First of all, it should be noted that Gatz canoes, as can be seen in some pictures, can often  be used in more challenging types of water due to their properties than you may currently be able to handle as a canoeist. With growing experience in paddling, safety and boat control also increase. This shifts the boundaries, and the range in which you feel comfortable expands.

We aim to provide our customers with an overview of the appropriate usage categories for each model, indicating where the respective canoe can be used effectively and safely with the necessary experience and paddle technique.
Consciously, we do not adhere to the international 6-class whitewater categorization here. For most experienced canoeists, a limit is reached at classic WW 3, and at the latest at WW 4 with obstacles. Therefore, we believe that additional criteria are appropriate for the family and touring canoe segment in the 'easy to moderately difficult' categories WW1-2 by definition, to help you select the right canoe for your needs.

Please note that these are only guidelines, assuming normal conditions (water levels/weather).

Important: A large lake can develop waves during a storm that are significantly more dangerous due to their size and frequency than some water force on flowing water. On the other hand, technique and the ability to 'read' the water play a significant role on flowing waters. Use literature (e.g., the still current classic 'DER CANADIER') and also videos for self-study. 
Do not overestimate yourself, and only move on to a higher category when you and your fellow paddlers truly excel in a lower category.
Plan your trips with river guides, wind and weather forecasts, and always wear the appropriate clothing and a life vest. Ensure maximum buoyancy for your canoe, for example by using dry bags, barrels, or additional buoyancy aids.

Our 10 stages are divided with seamless transitions as follows:

Area of use 1: LAKE

(e.g. Mecklenburg Lake District, Lake Constance, Alpine lakes, gravel pits, Alster) Calm lakes, from small to large, invite you to leisurely paddle. In windy conditions, paddle close to the shore and in sheltered areas.  Caution for shipping traffic! Caution in strong winds! A spray cover can increase your comfort here because it not only reduces wind exposure on the canoe on the lake.

Area of use 2: COAST

(e.g., Mediterranean islands, archipelagos, lagoon areas/Baltic Sea) Here in coastal areas, the water is often a bit more restless than on lakes, but in general, it can be said that a canoe can be used in the open sea near the coast just as well as on a large lake. Of course, only under good conditions and with an appropriate weather forecast. If you can overcome the area with light surf, you usually won't have any difficulties in the swell either. 

Area of use 3: LARGE RIVER

(e.g. Rhine, Moselle, Elbe, Danube) Strong currents and shipping traffic are the main sources of danger here. Paddle outside the shipping lane and do not obstruct other water sports enthusiasts and commercial shipping. Then, it's an effortless and tranquil glide with occasional fast currents and gentle waves, and the changing riverbank landscapes make the journey enjoyable.

Area of use 4: LARGE RIVER, meandering

(e.g. Durance, Loire, Yukon, Klarälven) Large rivers with strong water flow, if not channeled, carve their way in significant meanders. Paddling on such rivers requires looking far ahead, but you must also watch out for large eddies and fast currents with strong turbulence.

Area of use 5: RIVER, calm

(e.g., Ruhr, Isar, Sieg, Ardeche, Semois, Schlei, in large parts) These smaller rivers are narrower, have less water flow than major rivers, and their flow speed follows the natural gradient. Occasionally, you may encounter rapids or  low falls that are usually easy to portage. Weirs, in various forms, are not whitewater and can be very dangerous. Portaging them is never wrong and protects not only your canoe but also your safety.

Area of use 6: SMALLER RIVERS

(e.g., Rur, Ammer, Wupper, Spree) Small rivers often, but not necessarily, feature lively currents and small rock obstacles that can be easily navigated with good paddling technique. They offer changing riverbanks and are a lot of fun to paddle. Some small rivers, especially in flatter terrain, can be quite narrow, meandering extensively, adding to their appeal.

Area of use 7: RIVER with rocks

(e.g., Loisach, Upper Isar, Prüm, Oker, Ardennes rivers) Rivers with a varied character and small, irregular obstacles, which can be due to water levels or the river's morphology. Rocks may be shallowly submerged or divert the current, creating waves, eddies, and backflows that require skill to navigate. Contact with rocks should always be avoided.

Area of use 8: LIGHT WILD WATER

(e.g. Inn, Aare, Ardeche in parts, Durance, Klarälven Upper section) Fast currents, waves, whirlpools, rocks... everything that makes a wild river. Nevertheless, with well-learned and forward-looking technique, preferably with a canoe equipped with a spray deck and in a kneeling position, it can be mastered very well and is not a problem for most boat models from Gatz-Kanus. In this environment, longer canoes need stronger steering strokes and even more foresight.

Area of use 9: WILD WATER

The upper limit for most canoeists. (Image: Rio Guadalquivier) Here, capsizing is no longer fun, and canoes must be equipped with a lot of additional buoyancy. Whitewater equipment such as a helmet, life jacket, cold protection, etc., is essential here. With a lot of experience, this is an area that brings a lot of joy. Without experience, it is simply dangerous for paddlers and equipment!

Area of use 10: HEAVY WILD WATER

(e.g. Olaf Gatz in the Grand Canyon) An absolute limit for the regular touring, expedition, and whitewater canoeist, reserved for experts only. Only a few extreme paddlers navigate canoes in these challenging waters, which are otherwise reserved for much shorter whitewater solo kayaks designed for this purpose. Eskimo rolling should be mastered in the canoe, and two-person teams must be perfectly coordinated.