Transitioning from kayak to canoe

I am looking for advice on a solo canoe purchase. Because my knees will no longer cooperate with exiting my kayak, and because of my increased interest in paddling backwaters, I am preparing to transition from my Eddyline 17.5 kayak. I paddle the tidal Hudson often, and enjoy the river’s marshes and tribs. Therefore I have certain considerations. Paddling the Hudson typically involves long stretches of relatively flat water for which a swift paddling boat is a pleasure. But the river is also used for large commercial traffic, such as tankers and tugs, and paddlers must therefore negotiate significant wakes. Additionally, certain broad reaches put up large chop and rollers when wind is against the tide. On the other hand, the channels of the marshes typically have winding curves and though paddling there is slow, a canoe that can turn well will be important. I would like a solo canoe of no less than 15’ for the swifter paddle, and so that I can bring fishing and camping gear along. There are my requirements. Anyone have recommendations for my new canoe?

Do you want to single or double blade?
Single blading could require learning strokes anew, a pack canoe is lower and can be paddled double blade. Have you thought about one or the other?

Do you want
to kneel or sit? Or both? Your size and load requirements would help.

Those are the conditions where
Sit on Tops shine and you wont find anything easier to mount and dismount.

Some canoe experience

– Last Updated: Jan-02-16 3:21 PM EST –

Thanks. I do canoe local marshes with the provided fat, heavy canoes. I know J and C strokes but that is the limit of my canoeing skills. I am actually eager to improve my canoeing skills. I am familiar with the canoe/double-blade debate. I am not a slave to tradition, however, but most of my paddling will be on the main river. Any more info about pack canoes would be helpful, keeping in mind that swift response on the main river is important given all the motorized traffic, and the conditions out there change suddenly, either because of our fluky weather or the sudden yacht or solo tug that put up 3 and 4 foot wakes. John

When canoeing, I prefer kneeling with the support of a seat behind, and then using the seat for occasional knee relief. I am 6’ 1" and 225. I would bring along light to medium fishing gear and very occasional minimal camping gear. So, no heavy loads. When kayaking I grew to very much enjoy the length of my 17.5. Of course, I am accustomed to its small rudder and speed, so new habits and skills will be required. I am at home on the water but have small canoeing skills – C and J strokes. But many years on the water from commercial fishing skiffs to larger patrol vessels, in addition to my kayak.

Sit atops
Thanks for the thought. I am uncomfortable with them given the main river, where a sudden Long Island yacht or solo tug putting up three to four-foot wakes are frequent enough realities. And I like the stability of sides and gunwales. I don’t mind getting wet, but if I am going to paddle from April to November, I need a drier ride.

something like Kruger Sea Wind

may meet your needs. Has the performance qualities you are used to plus the ability to weather rougher water. And at the same time allows for different paddling positions.

Nice but out of my range
Wow, and love the reviews. Sadly, out of my price range unless I can find a bargain resale. I imagine that is rare. Thanks for the headsup.

Kayak to canoe is an easy transition
yes. solo canoe. I have seen many a kayaker take up solo canoeing and in all cases they learn at lightning speed.

In your kayak you are used to being at one with the craft. And typically once past the beginner stage you edge the boat to turn. So the sheer narrowness of the solo canoe is not a big fright to you. You already know how to make the craft turn left and right. You probably use a reverse sweep.

The push and pull of strokes and effect on hull is the same. The body mechanics differ a little.

The Sea Wind is a bit pricey and its not possible to kneel in it with the standard seat. I have a Mad River Monarch and it too is with the standard seat only for sitting. However you could ( with luck) find one and change the seat. They are decked canoes meant for ocean travel and single blading.

yes the price is alas not a misprint. Occasionally one floats by used but not often and not cheap.

Now for an open solo canoe. Lots to pick from: Hemlock Peregrine , Colden Nomad, Swift Osprey, Swift Keewaydin 15 are all East Coast boats. You may want a spray cover from Cooke Custom Sewing if you are out in breaking waves.

I’ve paddled the first two ( I own them) in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Maine… Lobster boats think nothing of generating five foot waves so the spray cover helps. However all of them have a hull shape that flares toward the top before tucking in at the paddling station to allow a vertical stroke. This makes for good waveshedding and stability.

You can also paddle a solo canoe with a double blade if you like. Sometimes I like a double when there are waves rebounding off cliffs and rocks.

Collinsville Canoe and Kayak in Connecticut on the Farmington River may be able to help you ( just a little WNW of Hartford)

Like the specs of the Peregrine
Thanks so much for the tips. I had not seen the Peregrine but now it has my eye (BTW, the beginning of the video sure looks like it was shot at Denning’s Point in the Hudson Highlands, a favorite landing of mine). I like that the Peregrine has an even lesser max beam than the Keewaydin but extra length over the Nomad. It may be just my style. I am interested in your experience double blading with it. Even for 6’1’, I have monkey arms – 37" sleeve length – and would enjoy the option of double blading, if it suits the canoe. Mainly because I enjoy the physical movement and symmetrical workout of it. But it is equally important that standard paddling is a smooth experience. Question: because the river, its marshes and backwaters are tidal, I spend significant time paddling against the current, usually half the trip, naturally – thoughts about that? And maneuverability of the Peregrine in the serpentine channels of the marshes?

I went the other way
as the knees got bad I went from canoe (c1) to kayak.

Just something to think about

If you heel the boat the pressure on the
stems that keeps it tracking lessens. So just as you edged your kayak to the outside of the turn, edge the canoe to the outside of the turn.

IMO the Nomad is the better of the two hulls as the Peregrine is not 15’9" water line length. And the Nomad IS 15’4". The latter has a plumb stem and the former raked bow and stern. P comes in about three inches shorter.

However I doubt that would make much of a difference…o wait. Two of us were paddling up against the tides and Nomad blew P away… Of course I might have been the weaker paddler in the P.

They are not spinny boats but manueverable enough for 90 degree turns with one static pry or draw. Particularly if edged.

You might think of a road trip to see both Dave Curtis in Hemlock NY and Paul Meyer in Colden NY, the small shops that make these canoes.

Understood. Thanks for the thought. I have put off this decision for years. My problem is not discomfort, it is exiting. I can paddle for hours. But I already know from experience that my repaired knees and long legs make a safe and efficient wet exit more difficult than it should be, even with the large cockpit of my Eddyline 17.5.

My experience double blading
I use a 230cm when kayaking. Tried to double blade canoe with it and it was far too short.

I paid about $20 for a Marine Raider (Bottom end Academy Sports) 240 and when kneeling it is about bare minimum length. I don’t know where you would get longer but it feels like it needs to be to me.

My 10ft closet pole feels like it would be about right length for a paddle when seated. That would be over 300 cm.

Funny… ah’ knows of somebody
sellin’ a Peregrine here in Joisey… ;>)


And I somewhat disagree with what String said above about sit on tops being so easy to enter and exit. In my experience, that depends upon the situation entering and exiting. Stepping off a SOT into a foot of water with a firm bottom is easy, Stepping off one when it’s pulled up against the bank or in four inches of water as you ground it on a sandbar…well, the canoe is WAY easier for me to exit in those situations.

Just saw the same spec
A little while ago - about the raked Peregrine. Interesting. I am happy to see both it and the Nomad are built in NY. Is the Peregrine a drier boat in wakes and waves? On either, is it useless to paddle along with a kayaker friend?

Emailed you
Sent you an email about the Peregrine

Get Yourself an OC-1
Something under 30 pounds, which you can also remove the rudder too, if you don’t need it?