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As for paddling, I am used to my wood canvas boats which have more weight and flex in them so the slightest body movements of my 5'10" 170lb frame transmits directly to the hull and probably takes a little getting used to. I did lean it to the rails and it was pretty rock solid holding me upright on my knees, so secondary stability is very good. Initial is decent as you can switch seating from kneeling to sitting upright being careful and deliberate. Glide efficiency is very good, as it should be with this shallow vee hull shape and size and of course it tracks fairly easy too. For maneuvering turns I am a kneeler and leaner so I didn't have a problem turning, it just takes a bit longer to bring it around but it was smooth. It side slips very nicely too. Its low height at the ends didn't catch much wind and it is deeper at 12.5" in the middle than the original Mad River Independances 11 1/2".
So in a nutshell, this a great solo canoe with excellent workmanship worth the $2k investment. Oh yes and it does come with hardwood rails and scuppered deck to satisfy people like myself that must have wood in their boats.