Solo Canoe Advice

I am interested in getting a solo whitewater canoe and was looking for some input/suggestions on a good boat for me. I am experienced with whitewater, but have little experiencing sizing and choosing a solo boat. I have been a raft guide on and off for the past 10 years in West Virginia and enjoy up to class 5. I have also spent alot of time on rivers/lakes tandem canoe trips up to class 2 and 3. I like surfing(who doesn’t), and want something that wont be obnoxious in technical rapids. I like the looks of the MR Outrage, but want to make sure I get the right size. I am a tall guy,6’6" and 185 pounds. Will I be out of place in canoes getting shorter and shorter…i.e…Detonator, Zoom.

Any advice is appreciated, Thanks!

I’ll just offer this

– Last Updated: Apr-10-13 6:47 PM EST –

and be aware it's only my opinion. Go with soft chines like the outrage has. The hard chine boats offer more exciting ferrying and peel outs, but imo are much harder to handle, and skip side surfing. I have cut way back on paddling in favor of poling lately, and mainly hang with yaks anyways, but used to find it funny when people would knock my Encore (my go-to boat, which includes a millbrook flashback, whitesell pirana, and formerly a gyromax c-1) as a dinosaur, yet find after the run they were just hanging on, or swimming, in their hard chine boats, while I was surfing and having fun playing the same run.
Haven't even seen one, but the l'edge is the hot ticket these days I hear.Hear good things about Mohawk probes as well.
Hard chine boats I enjoyed for park and play.
Check for more and better answers. I think a lot of those guys are down your way anyways. If I still had knees I'd be jealous ;-)
As far as your weight goes; no issues with anything I don't believe. At 6'6" I'm guessing outfitting and wear and tear on the knees will be a bigger issue. I went from 4-5 days a week paddling to "only when it's epic" due to knee issues...thank God for canoe poling!

check also on cboats dot net

– Last Updated: Apr-10-13 6:58 PM EST –

You will get a lot of disparate opinions.

If you haven't done any solo whitewater canoeing I would probably look around for something used. The "hottest" new boats are the short, one-layer polyethylene creek and playboats like the Esquif L'Edge, Blackfly Option, Octane, or Ion, and the older Pyranha Prelude and Pyranha, or now Esquif Spanish Fly. Perhaps Mohawk will come out with their Phiend to join this group of boats.

If you are going to be paddling less rocky, larger volume runs you might consider a composite boat. Millbrook Boats has a number of nice models and their newest, the Shacho has been well-received in the Northeast. Millbrook also makes a nice composite version of the erstwhile Dagger Rival.

More conventional Royalex boats can be categorized by how edgy they are. Boats with a flattish bottom and rather sharp chines can be trickier for some to master as it is easy to "trip over" the sharp chine on rocks or a strong eddy line, but they carve arcing turns better and have better directional stability on ferries. Some of these are the former Dagger/Bell Ocoee, the Mohawk Vipers, and the Esquif Spark. Nova Craft canoe is going to start molding and selling the Ocoee again.

More rounded, soft-chined boats include the Outrage and Outrage X, the Rival, the former Bell Prodigy, and the Esquif Vertige.

A lot of boats are in-between with double chines or a softer chine such as the Dagger Ovation, Esquif Nitro and Detonator, and Mohawk Probes.

It is really hard to know what you would come to favor until you have paddled a few. The sharper-chined boats with flattish bottoms (which boof well) are often favored by some of the "hotter" boaters, but I know extremely skilled whitewater boaters who paddle Mohawk Probes, Dagger/Millbrook Rivals, and Mad River Outrages.

If you can hook up with some other whitewater open boaters on Facebook, over on cboats dot net, or a paddling club you can probably have an opportunity to try out some different types. You don't necessarily need to join a club in your locality since all clubs in the Eastern US tend to show up at the same rivers.

Jeremy (Blackfly Canoes) has a new
"Option"…a little drier & overall improved Option…the old-original is still pictured on his website. Some guys I’m familiar with on, that do a lot of ww" praise it. The pic of the old one on his site doesn’t do justice to what one can find here & there in video clips…fwiw.

Yes, check out the MR Outrage. Might wanna check out the Boats Forsale forum on as well, along with Boatertalk and here in the Classifieds…often stuck in here & there.


go used
I bought two OC-1s used for less than either of them would have cost new. A Millbrook Rival and an Esquif Nitro. So, I think that is a great way to save some money and have tons of fun.

I know what you need AND where to get it
Dagger Ocoee 4 sale on the East Tn. white water club forum … they are in Oak Ridge Tn.

The boat is used, priced at $400, good deal grab it fast like right now, as soon as u see this.

Outrage and Chines
At 185 you might be at the top of the ideal weight for the 12’ Outrage. Personally I think the 13’ Outrage X is just as good and suited for heavier folks.

That said I go 200 lbs and still paddle my 12’ Outrage. Maybe I’m in denial?

I also like the Encore. That boat thinks I’m a lightwieght.

Both of those are soft chined boats that perform nicely.

Hard chined boats like the Occoee and Viper are said to provide more control. Many paddlers with better chops than I swear by those hulls.

You really have to paddle as many as you can and find what works for you.

I have both soft and hard chined boats
and I don’t find that “control” is essentially tied to chine appearance. It’s a good idea to try a boat to see how it feels.

A chine that “looks” soft may still carve pretty well. And as for a hard chine, we should remember that a really sharp chine, like on the Dagger Axiom kayak, is sharp so that it is “loose” and lets the boat skate on fast water.

You’ll probably going to need…
to change the outfitting in whatever your find - especially at your height. I paddle Tommy’s old Encore. I love the boat and he gave it to me for a good price, but the pedestal was way to low for my liking. I ripped it out an put in new Mike Yee outfitting with a 10.5 inch pedestal - that’s the highest that he would make for me. It cost me 3 times what I paid for the boat, but now I can kneel all day.

The only trouble is that I do tend to tip over a lot…