Polers -- Wenonah 'Aurora'?

Polers: Have any of you poled the Wenonah ‘Aurora’, 16 ft. royalex tandem?

Trying to find something lighter than some of the favored, royalex “standards”. Want something that I can also paddle tandem as well as use as a solo river tripper.

From my experiences with

– Last Updated: Jan-12-09 10:00 AM EST –

the Aurora, it seems to ride and handle best with a load in it, so for a tripper it should be ok, but it would not be my first choice for a stable boat to be standing up in with it empty. But that would be one of the trade offs if you go "light".

Any Light Ideas?
Any other options for going light(er) while staying with royalex?

Lighter than what?

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The Aurora is 64lbs in royalex. I haven't tried one, but based on the specs I would think it would be a good poling canoe. I think it should be at least as stable (probably more so) as my Penobscot (which lists a weight of 59lbs), and it poles just fine - although it takes some effort to turn it sometimes. I'll bet the Aurora is a better all-around poler then the Penobscot (on *my* river, at least).

Don't know what weight you're looking to get under, but there should be a lot of boats that will do well if you draw the line at about 66lbs. Wenonah's Rogue looks really good for poling, as does the Old Town Appalachian. Then there are the various 16' Prospectors....and more.

Based on my limited experience (paddling and poling an OT Camper, Penobscot, and Wenonah Fisherman) I think you should put a lot of emphasis on how and where you will paddle the boat. If you stick with a 16'-ish river-tripping or rec tandem, it will likely work well as a poling boat. It shouldn't take long to get used to standing in any river-tripping tandem.

BTW - my 57lb Fisherman poles well, but is a pretty slow and "turny" (works great on slow and twisty water). The Wenonah Heron is a foot longer (15') a little narrower, and also 57lbs. I bet it would be a great poling boat on small twisty rivers with mild current. The Aurora should be a step up above that in hull speed and directional stability. Any of those boats will pole well in the right situation. It all depends on what your river is like. You want to think about where you'll spend most of your time - but since rivers are always changing around the bend or around the calender, nothing is perfect for all.

Another thing…

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I started poling in my Fisherman. It's a very stable boat for standing in. Moved up in size to the Camper (I'm doing the "musical used boat" thing). It's slightly faster and has more directional stability when poling upstream - but not as easy to paddle. And it's not as stable on moving water - due to it's flat bottom.

Picked up the Penobscot next. Faster than the other two, it takes more effort to turn while poling upstream. It's a little "tender" at rest, but handles rough water better than the Camper. It does paddle easily when tandem, and not bad as a solo.

I would think the Aurora will fall somewhere in between the Camper and the Penobscot in performance with a pole.

But here's the point I was leading up to. Although the Fisherman and the Penobscot are special in their own way, I am no longer satisfied with any of these canoes as an all-around poler. I now want something with some rocker and a little more depth - and some flare would be nice too. I want something more lively with a lot of secondary stability. I want more of a river-tripper. If your rivers of choice tend more to something above class 1 water, you may want to consider skipping past the milder boats, if buying new - and then learn to use the boat.

OTOH - if you're looking at used boats as I have, you needn't be picky where poling is concerned.

try tilting your penobscot away from the direction you want to turn. getting your boat on edge should shorten the waterline and help you turn easier.

Lighter Than …
Been looking at some of the new boat specs – MR Explorer, MR Freedom, Old Town Discovery – and finding some hefty weights in the 70 to 80 pound range.

These three models are among some of the more frequent names I have gathered from reading pNet archives about recommended poling boats. I assume some of these models have changed and that some of the recommendations refer more to older or discontinued models. I’d prefer buying used (and cheap).

Just for ease of transport (mostly be doing this alone), I’d prefer the lightest royalex possible. Something at or below the 66 pound max you cite is doable.

The Appalacian looks interesting. I had also gleaned this name from some of the archives on favored poling canoes.

Yep - I’m doin’ it Matt, it just takes more of it to turn than it does with the Fisherman or the Camper. Fortunately, the Penobscot is more stable near it’s gun’l than the Camper. The Fisherman is a turnin’ fool on it’s side. Too bad it gives up speed to the longer boats. :wink:

Hey! The ice has been melting away here the last few days!!! I now have three prospective vict…I mean trainees, if we can just get together. Things are lookin’ up! How 'bout you?

