I purchased a Rockstar in Blackgold with full wood trim about 7 months ago. I like a narrow paddling station so cut the thwarts down to narrow beam by about 2" (25" at gunnel). This made initial stability a bit tippy but secondary was still very good. I also lowered the seat about 2" which increased overall stability. Boat handled beautifully in all conditions on flatwater, I am not into whitewater anymore but expect it would do fine up to class III with experienced paddler and added flotation. Because I paddle most of the time with a 60# golden retriever who gets real excited seeing fish/game I decided to make another big change to the boat. I relocated seat aft about 18" from stock, retd width to normal and added a portage yoke at center. Now I have an even narrower paddling station, better balance with dog more forward, carrying yoke and because dog is in a narrower section of boat less effect when dog gets excited. I also like the big deck space now open to fishing gear and other stuff. Only negative to this change is when heading into the wind there is less leverage from the aft paddling location. I can overcome this by switching to a kayak paddle. I call this my "after-burner".
I love the look of the all-wood trim but have already found maintenance to be a bit of a chore. Besides oiling the wood I have had to re-tighten screws several times.
I have owned several Bell and Wenonah solo canoes over the years and truly believe the Rockstar is the best one.I purchased the Rockstar in Royalex a month and a half ago. Before I sat down to write the review I wanted to get some time in the boat and compare the initial impressions to what I feel about it now.
So far I am very happy with my purchase. I'm 6' 3" and 275 lbs. Not a small person. The Rockstar gave me plenty of room for my gear and the dog (a 65 lb Golden Retriever) when she goes along. The canoe was a bit unstable for me at first since I came from a tandem paddling background. As I became more familiar with it I used it on lakes and small rivers with little difficulty. It tracks well on lakes and is maneuverable and quick on the small rivers. The Royalex layup is very sound with no oil-canning under load.
Despite some rough water on the lakes there has not been one drop of water coming in. Secondary stability is excellent. The seat seems made for a sitting position only in that there was not enough room under it to fit my legs. However since I don't have the best knees for kneeling this has not been much of an issue.
It did take some time for me to get used to the difference in paddle strokes required to keep the canoe on track but after a lesson and more practice I'm comfortable with using my standard J-stroke and the other strokes I've used in the past with a little variation for the position in the canoe. I added the Bell foot braces and tug-eyes to both ends for a bit of customizing. Both have come in handy when on a short trip I took recently.
As for a recommendation I would give it a hearty two thumbs up. It paddles very well, tracks great and turns easily. It handles 350 lb loads with ease and is very stable. It's a quality canoe that I won't soon part with.