Detonator Canoe Review

The Detonator can survive even Wayne G-man’s usage of it! Thanks for letting me borrow the canoe for my very first solo run.

I have stepped over the line into the dark side of paddling–canoeing. I couldn’t help it! The grace and challenge of the sport were too tempting. So here I am learning the art form, and that means finding the perfect paintbrush with which to make my masterpiece all over rivers. So, which canoe do I buy? With every canoe I try, the answer becomes more difficult to find. The silver lining to this is that many reviews will come regarding which boats are great for a small paddler and for what purpose. While a portion of the reviews will be based on my experiences, they will also come in large part from the many helpful (and sometimes funny) responses on Facebook from canoeists when I posted the “which should I try” question.

This first post is going to be about the Detonator by Esquif, which I have been borrowing from a friend and have been using the most recently. Enjoy!


The Detonator is the smaller version of Esquif’s Nitro, a surfing machine. The Detonator fits really well for small paddlers, which is to say a person with no hips under 110 lbs can outfit this boat pretty easily. With double chine four inches apart, it is a very forgiving boat.

On the River

This canoe can be likened to a workhorse–steady and incredibly stable. It is a little faster than I was expecting, though, which always adds fun to paddling!

Riding the little waves smoothly.

You’d have to work hard at tipping the Detonator over; t’s got great primary and secondary stability. Though slow, the Detonator carves nicely, which is good since it’s a boat for surfing. For those learning to canoe, the Detonator is a great choice for forgiving mistakes and adding confidence to those times down the river. I never swam my first ever solo run down the Mongaup, and I promise that was not all by ability.


I enjoy the Detonator, but given that I want to hit more creeks rather than surf, this will probably not be the boat I purchase when I’ve finally come around to deciding; however, later down the road in life, I plan on getting a used one to teach others how to canoe. If you are


2 responses to “Detonator Canoe Review

  1. Interesting. I always found my Nitro to be very slow compared to my other open boats. I would expect the Detonator to be the same. It might be a function of paddler weight as well though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s