Rosco Scamper canoe review

HAVING a passion for your craft or specialty is an important benefit for anyone in business. And this is something Ross Cook and the team at Rosco Canoes have with respect to the art of paddling.

Rosco products are well and truly proven performers. Some I have covered in previous articles, but Ross is always thinking about ways to improve or come up with something new. I guess this comes from spending plenty of time on the water, which is what most of the crew do.

The latest addition to the Rosco stable of designs is the new Scamper. A quick check of the Oxford dictionary shows the meaning of scamper to be “run or move quickly”. And Scamper is exactly what this new little canoe does.

Designed to be very lightweight, affordable and stable, the Scamper certainly lives up to its name. Its light weight not only makes it easy to load and unload and carry to the water, it also makes it to be very nimble when paddling. You need hardly any effort from the paddle to get you moving or scampering along the water. I actually had to adjust my paddle rate and strength so I wasn’t working against the efficiency of the hull as it glided along.

I rate myself as an average paddler, so it was impressive to see what Ross could do in the Scamper, even with a single paddle. Actually, he prefers using a single paddle and it is easy to see why. However, one of the benefits of this boat is that you don’t need to be an expert paddler to get good performance. It is also very easy to paddle with a standard double kayak paddle, which is what I used.

After hopping in for a paddle off the Scarborough shoreline, one of the first things I noticed (after how light the canoes was) was the amount of room available. In front of the Scamper is a massive amount of room that remains relatively dry. There is heaps of leg room and space to stow some tackle bags, while giving you a good work platform to land and place any fish you catch. Behind the seat you will find just as much, if not more room that lends itself to carrying an Esky or camping supplies for an extended adventure down a protected creek. The design of the Scamper is asymmetric with the fullest part towards the stern, allowing for the weight of any extra gear you may want to carry.

While designed to be very lightweight at only 17kg for the solo Scamper, it is nonetheless a well-built fibreglass canoe, with a strong overall feel. This is probably aided by the alloy gunwales bonded around the entire rim of the craft. The clean lines of the Scamper are not only for aesthetic reasons; they also make cleaning and washing easier.

The light weight of the Scamper means you can get to a variety of locations. One man, one paddle, one canoe.
The light weight of the Scamper means you can get to a variety of locations. One man, one paddle, one canoe.
The tumblehome provides excellent stability.
The tumblehome provides excellent stability.
Ross showed the performance with a single paddle.
Ross showed the performance with a single paddle.
There is still plenty of freeboard with two people on board.
There is still plenty of freeboard with two people on board.
To get water out of the Scamper, all you need to do is lift one end and roll it over. There is no lip to trap water at either end, so it’s easy to wash out. Different models are available in the Scamper range, including the solo I have mentioned and a two-seater. The two-seater is slightly heavier at 20kg, but both craft are still extremely light. Actually, they come in lighter than most plastic kayaks, which make them a viable option.

Price is another attractive aspect and at $990 for the solo and around $1149 for the double, you get an affordable craft with many advantages. You will also have an extremely well-designed, Australian-built vessel with 43 years’ experience going into the making.

In what could be described as a blank canvas, you can either keep it very simple by just grabbing a paddle and rod to hit the water or deck it out to suit your needs. All Scampers have a payload of around 230kg, which is plenty for one or two up with gear. In keeping with the blank canvas feel, each boat comes fitted with a soft seat. This style of seat conforms to each individual and can be used with or without a backrest. I was actually a little surprised by how comfortable it was without the backrest, which also allowed more freedom and manoeuvrability when paddling.

Regardless of whether you’re in a sit-on-top or sit-in canoe or kayak, stability is a very important feature. The Scamper is pretty stable with the tumblehome providing good buoyancy when leaning over the sides, which can be an advantage while fishing, pulling up a crab pot or even landing a fish. It is also possible to stand up, but you do need to be aware of proper weight distribution. You can move about a little, but care does need to be taken. However, you must keep in mind that this boat is only just over 4m with a beam of 85cm. Hence, while these numbers contribute to making it light and easy to handle it has been predominantly designed to be used in sheltered or partially smooth waters.

However, when I did the test, conditions were pretty choppy with short sharp waves and I felt very secure and stable both into and side on to the waves. In my opinion this is a real testament to the design and functionality of the craft.

For more information on the Scamper, contact the crew at Rosco Canoes on 07 3391 1088 or drop in and see them in the showroom at the Goodtime Building, 29 Ipswich Rd, Woolloongabba 4102. They are all keen paddlers, so will be able to give you plenty of helpful advice on a variety of craft to suit your needs.

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