Today was the opening day of paddling in Quebec for 2016. There is a lot of ice coming down the river, and jutting out into the current, so you have to be smart. The banks are covered in knee to waist deep snow, and most importantly, the water is high.
It was the perfect day to take the production District 11 out for a spin. As much as you try, production boats are never exactly like the prototypes. Years of experience tells you how to design the boat so that the final boat is as close to what you wanted as possible, but there is always that little guy in the back of your head making a little prayer to the gods that you got it right.
Oh boy did I get it right. The boat is FAST. Really fast. The faster you paddle, the straighter it goes, so on those sprints between rapids, it takes off and tracks well. As you enter the rapids, you back off a hair, and suddenly the boat loosens up and it becomes very predictable and easy to turn, especially on the tail, or using counter steer techniques.
The result is a boat that is a whole lot of fun to paddle, and for those that want to win races... well... this is the one. I plugged some great holes, and got a few awesome tail stands, but when I wanted to I was also able to charge through really big technical stuff and make my lines like I was in a normal creeker. I even surfed a couple of waves, though that's not it's intended use at all.
All in all, I'm extremely excited about this boat, and I think everyone who paddles it us going to enjoy it a lot.