Blackfly have recently released details of the Condor. The Condor is Blackfly’s 11’3″ PE river-running open canoe.
This new canoe looks pretty interesting so we threw a few questions over to Chris Loomis at Blackfly to tell us a little bit more.
U: Who is the boat designed for?
BF: When we started designing the Condor, we wanted a boat that was fast for racing, and had carrying capacity for multi-day whitewater trips. But we also wanted a canoe for the paddlers that we hadn’t yet designed a canoe for. We thought about the canoeists who still turned to Ocoees, Outrages, and Vipers, and who wanted a canoe for attainments, surfing, and more traditional river-running moves. And so the Condor is the canoe for them; it has the feel of a traditional, longer canoe, but with a modern design focused on increasing the stability and dryness. We think any paddler, whether they’re an old-schooler coming out of a long Royalex boat, or someone right at home with the sub-9’ designs of the past decade, will truly appreciate all that the Condor does.
Photo: Dave DeHart Paddler: Mark Kieran, Ocoee River
U: What process did you go through to get to the final Condor production model?
BF: The Condor project was the longest design project in Blackfly history, spanning four years and three prototypes. The original “proof of concept” test was simply taking an Octane 91, adding length, and removing width. Two more prototypes followed, and we got closer to the original design demand, “making this canoe the canoe we wanted to paddle 90% of the time.”
The final result was a canoe that truly is a Swiss Army Knife. The Condor is easy to go fast in, and more importantly, easy to stay fast in. Meaning, we put a ton of emphasis on the maneuverability, stability, and dryness of the Condor. Because speed doesn’t mean much if you’re just going to plunge into small features, plug every boof, and swamp. So we focused on the paddleability, not just the speed. The carrying capacity makes it the go-to canoe for overnight trips. And it’s fun to paddle! It doesn’t feel like an 11-foot boat when you’re making tight moves, but then you have the speed for the toughest ferries and the glassiest waves. The Condor boofs really well for its size, tracks better than any boat in our lineup, and rolls relatively easily. The Condor has stood up to every test we’ve given it, from the Upper Gauley to the Green Narrows, and everything in between.
Photo: Rich Moore Paddler: Dave DeHart, North Chick Creek
U: What makes this boat different from those already out there?
BF: The Condor is available as a solo or a tandem. It comes with our standard Blackfly outfitting and molded-in PE gunwales, which are lighter, stronger, and do not require any maintenance compared to wood gunwales. Every aspect of the Condor design was focused on creating the ultimate long canoe, that all paddlers could enjoy on pretty much any whitewater run. Now we can’t wait to get paddlers into Condors and let them experience it for themselves!
Length 11’2″ 340cm
Width 29″ 73.7cm
Depth 16.75″ 42.5cm
Weight 64lbs 29kg
Paddler Weight 130-350lbs 63-118kg (solo)
Material Whitewater Grade HDPE