open and closed designs...history?

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open and closed designs...history?

Post by foggnm » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:03 am

I'm new to canoeing and started off with a river canoe last year and have slowly been developing some whitewater skills. I'm about to purchase another boat that is more ww specific and this forum has been very helpful in looking at various options (so thanks everyone!). In looking through various canoe designs and watching a lot of youtube videos, I started to wonder why more people do open canoeing in whitewater than closed? It seems closed canoes were more slalom/racing and have a little lower seating position and less volume than an open ww canoe. But racing aside, why do more recreational ww canoeist choose an open boat over a closed one? And in general, how do their designs (for whitewater river running) overlap and differ?

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Randy Dodson » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:35 am

I'm sure the reasons are varied, but many people started paddling rivers in an open canoe, (boy scouts, summer camp, rental canoe with Mom & Dad) so it just seems natural to stay in an open boat even when they progress into more serious WW. Some Like open boats because they're more comfortable than a decked boat. Some like myself, think that an open canoe is the most beautiful creation man has ever invented and even though we sometimes paddle open canoes that look nothing like an old Prospector, we still hold to those roots. And of course, some simply want to be able to carry more beer.

I'm sure others will add many more reasons.

There is a kind of purist logic that goes into paddling an open canoe. It's a little harder, but the challenge makes it very rewarding.

Although I prefer open canoes, it doesn't really matter whether it's open or decked. The beauty is in the single bladed paddle.

Frankie Hubbard was a great artist. ( The Ocoee )
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by lung » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:13 am

Personally I bought my first tandem canoe 3 years ago. Became completely addicted. I've lived in MN most of my life. Not sure why it took so long to make me realize how incredible a canoe is. Learned some technique from some Bill Mason books and videos. "Waterwalker" is still a favorite. Eventually came across cboats and the rest. Props to Paul Mason and Mark Scriver for "Thrill of the Paddle!" Hard to imagine someone writing a better how to oc1 book. Thanks! I've seen plenty of whitewater kayaking videos and tried it a few times, but it didn't draw me in like canoeing. This is my second year OC1ing. I haven't had this much fun since I first started skateboarding. I've tried a few different boats along the way including a c1. The c1 was fun, but mine gave my legs some hades. I'm pretty content with my Ocoee and my Spanish Fly for now. That being said I'm still open to trying some closed boats in the future.

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by lung » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:15 am

I did not try to say hades. I've never used that word in my life.

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Sir Adam » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:06 pm

Lung - that would be the auto-word filter on the site swapping the word you typed for a different one. The language filter is pretty much set to "G" if you will, and as moderators we tend to let discussion slide to the "PG" level.

Back on topic - There is a great aesthetic to an open boat, no doubt, and something special about paddling one. I will say, however, that with today's OC1 designs it can be EASIER to paddle an OC1 than many C1's (more stable, arguably more comfortable out of the box, easier to go over small holes), especially in class II / III, even some creeky (non continuous) IV. This is MY opinion of course, and I'm sure others will disagree, but a stable platform to paddle with lots of buoyancy (not to mention an easy "ejection") is just easier. Beyond that, where the boat is likely to get full of water, and that would be very, very bad, is the realm of the expert OC Boater (often with a pump, but not always) OR the C1 boater, who doesn't worry about water getting IN the boat unless they are OUT of said boat (or it has a crack in it... or the bow missing (eh Will?). A "proof" of this difference in stability is you see lots of folks in open boats who do very well and have a great time... and can not roll. You seldom see a C1er (for very long) who can't roll...because they get tired of swimming!

I started OC2, and admit I had a GREAT time in a L'Edge in Costa Rica with Esprit back in January. I also enjoy a Shredder on occasion (great time on a local small IV+ creek last Friday... first creeking the the Shredder for me). But, I'm mainly a C1er - with a little work just as comfortable, no bailing involved, easier to roll... and did I mention no bailing or getting out all the time to dump the water out of your boat? Sure, it is nice to stretch your legs... but I like to go paddling, not wading;) .

