Solo Canoe : What is it?
Solo canoes are designed to accommodate and be propelled by one person. They are shorter and lighter than tandem canoes or other larger models. A typical solo canoe is about 13 to 14 feet long, although those used for racing or cruising are made longer for better speed and tracking.
Solo canoes are also designed to maintain balance and stability while paddling. To achieve this, the seat is usually placed at the center, so that most of the weight is at the middle third of the boat. Solo canoes come in different widths to accommodate paddlers of different sizes.
Kinds of Solo Canoes include the following:
Flatwater Day Trippers
Flatwater Day Trippers are used for recreational paddling on lakes and other flat waters. They are 13 to 15 feet long and 25 to 30 inches across at the water line. They have low to moderate rockers, which allow better speed and maneuverability. They usually have straight, narrow keels for better tracking and initial stability. They can be paddled in different positions, including sitting, kneeling, and sideways.
Freestyle solo canoes are designed to allow a wide range of speeds, directions, and paddle strokes. They are narrow and have moderate rockers, which make tracking slightly difficult. They can have straight or flared sides offering different degrees of initial and final stability. They are often paddled in a kneeling position and are easy to turn at high speeds and various angles.
Extended trippers are designed for long-haul paddling, rough weather conditions, and carrying heavy loads. They are larger and deeper than the other types, measuring about 15 feet. They are commonly made from tough synthetic materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, polyethylene and Kevlar. Some models are derived from straight-keeled boats and given wider and deeper bodies. Common features include low windage profile for better stability and moderate to high rockers.
Whitewater canoes are designed for paddling in whitewater rapids, a body of water with fast-flowing, highly aerated water. They come in two general types – play boats and whitewater trippers. Play boats are fitted with various straps and braces to secure the paddler when performing tricks and difficult turns, while trippers are more traditional and are mostly built for speed and performance.
Play boats are usually short and have extreme rockers to facilitate sharp, fast turns, while whitewater trippers are typically long with lower rockers for more stability on flat waters.
Rocker: The rocker is the amount of curve on the underside of the canoe. Choose a highly rockered canoe for paddling on whitewater and other rough waters, and lower rockers for more stable situations. If you will be paddling in strong winds or harsh weather, choose a canoe with a high rocker that sits deep into the water line.
Length: Canoes are as short as 19ft and as long as about 24ft. The shorter the canoe the easier it should be to catch waves and maneuver in rougher water conditions. A longer canoe should feel smoother and get more glide in flatter water. Some designers try to create a compromise by building an all around canoe that performs well in rough and flat water. Unfortunately these design elements are diametrically opposed to each other and therefore these canoes aren’t outstanding in either condition but merely average in both. Since most people can’t afford to purchase different canoes for different conditions, all around canoes do offer paddlers a way to compete reasonably well in all conditions.
Weight: Choose a lightweight rocker that you can easily maneuver and propel on your own. Since you will be paddling the entire canoe on your own, it is important to choose light materials without compromising durability. Fiberglass and carbon usually work best, but they cost significantly more than other materials. A good alternative is polyethylene, a plastic-based shell.
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