Next Boat Recommendations

Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!

Moderators: TheKrikkitWars, Mike W., Sir Adam, KNeal, PAC, adamin, kenneth, sbroam

User avatar
C Boater
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:01 pm
Location: Western Mass

Next Boat Recommendations

Post by Brewbeer »

Hey gurus,

I’m looking for some advice/recommendations for my next boat. I currently paddle a used Nitro, which has been thoroughly “pre-loved” by its former owner and now by me. As I guess is typical with these boats, the chines are wearing thin. Since used WW canoes are a fairly rare find in the northeast, I’d like to start looking for another boat to add to my collection (my other WW boat is a Caption set up tandem). The Nitro is (I believe) set up with the typical factory outfitting including knee & thigh straps and a pump.

Things I like about the Nitro: very stable on flat and turbulent water, turns easily, dry, predictable, relatively comfortable to paddle

Things I don’t like about the Nitro: heavy, slow, heavy, turns too easily when ferrying, heavy, doesn’t attain very well, and is just so frickin’ heavy, especially when carrying the boat from the take out up a long steep hill back to the car.

About me: 5’ 8”, 175 pounds, mid 40s, comfortable paddling (or swimming) Class III, haven’t tried to learn to roll yet, but plan to give it a shot this summer. I don't have a lot of experience, I’ve been paddling solo WW (the Nitro) for about 1.5 years, tandem WW for a few years more than that, and tandem flat water for about 10 years. I’d like to improve my skills sufficiently to eventually paddle the Deerfield Dryway (Class IV), probably in the Nitro because it is so stable, but would like a lighter, faster boat for the Class I - II - III(-) stuff that is the majority of what I paddle, and will likely paddle in the future as I get older.

I will definitely get a few more years out of the Nitro, but would like to have an option of another boat, and would like to start looking for that boat now.

Thanks in advance.
User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 424
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:24 pm
Location: Castine, ME

Post by TNbound »

If you want light and fast, try out a Spark. Never paddled a nitro, but I'm sure the Spark is a lot more responsive. Definitely will make you a better boater!

"I'm gonna run this one river left I think.... So far river left, that I'm gonna be on the bank. With my boat on my shoulder."
Ben T
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:43 am


Post by Ben T »

I loved my nitro it took me from a class 2 paddler to my first class 5 rapids. my first run on the dry way was in my old nitro.

you can repair the thin chines in a creative way I leared from Gumpy. go online and order a bag of yellow Legos (seriously). melt the Legos with Acetone in a glass thingy. then spread the peanut buttery substance where you want it on the hull. this layer will act as a sacrificial layer to protect the chines of your Nitro.

If you are looking for a sweet lightweight boat, I recommend a Millbrooks Boat.
User avatar
Craig Smerda
L'Edge Designer
Posts: 2815
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 3:59 am
Location: WaUSAu Wisconsin USA North America Earth, etc.

Post by Craig Smerda »

Esquif Zephyr


something from Kaz

You might be able to find a used Zephyr for a reasonable price if you look around.
Esquif Canoes Paddler-Designer-Shape Shifter
C Guru
Posts: 226
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 1:07 am
Location: whitehorse, yukon

Post by Lappie »

I throw my 0.02... I just got my new composit Creation BullDog, and it is light(48lbs, fully outfited, and Andy put mopre meat at the bottom for our shallow rivers...) I didn't get a chance to try it yet...Snow this morning... but from what I heard, it handle like an Ocoee, but faster, shorter(10')... No flotation bag needed(built in tanks).

I would look into this if I was you!
User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:28 pm
Location: Quebec, Canada

Post by marclamenace »

A lot of people in my club are going for the nitro as their first solo boat to do both day paddling and week-ends since it's big enough. I find it a nice boat to learn also for what you mentioned but here these people gets to sell their old nitros pretty fats when you realise how much of a pig it is, especially full of gears! Still the more stable and efficient at carving design for the double chimes (that wears off so often)

Zephyr is a good choice that's right! Light and nice chimes too, a bit hard to roll if youre looking at learning it especially...

