Introducing the Esquif L'edge

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

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Craig Smerda
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Introducing the Esquif L'edge

Post by Craig Smerda »


I'd like to start by thanking Jacques Chaase and the entire Esquif family for allowing me the opportunity to design this canoe and for having faith in me and my whacky ideas.

When Frankie Hubbard passed away in 2003 the whitewater open boating community lost a great canoe designer. In my mind Frankie was not only the most innovative designer pushing the sport to new places but he was also able to bring fresh exciting designs to the marketplace and somehow managed to convince manufacturers to take chances on his designs with new materials that canoes had not previously been offered in... and to take chances on canoes that didn't fit the traditional open canoe mold. To many of us those boats not only changed the way we paddled but it also allowed us to change where we could paddle and what we could do in an open canoe. Frankies designs like the "Edge", the "Ocoee", the "Skeeter" and his entire "Fly" lineup are what inspired the concept of this canoe in the first place. This boat is as much as anything a tribute to Frankie Hubbard and his canoes.

The concept of this boat for me started shortly after Frankie passed away. The list of people that were involved from the start and that I bounced my ideas and concepts off is very long. I can't begin to thank them enough for taking my calls, emails and having so many bench sessions with me. I decided I wanted to design a canoe that would have traditional lines but would also take advantage of all the innovations, design attributes and advantages we've all enjoyed while paddling a "Frankie" boat. I wanted a canoe that would immediately feel familiar to those that paddled his "Edge/Ocoee/Viper" designs and to those that have enjoyed the "Super/Spanish/CU-Fly" lineup. Even you the online community here at was also part of this design process long ago. I asked... you answered... and I listened. In 2006 Jacques and I sat down and talked about it, he could see my vision and asked for some sketches and plans. In March of 2007 I flew up to Quebec and we got to work on our new "Frankie" styled canoe... the "L'edge"

Yesterday was the first time a few of my friends and I were able to test and analyze the prototype that I had waited so very long to paddle. The primary stabilty, secondary stability, and hull speed are everything I hoped they would be and quite possibly more. The boat paddles extremely dry, it rolls effortlessly and comes back up to the surface without much water in it's bottom at all. The "edge" doesn't engage until you want it to and it disengages with the push of your knee and hip. The edge will literally drive the boat if you'd like and for those accustomed to paddling a canoe with a hard edge I think you are going to love it. It transitions from it's primary stability to it's edge then on to it's secondary stability with fluidity and confidence there and back. All in all... I'm a truly happy camper.

The boats specs won't be finalized until Jacques's crew at the Esquif factory are able to bring their rotomolding machine that was recently purchased online and we start popping them out of the mold. Expect the boat to be around nine feet long and twenty-eightish inches wide. It will be offered with the molded deckplates as seen or "open" with full gunnels for the traditionalist.

Enjoy these pictures and stay tuned for more information from this thread in the future. ... 1140484482

Direct link to photo's without the "slideshow"

Edit 6-18-09 Video of the first day on the water with the prototype.

Edit 8-16-09 Quick and dirty GoPro stern cam run.

Edit 11-17-09 Video of prototype running some drops in Mexico

Update 3-1-10 Pre-Production Images

Update 3-1-10 Pre-Production Images

Update 7-17-10 Production Boats finally hit the H20 :D

Update 8-24-10 Production L'edge takes on the Green for the first time.


Last edited by Craig Smerda on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:14 pm, edited 22 times in total.
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Post by virob »


I really don't know much about whitewater canoe design, but when I was looking to buy my first boat several months ago, this is exactly what I was looking for but couldn't find it. Short, conventional shape, partially decked, plastic with a full sized saddle, and loads of fun. Any idea what the final weight is going to be?

Awesome job!

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Post by Wayner »

I'm really looking forward to seeing and paddling this new boat. Sounds like it's going to be a great mix of characteristics and serve as a river runner and creeker too.


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Oci-One Kanubi
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Great work, Decker!

Post by Oci-One Kanubi »

I can't wait to try one. I'd prolly go for the open model, since it should be several pounds lighter.

I echo Mike's question: any idea what the open/thwarted version might weigh, with Mike Yee outfitting?
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Post by craig »

Looks nice! What kind of plastic is it made out of?
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Post by sbroam »

Awesome - can't wait to get a better look (than via this 3" screen) and better still a chance to paddle it. We are overdue for a new design and this is the right material (presumably PE).
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Dang nice!

Post by Mikey B »

I want one! Looks really really good Craig!!!
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Post by Sir Adam »


It is quite a joy paddling a boat you designed yourself.

I look forward to Cing them one of these days!!
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Post by jim gross »


This is the exact shape I was pondering a few weeks ago when SHMohawk asked what we would want in an open boat. You designed your hull shape the way I have designed all my C-1, with a three foot long flattish area in the middle for speed and axeleration. Damnation, now I have to save up and get me one. Nice job. My onll thought is, let's see how long them thar edges hold up with lots of boofin and grabbing a lot of rock. Congrats on your success. Looks to be a winner there.

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Post by rcgalwa »

I can't quite tell from the pics. It looks to me like a symetrical hull design. Am I correct?
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When's it out

Post by popetim »

So when can a nobody slob like me get one? Also, what is the major difference between this and the Spanish Fly (I have that one and love it!). Tim
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Post by D-Caption »

craig will the concave on the chines effect flat spins and 360's while playind on waves? thanks D-Caption
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Post by sganarelle »

ooooooooooo, neato looking.
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Post by tennOC »

That is one hot looking boat. Congrats on seeing it through. Might even lure an old porch dog like me to come out and play. :D
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Post by Dooleyoc-1 »

Looks great Craig. I can't wait to take one out on the Green. It looks like a creeking machine! (I bet it will look great fully open with wood gunnels)
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