Old Town Koru

I saw an Old Town Koru at local store and wonder if anyone has any experience with this canoe. It is last years model and is the fiberglass version. It is relatively light. I would use it primarily for BWCA trips. The sides seemed more flexible than I am used to. Does anyone have any experience (or input) with this boat?

No experience
however, I believe the Koru is made from what Old Town calls “advanced composite.” While not sure, I believe it is a kevlar/carbon composite material. That would explain the less rigid sides and light weight.

In the initial production run, the Koru was available in two layups, carbon composite and fiberglass. The glass layup was very well done and weighed not much more than the carbon one. The early boats (especially the carbon/kevlar ones) had some less than “ready for prime time” detail issues, but paddled very well. The fiberglass ones, especially with wood trim, were/are very nice boats, having an over all better finish, too. You’ll find that they paddle well and, though I have not paddled one with a load on, should be a pretty good tripper. Early on I was told that the Koru was based on the Canadienne design, but it doesn’t seem as round-bottomed and the Koru certainly didn’t seem to need the load that helps make the Canadienne such a nice tripper (and the lack of which can make it such a bear in the slightest breeze). By the way, this year’s production run of Koru’s includes 50 totally tricked out carbon versions that are the most visually beautiful “modern” canoes I’ve ever seen. The gelcoat work alone is a work of art. There is one on the rack at Rutabaga in Madison; it sells for almost $5,000, so I’m not sure it will ever see water, but what a thing of beauty! Here’s the link: http://www.rutabaga.com/product.asp?pid=1022366 Paddle on!

No experience…
I have no experience with the Old Town Koru, but since it seems to be very similiar in dimensions(length/beam/depth/weight) to the Old Town Canadienne…

I was wondering; have you noticed the Old Town Canadienne posted for sale on 4/17, in the pnet want ads? Sounds like it is in excellent condition, white fiberglass, wood trimmed, and not too badly priced. Don’t know if distance from you would be a problem, or not?


I was quite fortunate about a year…
…ago to get to paddle a composite Koru, one Sunday afternoon on a small creek feeding into the Susquehanna River. Mike McCrea had been provided with several large boats to write a review for one of the paddling rags, and a group of friends got a chance to experience some seat time in an Esquif Miramichi (20-ft. of HEAVY, beefy Royalex - most desirable pack-animal of the bunch, though, should you need to take on frothy ledges and the occasional inopportune boulder), a Bell Northshore (at 20’6", hard to believe I was in a canoe about the same length as an 8-crew Clipper Mariner - fast, BUT, shakey Kevlight layup and brightwork was too loosey-goosey), and a Wenonah model in heavy, non_Royalex plastic, North somethin’ or other, which I think they quit making (didn’t sell).

I absolutely enjoyed the Koru the most. Our model, with beautiful cherry brightwork, was fit-up finely, and while the light carbon body had a little flex neath the wood gunnels, I noticed no flex/oil-canning/rumble issues with the stiff lower hull as we glided quickly over the water. Probably would have liked the seat hangers to have been a bit beefier, especially on the forward adjustable wicker benches’ wood glide rails, but they didn’t seem to suffer too terribly from the imposition of my 220-lb. carcass.

My partner, Dave, who probably weighs in the vicinity of 170-180 pounds, and I were able to easily get her up to a quick and fairly effortless cruisinfg speed. Mind you, we did not have a load of any note (excepting perhaps I) aboard, but the hull felt solid enough in water that got choppy as we rounded a point into northeasterly 25-knotters and the resultant 1.5-2’ chop. With Dave kneeling forward, the big boat still seemed to climb these small waves, slapping mid-section down without to much successive wobble. But, we were cookin’, tracking wonderfully with her lengthy keel line. I felt as though an additional 200-400 pound load would have steadied-out this flare-forward climbing, and that we still would have made quick headway. Perhaps she wasn’t as fast as a Minn II I’ve paddled, but, if I had to have a cargo and/or my 55-lb. mutton-head mutt Moby aboard, I’d rather have the Koru. (Sometimes I feel as though a Wenonah Minn II is just a Voyager with one too many seats, although they say the evolution is reverse to that.)

Turning beam to the stiff breeze was not too difficult in her light state, with a slight tilt lifting out some stem so that tandem work of prys and draws rotated us while she gently lifted without too much roll on sweeping 2-foot waves. Running now with the wind squirrelin’ quarter to aft didn’t really present any fish-tail issues.

Didn’t get a chance to solo her, heeled or otherwise, nor pole her (but then, I’m not takin’ a 18+ foot 3-4K carbon offering into those gnarly schist teeth chewin’ hulls in my poling haunts, anyway), but I think it would have been fun trying.

In short, I loved this boat. Weaknesses? Hell, I’m sure they’re there, likely to remain hidden, for the most part, by my own glaring paddler flaws which more quickly come to light in most hulls under my stewardship. But, if I were to tandem in big lakes, estuaries, and rivers, I think this light & commodious beauty would be on top of my wish list.

In fiberglass, I bet she’s still an exquisite creature. Man, how I’d love to possess one of those $4K works of art that mckennaroad links ut to!

Well, whatever you might acquire for your paddled journeys, fair well, and happy peaceful paddles to you,