Help picking a Whitewater Solo Canoe

I have a whitewater Kayak right now, but lately I have gotten into whitewater solo canoeing. I have been borrowing a Dagger genesis and an encore and feel comfortable on class 2+ water in these boats. I want to buy one (used i hope) that will challenge me some and to work on my skills. Right now I’m and ACA Touring canoe instructor and I want to become an

whitewater instructor.

So any suggestions on brand and model would be help full??

In my pre w/w kayak days
I paddled a 12’ Mohawk Probe - Royalex. I liked it because it it turned relatively well, was dry and had good initial stability good. If i could have done it again i might have bought a Viper model instead. I think the Viper would have challenged me more and kept me happier longer. Besides open canoe i experienced the c1 Atom, Cascade and Gyro Max… Wow, do i sound old.If you want uncomfortable with plenty of action - think C1. See you on the river.

selecting a boat
Some depends on your size, but you won’t be disappointed with the Prodigy or Prodigy X by Bell, the Shaman by Mohawk, or the Outrage X by Mad River. Any of these boats have performance you can grow into, and are not crazy. You may want to go to an Ocoee but it might send you swimming too many times now.

I paddled…

– Last Updated: Jun-21-05 11:41 AM EST –

I paddled an Outrage X for about 5 years, and I would suggest it as a great boat for anyone over 200 lbs. I paddled it on class 2+ & class 3 rivers, and was pleased with it's performance. A better paddler than me could certainly do class 4 in an Outrage X; so that would give you a lot of room for improvement.
Also had a Dagger Impulse(bought for my wife); it is a friendly boat for a beginner, but no where near the performance capability of an Outrage X, and Outrage, a Probe 12, or an Ocoee. A paddler who improves their skills quickly & wants to challenge themseles more will probably not keep an Impulse for long.

Two of my whitewater paddling buddies own Outrages; what I call the Outrage X's little brother. You will do one of two things in an Outrage; your skills will improve, or you will be wet a lot. Same with the Ocoee.

I currently paddle a Mohawk Probe 12; I like it better than my Outrage X. Doubt seriously that I will be selling it, or trading it any time soon, unless I quit paddling whitewater.

I am also of the opinion that a Dagger Caption is a decent boat for a bigger paddler; especially if they might want to paddle tandem on occasion.

I suggest you paddle as many boats as you can before you buy one. Read pnet reviews too. Talk to as many whitewater canoers as you can, find out what they paddle & why. I see fairly good deals on used, whitewater canoes in the Pnet want ads on occasion. Posting here is a good start.

If you want, I could email you some photos of my Mohawk Probe 12.


Outrage etc

– Last Updated: Jun-21-05 9:10 AM EST –

I'm 190 and quite happy in my 12' Outrage. I realy like the combination of speed, stability and manuverability. I've also enjoyed paddling an Esquif Detonator. That boat spins better than the Outrage but sacrifices speed. On both counts I'd put it halfway between my Outrage and my Foreplay C1.
I've got freinds who paddle Captions solo. Good big guy boats but hard to find these days.

Have fun and
Paddle Hard!

I agree
I agree with everyone so far. I started with an Impulse and wish that I hadn’t. Those things aren’t for someone that is going to be paddling aggressively and trying to improve. The Probe 12 II came next and I really loved it. I had to learn how to block waves to keep dry (used to the Impulse), but it (and 2 very wet summers) allowed my skills to greatly improve. Too many over eager, low water runs trashed the Probe and I knew I wanted something a little more advanced. So after some searching, I found a solid used Viper 12, did a little re-outfitting and then the skies cleared, the rains went away and haven’t been back since. That was 2+ months ago. Bring on hurricane season! What little time I have in the Viper at the play spot and flat water has me excited to get it on some moving water. I’ve paddled an Outrage a few times and I like them. There is an odd brand 12’ ww boat in the classifieds right now at a good price.

I take that back
The boat is gone from the classifieds!

nice pictures, great moustache
and beard…

all good boats
The Probe, Outrage, Shaman and Viper are all good boats. Of the 4, the Probe is probably the most forgiving (but still has plenty of performance), the Outrage and Viper the least.

