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.
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!
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