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Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!
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Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:58 pm

It's official, a La Nina year, which means small snowpacks for us here in Colorado and New Mexico. Years ago during a La Nina summer I learned to kayak. I can run class iv in it but my body hurts after it, I think being bent into an L for an extended length of time doesn't agree with me. Since it looks like my raft is going to stay rolled this year I thought it might be time for an open boat. I was kinda thinking of trying to find a polyethylene boat as I am familiar with the materials but over the last month of looking out here I'm starting to realize that there are no used boats in Colorado and the few that are here are overpriced. I'm also thinking that a round bow to stay dry would be good since our rapids tend to be fairly continuous and not so much drop and pool. I've been wanting to try a canoe for years but have never found one to try. Any advise on finding a boat and what type a boat I should be looking for. I live in Laport co at the mouth of the Poudre canyon. I used to kayak in the Poudre and raft on the Arkansas. I was hoping to use the canoe on both. Say bridges run on the Poudre and browns on the Arkansas. I don't think I will ever have the balls to put a canoe on the royal gorge. What do you guys think?

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:11 pm

For boat suggestions, what's your height and weight?

I know several former kayakers who, having back problems, switched to canoes for the kneeling position. Of course I also know several canoeists who not being able to kneel comfortably anymore switched to kayaking.

The switch from paddling with a skirt to without one requires a bit of mental shift in that you have to learn to paddle dry--particularly if you don't use an electric pump. A bulbous bow helps, but you also have to learn wave blocking and work on your stroke timing to lift the bow at the right time. Canoeists will often avoid water features that might dump a lot of water over a gunnel that a kayaker will just plow through.

There is a canoe/kayak club near you. I don't know much about them, but I know some of them run whitewater (I was invited on a Yampa trip with them). See: http://poudrepaddlers.weebly.com/. On their home page, I see a reference to whitewater canoe training.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:43 pm

There are a few folks who are on here sometimes from CO... they may be skiing this time of year though:)

I second contacting the local paddling club.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:41 am

I'm 6'1" and 220lbs. 10 or 15 lbs out of shape. I can't get under 200lbs. As for a sore back YES that's why I sold off my boats, it's fun but not worth the pain for the next couple days. I will have to check out the paddlers club, I think I met some of them at the swing station(local watering hole) a few years back. I guess I didn't think of them. As for having to learn to stay dry well that's gonna be a challenge. Been so used to charging thru. Any advice is greatly appreciated, equipment recommendations, and some sass is welcome.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:45 pm

There are cboaters in CO. One option to learn more about open boating is the CO KanuFest, hosted in Buena Vista every summer (usually in July.) Last year we ran the Ark (mostly Fractions and Browns), Foxton, and the Poudre. For the last few years, Black Fly canoes was there with demo boats. Lots of fun and interesting people and some amazing boaters.

Also, one of the open boaters is from Fort Collins and, I believe, is involved with the local club.

Here is the link to last years CO KanuFest.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:43 pm

As for canoes, I'd suggest researching Blackfly, Silverbirch, and Esquif for models designed for your weight. All these companies make the popular polyethylene (kayak plastic) canoes many of us now use. Esquif also makes models using their new Royalex-replacement material T-Formex which I hear is very good (I still have yet to see one in the "flesh.") There are also lots of reviews/opinions on the various canoe models available here on cboats. You can spend hours reading people's opinions. Best of all though is to try the boats. That's where an area visit from a manufacturer like Blackfly can be so great--you can try the boats and talk to the manufacturer about the differences between the designs.

By joining a local club, you can meet other paddlers who will let you try their boats. It can be a good tactic to buy a used canoe to develop your skills, and learn what you like in a canoe before peeliing out the bucks for a new canoe.

A tip on kneeling--it will hurt at first to do it for long periods, but if you stick with the sport, you should become more limber and the position more comfortable. The one caution here is that for some people though, kneeling never becomes more comfortable. For instance, many people who had knee injuries (such as ACLs) simply can't kneel without pain.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:54 pm

Being new would you recommend straps or bulkhead? From my boating experience I would think the bulkhead would be safer. I don't think I would be nearly as nervous about entrapment with the solid bulkhead.