To me OC vs C is a bit like choosing between a C1 squirt boat and a C1 creek boat - VERY different performance on the water, but either way you're using a single blade and the same body movements (well, admittedly a mystery move does have it's own special technique). Either one I find preferable to kayaking, but I'm happy to paddle with others who prefer the comfort of two blades. Choose your craft, and get out on the water. We're in a pretty special time right now with not only lots of older boats (that are good) available cheap but also a number of folks innovating and bringing new designs to market, be it in the C1 world (RiverElf's creek boat just this year), or OC1 (Blackfly boats, Esquif's light L'Edge, Millbrook's Shacho and Rayge, Mohawk working on the Phiend....
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Shep » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:08 pm

For me, I had a chance to get into an open canoe first, and got pretty okay at it without having a roll. Once I got to that point, I didn't want to take a step backwards in skill by changing boats to something I could roll. Two years later, I went for my ACA instructor cert, and my trainer told me I needed to learn to roll. Well, by that time I just felt ornery about sticking to open boating, so I went and taught myself to roll. Now I paddle open boat exclusively for that very reason, but every few months I think about getting a C1 for stuff that is continuous and difficult to paddle dry. I'm sure I will when I have more disposable income.

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Todhunter » Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:47 pm

Kayaks looked scary and/or boring to me before I started paddling. I didn't know C1 existed back then either. The first time I saw an open boat on the Ocoee from a raft, I knew I had to have one. I've been paddling one ever since.

I do have a C1 that I take out a few times a year, but it is uncomfortable, and I can't stand to be in it more than about 45 minutes at a time. Open boating looks cooler, is more challenging, to me it seems safer (less likely to be pinned in the boat), and it's the purist version of the sport.
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Craig Smerda » Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:49 pm

because C1'ing is harder on your knees than an OC1... and it's a lot easier to swim out of an open boat as well. :lol:
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Rand C1 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:28 pm

I paddle C1 because I can roll up in most conditions, and do not need to frequently empty my boat(I do not need electric pumps). And, I have been doing it for years, so its what I do. However, I paddled an Option once and I absolutely loved it. Open boating is very cool, you get a great ride. Rand

The knee thing seems about the same to me, OC1 vs C1. You need to get out every hour or so.
Also the C1 decked ww canoe is not a new thing, it has been around quite awhile, and can be classic and beautiful.

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:32 pm

I paddle mainly C1, I enjoy my oc's and its good for technique and river reading; but just not practical with the rivers i'm paddling and the groups i'm with (all kayakers usually).

Its group speed thats the issue, as we tend to read and run/blue angel down everything (including a fair bit of class 5, not that i'm always game for it), exploratory runs are slower, but the hassle of portaging an oc over a c1 rules them out there too.

I find open boating suits rivers of a pooldroppy nature and slower groups better, when i get the opportunity i like to step up to the mark and show people what open boats can do... but not if i'm going to inconvenience my paddling buddies.

I also feel more secure being inside a boat, ease of swimming is not a concern for me (i have total faith in my quick releases) but being able to stay in the boat when you're eating it badly is a priority... I was drilled with 'You're safer if you can stay in the boat' from the very first time i paddled on whitewater and I fully believe its true.
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Mike W. » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:57 pm

OC is fun, but I often like to run the meat. I don't have to worry about keeping the boat dry w/ C-1.

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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:32 pm

From this it would seem that it's not quite so clear cut... I have a suspicion that it would be truer to say that people who come from an open canoe background prefer OC1's and people from a whitewater background (especially if they were already adept on whitewater in a kayak or on a raft) tend towards C1's as an everyday boat and then possibly having an OC as well.

FWIW I paddle a traditional canoe a lot more like one would an OC1 or C1 than in the conventional fashion
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Rand C1 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:38 pm

I started paddling canoes in 1973. I have never been a kayaker or a rafter. I do extended canoe trips in Canada. I do canoeing triathlons. Yet I paddle C1 when I paddle WW, imagine that.
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:20 pm

Rand C1 wrote:I started paddling canoes in 1973. I have never been a kayaker or a rafter. I do extended canoe trips in Canada. I do canoeing triathlons. Yet I paddle C1 when I paddle WW, imagine that.
Rand
*Breaking News*: Tautologists have discovered that generalisations give an approximate overview of the general picture, and accordingly may not fit perfectly with all specific cases.
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Re: open and closed designs...history?

Post by Sir Adam » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:47 pm

Actually, I think you two have stumbled on something - I think that although we're all in the boating "culture", we come from different places / cultures (even here in the US there are major differences regionally...). Most C1ers I know moved to C1's from open boats (wanted to run harder water, got tired of bailing, or wanted to try something different). I'll also point out that I have run in to MANY OC1ers and kayakers who "used to C1". I don't see many folks in their 60's or 70's in a C1... but plenty of folks still out there in open boats (there are exceptions, of course!).

In the end I think we all paddle what we want to, and have our own reasons for doing so. I DO think it is very helpful to hop in a different boat, or even type of craft occasionally to see what else is out there - even if it just reaffirms that you like paddling what you have already.
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