Have you ever had trouble deciding between a kayak or a canoe for your waterborne adventures? Looks like the folks at Old Town have, because they decided to go ahead and create a canoe/kayak hybrid – the Old Town NEXT – and have deemed it the Future of Paddling.

Seeing as how you can get virtually anything as a hybrid now – hybrid bike, hybrid car, hybrid whiskey. . . . it’s really not surprising to see a hybrid canoe either. (What does one call that? A canayak?) How does it work? The Old Town NEXT has the open hull shape and design of a traditional canoe, so you can sit anywhere in the boat – not just in the seat, even if you will likely want to; it uses Old Town’s Element seating system, which is light, adjustable and removable; it feels like a high-end lawnchair but slides back and forth on the rails to get the perfect position. There’s also a couple of foot racks for comfort, like you would find on your typical kayak.

The NEXT also has the sleekness and easy paddling of a kayak, with a slim profile and very pronounced tumblehome.  In fact, you can use it with either a double-ended kayak paddle, or the traditional oar of a canoe. The hull is made of 3 layers and has a slight rocker to make the tracking smooth and straight. On top, molded carry handles make it easy to pull out of the water and portage to the next navigable waters.

At almost $1000, the Old Town NEXT might not be super affordable for a concept you’ve never tried out. But from reports, it seems to handle itself quite well for some fun on easy water. And that’s what it’s all about anyway, right?

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