Open boat for a bigger paddler

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

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RobertM
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Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by RobertM » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:34 pm

I was approached by a friend-of-a-friend who was interested in getting into whitewater OC1. Had a good chat with the FOAF, he seems very interested, when the local water returns I'm going to try and take him out locally.

The issue that I see is that he's a big guy, 6'4" ( 193 cm), ~ 300 lb (136 kg). To be clear, the guy is young, and athletic, rowed crew, mountain bikes quite a bit, and seems to like challenges, but still, a big guy.

Short term question, I have a CC Bulldog, which I find super friendly at my 200 lb (90 kg) but I've got no sense of how it would work for a complete beginner at the higher weight. I can probably borrow a Rival or an Ovation for him to try.

He also seemed interested in going (used) boat shopping, I encouraged him to hold off until he had had a chance to try a few boats, but if hew was looking for suggestions, I was thinking a Probe 14, but I don't know what else might be good. We talked a bit about Octanes, but he's already talked himself into something that looks more "canoey" to him.

So, to recap,
1. Try him in the Bulldog or try and borrow the Rival or Ovation.
2. "Canoey" looking boats for a big paddler

Thanks. I'd like this guy to have a good experience, he seems very interested, and I'd really like to get another open boater paddling in the area, it's lonely sometimes.
Robert

"One Fish, Two Fish
Red Fish, Blue Fish"

ELGOTTO
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by ELGOTTO » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:12 am

Encore, Genesis, Mad River Outrage X or a Caption outfitted solo.

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yarnellboat
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by yarnellboat » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:46 pm

If he won't go for the Octane 91, Outrage X or Blast outfitted solo, a Veritge, or Viper 12 for more performance, or even an Outrage or Rival maybe. And those older boats like a Genesis work good too - I'd include H2Pro on the list, depending on what oldies you're able to come across.

He could also give the L'Edge a try. He's pretty big, but, as promised, a lot of bigger paddlers seem to do pretty well in the L'Edge. Unfortunately, there's A LOT more hulls to chose from when you're under 200 lbs!

I agree with your approach - do not recommend a small solo canoe like a Solito, Zoom or Prelude if you want him to stick with it! Let him get some experience, build some skills and make his own choices if he wants to get more adventurous/wet later.

Good luck, Pat.

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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by Pierre LaPaddelle » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:59 am

yarnellboat wrote: . . . Let him get some experience, build some skills and make his own choices if he wants to get more adventurous/wet later. . .
I can't argue with the logic of the above posts. Good solid advice.

But let me stir the pot a little by sharing a recent experience with a newbie I worked with. My long-standing beliefs, as an instructor, have been shaken up since then!

I convinced a local buddy with no paddling experience to have a crack at river-bashing. (Not a young guy, BTW). BUT -- there were no courses immanent on the calendar, so to stop his nagging, I took him into the pool. I had a big ol' C-1, with adjustable outfitting, and he paddled it around, fell over and swam out of it, and had big grins on his face. No paddling instruction.

Starting the first session, we worked on C-1 rolls, and within a few sessions he was rolling consistently. No paddling instruction.

After a few sessions, I stuffed him into an OC-1 -- an Option, it was. He paddled it around the pool, fell over and swam out of it, and had big grins on his face. He couldn't roll it, though he came close. No paddling instruction.

THEN I convinced him to sign up for our Intro to Moving Water courses, on a real river -- tandem first, then solo. Finally -- paddling instruction! And when it came time to do rescues and swimming, he had a big grin on his face (where the other students had panic in their eyes.)

Following up after the courses, we logged some easy Class II, and some harder Class III in the tandem boat Sometimes we were upright and sometimes we swam. Big grins on his face.

One day he said, "Here's an ad for a solo boat -- should I buy it?" It wasn't a Vertige, an Outrage-X, or even a Viper-12. It was a Quake. I said, "-er, gulp!"

