Atom and the Fink

Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!

Moderators: adamin, kenneth, sbroam, TheKrikkitWars, Mike W., Sir Adam, KNeal, PAC

User avatar
Craig Smerda
L'Edge Designer
Posts: 2815
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:59 am
Location: WaUSAu Wisconsin USA North America Earth, etc.

Atom and the Fink

Post by Craig Smerda » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:15 pm

Pro's & Con's... let's hear 'em?

I'd like to hear about ALL of the good and bad things about the last two commercially available plastic production C1's

I'm (hopefully) going to borrow an Atom this weekend from someone that has one just to hop in one and get a feel for it again... I had one about a decade ago. There's a Fink around here as well... not sure when I'll be able to hop in it... but I'll make an effort to do so.

PLEASE don't start talking about converted kayaks on this thread. :roll:
Esquif Canoes Paddler-Designer-Shape Shifter

CBoats Addict
Posts: 941
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2003 2:43 am

Post by cheajack » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:37 pm

I like symmetrical hulls with edges. The Fink lacked both and that's why it didn't stay around long. It was very comfortable and I liked the size of the cockpit. The Atom is mostly symmetrical and has hard chines. What I found lacking in the Atom was volume in the ends. It has a tendency to porpoise in the bow if paddled forward and you can get stern squirted if you get lazy on drops.

C Guru
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:48 am
Location: Durango, Colorado

Post by coloradopaddler » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:00 am

i've never paddle the fink, but i've been paddling my atom a lot lately and find it very fast and remarkably stable (compared to the converts i've been paddling up until now, but they aren't mentionable on this thread).
compared to my open boats i would say i love the speed of the atom (but i paddle an ovation so take that as you will). for a fast, stable boat i think there is plenty of volume, i don't run it on hard stuff, it's going to be my slalom boat next weekend since i don't have a real one.
you're looking for ideas, i would like a shorter boat with more edges relative to the atom, but not sharp ones! if you are discounting kayak designs you may be missing a lot of good hull characteristics. sure a dedicated modern c1 design would be appropriate but don't overlook what does work with converted boats.
also, the atom tracks well, a very significant point in designing the next great factory c1! good luck!
Last edited by coloradopaddler on Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
In a canoe you don't just float down a river: you're part of it- a silent water creature responsive to every surge and flex of current, gliding like a fingertip over a naked green body. "The River Why" David James Duncan

Sir Adam Staff
Posts: 4112
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Adirondacks, NY State, USA

Post by Sir Adam » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:04 am

Last two production <plastic> C1's? That would be Fink and Wheelboy I believe;)

But to your point - I haven't paddled a Fink (still need one for the museum), but I've had an Atom since they came out. For my weight (160 lbs ish) it is a lousy boat. Heavier folks (185+?) can squirt the stern nicely... lighter folks don't have as much problem with the rear deck catching. I had some nice swims out of mine before I picked up a hipgrabber (mine was the first year - pre hip grabber), as well as redid the center strap anchor.

I think it is too much of a compromise boat - not fast enough to slalom, not forgiving enough to creek, not low volume enough to squirt, not fast enough (or too long, depending on the location) to surf.

In my opinion, what the market "needs" is a good purpose designed creek boat, that could also be used for big water and tripping (perhaps). The Fink fits this slot, but only if you are an aggressive paddler (from what I hear - I've yet to paddle one remember). What we "need" is a more forgiving boat. For other disciplines there are excellent boats around, some of which are even in production:

Surfing / river running - Sith, Wheelboy for some, Viper, full cut Acrobat
"rodeo" ( for lack of a better term) - Wheelboy, Shaggy Pagan, Sith for some.
Slalom - plenty of new and used boats here!
Cquirting - Ceemweaver, Acrobat (master cut), Mentor
Creeking-? (I've used a Cascade and Atom, and prefer the Cascade. But it's really too long for where a lot of folks run these days).

Yes, I know, a lot of these are <gasp> glass. Quite frankly I find kevlar / glass / carbon boats far superior when paddling most places - the big exception being creeking.
Keep the C!

