Robson C-1 Finkenmiester
It has been awhile since there has been a new plastic C-1 design,the last
being Dagger's Atom. Unwrapping the new Robson Finki, one is a little overwhelmed
with the size, particularly the front half. For those C-1 paddlers using
converted kayaks of the river/play genre the size is considerably more than
they are used to. Ok, it is big, but here is how it is shaped. The deck is
high with huge camber (or arched), good for stable resurfacing. The bow has
lots rocker with the fullness of a long creek boat. The bottom has a slight
arch through most of its length with a crisp chine leading up to highly flared
sides. The depth of the flaring sides combined with the max. beam of 29" gives
the Finky an open boat feel to it. Behind the cockpit the stern quickly
reduces in depth but maintains the arched deck. The stern is low enough volume
to allow pivot turns for larger paddlers.
Having the opportunitiy to test the new C-1 for a couple of days I took it on
a couple of class 3 rivers and a couple class 4 drops to see how I would like
it compared to my converted creek boat and converted river/play C-1. The
factory outfitting worked well for me at 205 lbs, 6' 4". A little foam glued
on the hip grabbers and the bulkhead held me in, even for combat rolls.
Smaller C-1 friends were not so fortunate and fooling around with the bulkhead
foam would be required.
Not suprisingly, the Finki at 9' 2" has great speed; something current C-1
paddlers have forgotten how that feels. Paddling upstream, making ferries,
going back to surf that wave, are all back on the easy to-do list.
As might be expected with the edges, it surfs great compared to the creek
kayaks, but it will not shred like the smaller kayaks. On all but the short
steep waves the Finki will still bring plenty of grins.
I was wondering how the Finki would perform creeking in the steeper, technical
paddling that I currently paddle in a creek boat. Here the edges gave great
control and precise manoeuvering. The slight arched hull, and flared sides
provide confidence carving through boiling and gnarly eddy lines. The boat is
not edgy and has incredible secondary stability. I began to look for the
meanest, nastiest, boils and eddies to test the edginess and forgiveness
compared to my converted creek boat and always felt secure with no suprises.
The extra length of the Finki might be an issue on some of the tightest moves
but the extra speed and stability will reward you with some superb
hole-punching ability (maybe enough so the super tight sneak line won't be
required to avoid that terminator hole). The highly arched decks ensure
control resurfacing. The long slender stern did require good technique to
avoid stern endering out of drops. This was not hard to do as the boat boofs
The Finki proved to be a very stable, forgiving, manoeuvrable C-1 to paddle on
your hardest runs, class 4 and up as your abilities and nerves dictate.
It also appears ideal for those looking for their first C-1. Coming from OC-1
it has speed and glide that the canoeist expects. The flare and width will
encourage confidence and rapid skill development.
The marginally playful stern allows larger paddlers to pivot turns, etc. The
excellent carving abililty livens up the surf wave and hones the paddlers
skill in all the basic moves that make canoeing fun: peel outs, "S" turns, jet
ferries, etc.. All with the thrill of sitting tall and throwing around those
off side strokes.
The converted kayaks will have to do for the cartwheeling, aerial crowd, but
Robson's Finkenmiester will provide a good alternative for river running the
hard stuff and surfing the fast waves. And that once a year plastic slalom
race in your area? Should be fun in a Finky.
CU INA C-1!
© copyright 2004 Tim Marks