Mohawk XL15

Does anyone here paddle a Mohawk XL15? I am looking at one this weekend and was looking for some information, but did not find a lot.

I plan to use it tandem with a rather inexperienced paddler (girlfriend)…on slow rivers with a few class I & II

should be good
I have paddled XL13s (solo) and XL14s tandem. I can’t recall having paddled an XL15.

The XL13 was a staple whitewater open canoe from the early 1990s. The XL14 is a very well-regarded whitewater tandem canoe.

Here are a couple of threads in which the XL15 is mentioned that you might find informative:

Thank you for the info…if might be just what I’m looking for. I will go take a look at it.

You should be good to go
I paddle a Mohawk Probe 14 with my son and it is very stable. The XL series are a step up in size and stability. A lot of camps and colleges in my area use XLs for their beginner whitewater canoe classes.

Specifications and comparison

– Last Updated: Feb-28-14 1:00 PM EST –

Since you were also considering the Old Town Appalachian, it might be good to go to the Mohawk Canoe website to look up the exact specifications so you can compare the two. I took a quick look and saw that it has three inches of rocker. I did not see whether or not the hull is symmetrical and thus suitable for being paddled backward from the front seat by a solo paddler as discussed on your other thread. You'd want to verify that (maybe some of the discussions listed by Pete answer that for you). It "looks" to me like it's more blunt in the ends than the Appalachian, which is fine for whitewater, but it might mean that it's a bit more pokey than an Appalachian on the flats. That's something else you might want to figure out for sure.

Just let me point out that I'm not trying to sway your decision either way. I only wanted to mention some points of comparison that you might wish to consider.

I am pretty sure that all the Mohawk XL hulls are symmetrical. I would say offhand that the XL15 is somewhat more whitewater oriented than the Appalachian and it would likely be somewhat more nimble in rapids and somewhat less efficient on the flats. The threads on cboats dot net would seem to bear that out.

The XL15 was outfitted in various ways and many were sold as bare hulls. Some big guys used this as a solo whitewater boat or whitewater tripping boat. Some were outfitted for solo/tandem use with triple foam pedestals and others had tandem seats suspended on aluminum hanger brackets.

If there is a thwart in place behind a tandem front seat it is not terribly difficult or expensive to take this out and replace it with a kneeling thwart for solo paddling.

I’m always open for input…i enjoy the discussion!

I will do a bit more research on the two so that I can compare specs.


Additional thought on thwarts

– Last Updated: Feb-28-14 1:31 PM EST –

Since a kneeling thwart is suspended on vertical "drops" like a seat, and a regular thwart attaches directly to the gunwales, kneeling thwarts do not have as much ability to reinforce the gunwales as do regular thwarts.


If I were in that situation, I think I'd leave the "interfering thwart" right where it is and install a kneeling thwart behind it. That would put a solo paddler's position a little closer to the ideal spot, and you wouldn't lose the strength provided by the original thwart.

A similar option would be to put the kneeling thwart a little behind center, so that the paddling direction of the hull remains the same for solo paddling as when tandem paddling. Which method is better would depend on the locations of other thwarts.

XL 15
A buddy of mine has one. He likes it but much prefers his Two Brothers Arkota for the kind of paddling you describe. Here are some pics. If you could get your hands on one of those you’d be in love, but they’re tough to find.

I would really like to paddle tandem in an Arkota some day. It reminds me quite a bit of the long departed but revered Dagger Dimension.

Another excellent whitewater tandem tripper/river runner that is still available (till the Royalex runs out) is the Nova Craft Moisie which is the reincarnation of the Blue Hole/Evergreen Starburst.


– Last Updated: Feb-28-14 2:02 PM EST –

MAYBE I can arrange it for the rendezvous. Kinneth loves the area we'll be in and will come in a heartbeat if he can I'm sure. He just has the same problem I do (lack of calendar space) only in spades.

EDIT: OP, please accept my apology for the thread hijack. I do it all the time dadgummit and I don't mean to. Just sorta happens. Carry on.

Two Brothers etc
Wow. The Two Brothers is one slick canoe…from what I can see. I like the Nova as well…so many choices!

Upon reading reviews of various canoes, I see a trend with the more whitewater leaning canoes (high rocker, etc) that some folks will complain on the sides being too low…people getting wet. I probably opened a whole new can of worms, but are there any other disadvantages of having lower sides…in the center of the boat?(dont know proper term) Is this typical for high rocker canoes?

depth and freeboard
A lot of whitewater canoes might at first glance look as if they are not too deep at center because typically the sheerline of the canoe rises to high stems at both ends. The middle looks shallow only in comparison to the ends.

