Outrigger Zoneʻs “Storm” OC1 Review (February 2013)

Tried the "Storm" yesterday in smokin conditions. Checkout my review on how it felt.

Tried the “Storm” yesterday in smokin conditions. Checkout my review on how it felt.

I had a chance to try out Outrigger Zoneʻs “STORM” yesterday in some smoking conditions. The trades were blowing 25-30+ with bumps and whitecaps everywhere. Perfect conditions for a test-drive. Went with my normal group of training partners, most were on pueos and we did a total of 1:45min, some uphill intervals with a lot of downhill pushes. Hereʻs what I noticed:

Rigging the canoe, you notice how light the canoe is. The wind was blowing right onto the beach, sand stinging kine trades. Putting the ama down, it almost blew away. Thats how light this canoe is. Pressing around the hull and ama the construction felt pretty solid. No areas where you could squeeze in and feel much flex or soft spots. Outrigger Zone put back the Iako pins of old, which I really like compared to the twist sleeves the second gen hurricanes had (which made for the iako to come out of the hull while paddling, super dangerous). The rigging of the iako into the ama is the same as the second gen hurricane (place iako in ama then turn toward hull to secure). It felt snug turing and secure but like my old hurricane, but I would be concerned about the grooves wearing down and becoming loose eventually. A couple hurricanes have had incident where the iako came out of the ama while paddling because the locking grooves wore down so much. Makes for another potentially dangerous situation. Picking up the canoe and walking to the water was a dream, so light, its the lightest canoe on the market for sure!

Hopping on, right away I noticed the seat. The Storm I tried did not have a lot of seat to it. The seat maybe was 14″ in length and (for my height, 5ʻ9″) the back of it did not touch the back of the cockpit. This made the seat feel flimsy and when pushing of the legs you could really feel the flex in the seat (to me this equals to power lose). The seat was comfortable and thick but not long enough, spanning the entire cockpit area. People have mentioned that the seating area of the Storm is to wide but for me it didn’t feel so bad. The canoe felt comfortable and not tippy, it had a good overall balance.

Paddling out, the canoe felt pretty responsive, good pedal-to-rudder reaction. I did notice the foot pedals were wide, tall and flimsy, not stiff like kai waʻa (hawaii made) and kamanu pedals. The pedals are probably extremely light compared to aluminum pedals but these tended to flex noticeably. In the surf I noticed them even more, (for me) it felt like it did affect rudder reaction when trying to connect with bumps.

Upwind, we did a series of 20-25min intervals at around 75-80% effort. The Storm (for me) felt a little to big in the front (the area right by the front iako sleeve). I noticed the canoe easier to move angling the hull right, at a side angle of the oncoming chop, more so than the pueo I have used, which cuts through chop a little better. The volume in that area of the Storm (for me) made it feel like the front was being pushed over the oncoming chop and slammed you down once going over. This to me killed the momentum and hull speed, having to start back from zero each time it happened. One uphill run I found myself way far off to the right of the group because I had to angle so much to avoid the hull from slamming.

Downwind, we lined up as a group and did a series of three 15-20min intervals, one at a 15min race pace, one at 85% effort and the last at a 80% downwind effort. Knowing where Im usually at going downhill with the group I noticed the following, I had a hard time jumping onto the bumps. With the pueo, I can take a few aggressive strokes and hop right on the push. With the Storm, I just couldn’t jump on bumps as easy. I had to go over my desired effort/heart-rate and force the canoe to get on the push. This took a lot of effort and by the third downhill interval I was exhausted. Once I got onto the bump the Storm carried well, I thought it had a little more carry than the pueo. Its just the effort I had to spend to get onto the bumps (for me) did not compensate a better carry. The guys that I am used to out surfing were next to me or ahead. Also in the surf, reaction time to move the canoe right or left felt slower than im used to.

By the end of the 1:45min workout I was spent. For me it took so much to get the Storm onto the bumps. In walking the canoe up after I noticed two things, the hull filled with water and the right pedal was starting to come off the hinge. It seems like the screw-in plug (maybe “O” ring) leaks just like the hurricaneʻs of old and the “L” shaped pin securing the pedal onto the hinge was coming out. We drained out at least 5 cups of water.

All in all I think there are gems with the Storm. Its a beautiful looking canoe, love the black (wish the logos wernt so big). The overall weight is amazing and seems like the construction is very strong. I like the bungee set-up in both the front and back of cockpit (great for an extra paddle and a water pack). Its well-balanced in the ama/rigging department and comfortable in the seat area. The ama didn’t feel like it was dragging, I could fly it easy, and I like the iakos (I just wish they didnt use the turn-locking system in the ama). The footwell drains are awesome! in the conditions we were in, I had less than a half-inch of water during the entire time. The only question I would have, does that type of under-hull suction drain add significant resistance? I ask because i sure can feel when a small leaf gets caught on my rudder.