A Dagger Rival would be another good choice.

Unless you’re a big guy (over 200 lbs), or like the extra stability, you might want to stay away from the bigger “X” boats mentioned- go for something 12 feetish.

After paddling one of these shorter boats, the Encore and Genesis you’ve been paddling (both 13-footers) will feel distinctly barge-like!

Another good place to find used boats is over at

– Last Updated: Jun-22-05 2:35 AM EST –

...a couple more,
Esquif's Zoom is a terrific boat that can go anywhere, solid secondary stability! Like the Ocoee, there are some edges... Nitro is a little bigger boat. Mohawk's Probes and Vipers...and then you have less rocker...or a rockered standard canoe such as Bell's Yellowstone Solo, which looks like a versatile boat....sounds like everyone sells this boat short as in doing Class III-IV..just pack it with bags...!?

w.w. canoe
I bought a dagger ovation yrs ago great condition outfited $500.00 at NOC-GAF in October. It has been a perfect for my 200lb and reasonabley dry with room to grow. Outrage seems to match growth potential a little wetter. Rival’s a time tested quick reaction for a lighter person. Jim A.

Bell Alaskan in III- IV?
Did a class a few years back with some guys in Roylex Wildfires.

Compared to the dedicated whitewater boats the Bells were hard to turn and very wet. The guys paddling them left the class less than happy. This was on class II.

Not to say a skilled paddler couldn’t run harder water in that sort of boat but why would you want to?

Paddle Hard!


Remember the two basic boat buying rules
First Rule: Never buy a boat you have not paddled

Second Rule: Never, Never buy a boat you have not


Body weight and size is critical in selecting a ww canoe


selling the Yellowstone short in WW?
“sounds like everyone sells this boat short as in doing Class III-IV”

I don’t know if you’ve ever paddled one in WW. In my limited experience, the water comes in from everwhere. It is low on the sides the bow lacks appreciable volume and flare.

It’s a lovely boat for the kind of paddling that ScottB does with his though.

Kayaker going OC is rare indeed
For as many kayakers there are on teh water, I imagine you can find some classic used OC-1s for sale. I have Encores and a Viper12. The vip is very nimble yet quite edgy and keeps me on my toes. It is my favorite.

Which is it ?
There are either:

#1 Very few open canoe whitewater paddlers visiting Pnet.

#2 Very few open canoe whitewater paddlers who actually post responses on Pnet.

#3 Very few open canoe whitewater paddlers.

#4 No open canoe whitewater paddlers who disagree with suggestions already made, or have nothing to add.

Which is it?



– Last Updated: Jun-23-05 5:29 PM EST –

For me it was the later, #4 -- didn't post because I agreed with the early responses.

I'm always excited to see a post about OC-1 ww paddling, especially when we win over a double-blader!! But the fleet of ww solo canoes isn't huge, so it only takes a few responses to cover things.

For my part, I saw a lot of the big, dry, old Genesis, H2Pro, Impluse, Rival and Encore when I started. I went looking for a Probe 12 II, but found an Outrage, which I like. When I trade up, I'll probably go with a Viper 12 (I'm over 200lbs) or an Ocoee. I think I'd find shorter playboats like the Detonator too slow for my river running, but I might pick up a C-1 for playing.

I'm sure the smaller pool of OC-1 ww paddlers is a factor too, therefore fewer on the Internet and posting. But that's part of why we like it!


all of the above? :slight_smile:
Not many open boaters out there these days, though I’ll be adding to the ranks by one in a week and a half when I pick up my Probe. It’ll be nice to have my own instead of having to borrow…

Used OC-1 market is tough–you might have to wait a while to find a decent boat at a decent price. I looked for almost two years to find a good deal myself on a used boat. Lots of used Impulses out there (for good reason) and almost as many Encores. Other brands/models are few and far between on the used market. With the smaller community to start with, you get fewer people who buy a new boat then decide they don’t want it after a season.