An Honest Salesman

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

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road_warrior64
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An Honest Salesman

Post by road_warrior64 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:24 am

So I bought my first OC-1 from a member of this forum (Pyranha Prelude). We finally received some rain here in north central Alabama (and I live a quarter mile from the Cahaba River) so today was its maiden voyage. The guy who sold it to me said three things about the boat:

1. It's tippy.
2. There's a learning curve.
3. It likes moving water.

He really hit the nail on the head. Coming from flatwater canoes, I felt like I was on a wobbly tightrope for the first half mile. Observers from the shore would have surely been perplexed by my bobble-headesque technique. Also, my trusty J-stroke was stricken by dyslexia every time the current slowed. Round and round we turned as I plowed through the branches along the shoreline. Had the moderators of this forum witnessed today's run, a special meeting would have been convened to determine my future as a cboats member.

You guys really make it look easy. After watching several of the videos posted here, I naively expected to be catching eddies, using off side strokes, and maybe throwing in a roll if needed. But after today's harrowing (Class II) run, I humbly acknowledge your skill. It's clearly the result of patience, practice, instruction, and confidence. Thanks to all for this resource and whatever advice you are willing to pass on.

JC

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by hazardharry » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:29 am

i practice holding my breath. its a must have in the trades because the jobsite porta-potty will choke the life from with a good wiff. i can go for 45 seconds then i turn colors. :oops:
if its a flowin' i'm a goin' if its frozen i'm a dozin'

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by milkman » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Kudos to you for getting out and trying. The Prelude is a great boat, but not the best beginning whitewater canoe. In fact, it might be one of the worst. So your learning curve will indeed be steep. On the other hand, learn to paddle that boat and you can hop into just about any whitewater canoe and feel comfortable.

Instead of a j-stroke, you might try a forward stroke ending in a stern pry (the goon stroke). It's easier to execute in short, spin-happy canoes like the Prelude. Just make sure after the first stroke to get going that you only put in a very small, fast pry or just hold a rudder position for an instant so that you don't kill your momentum with a braking action at the end of every stroke.

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by jakke » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:26 am

One advice, go find some coaching (by preference of a coach that paddles these short boats).
The prelude is an amazing canoe, but has a really steep learning curve, especially if you haven't been too often in another whitewater canoe.
With coaching you can prevent falling into bad habits, that work for you now, but might become a road block in the future.

And a second advice, spend lots of time on the lake. Get to know your boat, the stability, without the influence of external factors (like current). There is a lot you can do on the river with direct and indirect influence on your river paddling.

but most of all, enjoy, and welcome to the club!

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by oldschoolyaker » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:15 am

HI, where are you in central Alabama. I am in Montevallo and paddle a kayak but always looking for people to paddle with. I have paddled every kind of boat just about canoe and kayaks so I'd be glad to help you with strokes and stuff.


Let me know if your interested. email. timskrbelieve@aol.com

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road_warrior64
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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by road_warrior64 » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:56 pm

Good advice from all. Thanks! I'm curious, though. What makes a Prelude one of the worst boats to learn in? What would be the qualities/hull characteristics of a good beginner boat (other than some outriggers)?

JC

P.S. I'm planning to attend the Nantahala paddle school this spring. Until then, I'll be enrolled in the school of hard knocks.

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by Dave.E » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:48 pm

The first boat that I owned (sequel) was later described to me as a boat that has all of the negatives of a prelude but none of the positives. I ended up liking the hull after while but it was a heck of a learning curve.
road_warrior64 wrote:I'm curious, though. What makes a Prelude one of the worst boats to learn in? What would be the qualities/hull characteristics of a good beginner boat (other than some outriggers)?

JC
I've never been in one, but from what I've heard, two things that come to mind are:
- It lacks primary stability (tippy)
- It is short so it doesn't like to go straight

No whitewater canoe wants to go straight, even more so with short boats. Really focus on using forward and cross forward strokes instead of stern corrections. The boat will handle a lot better on a carve. Read up on the 2x4 method.

Also, put as much effort as possible into learning how to roll well. It will take a little bit to dial in the lack of primary stability and the way that the boat edges. If you learn how to roll you will get a TON of extra confidence when trying new strokes and moves.
Last edited by Dave.E on Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by milkman » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:49 pm

The same things that make the Prelude a great whitewater canoe for experienced paddlers make it a poor canoe for beginning whitewater paddlers. The Prelude is very responsive. You turn your head it practically turns with you (a little bit of exaggeration, but you get the point). There's no initial side-to-side stability (notice how hard it is to get in without tipping over?) and that makes it really easy to apply boat tilt, but makes the boat feel very wobbly to people who haven't achieved a certain level of balance and comfort in canoes. Once you get the requisite balance, this wobbly-ness makes the canoe highly responsive to your every move. This responsiveness makes the Prelude a delight to paddle in technical water that requires lots of maneuvering and adjustments--you can carve you way through rapids, quickly changing the carve of the boat by applying pressure to one knee or the other. I also find with the Prelude that you get great feel for what the water is doing underneath you and can instantly adjust. I feel this in the Prelude more than any other canoe I've paddled (Ovation, Outrage, L'edge, Phantom, Ocoee, Nitro, Detonator, Zoom, Solito, Maxim). That might just be a personal preference for the Prelude's kind of hull though--I'm sure others would disagree with me and say get have great "water feel" with their boat as well. And I've never had the opportunity to paddle any of the Blackfly or Millbrook designs, so admittedly I have limited experience.

