I am 6'1" and weigh 240 lbs. Yes, I am a Clydesdale kayaker. The Northern Hawk fits me well and I can easily put 80 lbs of camping gear in the fore and aft compartments.
Most importantly, the Northern Hawk is streamlined and FAST! I often have to wait for my friends to catch up with me.
The Northern Hawk is a low profile design that cuts through wind and water.
Perhaps the most unique feature is the transome built above the waterline for adding a motor. While most motor-ready canoes have a flat back, the Golden Hawk transom is raised so that it is on top of a full form canoe. This allows the canoe to function with all the efficiencies and responsiveness of a canoe - including going backwards. Because I am not a motorist, the transom has another purpose for me; It is a luxurious platform for equipment. Secure a large tackle box onto the transom for gear and you nearly have a canoe with closet space. The transome also offers a convenient mounting area for portable lighting.
I am NOT a motorist, so paddle responsiveness is paramount to me. I found the Golden Hawk to be exceptionally responsive - surprisingly so. It can turn on a dime. Still, the old-school protruding 3" metal keel allows it to cut straight lines on open water and punch strong winds in the nose. Although the bottom is flat, the Golden Hawk has a decidedly pronounced sidewall curve, so if the paddler intentionally leans to the side, the canoe can edge onto it's side and perform as if it had an abundance of rocker.
One of the finest characteristics is its stability. This makes it the workhorse of hunters, fishermen, trappers, and recreational canoeists. I canoe and fish often with a six year old who was skiddish about being in tippy canoes. Once in the Golden Hawk, he felt relaxed and confident in the stability. He noticed he could walk standing side to side or front to back without tipping the canoe. This, I find, is one of the most appreciated characters of the Golden Hawk; platform stability even in rough sea.
Weighing in at 65 lbs, the Golden Hawk is cumbersome and most appropriate for those who eat spinach by the can full. The lack of a forward thwart or handles makes a traditional shoulder portages difficult and unfamiliar. This can be remedied by adding handles, of course.
The 65 lbs is the culmination of a higher quality fiberglass woven mat and resin combination. The Golden Hawk is manufacture 100% in Wisconsin, USA of with a special outside-in process. The result is a canoe with beautiful lines and robust strength. Because of it's fiberlass construction, it is easily repaired by the casual do-it-yourself paddler if ever necessary.
All things considered, the Golden Hawk is an exceptionally useable canoe. It is responsive to the paddle, unique in it's useable space, and one of the most stable canoes available.