For everything but the bony runs a nice boat from Kaz would perform awesome for sure.

Despite all the complains about royalex it is still a nice compromise between the heavy PE and the fragile (but repairable) composites. You may find an old viper around or probe or ocoee... You won't find the detonator to be such an improvement over the nitro (a bit lighter but even slower) the zoom is a really great design from esquif if you would be looking at developing finesse and your roll (you'll flip a lot!) but not for steping up to harder rapids until you got to know the boat pretty good...

A friend likes a lot its spark but spares quite a bit of time patching it up the camouflage peels off pretty quick and the rest underneath is pretty thin...
Watch out; that river has rocks on the bottom. :o
User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 600
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:06 am
Location: Hatfield, PA

Post by TonyB »

The Nitro is the perfect boat to first run the Dryway, I met Ben last year on my first Dryway run in my Nitro and you'll tear it up!

Look for lighter and snappier, If Royalex try Occoe, Viper 11, Outrage are great boats. Wood gunnels makes it lighter.

Try em out, and if your keepin the Nitro get something that will challenge you more. If creeking and low flows get plastic. Prelude, Skeeter, Fly. My Ledge feels heavier than my Nitro when carrying.
Jeremy also came out with a great new river runner The Option, that looks sweet!. I think Im a little big/heavy for it 230 lbs but people are tearing it up in your weight range.

If light is your goal, nothin beats a millbrook (or so Ive heard).
Proud Yankee
User avatar
Mr Marc
Pain Boater
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:28 am
Location: St-Georges, Qc, Canada

Post by Mr Marc »

I paddeled a Nitro for 2 years then I changed to a Zephyr and it was a good progression. You will see a big difference in the speed, the weight and the control. The Zephyr is not harder to roll than the Nitro. I recomend the Zephyr
Millbrook Boats - Sponsor
Posts: 863
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:41 pm

Post by kaz »

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 851
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:17 am
Location: Fayetteville, AR

Post by Shep »

Zoar used to have an early-model Zephyr with a crack in it. I don't think they ever got it repaired. My impression is that the knowledge necessary to perform repairs of the Zephyr have become more common over the last couple of years. You might be able to pick it up cheap and pay to have it fixed.

User avatar
CBoats Addict
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 3:39 pm
Location: Alabama

Post by eddyhops »

The Spark is definitely a viable... 'Option' :)

As well, it appears you are just way too close to Millbrook Boats not to pay a visit. Regardless of your decision it would be worth the while, in my opinion
User avatar
C Maven
Posts: 1549
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:15 am
Location: top o'da boat - Reids, AL

Post by philcanoe »

Are the chines wearing thin because of the previous owner, or the style of the present :D one?

(could be a necessary factor - to enter into the equation)
    ^~^~^ different strokes ~ for different folks ^~^~^
    C Guru
    Posts: 226
    Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 1:07 am
    Location: whitehorse, yukon

    Post by Lappie »

    Go try a MillBrook boat, at your size you would be right on the mark for fit!!
    User avatar
    C Boater
    Posts: 46
    Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:01 pm
    Location: Western Mass

    Post by Brewbeer »

    Thanks all.

    I bought the nitro from a very experienced paddler who I understand could paddle anything. The chines were definitely worn when I bought the boat, but they continue to wear, and the fact that when out of the water, the boat gets dragged more than carried isn't helping.

    Millbrook is near me and I've seen you Kaz paddle up on the Fife; your attainment skills are amazing ! I was under the impression that I would probably break or crack a "kev-a-lah" boat by smashing into a rock while slamming into an eddy. I am not a finesse kind of paddler (yet).
    CBoats Addict
    Posts: 483
    Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:06 am
    Location: Milton,Mass

    Post by craig »

    A glass boat is more nimble and will make you a better paddler. Repairing them is not too hard. They are surprisingly tough for their weight. 25 lbs is not hard to carry. then save the Nitro for boney runs. Demo a Kaz boat!
    Post Reply