Long story short, he bought it. First solo float on a Class II river, he peeled out into into the current, predictably fell over -- and set up for a roll. Truth to tell, he missed that first river roll, but he had a big grin on his face. And tried it again!

Now, in his second season, he's shoving that little Quake with confidence into II+ and III- runs. He still falls over, and he rolls consistently. BIG grins on his face. (Mine too!)

Moral of the story -- maybe we're too careful to put newbies into big stable platforms and teach paddling strokes on a scary Class I river first. Let 'em learn how to swim and roll first in the safety of the pool. As Pat said, "Build some skills. . ." But let them be the RIGHT skills in the RIGHT order. Then the choice of boats won't be so troubling.

Rick
C'est l'aviron. . . !

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yarnellboat
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by yarnellboat » Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:01 am

Good story Rick, I agree there's stuff to be considered there, but, ...I'm guessing your "student" was not 300 lbs? I think that's the major factor in the above advice. As a relatively experienced paddler myself and being 225 lbs, I can say (lots of) weight matters for the responsiveness and dryness and stability in many canoes that just handle differently than they do for folks who are 180 or less! So, heavy newbies maybe want to err more on the side caution, but not all newbies. P.

p.s. Bring this guy over to the Tamihi Five-0 and you can paddle the gates together, we can discuss over a beverage.

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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by sbroam » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:55 pm

Scott Card (?) , hasn't been on the board in a while, big guy, when i met him at an armada he was probably 275 and paddling a Quake - loved it. Floated him fine, i tried it (225) and really liked it, too.

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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by mcgliam » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:48 pm

I've got two friends that are 300lb +. They paddling a recon and outrage X just fine. One of them has jumped in my l'edge, but just said he felt too top heavy in that boat.

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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by Einar » Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:33 pm

Top heavy can be an issue, not just weight. Large paddlers may, or may not, have thick legs. It can be hard when the legs are 'folded up' and in the harness to sit on the seat below 8" or plus 8.
(My OC saddles are cut to 7.5", I have gone lower in a C-1)


What ever the hull, when you start to rise up on the pedestal the factory specs as to performance definitions change; it's not just the overall weight and waterline depth. Sampling around seems like a good idea.

Quake was on of my early short favourites, especially for it's rolling qualities. If I was ever inclined to open a niche market running a 'Rolling School' I'd stock it with a fleet of Quakes.
e
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by composites » Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:08 pm

Robert
Your friend is in luck. We are very close to being able to share pics and info on a larger Bulldog. This larger version is longer and can be offered as a tandem (double dog) or as a solo for folks needing a larger solo boat that performs like your existing Bulldog....300lbs no problem we got your back! Your friends bigger challange....sore cheeks from smiling so much when paddling this new version! Yes it has the option of tanks or airbags ...stay tuned folks.
How far south are you Robert...PM me and we can chat more....
Andy Phillips
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hazardharry
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by hazardharry » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:16 pm

canoey? i did not steal this image off the internet. :lol:
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by pblanc » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:47 am

Bell Prodigy X, Esquif Vertige X, Mad River Outrage X, Dagger Caper, Dagger/Mad River Caption, Dagger Genesis, Mad River ME, Mohawk XL 13, Mohawk XL 14 are all traditional appearing canoes that have been considered good for a larger paddler.

The Dagger Rival I would say is not. Small to medium size paddlers seem to like that hull a lot better than larger ones do.

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arhdc
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by arhdc » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:17 pm

I might also add that while they do not look so canoey, he should if possible at least try paddling an Octane 91 before dismissing them entirely. They at least feel canoey when you are padding them :wink:
~Aaron~

Just being willing to try is half the battle.

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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by hazardharry » Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:00 am

royalex is dead. move on to PE.
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Re: Open boat for a bigger paddler

Post by boatbuster » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:49 am

A lot of good suggestions but skip the HD1 or the dreaded Old Town HDPro. Something made in the last few decades that was actually a decent design would give him a better experience. If he tries an Octane he will never go back.

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