what the best frestyle canoe..?

i was just looking at those people on youtube…



and tons off video other like that.

just amazing…love those moves they do.

ok i am a big boy.235p…6.1 feet aprox.

what would be my best solo canoe to try those moves…?

i already have a esquif pressage and a scott prospector.both aporx 15 feet…one is royalex they other fiberglace.

might get rid off one kayak soon.mabe could get one more canoe to make those nice moves.

what are the best canoe for this purpose.???

thanks to all


No such thing as a FS canoe per se
FreeStyle is a technique that is applicable to almost any touring boat.

It works with a FlashFire or a Magic, a Nomad or an Argosy.

However to learn with some boats are more fun and give you immediate feedback.

Placid Boatworks WildFire comes right to mind. Its more a matter of your leg length than weight. Height matters.

What you can do right now in your 15 footer Scott is Canadian style…FreeStyle is built on that technique except that with a narrower solo cross moves are possible.

Merrimack Baboosuc is liked by bigger guys and I hear there is a supesized WildFire in the works sometime. Mohawk makes a solo 14.

What people didnt seem to care for was the SuperNova by Nova Craft . Its too spinny. You are looking for a boat that is based on a go straight ahead flatwater design but that has a little rocker. Wenonah Argosy works, Rendezvous better…

What kind of brands do you have access to?

Swift Osprey works quite well as does the Shearwater which is more your size.

Several solo’s
ah’ kin think of at de moment…

Placid Boatworks Flashfire and Wildfire (formerly Bell canoes) an’ Loon Works wood/canvas freestyle boats.

Fat Elmo

not many FSers start with a
three thousand dollar wood and canvas boat.

The FlashFire will hold three big guys but only an inch of freeboard. Three bubbas (each pushing 300) tried to steal mine. They did not understand the concept of solo boat. Imagine 3 in one little canoe! They didnt get far before I caught up with them. They thought it was a borrowable boat and still didnt know it was too small for 3. This was in NJ, the land where anything can and does happen.

Most 6’1" guys feel cramped in and cant get transverse for cross reverse.

canoe freestyle.
kayakmedic…What kind of brands do you have access to?

actualy…almost all kind here i gues…ottawa/ontario.

just a little drive and can get almost anything.

thanks to all.


There are freestyle boats
I would disagree and say that there are freestyle canoes in production.

A boat optimized for canoe dance is not something a novice paddler will feel comfortable in. It will have a much more rounded hull. Symmetrical rocker is a must as is lower freeboard. Sure the Flashfire may fit the definition, but the first thing I would do is cut down the gunwales, getting rid of the tumblehome and lowering the freeboard.

Do you really want a canoe specifically for freestyle or are you interested in learning some of the paddle technique? Yes, Technique can be learned in any boat, but compare boats to shoes, ballerinas wear slippers, not tennis shoes.

The American Traders Twister is a perfect example of true Freestyle canoe.

Wuz’ant awaar of de Twister
Looks like a mighty fine dancer. Thanky kindly fer de info.


Yer lucky Canada folks…

FreeStyle Canoes
FreeStyle boats should perform symmetrically; forward and reverse, port and starboard. Tumblehome helps, because it allows the hull to be heeled through greater angle, lifting the stems higher, which yields faster skidded turns.

Cutting the top off a FlashFire would severely compromise the hulls performance. It would be easier for beginners to bury the rail, but angle of rotation and rate of skid would be reduced.

Workable entry level canoes for Freestyle include the Solo 13 and Solo 14 from Mohawk, Bell’s Yellowstone and Merimack’s Baboosic. The first two are rubber. Only the Bell is available in a top quality laminate.

Folks paddling FreeStyle for a while gravitate towards Loon Works wood and Dacron hulls, Pb’s, formerly Bell’s, Flash, Wild and StarFire or a custom Dog Paddle stripper. There may be a reason for that.

The Twister is not a good

– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 10:23 AM EST –

FreeStyle canoe. It is extremely hard to switch positions (ie from forward to transverse) without boat bobble. Time and time again people who paddle this boat have lost competitions because of the bobble. Transverse is tough too again getting in and out of the position and the boat is too narrow for most people to span with their lower leg. Leg length is really important and must be correlated with the boat.

The FlashFire and the WildFire are cousins of the LoonWorks Nakoma and Aria respectively. The LoonWorks boats have had the gunwales cut down and the shouldered Bell tumblehome modified (mostly I think to get it off the form..the LW boats are wood and dacron). Some people prefer the now Placid Boatworks designs as they allow more athleticism: its very hard to get the rail to the water and people therefore are comfortable with high kneel thrust axles etc and leg extensions on the gunwales.(dont even think about that with a Twister!)

FreeStyle canoes were built on a touring heritage. Not from a whitewater heritage.

I have five FreeStyle boats:

Loon Works Aria, Nakoma, Duet
Bell FlashFire, Bell WildFire EX
Mohawk Solo 13

I have several other boats in which FreeStyle technique aids my tripping

Swift Heron, Raven,
Bell Merlin II

Canada is not the best source for dedicated solos. This movement started in the US. Canadians have a tandem tradition and they have developed Canadian Style solo to use the boat they already own and transform it into something new.

Its a forerunner of FS and you can do all the on side FS strokes in a tandem heeled over. Not cross strokes though as the boat is too wide.

What we like to do in FS classes is take the students and the boats that are presented. Sometimes we switch them to a more learner friendly boat especially if they own a boat that they really need to heel to the rail (like a Bell Magic). Its not the fault of the boat; it will do FS. But the student needs something more turnable to get instant feedback on what they need to improve on. The heel comes later. Rare is the new student who wants to heel to the water on day one. For some it takes years.