On the drive home that night I kept finding myself wanting to like the Storm. The weight is so amazing, I want a canoe that light! I just wish the front had less volume, (maybe pinched in a little, idk) and the other small things were easy fixes. I kept telling myself I could just take the screw plug out and install a standard plug, that i could get me a seat that would fit the entire seating area, the pedal flex I could probably adjust to, and I could just fix the”L” pin so it woudnt come out.

I do think that Outrigger Zone has taken OC1 construction to the next level and will help to restore the reputation China built canoes have in the OC1 community here in Hawaii.

This article was written as a personal review of the canoe I tried. In searching the Internet for feedback I could not find much about the Storm and how it performs so I figure Iʻd share my own thoughts after trying it. I am not affiliated with any any canoe manufacture, I am just in the market for a new OC1 and will continue to try out the ones that interests me. Mahalo for reading!


About oc1blogger

From Hawaii, not an elite paddler, not sponsored but loves to train, compete and do well. Has been paddling for over 20 years. My OC1s have been: Arrow, Thunder, Wave Blade, Hurricane, Polaris, Vantage, Scorpius and currently using the original Pueo. Looking to get a new OC1 that has the ease of catching bumps like the pueo but has more carry. Decided to start a blog to share information on the OC1s that I am testing before I spend $4500. plus on a new one. All reviews are my own personal opinions on how each OC1 felt to me after my testing. I am not affiliated with any OC1 company, just giving my honest thoughts on how the canoes felt on a given day of trying them out. Mahalo for reading! Aloha.
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8 Responses to Outrigger Zoneʻs “Storm” OC1 Review (February 2013)

  1. Chad says:

    Thank for the up date guys out here with the storm don’t say much about the boat they just say its good but not into much detail then wen we go out there playing catch up don’t get me wrong it just may take some time 2 fine or spend a little more time on the water to figuer it out may be because it’s so lite it needs or be paddled with less effect and
    Not but with a little more finesse in the stroke.

  2. oc1blogger says:

    Glad you found the feedback I gave useful. Yeah I’m not trying to disrespect any canoe or Oc1 boat builder with my reviews, I’m just trying to share honest feedback on how it felt when I used the canoe. With all the money we need to spend on Oc1s these days people should have some information so they can get a sense of what they might be getting. My friend bought a Storm when they just came out, he dropped down $4500.+ and now he’s trying to get rid of it. He wishes that he knew now hard difficult a canoe it is to get going. For him it was not the right Oc1.

    • Mike M. says:

      Great reviews. Any idea when John Puakea’s oc1 will be available. It would be nice to compare the Pueo 2 to John’s.

  3. oc1blogger says:

    With the Molokai Solo coming up this month (April 21) Im not sure but I think we will see both Jimmy Austin and Danny Ching on the Ehukai. It will be a canoe manufactures battle this year. With Manny riding the new Pueo, Karel hungry from his close second place finish last year, Pat Dolan on the Scorpius XM Extended and if Kai comes out, wow, it should be a war. I really think the winner of this race will capture the next big wave in OC1 sale (on Oahu). All you have seen the past few years are pueos out on the water. I think people are waiting before they make that next investment of $4500+ to see which canoe has that edge. Hey, when you take all these top guys (Jimmy, Karel, Pat, Danny, Manny, Kai etc.) and the level they can cross that channel at, it has to come down to the design. I really think that for last year, if Karel trained on and used a pueo he would have won. I could be wrong but thats just my opinion.

  4. SC says:

    Great review; I’m glad someone is doing this comparison. I am also in the same dilemma about which OC1 to invest ~4.5K$. I am curious as to how much water did get into the storm’s hull; did the XM or Pueo have the same issues? With the same conditions as above, would you have spent less energy with the XM or Pueo?

  5. oc1blogger says:

    Aloha SC, regarding the Storm and how much water got in the hull, we were out I remember 1hr20 to 1hr30 max and the conditions were super windy and choppy, was a great test day to surf the Storm. I think had a few cups worth at least. Its the screw-in plug that they put right in the back end of the hull where it dips into the ocean a lot in the surf. If they just put a regular cork-type plug with breather near the middle of the hull this wouldn’t be a problem. Energy, for sure the Pueo wud shine I think out of the Storm and XM… its just a super easy hull to initially jump on the bumps and the conditions that day were super tight. Wind and swell push were one after another. Hope this helps.

  6. SC says:

    Thanks : I will probably schedule a demo of Kamanu’s Aukahi; just to check it off as a possibility.

  7. SC says:

    Any chance you demo/paddled the Ehukai? or the Pueo next gen.

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