Great Boat! Graceful. Beautiful. Wonderful workmanship. I originally purchased a used Baboosic because I wanted to experiment with freestyle canoeing. This is a great boat for freestyle, and I have since bought a second one. That should tell you how highly I think of this boat. The Baboosic is considered a big boat by a lot of freestylers, but I am 6 feet and 180# and have no problem getting a vertical paddle, even with cross strokes. I am able to kneel transversely, which lets me get both knees near the gunnels comfortably. This boat exudes confidence at the rails. On edge, I can do stem-to-stem sweeps and literally turn on a dime. I can take it past the rails and let water slip in with confidence.
My first Baboosic had been used on rivers quite a bit and has a few scars to prove it. It is an excellent creek boat. I now use that boat on any river where I donít expect to bash into rocks. Because of its maneuverability, you can work around the obstacles, negating the need of a Royalex boat. I would think it ideal for small twisty streams like the Pine Barrens, I just havenít paddled them. It is fun for eddy turns and peel outs. I kept my Royalex Bell Wildfire (with air bags) for Class II and rocks. Otherwise, moving water is a great place for the Baboosic.
I had read the reviews about how the Baboosic was surprisingly fast on flat water. I was skeptical, but was also surprised the first time I took it out on the lake with a kayaker. No, it won't set any speed records, and it won't glide like a dedicated lake boat; but for a jack-of-all-trades it is fast. A good forward stroke will pay dividends.
So now I have two Baboosics. One for moving water, and one for freestyle and lakes. If you want a great turning boat that travels across flat water and can carry a load, the Baboosic fits the bill.The visual impact of the Baboosic is almost palpable; such is the level of the craftsmanship evident in its construction. So much so, that I have even had non-canoeists comment on it. Once the boat is on the water, it becomes readily apparent that the same level of craftsmanship went into its design, as well. I can only echo the sentiment expressed in one of the previous reviews: this is the finest little boat I have ever paddled. Having said that, I add this caveat: no matter how much some readers may desire that these reviews be objective, there is always one large subjective variable --the individual paddler with their biases, their preferences, and their unique skill-level, all of which influence their objectivity. One paddler's hard-tracking boat that's easy to turn with a 'bit' of lean is another paddler's hard-tracker that resists turning unless leaned precariously, even if the degree of lean is the same for both paddlers.
The Baboosic is not a hard tracker, though it tracks, and glides, surprisingly well for a boat with 3 inches of rocker. It also is not difficult to hold into the wind. Nor does it weather cock in a following wind. If you're looking for a boat that carves graceful turns; the Baboosic is not it; the symetrical rocker causes the stern to 'skid' around in a turn. But the boat will turn on a dime. Some people characterize this boat as initially skittish. I do not. The Baboosic, as noted in other reviews, will lock to the rail when leaned. Even the slightest lean induces that feel of 'push-back', which increases the more one leans. Once one is aware of this, feelings of initial 'tenderness' become a moot point, and you find yourself not even thinking about it. The boat is 30 inches wide at the paddling station. Whether one likes that, or not, is a personal preference. It's not an issue for me. The seat, strung with extremely taut nylon cord, is the most comfortable canoe seat I've ever placed my derrierre on, upwards to 7 hours at a stretch. I've taken this boat on week long camping trips. It handled the load and various conditions encountered with aplomb.
Lastly, I have never paddled a boat like the Baboosic. It's so light and responsive on the water, it's like paddling a leaf. I feel like I am part of the experience; not an intruder. It's canoeing the way I think it should be.