Stripper design for freestyle

I’d like to build a solo freestyle canoe using the strip-planking method, but I can’t find any suitable designs. Does anyone know of any such plans FOR SALE? I emphasize For Sale – I’m not interested in ripping off the lines of a Bell (blank)-Fire.

Note from the Gift-Horse-In-The-Mouth Department: I’ve asked this question of lots of people who are generally knowledgable about canoes, and even about canoe design in general, but not specifically knowledgable about freestyle, and the responses tend not to be helpful. So please, confine responses to true freestyle designs, or be really knowledgable about freestyle before recommending something that’s not specifically called a freestyle design by its designer.

Sorry to put so many conditions on my request, but that’s why I’m turning to this forum – because I can’t find what I’m looking for anywhere else.



You might try to contact
Dave Yost, the designer of the Bell Fire series and see if he would sell you plans for the stations…

Red River

Douglas Ingram from Red River Canoe and Paddle in Canada has some really nice designs…the Esprit and Elan…and Red Fox. If you google Red River Canoe you’ll find his website.

Otherwise, if you scale down prospector like from Bear Mountain, say 7/8’s size or so (end up about 13’-4"), you’ll have a dandy freestyler as well as a river tripper :slight_smile:


Red River Canoe and Paddle

– Last Updated: Nov-08-08 8:02 PM EST –

Red River Canoe and Paddle has two designs specifically for freestyle. He sells plans for a really good price. $30ish. I have a set for the Elan, but I haven't built one yet.

This is from his website:


“The Élan felt just right from the moment I took my first stroke and heeled it’s gunnel to the water. It is rare to find a boat that quickly becomes an extension of the paddler. The Élan is just that kind of canoe. Responsive and easy to spin when heeled, it tracks very well and provides a stable and forgiving platform for beginners as well as experienced paddlers. The Élan is not only beautiful to paddle, it is truly beautiful in appearance. “

-Mark Molina, 2 time US Men’s Freestyle champion , Ft. Pierce Fl.

The Élan is an original Red River Canoe design. While it is a good choice for all round paddling it is primarily intended for Freestyle canoeing. Click to read more about Freestyle. To get information about plans for building your own stripper version, or to see photos of other home built canoes, click here.


Have you ever wanted a canoe so responsive that thought became action immediately? The Esprit is just such a canoe. Described by noted paddler Mark Molina as a "Quietwater playboat", the Esprit was conceived and designed to do only one thing, and to do it extremely well. That one thing is Freestyle paddling.

If you're an experienced paddler looking for a "Hot" canoe and you're looking for a canoe that will both challenge and reward your efforts, then the Esprit is for you.

The Esprit is NOT for touring, general recreation, or inexperienced paddlers.

edit: cross-posted

Contact Marc Ornenstein
at He makes paddles but he also builds stripers and he is big into free style.

Elan looks great
Mike & Brian,

Thanks for referring Red River. The Elan looks just right.



– Last Updated: Nov-10-08 9:46 AM EST –

Those designs were commissioned by Avant and are owned by Placid boatworks. As we make our living selling canoes, we're disinterested in giving the expensive plans away.

Nice looking boats.
I’ll likely never have the motivation to build one, but I’d sure like to paddle the Elan or Red Fox.

Marc Orstein

– Last Updated: Nov-10-08 9:41 AM EST –

Marc is asleep, before a fire, in my living room. He makes top end, wood strip, FreeStyle boats for a living. They are $3.5-4.5K hulls and worth every penny.

It is unrealistic to expect to receive stations that allow you to copy a top end design after someone went through the design/tooling process as a way to making a living.

It's fine to build your own stripper, but one is realistically limited to available designs that didn't make prime time or by designing your own.

Enjoy it. If you end up building one, let us know how you like it. If I had more storage space, I’d have built on already!

Ack Bob, I lost your email
when I crashed my computer.

I am embarassed because you had asked me for some help…

I am interested in doing that but by the time my trips were over this summer, I killed my addy book when I got the yellow screen of doom.

Al Bratton builds strippers that now are very good for FreeStyle

The Widgeon and the Teal are nice little boats. I don’t know however if Al sells the plans only for the do it yourselfer.

Dang! That Teal is tiny!
Only 26" beam.

thats not a big deal
Teal is for smaller paddlers but its not tiny across.

I think that is the gunwale width…about the same as my Nakoma.

Its going to feel tiny if you are coming from a thirty inch beam, but you do get used to it with time.

Try a LoonWorks Toy…I think its a 22 inch beam.

Respect copyright!
Hi CEWilson/Placid:

Not to worry – I respect copyright and have no intention of making an unauthorized copy. (And yes, folks, boat designs are protected by copyright.)

Based on some good advice on this board, I ordered plans for Elan from Red River. I’ll report back when the boat is built.

Thanks all.

I wish that beam specs were standardized
Some manufacturers post max beam, waterline width and gunwale width. Some post only one or two.

For me, I’d like all three and I’d like the gunwale width to be to the outside edge of the gunwale, since that’s what matters for clearance when paddling, rather than the width of the hull at the gunwales. For example, the Hemlock Kestrel hull width at the gunwales is 25.5", but the gunwale width measured on the outer edge was 27.25" on the one I test paddled last month.