comparing Supernova, Guide & Odyssey 14

I am an intermediate canoeist who is looking for another solo boat. I want a boat that would be a good tripper, can handle class III rivers, haul a fair amount of gear for occasional camping trips (yes, I know when to portage) and track at least halfway decently. I enjoy running rapids as part of paddling a river, but am not into surfing or playing in rapids for the heck of it; I am not looking for a whitewater playboat. Nor do I want a flatwater boat; I already own a Wenonah Prism, which is a great flatwater touring canoe. But the Prism is fiberglass and does not like rocks; I want a solo boat that can handle rocky rivers. I prefer to sit when paddling (except in rapids, of course), as my knees are NOT comfortable kneeling for long periods of time. I am 6’1", 165 pounds.

After looking through a number of buyers guides, I think either the Nova Supernova, Mad River Guide/Freedom Solo or Mohawk Odyssey 14 would serve my purposes. Will someone who has actually paddled at least two of these models describe the differences between them, given what I plan to do??

I’ve also heard rumors that the quality of Mad River boats has declined since they’ve moved from Vermont. Does anyone care to comment on that??

I’m a Guide owner, but if you want to
sit, I think I would recommend the Supernova for its increased beam. Having just screwed up my knee, I am going to work out some really good thigh and foot supports in my Guide so that I have WW kayak-like control when sitting. But if you’re not that into WW, a little extra beam will help you. Whatever boat you get, try to build in hip pads, places to support your thighs against the sides, and solid foot support.

I haven’t heard any solid info about Mad River quality after the move to NC. The Guide, now the solo Freedom, is a boat they have been making for quite a while, and I see no reason why quality should decline. I have owned two MR boats, the Guide and my Synergy, and the ABS quality is fine. Fitting of the end caps with vinyl gunwales is mildly sloppy, moreso in the Synergy.

My 2 cents worth…
Have only paddled a Supernova once, so I don’t feel qualified to say yea or nay on it. My first impression was I wouldn’t trade it for my Guide, or my Odyssey.

I do own, and paddle a Mad River Guide, and a Mohawk Odyssey 14. I would suggest you get the Guide; based on how you plan to use the boat (combo of flat water & mild to intermediate whitewater). I think the Guide will do better than an Odyssey 14 in class 3. Not saying the Odyssey won’t do class 3, but if I had to choose between the two for class 3 water, I’d choose the Guide. Wouldn’t do class 3 water in either without airbags. Some people say they can’t get a Guide to track; I’ve never had any problem with that. But then again, I don’t have any problem getting the Odyssey to track either. The Odyssey is definitely cheaper than the Guide. It is also a little lighter weight. If I were doing a lot of class 3 water, I wouldn’t choose either one over my Mad River Outrage X. By the way, I’m 6’4" & weigh about 200 lb.

I encourage you to try them all before you buy, and I also encourage you to check out the product reviews on Pnet. The product reviews will give you many different opinions, by a group of paddlers with “varied” skill levels. Don’t accept all you read as the gospel. Throw out the “this boat is the best boat there ever was”, and the “this boat is the worst boat there ever was” opinions & then read the others closely & you’ll probably get a good idea of the boats shortcomings, and attributes.

Good luck,


supernova vs. guide vs. odyssey
Thanks to g2d and thebob for their comments. I plan on test paddling at least the Supernova and Freedom Solo; the Odyssey is harder to compare as Mohawk does not have a dealer network.

Is there anyone else out there who has paddled at least two of these models, and can give their opinion on some differences between them??

I still consider myself a novice.
I paddle a Supernova and have only been in a Guide once. I can say this. They are both good boats. If you are in really shallow waters, the Supernova draws just a bit more water. It’s hull is rounder, therefore sits a bit deeper in the water(probalby 3/4") but sometimes that’s enough.

I can say it will haul a load and I have no problem getting it to track as long as I do my part. Paddle them both, then decide.

MR Guide
I rented a MR Guide last year for a weekend.It’s certainly a fun boat to paddle.I never got into anything over classII in the boat but it handled that like a dream.I would really love to have one,just to have one.

As far as a Supernova or an Oddessy,well,I’ve never paddled either.I would be very interested in hopping into one of those Supernova’s though.Hope this will help some.