Canoe and Kayak Store is an independently owned, specialist paddle-sport store based in Gloucestershire. We also have a store in South Wales inside the Cardiff International White Water Centre, where you can Demo our boats and paddles on the course.

Our roots trace back to the year 2000 when Richard (having paddled since he was a child) was offered the chance to buy a canoe business. Loving the industry but not liking the company he decided to set up his own – opening a shop in Gloucestershire and leading to where we are today!

Unit 8, Damery WorksDamery Lane Woodford GL13 9JR
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    Picking your toy. Which Creek boat and why?

       Words by Rosie

       on 25/05/2017 13:52:00

    How to pick the right boat is a really common question. One that can lead to a lot of time scratching your head working out what is best for you. Here is how I pick my favorite toy for creeking from the bunch. Hopefully this guide may be able to help you as well.

    I have been paddling for about 15 years. Over that time I have paddled a wide range of boats and seen them develop though the years. With new designs coming out all the time, the same question keeps coming up: Which boat is best for me?


    Skill level/ background/ type of boating? When picking your boat it is important that you pick the boat that is going to best suit your skill set. Find a boat that plays to your strength, but at the same time is forgiving when you make mistakes. For me it is also very important that the boat is going to help me continue to progress with my paddling.

    There are five key areas of the boat to look at.


    Hull type: Originally there were two main types. A flat planning hull, and a round displacement hull. A flat hull is going to make the boat easier to turn and have sharper rails for carving in and out of eddies. A displacement hull makes the boat softer in landings, and less likely to catch on rocks and slides. But these days most creek boats have a hybrid hull mixing parts of both. Normally the front is more rounded like a displacement hull for landings, merging into a semi flat hull with good rails under the paddler for better control and direction. This then softens again towards the back of the boat, giving you the best of both worlds. Every boat has its own little take on this so it’s best to try until you find the right one

    Rocker. This is the amount and angle of the upward curve on the nose and the tail of the boat. The challenge is to find the boat that suits your body shape and size and hits that perfect window. Not enough rocker on the front of the boat, and it will plug into holes rather than skip over the top. Too much and the front end of the boat will become directionally unstable and hard to control.

    Length: In the last few years boats have gotten a lot longer. A longer boat is faster and has better ability to punch through things. But generally by having a longer water line it is harder to change direction, therefore needing more strength to turn it. So pick what fits your strength level.

    Volume: All the manufactures out there have good sizing charts for their boats. These days there is a fashion to go for boats with bigger volume. There are some advantages to this, but you need to understand what affect it will have on your paddling.

    The trend for higher volume boats has come from the growing creek racing scene and is also linked to the trend for longer boats. Where a bigger boat with more volume will stay on the surface and therefore goes faster. This is all good until you end up off line or in a hole and boat suddenly becomes a monster to control.

    Outfitting / comfort: The key points with outfitting is that it is comfortable, simple and bomb proof. The footplate in any creek/ river runner should be a full plate footplate or in some boats a solid block of foam that fills the nose of the boat. This is for safety in the case of a heavy impact to the front of the boat. For me the most important thing is that it is comfortable and gives me a good connection with the boat. Again, try different boats and find what fits you.


    Why did I pick the Toro?

    For me the Toro balances all the characteristics that I look for in a boat perfectly. This does not mean it is the best boat for everyone, but it is the best for me. (For reference I’m 178cm tall and about 80kg.)

    First the boat is fast. Very fast. And this makes the boat perfect for punching big holes. The front end of the boat rides over everything and the tail is designed to fire you out of features. It has a little bit of a longer water line so it tracks very well and stays on line. I accept that it can be a little bit hard work if it gets off line but it is not unmanageable. It keeps me on my toes and focused on hitting my line. I like this.

    The outfitting is perfect. It’s bomb proof and simple. All that I ask for. I choose to have the solid foam in the nose. It is better for impacts and I don’t have to worry about nose float bags. However I would go for the foot block if heading off on multi day trips.

    At the end of the day the best thing you can do is test. The more you test the more you learn and understand the different features of the boats. This will help you make a better choice.

    Hopefully this helps you understand what to look for in your new toy and choose what’s best for you.


    You can demo a range of whitewater boats at our Cardiff store which is based at the Cardiff International Whitewater Centre, Watkiss Way, Cardiff, CF11 0SY for £10 which you will get back if you purchase a boat from us within 30 days after your demo (this is accumulative so if you have 3 demos in the 30 days you will get £30 back towards your new kayak). Please call Ronnie on 02920 829980 to discuss his demo boat range and availability.

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