OK shameless plug..If you would like to see and try a variety of boats come to the Adirondack FreeStyle Symposium in Star Lake NY July 16-20 . Southerners would find La Lou closer in place and time; the first weekend in April.

I still do have a holy grail of boat yet to be found. Pat Moore did a demo years back to prove its the paddler and not the boat. He used a Grumman and snowshovel. One of our own p netters is continuing the Grumman tradition sans snow shovel. I would like a Grumman 13 footer.

for your size
I would recommend a used Bell Wildfire or a new one from Placid Boat Works. Although no canoe will do everything as well as one specialized for the type of water you want to do, the Wildfire comes as close as I’ve seen. Great for FS, designed for moving water, OK (not great)on flatwater for traveling. It’s just a fun boat. Also, if you start with a more advanced hull as this is, it will help make you a better paddler…assuming the requisite effort is put into learning how to paddle. Have fun! Non destination paddling (FS) has helped change the perception of a canoe from one of a vehicle for travel, to a vehicle for play–with no shuttle needed. OK, I know WW boaters have been “playing” long before FS evolved, but then there is that pesky shuttle…

Very interestin’, Kayamedic
Dis here thread be’a gittin’ mighty interestin’ an’ very informative. Thanky ta yer an’ ta ya too Charlie.


A different approach
try to see how many times you fall out of your esquif. Sure a Wildfire would be an optimum boat for you to own, but you already have a boat that you can fumble around in.

Yes your boat is a tank to move. and finding the sweet spot for the plant on a post will be tricky, but then when you buy a boat better made for this interest you will spin on a dime, or what ever you say in Canada.

When I took my first lesson I was in a WildFIRE that I was loaned. I actually had barely been in a canoe in year. Just the occational trip in a rented alumicraft or something. I LOVED every second of it. SO I got a boat for me to be my all around boat (WeNoNah Solo Plus). I then took it the next year to the midwest freestyle symposium. I found that it works just fine. It isn’t the boat, it is the paddler. Yes it is harder for me to do maneuvers in a boat 2.5 feet longer, like 4 inches wider, no rocker and a flat bottom, but it can be done. and it is VERY enjoyable. and learning it in a boat you use a lot makes ANY paddle time more enjoyable.

OK if it were me, I would go take lessons or something in you boat, then try a WildFIRE then buy one (the WildFIRE) when the money is there.

well there are a few of my thoughts to add to the thread,


Savage River Wee Lassie?
This boat is advertised to make a good freestyle canoe when set up for kneeling.Seem aufull short.Anybody had any experience with this boat?


never seen it much less as a FS boat
CEW, whole stole the SpitFire?

Doesnt look well braced for FS. Dont know about the way the fabric is installed if its stiff enough for kneeling.

Might work if you are 90 lbs like George Washington Sears and a very small person. Most bigger people would not be happy with this for FS unless they are looking to get wet all the time.

Falling in constantly takes a little away from the learning process.

Who would steal spit?

– Last Updated: Jan-06-08 9:13 AM EST –

Immediately after the flood, there were three solo FreeStyle canoes: the Lotus Dandy at ~ 13.5', the 13'8" Curtis LadyBug and the 11'10" BlackHawk Proem. Only the LadyBug had significant rocker. The LadyBug and FlashFire are basically the same boat from the same designer, Flash has shoulders that increase stability when heeled and reduce wave splash, the LadyBug catalogs longer, but that is just layout at the stems.

The Proem was the first of the minimalist solos- followed by the Mad River Pearl and two sizes series from Pat Moore, who designed the Proem. If the Wee Lassie were to be used for FreeStyle it would bring back this defunct genre.

Most current FS hulls, which actually amount to good river trippers, have pretty significant and symmetrical rocker. Straighter keeled hulls keep the trailing stem in the water when heeled and that reduces the angle of rotation of skidded turns.

Tripping boats are fine for beginning FS technique, but the same differential rocker that helps them track becomes an issue when working on reverse maneuvers. The sticky stern almost demands carved reverse moves - it'll carve away from the intended direction if heeled inside the turn. That said, I introduced myself to FreeStyle paddling in a Curtis Vagabond, pretty much the same hull as Placid boats RapidFire and Hemlocks Kestrel.

Pack canoes can have weaker sidewalls because the paddlers weight is transferred to the, hopefully, rugged bottom of the boat. When we build kneeling versions of our pack canoes we add 20oz of reinforcing in the sidewalls. Our extreme tumblehome increases the need for the extra fabric; a straight sided hull like the Savage Wee Lassie might get by with less fabric, but the straight sides need a paddler with wider shoulders.


– Last Updated: Jan-05-08 6:59 PM EST –


you guys do no about your canoes.

this is a very interresthing tread..love it.

i will put the hours in the practice...just have to do it in what i have now or try to save some $$ and get something a bit better for this purpose.

i wont get a canoe just for that..but something a bit better for this and solo canoeing.

any more info is welcome....on what models etc is recommaned.

i wqas looking at '' bell canoe site...i dont see the models that as been talking about in here..why?older models.?

thanks to all

Bell no longer builds the
Fire series of hulls. Check the Placid Boat Works site.

Interesting stuff!
This was one of the most intereting threads I’ve read here in a while. Almost got me wanting to try freestyle! Or, am I just looking for an excuse for another boat? Not that I need one. Boat. Or excuse.

I’m guessing the SRT has a bit too much volume and freeboard to be a decent freestyler. I’ll have to stick with my explorer.


srt and freestyle

– Last Updated: Jan-07-08 9:28 AM EST –

That SRT will perform much better than a MRC Explorer. The volume in the sides lets you lift the stems higher. The narrowness and tumblehome allows cross strokes, which are one of the keys to the kingdom.