OC1 OC2 Information
You might have seen these unique boats floating at your local white water spot with or without their owner and thought those look like fun or perhaps a bit of a gimmick. I can promise you now these boats once tamed are an amazingly well-thought-out piece of kit that nowadays perform in very similar ways to our modern creek kayaks.
Derived from the larger Canadian open boats these small canoes were originally just shrunk down canoes designed to run harder rapids for the true one-blade warriors! Nowadays modern OC1 boats share many similarities in the way they behave, their design, and their construction to kayaks. While remaining true to the canoe heritage they are super comfy and stable boats to use and capable of running some incredibly technical and large rapids.
If you are looking to win a race against a kayak then don’t bother but if you want to look after your beautiful big open boat and still run your local creek or start sending some bigger rapids but still in a canoe, then this is the boat for you!
What is it like compared to paddling a traditional canoe?
Well, let’s start with the similarities first. So, you are still in a traditional kneeling position, using a paddle with one blade, a T-grip, and blending strokes with the need to be able to paddle switch or/and cross-deck being an essential skill. The boat does have airbags filling as much spare space as possible but even then, it is still an open boat and will take on water through large features on the river and will need to be emptied every now and then, depending on how dry you keep those lines.
Differences you will find are the saddle you are kneeling on instead of the more common kneeling thwart forces you to kneel in a neutral position rather than facing slightly more to one side or the other. This is so that whichever side you paddle on you are free to switch to the other and still have an equal amount of rotational freedom when paddling.
This also encourages more paddle strokes to happen at the bow of the boat instead of the stern as the OC1 relies more on effective driving strokes instead of the more traditional power pry which can take some getting used to for some canoers. The saddle fitting or sometimes quick release straps people use to hold themselves in place with the OC1 combined with big airbags and being much shorter (around8-10 ft usually) enable the ability to roll these boats much easier than a traditional boat. Very useful when running longer rapids or somewhere a swim would not be pleasant.
However, despite being easier to roll than a 16ft open canoe don’t be fooled into thinking they are easy to learn to roll. This skill takes time, practice, and a good range of body movements to really dial in.
Check out some of our OC1 gallery images to see what boats we use and also other boats that are available out there and what these boats can really do!