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Green Corsica - $50. Jack Leiman 253-370-5710 |

Tim Kennedy Corsica Review

Yet another Perception whitewater kayak review…

The Corsica! This is the original, the big one. The “head of the household” that included the Corsica, Corsica S, Corsica Matrix, Corsica Overflow, and Overflow X.

The Corsica was Perception’s first true entry into the creek boat category. At the time, it incorporated creeking specific design features such as a short length of 10’ 9”, blunt ends, and a “keyhole” cockpit. For the first couple of years it still used plastic foot pegs on rails. Later, the cockpit and thigh brace area was enlarged, a bulk head footbrace was added, and it was offered in the Proline version with stiffened pillars. Many Ohiopyle area creek boaters either paddled Corsica’s, Corsica S’s, or T-Canyons as their first plastic creek boat purchase. In the early ‘90s, it was a significant shift (and risk of ridicule) for many paddlers who had always paddled fiberglass to be seen on the river in one of these tupperware “geek” boats. But, as we explored the steeper low volume runs of the area, many came to embrace the advantages of these new plastic creek boats.

As a skinny twenty year old, I originally owned a Corsica S from 1992 to 1994. But, this past summer, I had the chance to pick up a big Corsica.

Perception Corsica specs (from the 1993 catalog)

Length: a nimble 10’ 9”
Width: a stable 25.5”
Volume: a roomy 79 gallons
Weight: light as a feather at 41 lbs

I’ve paddled mine a few times now. But for this review, I’ll talk about my run down Gore Canyon at 1300 cfs last September. (I do paddle other places. But, Gore is practically my “backyard run”.)

Visual impression to me:

Looks longer and skinnier than modern creek boats (because it is), but not as long as a Green Boat or Stinger (because it isn’t). Looks fast with an ever so slight keel on the stern (to help track). Hardly any rocker whatsoever (it better be fast, otherwise it may boof like a torpedo). A big flat bow deck that you could land aircraft (or your drone) on.

Visual impression to 20 year olds that I paddled with that day:

“Whoa…Who brought that? Are you gonna paddle that today? Looks huge!” Whispers aside, “What a kook!” “And you have a wood paddle? How long is that?” Thinks, “Yep, a complete kook!”

Comfort and outfitting:

Surprisingly comfortable and secure with such small thigh hooks. Seat needed to have some foam glued in for hip pads, and I added an IR backband. The footbraces in mine are the easily adjustable and replaceable (more on that later) Keepers style plastic foot pegs/pedals. A standard/small (depending on brand) sprayskirt fits fine on the cockpit, but needs to be worked into the shallow rim.

On river performance:

– Super stable. The narrow width is not noticeable, due to the big flat area under the seat.
– Pretty fast for a short boat. Almost as fast as a Green Boat or Stinger. Probably due to the lack of rocker giving it a long “effective edge” (ski/snowboard term).
– Boofs are 50/50. The speed helped with the boof on the left-left line in Gore rapid. I aired it out with a few wide-eyed “Holy shit!”s from the kids in the eddy.
– However, the length and lack of rocker didn’t promote a flat landing at Tunnel Falls. I resurfaced like a nuclear submarine in an 1990’s political thriller. Bow high, but still hull side down. So, it resurfaces well.
– Catches eddies fine. If you’ve got the room, it carves into eddies really well for having such soft edges.
– All day comfort. Even with the narrow knee position and low deck, I was able to sit in the boat all day, without having to get out until…
– Age/durability of plastic outfitting is suspect. One of the original Keepers foot pegs shattered, when I applied a bit of pressure to it while peeling out at the bottom of Kirschbaum (thankfully not earlier in the day). I paddled out with a light pressure on the remnants ziptied in place. But, a new set was easily purchased online for under $20. Good to go for next time!


The Corsica is a fun old school boat that fits in between the modern creeker and modern long boats in performance. Very versatile. However, it’s too long for the short boat class and too slow/too flat of a deck for the podium in the long boat class. But, as training run boat, or a boat to help make the step up to paddling a Stinger or Green Boat, it’s a good option. It may be good for shorter multi-day trips as well. I have a friend who is planning on paddling one on a Middle Fork self-support this summer. He’s been paddling the Corsica forever. He likes them so much, he has a barn full of them. If you are on the smaller side, I recommend the Corsica S. The Matrix is a slug (albeit a stable slug). The Overflow is a completely different boat.
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