Gremmie - if you can find a used Appy in your area, I will have one more person to envy. :wink: I can’t even find 'em new around here. The local Wenonah dealer has a Rogue rental boat that he won’t sell me :-(, and a bunch of new ones. The Rogue looks a lot like the Appy but with a bit more rocker and depth. If I don’t come up with a used Prospector soon, I’m gonna lean on him a bit…

Used boats

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BTW, gremmie - don't discount the Penobscot. If you're looking for used, there should be a few around - depending on your location. The weight is under 60lbs and it kinda fits your stated use. A good tandem that tracks easily and isn't too hard to turn - but a bit low in capacity for tandem tripping. Solo tripping, OTOH, is do-able - so long as it won't require a lot of maneuverability and you don't expect any serious whitewater. And it actually is a pretty good poling boat. I only run into trouble with it where the river channel is very narrow with tight bends right under a drop, climbing turbulent and confused rapids, or climbing ledges greater than about a foot. I even spent a great deal of time surfing standing waves with it at the end of last summer. And I still consider myself a beginner.

good to hear

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about your "glasshoppuhs". It's fun with a group, entertaining, educational, and social.Personally,
10 boats in the snow and ice, 8 to 28 feet long.I'm just not up for the mid 20's paddling this year, and actually I haven't seen mid 20's for awhile.At least not ready yet.
The hikings been good....
On the plus side, I e-mailed Ed Hayden (the poling master of the universe) and he's sending out the ACA schedule for this year pretty soon. Sold his self designed boat and is having another built.The Souhegan,
bottom of the tandem canoe page for specs, a Lamborghini of poling boats. I'm buying a couple poles from him too, birthday present for Aaron.
Soon as I become a total cripple or a good poler, I'm getting one of those too. Awesome boat, twitchy but rewarding.

If the dealer won’t deal

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couple mail order boats here. They sold out of their Penobscots real quick, but here's one to think about.
And one to drool over. Fred (Ravensjester) has one I believe in this layup (blackcrystal?) and it holds up well.

Rub it in, Matt.
That second one was another that got away. They had one at the local STP - a blem for $1500. Nice! I had to go to work. It was gone when I got back. :frowning:

ooops,sorry Steve
I won’t bother going into how light that boat is, and how well it holds up to our New England granite infested rivers as Ravensjester shows here.


I’ve never tried that boat, but I know racking it after a session is like nothing at all. Fred says when I’m his age I can get one, but I never seem to get any closer in age to him…

I really like Eds Millbrook, though; seriously, like going from Mazda Miata to Formula 1.


I mean, crap, even in that picture it looks like it’s hardly touching the water. I surfed that boat in about 6" riffle, then plopped my Dumoine in the same spot and it didn’t even notice…

Don’t discount the Aurora, or any other
boat someone says is too tippy. I started poling in a boat with a very non-shallow arched bottom, and it was absolutely no problem at all. In fact, a properly arched bottom will respond wonderfully when one steps from one side to the other. You just program your mind to expect it. Later, I poled an OT Tripper, which is NOT a flat bottomed boat, has a definite arch, and lots of secondary stability. It was excellent.

So, maybe you should look harder at the Aurora. Just remember, you do need some rocker in a good poling boat.

rub it in ,Steve
a local STP?? I’m sooo jealous.We got walmart a town away :-(. Couple good canoe shops local but nothing like an STP…

My name’s not Steve, but I’ll rub it in
as long as it doesn’t involve massage.

Photos, Boats …
Thanks for sharing the poling pics. That is some bony water! But very nice.

Would you mind sharing the names of the boat models shown in the pics? I am trying to get a better grasp of what the most popular models are for poling.



yo g2d

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hope to see you this spring, whenever and if you head this way. Get the feeling the alkalinity of any river we paddle will drop dramatically as we go by. Verbal "massage" a specialty, as my myriad of supervisors will attest, and I've been noticing a few one liners coming from your fingertips lately....zing!!....Could be fun ;-).

near missed this post.
Freds poling a Blackcrystal (carbon/kevlar) Bell Chestnut, as I referenced with the STP link. Basically your Prospector hulls are good, couple inches of rocker on each end helps with turning and attaining ledges, although my “mooseboy” Aaron is doing this in a Reflection 15 (Dagger, no longer made) which has maybe an inch of rocker.


Gawd, I love my “kid”, all 6’1", 187 pounds of him, at age 14.

Marshall, on the right in that picture, is a freakin’ awesome poler(won the nationals in his class '2007, Crystal Rapids, Unionville Ct., 20 minutes from my home and I believe this years championship site again), and he’s poling the “industry standard” Mad River Explorer." TommyC1 and Riverstrider have the same boat.

Ed Hayden is poling his own design (and my dream poling boat), the Millbrook Souhegan. This boat is flat in the middle, with 3-4 inches of rocker for ledge attainment and manueverability. That’s kevlar, around 35 pounds, Kaz at Millbrook is building Ed another as Ed sold the one in the picture.