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Canoeing 101


Canoe Design: Keel Line

Keel Line 
A canoe's keel line is the profile of the hull bottom running from stem to stem, best seen by standing back and viewing the canoe from the side. The keel line can range from straight or level to highly arched or rockered (think of the runner on bottom of a rocking chair). We classify canoes that have less than 2" of rocker as slightly rockered. Models with rocker ranging from 2" to 3" are considered moderately rockered and those with over 3" of rocker as extremely rockered.


Slightly Rockered


  • Enhanced tracking, speed


  • Limited maneuverability


Moderately Rockered


  • Good balance between maneuverability and speed
  • Most versatile keel line 


  • Reduced tracking than straight keel
  • Reduced speed than straight keel 
  • Less maneuverable than highly rockered 


Extremely Rockered


  • Enhanced maneuverability


  • Poor tracking
  • Reduced forward speed