This next canoe review is going to be on what is probably my favorite boat so far and the only boat I’ve swam in. It’s Esquif’s Zoom, a quick responsive canoe with no primary stability and so much fun to paddle! I’m definitely going to be one of the few who say this because not many people do enjoy it. Those that I have found to enjoy it have had my body structure, though, small and low in the boat. Anyway, here goes the review. Enjoy!
At 9’5″, it’s not the smallest canoe out there, but it is a rather small canoe. Because it’s made out of Royalex, the Zoom is lighter (at 39 lbs, good for smaller paddlers!) but still more durable than the old boat materials. It’s got very small chines and again, virtually no primary stability; however, it’s secondary stability is great so if you’re used to that, you could paddle on your side down the whole class II+ rapid just fine (so fun!).
How it Handles the River
This boat is incredibly responsive. If you’re a good paddler, that’s great. If you’re not so good, you’ll be twirling around a lot as a certain boating blogger did all day. That said, it really forces you to pay attention to what you’re doing stroke wise, and I think, makes you a better paddler faster (if you have the patience to handle that kind of frustration). Again, it has no primary stability, and I found, tends to favor a side lower in the water. If you’re ready for it, it’s not that big a deal. It gets its nickname–the WOOZ–for paddlers being upside down in it a lot.
NOTE: Every small female paddler I’ve talked to enjoyed this boat. As a small female paddler, that does sway my decision somewhat because I also enjoyed it and found I did not struggle with the same issues as my taller, heavier paddling friends. Though edgy, the Zoom did not seem tippy to me, but that could be very different for someone taller than 5’1″.
I feel like I should say this is not a beginner boat because that’s what I’ve been told, and I do not want someone reading how much I liked it (I am a beginner) and thinking to try it and not enjoying it. That said, I really enjoyed this boat and am a beginner so if you’re willing to try all sorts of boats, I’d recommend it just to see what it’s like. See you on the river!