whitewater canoe for out west?

I am looking for a whitewater solo canoe, to paddle primarily on some bigger rivers in Western Montana (Clark Fork, Flathead, Blackfoot). I began paddling in NC (where it seems the rivers are more conducive to open boats), but would love to try running some of the bigger rapids out here. I think my biggest concern is trying to keep from swamping (there are a lot fewer rocks to avoid, and mostly big wave trains to survive). I liked the Mohawk Probe, but was reading recently about the Esquif Zephyr, which sounded like it would keep me dryer. Any suggestions?

Also, any advice for where to find a used boat out west? I haven’t had much luck finding anything online.

I don’t think the Zephyr is especially
dry, and it’s hard to do field repairs on it.

I’d probably look for an Outrage X or perhaps set up a Caption for solo use.

Full bags are good for western conditions. You could consider an electric pump. But in fact, there are lots of smaller volume rivers out there, without excessive gradient.

You might find some used stuff on mountainbuzz.com

try the cboat forum
they can tell you what is a dry ww openboat although opinions do differ


use pumps
Any open boat is going to take on water in sustained trains of big waves. Just install two Atwood Tsunami 1200 pumps and hit the switch at the top of the rapid.

Some of the smaller polyethylene boats like the L’Edge are surprisingly dry.

Open boats
Specialized boats can be hard to find in the rural parts of the West. I have had good luck using lots of floatation and developing a style of paddling for big waves and trains. There is usually room to sneak the edges just inside the eddy fence. It will greatly reduce the amount of water shipped into your boats and still avoid most of the rocks.

Used solo WW canoes here in the west…
…are few and far between. Keep looking. One will turn up eventually. Then jump on it fast. I see them at a rate of about 3 or 4 per year on the local CL.