :slight_smile:

What were some of the canoes that you were looking at, and/or some that you might be considering purchasing?


rocker good
Rocker makes the boat accelerate and turn more easily and feel more effortless to paddle, and makes the boat feel like it gets up on top of the water versus knifing through it. Rocker good, get boat with rocker.

More advise
Again, it all depends on what you will be using the canoe for. Personally, for all round paddling I like a canoe that has about 1 to 2 on rocker. A canoe with more rocker than that would be more dedicated for WW. The more rocker you have the better it will turn, on the down side it won’t track as well and make it more sensitive to wind. Other feature that you might also want to look at is stability. Flat bottom boats have great primary stability but once they start to go, you are swimming. Secondary stability is in my opinion is more important, it lets you lean the canoe for maneuvering without tipping. It also help you recover from mishaps. Usually canoes with round bottoms usually exhibit such characteristics. Beginners usually do not like such boats because they fell tippy but once you paddle them for a while you’l get us to it. I would also recommend going on Wenonah site and get their brochure, in it, are some excellent explanations of haul shapes, materials ect. Manufacturer of cheap canoes usually do not advertise the boat characteristics and probably do not control them closely in the manufacturing process. They make a canoe that floats and that are cheap to produce. You get what you pay for unfortunately it also applies to canoes.

basic answer
Lake and slow river straight keel small rocker 1" .

Moving water, easy rapids. Slight rocker 1-2"

Whitewater, heavy rocker. 2-4"

Hands-On Perspective

– Last Updated: Oct-12-06 11:39 AM EST –

The effect of rocker will be obvious to you if you ever get the chance to get some hands-on experience with different canoes. With that in mind, I'd offer a word of warning. If you are a beginner, I would suggest NOT starting out in a boat with more than about 2 inches of rocker. Of course other design factors enter into the picture, and 2 inches of rocker in one boat may make it turn nicely, while another boat with 2 inches of rocker may be downright squirrelly. My main point is that it will be much easier and less frustrating to learn your basic strokes in a boat which won't seem to have a mind of its own every time it gets aimed more than a few degrees off your intended course. As an example of that, my Mohawk Odyssey 14 has (I think) about 1.75 inches of rocker (I just can't remember right now). It's very maneuverable, but at the same time, I can cruise along looking up at the treetops and not even thinking about boat control without anything funny happening in the way course changes. My Novacraft Supernova on the other hand, has 3 inches of rocker, and I really can't let my attention wander for long periods of time when paddling that boat. One mis-applied paddle stroke is all it takes to suddenly pivot 90 degrees in that boat. Of course, such a bad error in boat control doesn't ever actually happen if you know what you are doing, but that's something that I'm sure you can see would be very frustrating to a beginner.

Rocker or no rocker that is the quesiton
Well the response your getting appear to me to be right. One other point about no rocker is that the ends of the canoe are deeper in the water to act as sort of a keel. Harder to turn but easier to go straight! If you are looking to buy your first canoe I would suggest looking into a local paddling club. I haven’t belonged to the MN Canoe Assciation for a little while but they used to have a “Mess About” in the Twin Cities where fellow canoeist would bring down canoes and they would swap about and try each others out.

Get at least SOME rocker, unless
you’re a total novice who is afraid of tipping the boat over and falling in. A Double Bladed Canoe Paddle is a great way to train youself to go straight. You will quickly outgrow any boat you buy. Unless you have lots of money to spend to buy boat after boat, start with something challanging and grow into it. Don’t overlook the less expensive chain store boats.

Rocker and double blade
It seems to me that the terms “rocker and “double bladed canoe paddle” should not appear in the same sentence. You do not need rocker if you paddle with a double blade because you can only effectively paddle in a straight line. Forget turns, WW, slalom racing, paddling rivers and narrow passageways, Canadian style paddling etc. Forget inside turns, the one handed pry and other classy strokes. Forget the concept of adjusting the position of your knees to adjust the rocker as required. Me thinks that double bladed canoe paddlers do not have the skill to keep a canoe straight with a single blade, get frustrated and migrate to double blades. Think of the fun they miss. My own advice is to learn how to paddle a canoe properly with a single bladed paddle. You will not regret it.

One more point. Canadian style solo paddling (and other healing styles) allow for the adjustment of rocker by adjusted the degree of heeling. More heeling, more rocker and better turning and greater speed. Less heeling, less rocker and better tracking on the straights and narrows during windy conditions. Thus paddling a canoe that comes with a lot of rocker may not be a priority. Good secondary stability for effective heeling may be a better option.

double bladed canoe paddling
I can tell you first hand that not everyone who paddles a canoe double bladed lacks the skill to effectively use a single blade. There is a sizeable contingent of folks in the mid-Atlantic region who paddle with a double though certainly not lacking in skills.

Personally, I enjoy single bladed paddling exclusively. To my limited thinking, double blades seem too much like work, get hung up in branches, catch a lot of wind, and are more of a bother to put down to take a sip, make a cast or whatever.

But, the other thing I’ve come to realize recently is this: I grew up in a family of brick and stone masons and I learned the trade at an early age. While I don’t make my living laying stone anymore, it will always be in my blood. To me, a single bladed canoe paddle is a lot like handling a trowel. Carving a wooden trowel through the water is very satisfying and helps keep me connected to my roots.