Good beginning canoes generally have more initial stability so they're easier to paddle flat and aren't as susceptible to what the water's currents are doing. They're generally longer, so they have more glide and hull speed for avoiding obstacles. However, some of the shorter canoes available today, such as the L'edge, would make good beginner canoes--though the slowness of the L'edge (it's wider, more stable and has less acceleration than a Prelude) require the paddler to have a good forward stroke.

Once you get the hang of the Prelude, it's a responsive, zippy canoe for its length. Whether starting out in it is a good idea, you can tell us. I spent probably about 6 or 8 years paddling other canoes before I latched onto the Prelude.

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by Wendy » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:38 pm

The only short plastic canoe with incredible primary stability is the Octane 91. If I formally instructed I would use it to teach strokes for a few weekends then put the students in a variety of boats before they purchased one since the Octane 91 is so wide it is not for everyone. When I owned a couple of Preludes, one of the originals from Motion Adventures I loved the boat, but the hull was flat and it had a little more primary stability. To go straight put it on edge and paddle.
My 2cents.

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by magicmike » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:51 pm

+1 big time on the Octane 91. It's so stable and forgiving, that it really inspires confidence, which is really important when first starting out.-M-

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by Larry Horne » Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:03 pm

..really important always.

I don't think a wobbly boat is high performance. I think a high performance canoe for whitewater must have a good degree of initial stability, and any canoe that has poor initial stability is going to hold most paddlers back. No matter how experienced they are.
Initial stability removes the constant fear of flipping, makes you more relaxed and gives you the confidence to actually put paddle strokes in the water.
Larry

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by beereddy » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:46 am

Prelude is good only for steep creeking, do you want it? Just sell it out, and buy real canoe like Esquif Vertige!

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by milkman » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:47 pm

I think a high performance canoe for whitewater must have a good degree of initial stability, and any canoe that has poor initial stability is going to hold most paddlers back. No matter how experienced they are.
Initial stability removes the constant fear of flipping,
I disagree--and of course this is just my opinion. In my experience, people, particularly beginners, flip in canoes with initial stability nearly as much as ones without it. And while initial stability might give beginning canoeists more confidence, an experienced canoeist doesn't need initial stability to feel confident. I'd argue that secondary stability is much more important, something most whitewater canoes have a fair degree of. A good paddler with good balance brings stability to the boat and can use the boat's ability to be tilted to different degrees for maneuvering. By not having initial stability--a point that like secondary stability that has to be overcome to tilt the boat further--a boat like the Prelude enables a smooth, continuous tilt toward the point of secondary stability, allowing very precise control of the tilt and smooth adjustments to it as needed.
To go straight put it on edge and paddle.
I always wonder about this piece of advice as well. It seems to me that canoes are designed to be paddled flat and you don't apply tilt (edge) unless you want to use that edge to carve.

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by Randy Dodson » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:29 pm

milkman wrote:
I think a high performance canoe for whitewater must have a good degree of initial stability, and any canoe that has poor initial stability is going to hold most paddlers back. No matter how experienced they are.
Initial stability removes the constant fear of flipping,
I disagree--and of course this is just my opinion. In my experience, people, particularly beginners, flip in canoes with initial stability nearly as much as ones without it. And while initial stability might give beginning canoeists more confidence, an experienced canoeist doesn't need initial stability to feel confident. I'd argue that secondary stability is much more important, something most whitewater canoes have a fair degree of. A good paddler with good balance brings stability to the boat and can use the boat's ability to be tilted to different degrees for maneuvering. By not having initial stability--a point that like secondary stability that has to be overcome to tilt the boat further--a boat like the Prelude enables a smooth, continuous tilt toward the point of secondary stability, allowing very precise control of the tilt and smooth adjustments to it as needed.
To go straight put it on edge and paddle.
I always wonder about this piece of advice as well. It seems to me that canoes are designed to be paddled flat and you don't apply tilt (edge) unless you want to use that edge to carve.
whitewater canoeing is/should be always carving circles. what Wendy is talking about is opening up the circle til it resembles a straight line. tilt the boat to your onside so your carving, then paddle forward strokes varying how far your blade is from the keel line. straight ahead speed without corrections.
Parrot Head Paddler

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Re: An Honest Salesman

Post by arhdc » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:55 am

Much of this has already been said so I'll just restate a few points based on starting out in a short canoe.

1. Most old heads have great advice but they have no idea how hard it is to make a short canoe go forward under power for a newbie. This is no fault of there own but it is very true. Short canoes are very unforgiving to beginners until they learn how to drive them forward with power. This is what I believe to be the single hardest thing to learn as a beginner in a short canoe.

2. Preludes are good boats but very unforgiving to beginners, especially beginners who weigh more than 130lbs. There are many short canoe choices out there that are much more beginner friendly, from Blackfly there is the Octane 91, Octane 85 and Option, from Esquif the L'Edge and Millbrook Blink.

3. If you choose to continue with your Prelude after all of this, be resolved to develop superior swimming skills. There are several of us here who can act as swimming coaches having honed our skills in live action drills in diverse situations. If you can find someone locally with extensive swimming experience who knows the swim lines on local runs that would be even better. I personally have achieved my greatest whitewater glory swimming and have had a few of these moments memorialized in full hi resolution color in various whitewater publications and on the internet. I feel that I am well qualified to guide you through these murky waters.

Above all, enjoy your boat and have fun learning the ropes.

This is Aaron's wife. What you really need to know is that to make the ideal paddle stroke, you lean forward, make a quick little stroke, and lift the paddle out of the water. The paddle needs to be out of the water before you reach your knee. Dragging the paddle behind you is less than ideal. It may seem impossible to go straight without dragging the paddle. Just practice making quickly repeating, fast little strokes with your paddle.
Last edited by arhdc on Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
~Aaron~

Just being willing to try is half the battle.

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