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At 16.5', it has respectable length, but the 4.5" of rocker make this boat a dream in moving and whitewater. Eddy turns and peel outs are a dream and I find it very easy to surf, side surf, ferry and back ferry in a variety of different conditions up to class III water. Initial stability of the boat is so-so but secondary is nothing short of remarkable. We've had the gunnel almost submerged on eddy turns/peels and not once have we felt unstable or like we were going to go over. The boat feels very secure and is forgiving of mistakes made in big water. We installed Mike Yee outfitting complete with thigh straps, knee cups, bow/stern cages and a removable center cage that allows to put a center bag in when playing on day trips or take it out completely when we trip.
Though Esquif touts the Canyon as a great lake boat in addition to its big water prowess, its a bit of a dog on the flats as its blunt end pushes water away rather than slices through it. Once the boat gets up to speed, it does move through quiet water fairly well but it does take work to get it to that point. On a recent trip on very lazy current, we averaged 2.5 mph...not fast but not too slow either. It was just a bit of work to keep up that pace, much more so than other boats we've paddled. However, we realized this when we bought the boat and plan to use more a more appropriate boat for quiet/flatwater from our fleet in the future.
Despite the considerable rocker, the boat tracks well and only needs moderate correction strokes. A solid J or a 1/4 stern pry works well without sacrificing too much speed.
The fit and finish of the boat is fantastic. Beautifully designed and comfortable yoke and the most bombproof seat hangers I've ever seen. Thwarts are solid and even two very small ones have been installed underneath the bow/stern decks to increase the rigidity and strenth against impacts on the river.
Overall its a great purchase and we always get stopped on the river by people wanting to ask questions about it. Every person that asked to paddle it to try, has walked away saying its one of the best ww tripping boats they've ever paddled.
If you're looking for a boat that can trip in current or big water and play on those days trips, I high recommend the Canyon.
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