Most whitewater-capable tandem canoes are going to have center depths of around 15". A high performance flat water tandem canoe might have a center depth less than 11".

When you put the canoe in the water with the paddlers and whatever load you intend to carry, and trim it level, the height of the gunwale above the water where it is closest to the water (typically amidships) is called the freeboard. The freeboard will depend on the depth of the canoe, of course, but also its overall buoyancy (determined by its dimensions and hull shape) and its load.

Having more freeboard means water is less likely to enter if wind comes up and kicks up waves, or when crashing through waves in rapids. It might also mean that the canoe can be heeled over more before water starts to enter, but that also depends on the shape of the hull sides. Canoes with more freeboard have greater load carrying capacity.

A lot of manufacturers will list carrying capacities for their canoes based on a 6" freeboard capacity (the total weight of paddlers and load at which freeboard is 6 inches). This info should be used only for comparison purposes. A 6" freeboard capacity would be an absolute minimum (for most tandem teams) on flat water in calm conditions. A more reasonable minimum freeboard would be 8" or more.

Of course, there are downsides to greater depth. A couple which have already been mentioned is greater susceptibility to wind and greater weight. Another factor is that the higher up the gunwales come, the more difficult it can be, especially for those folks with shorter trunks and arms, to reach over them to paddle, especially if switching the paddle over the gunwales from one side to the other.

Just heard from my buddy. Here is what he said verbatim.

“I’ve spent some time in both boats over the last year and they both have their strengths. The XL is a little faster and has a little more volume on the ends for whitewater. Both are stable as a tank. Either one is a great jack of all trades kind of boat.”

Sounds like that XL would make you smile.

Thanks, pblanc, for the info on the freeboard. Makes much more sense now.

Deuce - I think that XL might just make a happy man! I hope it will still be available to take a look.

15’ is kind of short for a tandem boat
I have seen a lot of couples in shorter tandems (heavier man in back, lighter lady in front) and the boat is way out of trim – looks like they are doing a wheelie. An XL 15 outfitted for whitewater would have two saddles close to the center, so trim would be less of an issue. If this boat is outfitted with bench seats, I’d make sure that you both get in it and paddle it before you buy it.

For what it is worth (maybe not much), my personal opinion is that unless you plan to do heavy whitewater, you should go for at least a 16’ boat for tandem paddling - trim will be less of an issue, they are plenty capable in easy whitewater, and they are alot easier to paddle in the flats.

That can be fixed with seat or pedestal
placement. I don’t know how XL15’s used to be outfitted from the factory, but in my 15’ Mad River Synergy, there were no seats or pedestals. I put in a triple saddle and worked out where it should be before I fixed it in place.

During the outfitting process, it helps for the tandem couple to get in, and then for a friend to take pictures of the boat’s trim.

Thanks yall, i will def try it out before I buy.

It is closer to 15 1/2’
The XL 15 is actually 15’ 4" in overall length. When compared to a 16’ Dagger Dimension, the stems on the Dimension are significantly more “proud” (have more overhang) so I suspect the difference in waterline length between the two would amount to only a very few inches.

As I mentioned earlier, XL 15s were supplied with various outfitting and many as bare hulls which were outfitted by the buyers. But the hull length was such that it did not require the paddlers to be very close together in a “Gemini” position as this photo attests:

I have a Dagger Caper set up as a tandem which is a full foot shorter than the XL 15 and there is still reasonable room between the paddlers and plenty of width for knee spacing in the bow station.

The XL 15 will have somewhat less central cargo carrying area than a 16+ foot long boat, if tripping is an issue.

Another couple of reasonably whitewater-competent 16’ hulls that haven’t been mentioned in these threads (and are probably still available new for a little while) are the Wenonah Rogue and the Mad River Legend 16.

XL 15
This thread may be old enough that this reply won’t be helpful.

The yellow XL15 in the previous post with the two boys in it is mine. I use it with them in the middle, and wife in the front seat. Mohawk has one of my pics on the lake on their facebook profile.

I have used the XL15 on overnight canoe trips with a 200 lb adult in the front, and my self in the back (I weigh 350!). It works.

I have taken it down a waterway with some decent sized waves, and small drops (2 feet or so). It turns quick compared to regular “scout” canoes (meaning the 16 foot flat bottomed canoes we use).

It is a fun canoe, especially in waves.

Mohawk will set it up for you tandem, with a center seat, or however you want. I got mine with two web seats, and removable center seat for the boys. One down side, is that the way the factory set this one up for me, I can’t reverse and paddle solo from the front seat.

I have paddled it with two 350 lb paddlers in it on the lake.

I did lower the seats with the lowering kit that came with it. This canoe can make new paddlers nervous because the rocker and shallow arch hull feels a bit tippy.