As spring runoff turns to late summer float and bloat, we couldn’t help but rant about one of our favorite team-building river toys: Eskimo’s Topo Duo. These double-decked machines are old favorites but Eskimo remodeled the classic in 2005.
The deck is completely reworked with a more modern shape and sleekness. The cockpits are wider and Eskimo is utilizing a new molding process (BiAx-Blowmolding by RIKUTEC) to toughen up this beast.
So why hop in a Topo Duo this summer? Other than the occasional expedition, kayaking isn’t really a team sport but when paddling the “Duo,” chemistry is a must. Paddling Life’s Eugene Buchanan and Joe Carberry took the “Duo” out for a chundering test- ride this year at the local playhole and were able to spin, backdeck roll and even bust out a carthwheel or two. Instant buddies the “Duo” makes (a pair of competent paddlers only ups the fun factor).
Care to up the ante? Two friends of PL once took a “Duo” off Oregon’s Celestial Falls. Fifty feet of tandem freefall.
Too buddyfriendly? Did we mention flatwater overnighters with your significant other? Utah’s Ruby Horsethief or Idaho’s Lower Salmon? Calm, scenic stretches of river will never be the same. Plus plenty of room to stash beer, the bed and other unmentionables.
The Topo Duo is a prime teaching tool too – although Buchanan had one misadventure with his daughter. Teaching youngins’ to stroke or getting beginners out in the current for the first time means something again.
Life is better when you do it with a partner.
Editor’s note: Topo Duo Photo Contest! Have you run the Green in a “Duo?” How about Washington’s Little White? Maybe Idaho’s North Fork Payette? Send us your photos and we’ll post them in our gallery. The best shot wins a free Paddling Life drybag. Send your digital entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or email him about scanning slides.