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With so many choices, why choose canoe plans from Ashes? Well, we think that there are a lot of reasons.

Ashes Integrates Modern Design Principles with a Traditional Aesthetic

A canoe is the ultimate in functional small craft: it’s a study in simplicity; it’s versatile and tested; it can carry a load; it can cover miles in a day and navigate rapidly moving water. Over the years its form has been refined and adapted to changing construction techniques and new materials. The classic form pleases the eye and pleases the paddler. Modern iterations are increasingly efficient and lightweight.

Ashes has taken these lessons and designed a series of boats that reference the classic lines of canoes past, while integrating design lessons learned over the decades. This is evident in the tumblehome, plumb ends, asymmetrical entry and exit lines of our solo and tandem series, and reduced windage.

Our Hulls are Designed for Reduced Paddling Resistance, Easy Tracking, and Light Weight

Today, modern software allows Ashes to test an extensive list of parameters before laying out the first plank. Each Ashes design is the end result of a process that tests stability, flow characteristics, resistance, windage, and a host of other metrics that need to align against the designer’s objectives. Only then is a boat prototyped and tweaked.

As a designer, my objective is to design a canoe that functions as well as every other contemporary offering out there; one that betters the performance of traditional hull shapes; and is uniquely an “Ashes” boat to the eye.

Paddlers will find that an Ashes Canoe will track well. Unlike many traditional hull forms, the tandems require fewer corrective strokes than you might otherwise be accustomed to. The solos are easily paddled flat and require nothing more than a slight C stroke to keep a steady forward pace. Paddlers of traditional designs will also find themselves surprised at how efficiently and quickly one of our hulls comes up to speed. The most frequent comment about the Solos are how much they feel like a sports car. And it’s remarkable how quickly the Tandems react to pressure from either a bow or stern paddler.

A Minimalist and Elegant Aesthetic

“Beauty is in the eye of beholder, I get it, that’s why we work hard to create something beautiful.”

As a designer, I’m inspired first by what I see in in nature, and second by the boat form itself. When I embarked on this adventure the Ashes aesthetic took time to reveal itself. It wasn’t something that revealed itself quickly. But when it did, it the connection between the mammalian form and a canoe became obvious.

I’m certain I’m not the first to have noticed it. None-the-less I’m am continually struck by the similarities; the tumble home for instance, a feature of all my boats, is a dead ringer for mammalian rib-cage … by making the connection explicit and by referencing it in the design process, the boat’s connection to our human form is retained. It’s this connection, I think, that makes the boats so pleasing to the eye.

We’ve also worked extremely hard to reduce the elements in my boats to a bare minimum; from the beginning I was searching for beauty in the forms themselves. Those of you familiar with cedar strip construction will recognize that this attempt was counter-intuitive; the majority of wood boats celebrate and show off the craftsmanship. My impulse is to hide it and let the form speak for itself.

I’d like to think that I’ve succeed by creating simple, elegant hull shapes, that please the eye and the paddle. I’d like to think that other people think so too.

True to Our Name – Canoes for Still Waters and More

All boats are a compromise. When Ashes started designing canoes, we built them for local conditions which means that they were designed for easy portage, shallow draft, and reduced windage. In other words,  the original Ashes’ designs  were best suited to small bodies of generally still or slow moving water.

In that tradition, choose a Solo PacketteSolo Pack, Solo Day, Solo QuickTandem Day or Angler’s Day if you are paddling in wetlands, estuaries, protected lakes, or flat creeks and rivers.

As our business grows, we are designing and prototyping larger boats. In the last two years we’ve released plans for the Solo Trip and more recently for the Angler’s Trip, and Tandem Trip. These hulls are designed for those travelling in larger lake systems with heavier weather. They have more rocker, greater secondary stability, and can carry more load at the same lengths.


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