help for top heavy beginner

I am a beginning canoe paddler. I first got a mad river explorer 16 and tried to make a solo out of it. just too much for one person to handle loading and unloading. so I decided to try something smaller. I picked up a used but not abused Mohawk xl 13. I took it out yesterday for a try and things did not go well. I am 6’6’’ and 275 ± very top heavy not good balance and the saddle seat is about level with top of the canoe. I tipped over x 4 couldn’t get past knee deep water and just loaded back up and came home. It was very entertaining for folks around the lake but not so much for me.

I dont really plan on doing much white water paddling but I would like to be able to just get out and paddle without going swimming every time I try I had considered adding outriggers but that looks too much like training wheels and I dont want to go that route if I can help it. I would like to try removing the saddle seat and put in a lower seat just far enough off the bottom to be dry and see how that works. Has anyone else had success with something like this? any ideas on what type seat I could use and how to attach it so that its stable without altering the integrity of the canoe itself. Any ideas or input greatly appreciated.

Try kneeling with a foam pad on the floor for comfort. Stay loose through the hips like your carefully carrying a tray of champagne glasses (or whatever beverage motivates you) across an uneven yard. Give this a shot before modifications begin.

See you on the water,
The Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY
845-228-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile

The XL 13 is something of an old-school white water canoe. It’s designed for kneeling and, while it is stable for a WW boat, it will seem tippy/tender to someone new to WW boats. As Marshall says, keep your hips loose - loose hips float ships. Some people call that a ‘J’ lean. You want to keep your head and shoulders inside the gunwales … unless you are laying it on edge for an eddy turn or surfing and then you will have a strong brace out to hold you up… You may need to cut down the saddle an inch or so if it’s foam saddle. Back in the '90s a friend bought an Encore & couldn’t stay in it until he took about 2" off.

I found this of an XL13 in action: