Old Town Koru Info

Has anyone had any experience with this Canoe? I was wondering if it was worth its price tag on the Old Town website. I have an Old Town Canadienne and the Koru looked to have a similar design.


OT prices run a bit high for canoes
because of the “name.” The price would be good for a Canadian glass/Kevlar boat of similar dimensions (I have one such) but is a bit high for a pure glass layup, even one that’s held to 60 pounds. The lines look nice, but they don’t cite a designer.

There are certain Old Towns like the Royalex Tripper that continue to offer something not easily obtained from other makers. The Koru looks real nice, and if you love your Canadienne, you’ll forget the price of the Koru soon enough. But I would be looking at the faster Bluewaters to cut 10 pounds with similar speed, or at Wenonahs available in Tufweave for durability better than pure glass in fast hulls.

there is a carbon Koru in their
showroom in Oldtown. I don’t remember its pricetag…but sure would be lighter in weight. If thinking about this one, outta give their store a call and ask about the carbon version.

You generally get
what you pay for. My personal experience with old town is that the workmanship is superb and they stand behind their products. I am not familiar with that particular model, but keep in mind it is a wood trim boat with a sliding front seat which puts the price up quite a bit. Old Town generally does a first class job on wood trim - superior to most.

Their workmanship is very good but
not exceptional. The real issue is their designs, which with isolated exceptions are, at best, better than average.

Maybe the Koru will be one of their best. But I don’t know the designer and I haven’t seen the entire hull.

Once again, we disagree -

– Last Updated: Jun-03-12 6:45 PM EST –

and I guess that is what makes the world go around! My experience has been that in the high price points the workmanship is outstanding - especially the wood trim.

I don't know the price point that the other boats you mention come in at with similar quality wood trim. If the trim is comparable in quality and the price is less - then yes.

i saw
An all carbon one hanging in the Kayak Corral in Saline, MI on Friday. It was very pretty. $1999 was the price, I think. It was basically brand new but a 2007.

Ryan L.

That would be a very good price for
a “carbon” boat. Carbon cloth prices have been high due to aerospace use.

Geoff king koru designer
here are excerpt i read concerning the koru designer…

Geoff King, 58, who has worked for the company since 1969. “Hardly anything has changed.”

King’s father, Walter, designed Old Town’s first fiberglass canoe in 1966. An innovator in his own right, Geoff designed one of the company’s popular plastic kayak models AND CHECK THE LINK BELOW FOR the SPECS on the CARBON KORU. I want that one!


In April of 2007, right about when…
…Old Town was first issuing its Koru hulls, I was fortunate to get to try one, thanks to my friend Mike McCrea who was writing reviews for Paddler Magazine at that time. It was the carbon lay-up, a glossy black pearl of beauty, decked and gunneled out with a rosy cherry wood. Doug Gibson, a fella who knows his boats, having sold hundreds over the years at Blue Mountain outfitters, thought that the brightwork may have been farmed-out to one of the West Coast wrights of fine wooden canoes, and not the wood-canvas stable of Maine gentlemen that Old Town usually uses. With it’s curved-back stems it certainly was a hull that made you stare in admiration.

I believe Mike was doing a somewhat “casual” review at that time of, shall we say, various length “freighters,” or big boats. I believe there was also a Bell Northshore, in their greenish Kev-light layup (exhibiting those annoying symptons, of about that time, that Bell workmanship was sliding into the shabby), a Wenonah Royalex Northfork, an Esquif model, I think the Miramichi, although that may have come later and the boat was a big Royalex Prospecteur, and the Koru. An odd mix.

Anyway, it was easy to like the Koru when just considering the others. But, and we didn’t really get to paddle it much - just a brief jaunt up Broad Creek and then back down and around a windy point into some chop on the Susquehanna - when Bluemerle and I took our turn I found it was a light, semi-lithe, and comfortably steady craft I enjoyed immensely. Not as quick a glide or hard a track as the Wenonah Minn II, but then none of that twitchiness, either, that is easily set into disharmonic sway by a antsy dog passenger, or overly enthusiastic nose-blower.

The feeling I got was somewhat reminiscent to when I paddled at Assateague a Novacraft Blue Steel 17-foot Prospector Mike had on loan, although with a tad more glide, and a tad more tightness in both the bow stem and the seat-hangers. But Dave and I were able, unloaded of cargo as we were, to turn her rather quickly. In fact, when we hustled her up into a hard charge at the wind and 2-foot chop, she seemed to (the much lighter Dave in the bow) rise and skip off of wave peaks, producing a carbon-clap as Dave and the fore hull came down. Likely a midships load of camping gear or 70-lb. Lab would have negated this. But, her slight beaminess being part of the equation, she always felt keel-tight, not a weeble of wobble. A reassuring feel.

I began to lust after this black beauty, but her $3K +/- sticker was too far from my reach, and, after another tester on another date found just the right rock to run distracting scrimshaws down her underbelly, she was shipped off to a MD Eastern Shore locale, where some fortunate buyer obtained her at, so I was told, a reduced, $2,500 figure. Still not cheap!

Anyway, I don’t know how the glass-model presents itself, but I’m sure not too badly. It is likely, however, that the layerings and gel-coats might not be up to a steady diet of schisty-shufflin’ (rocky river encounters) like say the layups that Mr. Henry and his excellent workers (Is that you, Rob?) were producing “back then” on some of his Mad River hulls (a.k.a. my 1991 Explorer, still taking lickin’s from mid-Atlantic riparian rocks).

If this current Koru new and in reach for a sub-2K figure? Might be a fairly good deal at that price.

I’ve currently got my sites on a Bluewater Explorer in their Golden-Braun layup. Ah, but for that elusive cash.

Fair paddles to you.