How do you use your Sawyer Summersong?

I just bought a golden glass layup with rudder today and I’m wondering how other Summersong owners use them. What kind of water etc. I’ve read all the reviews and some say they’re good for rivers and some say flatwater lakes only.

What do you think? I will use mine mostly on lakes and medium to large rivers. Maybe also some small relatively twisty streams, some may be a bit on the shallow side.

Can the Summersong be safely paddled with the rudder down in water shallow enough that the rudder would hit bottom now & then? Will this damage the rudder or is it no problem. I went down river a couple weeks ago with paddlers in poly kayaks with rudders dragging bottom quite alot. This didn’t seem to bother the paddlers at all. Apparently they do it all the time. I prefer not to paddle in water that shallow, but around here shallow water is often all that you have in the rivers.

How do you use your Summersongs?

How to Use
Well, I use my Summersong on flatwater. I’m 5’10", so I use a 52" bent-shaft. I kneel, then place feet forward when tired of kneeling, which is rarely.

The cables for the rudder (NOT a factory install, by the way) should NOT run through the holes which hold the seat.

Yes, I think Shane got a good deal on the canoes. I told him to take $800 for the canoe you are paddling.

What is your height and weight? These are important factors in any advice someone might give.

The Summersong would work best on lakes and large, slow rivers. This said, I know that many river-runners on this board could probably use the Summersong on faster rivers - probably “fast, twisty” rivers are out of question.

This is a flatwater boat. I don’t know how it handles in waves.

Thanks wildwater.
I’m 5’6" and about 145lbs.

This Canoe Perfect for Your Weight
Depending on your age and the condition of your knees, this could be a great kneeling canoe for you.

At your height and weight, you might be able to place the rear seat adjustment in the center hole and the front one on the bottom.

Adjust the seat back to the position in which you think you’ll be most comfortable, then put a radiator clamp behind the seat to keep it from slipping back. If you ever need to slide the seat forward, you still can, but you just don’t want the damn thing sliding back on you…


This canoe feels really good sitting in
the lowest level. I’ve been looking for a canoe that feels good in the sitting position. Thanks for those tips. I realise that it’s more difficult to put the canoe on edge from the sitting position than the kneeling position and I’ll probably experiment some in the kneeling position after I get familiar with it in the sitting position.

I like the rudder, but will be experimenting without the rudder to learn the nature of this boat. I look forward to alot of fun getting to know this boat.

You got a very good deal on your kevlar Summersong for $1000. I didn’t see my goldenglass boat the first time Shane advertised it for $600.

I think I like this boat much better than the Carolina 14.5 kayak that I was considering for about the same amount of money. I have no desire for the Carolina now.

Summersong appropriate for River Rumble?
I’m considering doing the Great River Rumble this summer if I can get in condition soon enough and learn my boat well enough. Do you other Summersong paddlers think that this would be a good boat for that trip? If not, I’d probably rent one of their boats, because the Summersong is the most appropriate boat I have for a trip like that. Renting a boat from them would be alot simpler because it’s a long drive from central IL to Red Cloud MN hauling a canoe. Paddling the Summersong would probably be a more pleasing experience than the rental canoe (if I am conditioned for it).

I realise that for a trip of this length and challenge, I’d need to learn to handle the boat without the rudder in case the rudder fails during the trip and I can’t fix it.

I did 5 days of the Great River Rumble about 10 years ago and it was a memorable experience. It’s alot of work when you’re not conditioned for it. I was in a tandem Wenonah rental that time. It was a nice boat. I’m used to paddling with a kayak paddle, so it took a while to get used to the canoe stroke.

Summersong w/rudder, great birdwatching
boat. It gets me where I want to go quickly and the wind is less of a concern with the rudder down. The rudder is great for steering the boat after I stop paddling to look through the binoculars at birds or other distant objects.

I’ve been sitting with the seat in the middle height position for the last couple weeks and I don’t seem to have lost any stability vs having the seat in the lowest position. It’s also easier to lean and edge in the higher sitting position. I’ll probably try the highest sitting position after I rig a different route for the rudder cables.