Solo Canoe Suggestions

Hi! I’m new here, but not new to paddling. I’ve been running heavy OT Discovery’s and similar Mad River tandem canoes for years. I currently have 2 tandems and am looking to sell my Disco 158 to get a lightweight solo. I’m 56 years old, 6’ and 225lbs. I mainly paddle flatwater; tidal rivers/creeks in the Tidewater area of Virginia; mainly to simply paddle, fish, and or explore. No expeditions, per se. Just anything form an hour to a half-day paddle. Any suggestions for someone my size? Something in the 40lbs or less category? Thanks! -Bruce

Wenonah Wilderness might appeal to you. I’m 6’1" and 230 and my Wilderness fits me well. The tidal streams in NC that I paddle are nice in the Wilderness; enough rocker that the bow turns when you want it to and yet it still tracks well. Ultralight layup is 32lbs.

There are other canoes that would work for you but the Wilderness is the one I have experience with. One thing you’ll like about a solo boat is the paddling seat position is optimized for efficient paddling.

Whatever you light weight select, you’ll love the ease with which the canoe gets on top of your shoulders compared the Disco you are lifting today

Thanks, Waterbearer! I’ve been checking out the Wilderness for a couple of weeks now. I’ve read good things about it. I also have a bead on a used Merrimack Baboosic (14’ solo) about 45 min from me. Merrimack’s canoes appeal to me but I don’t know enough about this solo model…

The Baboosuc is symmetrical rocker fore and aft. If you have a spot on J stroke it will be fine… If you don’t it will be frustrating… It truly is a great boat to practice learning what a canoe will do if you have the desire to spend some water time exploring technique.
If I were you I would go test paddle the Baboosuc. It is a good size for taller folk. If you don’t like it you learned a little more about what you want in a canoe.
I do think that the Merrimacs are really nice looking boats.

The Placid Boat Works Rapidfire is a good one to research.

I don’t blame ya’…Discos are like paddling/portaging a VW bus. All mentioned…good choices. Might wanna take a look at any of Northstar’s newer offerings(formerly Bell), which I haven’t so it’s just a hunch. Swift’s Keewaydin 15 or 16 and their Osprey are all high-shouldered. The Osprey is like a Bell Magic…a little more straight on travel. Take a look at Northstar(formerly Bell)…see what they have.

Osprey does pretty well in Class II and it does pretty well with FreeStyle desipte a skegged stern… Its more like an old Bell Merlin. I have seen some pics of a New England paddler in some upper end class 2 IN an Osprey. Because of its shouldered tumblehome its got great secondary stability and wave deflects down.

But it all comes down to being an ambush shopper… waiting for something appropriate to drift by.