User avatar
PAC Staff
Posts: 3311
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 1:07 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Post by PAC » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:05 am

I actually like the no-symmetrical design (yep to each his own). :-) Its definately a boat that has to be paddled cab forward and it takes some time to figure out what she is all about... but worth it.
I do hate the factory hip grabers...which make it harder to roll IMHO. 5 swims on class II in less than a few miles with them in and few at higher classes with out them over a long duration.
When placed on edge she'll get up and get it going quickly.
Seems to releases out of sticky holes better than symmetrical hulls (right side up or upside down - due to the beaver tail). Easy to roll if forward but if your back you swim!
Really resurfaces well if you are cab forward - but if you are sitting back its ender-ville. You have to be proactive in the boat and can't do the paddle drag.
Good semi plaining hull design too for surfing bigger features.
Overall a different design and one I really like... not too much I'm not willing to run with her.
I've been and the more recent conversions and I keep going back to my Fink. Guess I'm just dialed into what the design is about and will keep this boat for some time.
Out of the box design approach.. you either love or hate it!

Atom - a plastic race boat from the old school thought. Nice but too long for surfing (verses what the Fink gives me). But surfs well enough.
Slower to get going than glass (tad faster than the Fink but its close) and no real hard edges to leverage. Really good for its day but ... if I wanted a slalom boat I'd go (and did) with glass. Easier to roll and durable. If you want to slalom on boney runs its the ticket. Not a creeker (like the Cascade) but not real bad when in IV and below (much more responsive than the Cascade). I've had 2 of them and sold both to folks that love them! If you like this boat you love it.

My $.01!
Last edited by PAC on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Paul C.
Cboats Moderator
Official TOG Member (Team Old Guy)!

CBoats Addict
Posts: 326
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:17 pm

Post by cadster » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:02 am

No experience paddling the Fink and agree with most of the comments so far about the Atom. I found it to be good at surfing glassy waves as long as you weaved a lot. I gained more skill from boating the Atom than the Cascade.

My memory was that the Cascade followed the Crossfire and the Atom followed the RPM. I thought these kayak/C-1 pairs looked similar.

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 328
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2002 6:55 pm
Location: Boston MA

Post by Kelly-Rand » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:42 am

So you never stated what you want to do with said boat. The atom is a predictable boat that is fast moving from one side of the river to the other. It side surfs well. Front surfing is dependent on the character of the rivers you paddle. The Dry Fork of the Cheat is the best river for the Atom I've paddled. Except for Swimmers and Cucumber the LY is uninteresting in the Atom. I tried the Fink once and did not like the feel of the boat. I'm just a little more than 170 lbs and the Fink just felt slow to me. It may be the better creeker but the lack of edges is going to make the average class III river dull in my opinion, not enough edge to play features on opposite sides.
So how do I qualify my opinion? Well my fast forward boat is Viper C1, a kneel board with a deck. It tends to pearl when attempting to attain steep features but is fast if you hit it right. It also moves side to side quickly (nice edges).
I don't paddle class V except in a shredder and I only paddle class IV on occasion in the Atom. If you have to run a class IV hole in the Atom expect to disappear in the foam pile and have to roll, so pick a line that lands you off of the main flow so you don't have to ride the main stream down to calmer waters to roll. The Atom has taught me a lot about river running and I've enjoyed it all.
Jim KR

"with single blade in hand
a C-1 I will stand"

CBoats Addict
Posts: 413
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 4:40 pm
Location: Atlanta

Post by xmas0c1c1k1 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:44 am

Limited time in the atom, but agree that it was a bit to much of a compromise boat.
The fink well lets see I had one for a bit and didn't like it at the time but might like it more if I was to paddle it now after spending some time in slalom boats I would prob enjoy the stern a bit more, but I don't know if I'm convinced that type of stern is good for creeking. My biggest dislike of the fink was the size of the front deck it was huge hit my paddle alot when crossing over and def came into play when rolling. These drawbacks could be overcome with more time in the boat but they were def issues to me. I never really got to paddle the boat on the steeps so I can't speak for it to much there.

I hate the cockpits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! do not feel they are safe and make things more cluttered in the outfitting.

as for what I would want to see in a production c1
would be a river runner with creeking ability (prob the most marketable)
A river runner very slalom inspired maybe a bit shorter but pivotable stern and good volume up front to run rivers in like the prijon hurricane but made for c1 and modernized

and as for production thinking from a sales aspect if you can create a good outfitting system that can be transferred I think more would buy it (maybe not sell the outfitting separately MIGHT be a better business move but I dunno I'm not a business person)

User avatar
sbroam Staff
Posts: 3967
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 2:12 am
Location: Lexington, SC

Post by sbroam » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:45 am

Atom - maybe its my weight, but it always felt like a slow Slasher. Edgy but hard to stern squirt, whereas I could more easily squirt the Slasher. Seemed much heavier, too. It always looked like what i'd doodle when designing a boat while stuck in an overlong staff meeting, but never really liked it. Maybe a composite one?

