by Steve Cramer

I bought a well-used Esquif Taureau (Don’t you mean Taurus? No, Taureau, it’s the name of a Class V section of the Jacques-Cartier in Quebec) last week, and took it out on the Broad yesterday with some Athens paddlers. You’ve probably seen one before; NOC has had their demo sitting in from of the store for a few years. The funny-looking little canoe thingy with decks that come within a few inches of your navel and tailbone. I’ve never seen anyone paddling one, though, and, as you may know, I go in for uncommon rivercraft.

Mine looks like this–actually, I think they all look the same–except with some repairs on the nose, and no, it’s not duct tape.

It is 8′ by 27″ and by the time it’s stuffed with foam bulkhead knee braces, seat, airbags, and one’s lower body, its volumne is pretty much spoken for. Which is good, since it’s a rather wet ride. I got a little vertical (for me) surfing Horseshoe/First Ledge and mostly filled it. And again surfing Third Ledge. And running Roostertail. And…you get the idea.

Amazingly enough, considering I had to enter the boat with a shoehorn and kneel with my butt between my heels, it’s not an uncomfortable boat to spend a long time in. I had no trouble adapting to the position and staying there. I used my 56″ broken-kayak-paddle-with-a-T-grip stick, about 2″ shorter than usual, and it worked well. Need to get a decent short paddle, though.

No 8 foot canoe is going to be very fast, but this one is not as slow as I was expecting. Pinyerd has nothing to worry about, but I think I was paddling as fast as I would have been in the Viper. And of course the Taureau is super maneuverable. Counter-lean turns are fun, once you get used to how fast they happen. And it’s more stable than a Spanish Fly, but less so than a Quake. But you can’t do an outside pivot without taking the paddle out of the water, which is a disappointment, as that is such a cool move.