Bob McDonough Old Town CanoeDescribe your design philosophy. I like building user-friendly yet still high-performance hulls that are dialed-in to the specific category. I’m driven to understand and achieve the best possible comfort and ergonomics in a kayak or canoe.

What’s your favorite place to paddle? The Grand Canyon

Do you have a favorite boat that you’ve designed? It’s always my latest one. Right now it’s the Old Town Canoe Next. I’ve designed more than 80 boats, including whitewater kayaks, touring boats and canoes. So I guess I’ve had a lot of favorites over the years.

How have you influenced boat design? I was involved early on in the development of whitewater and freestyle kayaks at both Perception and Dagger. Also, as an early squirt boater I was able to blend some of the performance characteristics of squirt boating into mainstream plastic whitewater boats as they became ever shorter and more freestyle oriented.

Describe your design process. In the early days I began by hand-shaping a boat, then building a mold for a plastic boat and tweaking it as many times as needed. Currently, I use CAD to produce a CNC-cut (Computerized Numerical Control) foam master pattern. It still goes to a mold and testing, but shortens the process from six months to two weeks. You get the same end result, but it’s like using a nail gun instead of a hammer.

What’s your paddling background? I was a competitive freestyle whitewater kayaker for 15 years and competed in many national and international competitions.

What’s your favorite thing about designing boats? I like creating user features and performance benefits that make boats stand out from the crowd. I also enjoy the challenge of fine-tuning a boat’s performance while making sure it stays user-friendly—whether I’m designing a boat for experts or beginners.

Old Town Canoe & Kayaks

old town Necky Rip 5

Old Town Necky Rip 5