In the Denver Craigslist there has been a posting of 2 canoes, both esquif. A nitro with a bulkhead and twin pumps and a blast rigged solo with straps. The boats look really unused in the pics. They are asking $1000 each, seems to be a bit more than I'd be willing to spend on a first boat. I first started seeing this post in June and seen it reposted every month so maybe they would take something lower. I've read up on the boats and esquif describes the nitro as a surfing hull,. Would it be stable enough for a beginner? Would the boat be tough enough? Is a surfing hull the type of design I would want? It seems the polyethylene boat designs I have looked at are probably surfing hulls too. Those 2 boats might be great deals but I might not be the right customer.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:13 pm

Milkman is right about Blackfly, Silverbirch, and Esquif all making great boats in plastic. I would suggest not purchasing a boat you have not spent some time in. Every design ever produced has some who will rave about them. Every design also has others how find them lacking in some way. I think you need to be in a boat before you know it is right for you, especially as a first boat. I also commonly see the plastic boats (except from Silverbirch, too new) for sale under $1,000. I paid $800 for used Option and I'll never wear out that hull.

Also, I think all the plastic boats have bulkheads. D-rings do not stick well to plastic hulls. I used to love the straps, but now am very comfortable in bulkheads.

Good luck.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:59 pm

Hard to say what outfitting system is safer. Bulkheads are more convenient for fast in and out and when carved properly ensure a tight connection to the canoe. But, I think they're dangerous in the event of a bow pin. With water at your back pushing you forward, it would be hard to exit a bulkhead. Straps you could at least unclip or in worse case, cut. I accept the danger with bulkheads and watch out for situations that could result in bow pins.

$1,000 is a good price for a boat in excellent condition with pumps. And the Nitro would probably be a good fit for you--though people with actual experience with a Nitro should chime in here. I've only paddled one for short periods and weigh 160 soaking wet. The Nitro is known as a good first whitewater canoe. Granted, most of us are paddling the PE boats and if you could pick up an Option or Octane 91 for about the same price, you'd have a boat you've be satisfied with for a long time. Still, I'd give the Nitro serious consideration as a starter boat. Particularly if you talked the guy down to $800. One advantage is that it would be that the Nitro has more glide than shorter canoes and will track better. These qualities will help as you learn the sport.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:39 am

I used to live in Denver, and did quite a bit of open canoeing, and I would say the whitewater community there is a lot more chill about open boating than in California. Check out the Rocky Mountain Canoe Club, maybe they could help you find a canoe. Once you learn how to boat, the Colorado Whitewater Association was pretty OK with my open canoe even though they are pretty much a kayaking club. The rivers are continuous which meant lots of bailing, but they're plenty fun. Learning to roll will help if you swim on something continuous, and also make friends with kayakers who don't want to have to rescue you and your boat.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:03 pm

Copy that on the roll. I was hoping to find a boat before March. Every year around March fort Collins opens it's indoor pool to boaters practicing their rolls, and I was hoping to make it. I learned to roll a kayak in a pool, after trying a bunch of times with a buddy in the Eddy of the play wave in Buena Vista. It's easier to learn in the pool, it's warm and you can see what your doing and where your spotter is. As for the exact dates of fort Collins open pool I will have to check on mountainbuzz it always seems to get posted there.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:48 pm

I am a Front Range CO canoeist. Like others have mentioned, you can check out the Rocky Mountain Canoe Club, however, they are more about tripping then WW canoeing. There is a group up in Fort Fun called the Poudre Paddlers. There is also a Facebook page called Rocky Mountain Canoeist and I think the others mentioned have FB pages too.

We have a group of 7-10 C boaters in our FR group. Several of us now paddle C1s. C1s are cheaper to buy and dryer to paddle in our more continuous water. For your size, a Jackson Karma XL makes a nice conversion. We also have several open boat purists too.

There are also more C boaters out in the Ark valley and southern CO then there used to be, as some of the Southeast boaters are venturing out here.

Sir Adam is right, it is ski season now, but still hit pool sessions, when the snow isn't falling.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:06 am

I just sold my last kayak last summer for 100 with skirt. It was a 05 superstar. I was hoping to lose the skirt and go with the open boat. There is a biscuit 55 already modified near me on Craigslist for 350. I might consider it if it was a 65 being 220#s. I still have not joined the Poudre paddlers, had some family stuff going on the last few weeks.

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:45 pm

2 open boats just came up for sale near me. A dagger ovation, and a mohawk probe. Both with bags, for $300 each. Are these ok beginner boats? I would like to have a roll by summer so I'm gonna need something. It looks like the bow of the probe might be good for a dryer ride being a bit more bulb like. What's your guy's thoughts?

Re: Does anyone canoe in Colorado?

Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:40 pm

Did some more research. The paddling.com reviews seem to say that the ovation is dryer. Maybe I should just pick them both up. The mohawk probe review seems to say it's a great beginner boat. I'd like to hear from you guys though.
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