Bell Magic? (SOLVED: Bell Dynamic)

It certainly could be an Advantage. To tell the truth a lot of Wenonah hulls are similar enough in configuration (Advantage, Rendezvous, Prism) that it can be hard to tell one from another from a single photo. But I would vote Advantage.

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My guess is Wenonah Encounter. It looks deeper than an Advantage with more volume in the bow (not as sleek). Besides, there’s no logical reason to disguise an Advantage. :wink:

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Could well be an Encounter. Another of those similar solo Wenonah hull designs.

You are correct that it is not an Advantage. Here is a photo of an Advantage taken from a similar perspective and angle off the bow. You can see that the prow of the Advantage is sharper and more plumb and the bow deck cap is narrower and more pointy.

mystery Wenonah canoe

The similarities in the extruded, light-weight aluminum gunwales and the short, synthetic deck plates that are so characteristic of Wenonah canoes is apparent in the two boats.

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It is a Bell Dynamic.

See description below from an early 90’s Bell Catalog.

The Dynamic was designed in 1983 for the American Canoe Association’s downriver whitewater solo open class. That year it won the senior men’s and master’s divisions at the ACA nationals. The Dynamic, again, won the ACA master’s title in 1984 and 1985, the senior men’s title in 1985. It then went out of production the following year; however, older canoes have been winning local and national whitewater downriver races ever since. Our interest in the Dynamic is not so much in its whitewater capabilities, as in its extended tripping and extreme load abilities. The Dynamic is one of a few solo canoes a vikings lineman could paddle. While the Dynamic makes an excellent big person’s solo tripper, we would not recommend it for loads under 300 pounds. While the characteristics of this deep sided, high volume solo allow it to excel in big rivers, waves, and rapids, these same characteristics would be a detriment in lightly loaded, windy conditions. If you weigh over 275 pounds or need a large volume solo the Dynamic is your only choice.


THAT makes the hull shape from upside down work. Not as bat wing as newer racing boats but that pointy turn in the middle… I assume for the same reason as the newer ones, that the boat had to be a certain width for its class. So it was - for a good inch and a half.

Are you sure?
Dynamic 1
Ted Bell designed the Dynamic as a downriver racer when he owned Wabash Valley Canoe in Crawfordsville, IN. The Dynamic was listed in the old Bell catalog but Charlie Wilson claimed in this thread that although the Dynamic mold came to Zimmerman, MN when Bell started up, they never actually made one at Bell.

Here are some photos of a canoe said to be a Wabash Valley Dynamic. I have never seen one in the flesh so I cannot confirm. The bow stem and prow look much sharper on this Wabash Valley boat, and the gunwale beam narrower than the boat in question.


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Yes I am certain. I work with Ted and we were sent these photos last week as someone else was interested in the model. Believe it or not, the canoe in question says Dynamic on the inside serial number tag. Its a 92’ for what it’s worth. Bell did produce a few Dynamics (post Wabash) but it was rare. Charlie must be mistaken or they were built before he was with Bell.

For reference here are the measurements:

Length 16’4"
GW 23.5"
4" Waterline 28.5"
Bow Height 17"
Center Height 14.5"
Stern Height 15.5"
Designer T. Bell


Wow, thanks for the clarification and history lesson. I’ve never heard of the Dynamic and would never have guessed that it’s a river boat by looking at it.

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Very interesting history indeed. Thanks for clearing up the mystery of this canoe. It was worth the wait.


For anyone interested I found a whole other thread on this canoe on the BWCA forum.

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Interesting. It sounds as if that canoe was close to being a one-off.

I live not far from Crawfordsville, IN and have come across one or two Wabash Valley solo boats in the past but I don’t think any were Dynamics.

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Than you for the information MNDan. Someone got a great deal on a rare canoe at 300 bucks!