A friend and I discussed its performance over steep drops - more rocker in the stern might have helped.

That large cockpit was the one big positive.

Fink - never tried it, never wanted to bad enough.

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:22 am
Location: Germany

Post by fez » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:19 pm


+ holds a line well
+ volume in the front gets you through everything
+ very good secondary stability

- holds a line sometimes to well ;-)
- high bow (difficult for cross strokes)
- heavy and hard to accelerate
- difficult to roll
- knees very near together
- edges at deepest part of the hull (easy to trip over)
- ridiculous small hole / cockpit
- seat to far back

CBoats Addict
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:29 pm
Location: Southwest Virginia

Post by OC1er » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:43 pm

Only been in an atom once, for a very short moment. I liked the glide though, I'd love to river run one. I'm not sure I'd creek one, with the long pointy ends...

Not sure if this is the place for "What I'd Want in a Production Cboat", but here it is anyway:

Full on Creeker, all the way! The bottom profile should be a combo between displace and flat, multichined like the Mystic. Rounded enough for predictable resurfacing, but softly edged for ferries and eddys. Length in the 8.5 range, volume carried through the ends, fat-blunt nose and tail rockered up for the pin avoidance. If it's production it has to be adjustable, Larry H has some really cool looking ideas in that realm. It would be cool if some thought went into escapability (ie step out pillars on the newer kboats), maybe a bulkhead of some type that would prevent forward slide in a bow pin situation? Knees and feet shouldn't be under the deck, would also be nice if K skirts could fit it so we didn't have to go custom on every skirt...In all actuality I'd be happy with a modern seat rig and go on converting...
Its not about the approach. Its about control in the hole.

C Guru
Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:48 pm
Location: asheville nc

Post by driftwood » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:54 pm

the atom is a pain to roll
like flipping a pancake
Will dance for rain

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 439
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 7:05 pm
Location: SE Ohio


Post by ohioboater » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:17 pm

I'm not sure if my input is worth much, since the Atom is the only C1 I've ever paddled (other than brief pool stints in a Gyramax and a Fanatic).


Good glide
Way more maneuverable than my open boat
Predictable when surfing


Grabby stern edges - had to be alert/forward/driving all the time, even in Class 1
Pearled easily
Dagger pedestal - never did figure out how to stay in the straps consistently when trying to roll
Painful (but that's probably a given with any boat that requires you to use a saddle lower than 8 or 9 inches)

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 851
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:17 am
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post by Shep » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:39 pm

I have only spent about an hour in a Finkmeister, and no time in an Atom, but I disagree with the comment that the Finkmeister was hard to roll. I thought it was pretty easy. One thing I don't like about C1's (the Fink and the Cascade) is that they have square openings.... I know, they don't need to be compatible with K1 skirts, but seriously, can't they be compatible so that we can buy any skirt off the shelf and not have to harass it into fitting?

Other than that, I guess I would like something with a touch more volume in the stern, as I am not a cquirter. Also, is it possible to design a hull that tracks a little straighter when flat or at a slight angle, but carves tightly when up on the inside edge? I thought the Finkmeister was comparable to my Taureau in terms of speed and directional stability.

Shep [/i]

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 490
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:15 pm
Location: Albrightsville, PA

Post by markzak » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:31 pm

I agree with ohioboater on my comments on the Atom. Except I find the dagger saddle comfortable and secure. The boat was great to learn in for general class III down river stuff, class IV stuff pushed it around a bit, and anything harder was a dice roll. It surfed very well, easier to surf than my slalom boat.

Rolling it was relatively challenging compared to other boats, including the gmax, in my opinion. The flat decks and wide profile added tons of stability, but also added stability upside down making it harder to roll I think.

Never paddled a fink. But i did love my old gyramax for what it was. If I was making a C1, it would be a plastic version of something like an Esquif Taureau, something in the 8 foot range, bulkhead (add straps on your own), and around 80 gallons. Anything bigger, longer or more volume, can reduce agility and hole control and lead to "hole bait" scenarios. In fact maybe it would be helpful to get opinions on the Taureau for this discussion.

Anybody know about how many gallons of volume a decked the Taureau has? It seemed a little voluminous when I paddled it, but I felt in control and on top of the moves I needed to make. I didn't hit anything retentive or ledgy with it though.

Post Reply