Old CD Caribou or Caribou S?

I have an old Current Designs “Caribou”, and am trying to figure out whether it is really a Caribou S, or whether it would count as one of the ones that was built to Barry Buchanan’s original specs, rather than CD’s modified (softer chine) design.

I’m getting ready to sell it, and want to post correct information.

It says the design was licensed from Barry Buchanan, license # 55, made in Canada. Since the last two digits of the serial # are 97, I guess it was built in 1997?

It is about 21-3/4" wide and about 17’6" long.

What paddler+gear (or paddler alone?) weight range it was designed for?

CD says it lost all the records from when it was in Canada, so it can’t help me.

Thanks for your time.

The S was skeg.
The bigger modifications were post 2010. The Caribou “S” just meant it had a skeg. Not sure there was much else to the “S” version from the original CD Caribou. If yours has a skeg, it’s the S. But the shortening and slight rounding was done over a decade after yours was built. Unless there was something significant earlier on. I just recall some talk surrounding the post 2010 modifications.

I have an “S”, about the same vintage as yours. I wouldn’t mind trying the newer modifications, just to see how it feels in comparison.

I had one of the first Bous
that CD made. I think it was a 1997 boat. It was made in Canada.

It was just about the same as my friends only theirs was the original Buchanan boat made of wood.


– Last Updated: Apr-24-14 8:03 AM EST –

I have a 2002 "S". I'd say it paddles well from 130lbs. to almost 300lbs paddler and gear. A 300lb paddler alone won't fit in it.

The redesign gave the paddler a little more room and took away some of the quirkiness that many of us loved. Sort of dumbed the boat down for the masses.

For weight limits, criteria…

– Last Updated: Apr-24-14 1:15 PM EST –

Thanks, folks!

Mine has no skeg, so I guess it isn't an S.

>grayhawk wrote
>I have a 2002 "S". I'd say it paddles well from
>130lbs. to almost 300lbs paddler and gear.

I guess I should have been more specific as to conditions and criteria. Up to what wind wave height (swell doesn't count, as it usually isn't steep enough to matter) have you tested it down to 130 pounds or so?

With my weight around 145 pounds, the waterline isn't as long as it probably should be, and is therefore not as fast as it should be. Other than that, it paddles fine up to about 2.5 - 3' wind waves.

Again, with my 145 pounds, around 2.5 - 3', the bow bounces up and down, so that the bow sometimes punches into the waves, which substantially slows down the boat, and steering effort increases. It's also a very wet ride.

Around 4 - 4.5', it takes a fair amount of effort to control.

Old Bou

– Last Updated: Apr-24-14 2:32 PM EST –

I have a 1998 Bou that originally came without a skeg. About 8 years after I bought it, I installed a skeg. Just made paddling it easier in beam winds.

What you can do is ballast the boat (I did that for years). Put weight in the rear compartment, and that will help with weathercocking and tracking. I used to carry the stuff for me and my better half in the rear, and no problem. As for the bow punching into waves, and being a wet ride, well, get used to it. My Anas Acuta is wetter than the Bou.

I've had mine in seas up to 7 feet or so, and have surfed her a lot. Like any kayak, you just have to paddle it a lot, and adapt to its characteristics. I really like mine.

My '06 Bou is has a skeg
The Bou really need some sort of skeg to control weathercocking when paddling with a quartering wind. I once owned an Artic Hawk and it was quite a weathercocker until I cut a small plastic skeg and glued it aft of the cockpit. This worked very well without really affecting the turning radius. I would do the same thing with a skeg less Caribou. Overall, the Bou is a fine boat.

No skeg needed - center your hands

– Last Updated: Apr-25-14 10:27 PM EST –

Instead of using a skeg or rudder, I just change where my hands center on the paddle. For me, that's a lot less muscle strain than continuously leaning the boat to one side, or taking a lot of extra sweep strokes on one side.

From the experiences of others, skegs and rudders seemed too trouble prone, always needing repairs, and requiring TLC when launching & landing.

But I've never taken the Caribou beyond 4.5'. I've been a more or less beginner level kayaker since I started around 1980.

My SOF rides over the waves, and is much easier to handle in general.