This is the last one in Royalex. I have one with some kind of factory very minor blemish that is so minor that it is guess work in identifying it. I have one one in spruce. It is a great deal at this price. The Aurora, at 16' long, puts the wide versatility and superb performance of our best-selling model, the 17' Spirit, into a more-compact package. Some of our local triathlon athletes have won races in this canoe so you know it moves along well enough. If you want to order a composite model just call for a great price.
While it is a foot shorter, the Aurora is almost as deep in the center as the Spirit, and is 1" deeper in the ends. It has greater total buoyancy than you might expect, and it carries nearly the load that the Spirit will. Not meant for heavy expeditions, the Aurora does suit typical trips well. It is an easy-paddling hull that retains sufficient freeboard loaded.
Perhaps its best feature is the Aurora's good blend of initial and final stabilities. While steady enough for hunting or fishing, and to haul kids or a dog who may jump around, it is very seaworthy for a mid-sized canoe. Its carefully-contoured, shallow-arched bottom is the reason.
While the choice among 16' canoes is vast, others have a less-sensible bottom profile. Compared to typical, flat-bottomed hulls, the Aurora's shallow-arched design has a bit less steadiness on center but has greater ultimate safety, and better handling on bigger waves. It also paddles more easily and glides farther, due to its reduced wetted-surface area.
Another popular style, the V-bottom, also has more wetted surface than a shallow-arch, and it suffers rapid, abrasive wear on the 'V' area. (This also plagues flat-bottom hulls that have a keel.)
We have two other 16' hulls with shallow arched profiles -- the Adirondack and Rogue -- but they are designed for more-specialized uses. The Adirondack is a day-tripper with less volume but greater speed. The Rogue is a dry, maneuverable design ideal to run active rivers. One or the other will appeal to certain paddlers, but the Aurora splits the difference and can substitute suitably for either.
If your situation dictates a 16' model, and if you plan to enjoy varied types of paddling, no other design serves so well for so many uses. The Aurora delivers fine performance and capacity from a safe and agile, medium-sized design.
Canoes are available in several kinds of materials and with different construction methods:
Royalex is a very tough and durable but still a reasonably light weight plastic laminate. A 17 foot Royalex canoe will weigh about 64 pounds compared to 75-85 pounds for other plastic or aluminum.
Composite materials include Tufweave, a fiberglass and polyester hybrid that outperforms ordinary fiberglass types S or E. Kevlar is a an extremely tough material that is also very light weight. Graphite is even lighter than kevlar but not as abrasion resistant.
Flexcore construction uses several layers of either Tufweave or Kevlar with a specially designed hull reinforcement in the bottom of the canoe. This reinforcement is designed to be quite stiff to retain the design shape but able to flex rather than break on obstacles. This is a very tough construction method but not as tough as Royalex. It's advantages are lighter weight and better performance. It is easily repaired if you manage to damage it.
Ultra light construction uses fewer layers of specially reinforced Tufweave, kevlar and or graphite to build the lightest canoe that is still practical for everyday use in reasonably demanding conditions. It usually does not have a color applied to the hull unless you ask for it. The gel coat (color) adds about 5 pounds to the canoe. This is the stiffest construction method, resulting in the best performance. It is not a good choice for a steady diet of hitting rocks and gravel unless light weight is a very high priority for you. It is especially good for lake and large river trips where carrying the canoe is over portage routes is necessary. Some smaller people and those with less upper body strength appreciate the light weight in all circumstances. It is reasonably easy to repair in most cases.