The first Echoee prototype has been popped out of the mould. With gunwales and outfitting it is a wonderfully svelt 30 pounds! I have had it out for a couple test runs to see what it can handle and how it feels.
I have put it through some proper testing, over ledges, into holes, bumping down some rocky class 4’s, and finding lots of rocks in eddies. So far it has performed and held up wonderfully. A few dings and dents, to be sure, but nothing like the catastrophe we may have suspected from a carbon fibre river runner.
In my last post about this boat I was advocating a paddling style more like a surgeon than a linebacker, but I have chosen to tackle the test runs with reckless abandon- more Knute Rockne than Norman Bethune. A crack in the stern plate, due to a more brittle lay up than necessary, and a few cracks in the chines were all easily repaired and it is good to go again.
I am tweaking the lay up and the resin content, but things are looking quite promising for a durable, light river runner to be on the market for late spring/early summer this season!
Performance wise, it is a winner. Having a light boat accelerate out of an eddy in one stroke is a great experience. Having a stiff hull with no oil canning bounce over waves is exhilarating. And it carves in and out of eddies as you might expect from the snappy chines we have all loved in the Ocoee. The Echoee is a great improvement on what was already a wonderful boat to paddle.
This one is custom coloured in a classic 80’s acid wash look (actually just coloration from the mould as I left the finish clear to show the lay up), but future ones will be painted- unless you still have enough hair to tease into your best Billy Idol and the retro look works for you! I can’t even do a proper mullet anymore…
If you have been thinking about a new boat then get in touch!