Mad River Slipper

I just bought one and am trying to find out more information about it. I read the three reviews and searched the archives without finding much. It is fiberglass and was made in 89. Does anyone have one?

Has anyone paddled one? What was it designed for?

Oh no…it’s now "mad"sawyergeorge…
Heck… your wife’s probably been calling you that for a while now…

I have an MR Slipper in Carbonlite 2000
construction, so it’s outfitted differently than the kevlar and fiberglass Slippers and handles a bit differently also, so I probably can’t tell you much about your fiberglass Slipper.

I used mine on rivers for a couple years until I split the carbonlite bottom when I got stuck on a rock in the very shallow water. I repaired it and only use it on lakes now, since I now have royalex and fiberglass solo canoes more suitable for shallow water.

My recollection is that the shear is 17" bow and 14" stern, so not bothered too much by wind and that it tracks well when level and turns nicely with a lean. It’s quite stable and handles waves pretty well. Mines pretty flat bottomed, but it’s outfitted differently than yours and I think that effects the hull bottom cross section.

I enjoyed my Slipper a lot when it was my only solo, but I’ve acquired five more solos in the last two years, so the Slipper doesn’t get much use anymore. I may be selling it this spring, along with the ultralight Wenonah Advantage.

Congrats on on your acquisition. I think that you’ll enjoy getting to know it.

You got that right. She wasn’t too happy when I made her get up at 4:30 this morning to take a 481 mile, 10 hour trip to pick up a $35.00 canoe. And when we got there she said “it’s not even a Sawyer.” I feel like a traitor to the cause.

MR Slipper

– Last Updated: Dec-28-08 6:58 PM EST –

Just some specs:

Length: 14' 8"
Widths: 27"/28"
Depth: 17"/11"/16"
Weight: 50 lbs (Fiberglass cloth)
Usage: Solo Sport (It's a recreational, solo canoe)

1988 Retail cost $789.00

Source: 1988 Canoe Buyer's Guide

For the price of fuel + $35.00, I'd say you got a good deal, if the boat is in decent condition.


I’ve not paddled one but
I think you have a little bullet, the smaller sister to the Independence. Made for small folks or…ladies.

My uncle has one and challenges me to races.

I’ve heard that it’s a fine boat.

When CEW weighs in I think he will say good things.

$35 seems reasonable…betcha could sell it for 40.

Never Paddled One, But…
…as I recall Cliff Jacobson was enamored with it and he’s very quick to answer e-mails. I seem to remember something about sales falling off when Mad River changed the name from “Slipper” to “Ladyslipper” due to the misconception the hull was more suited to females. WW

Look at

cute story about CEW and Cliff and Susie.

The boat might be great for your wife…A New Years Present…its for the compact paddler.

MRC Lady Slipper
The Slipper started as a collaboration between Cliff Jacobson and Bob brown, a canoe/kayak designer. Both lived near Minnesota’s twin cities.

Their first solo tripper was the CJ Solo, which was sold to Old Town, their second was the lady Slipper, sold to MRC. Both were early- mid 80’s designs.

Slipper was 4" shorter than the CJ, but both were arched hulls with straight sides and zero rocker. Kinda wide, with L/W ratios around 6, they weren’t particularly fast, straight tracking or maneuverable. Their importance was that two major manufacturers were interested in offering solo canoes.

Jim Henry had designed earlier MRC solos and designed Liberty as Slipper sales started to slip. Indy was longer, V’d and had a little rocker, so it is better tracking, faster and more maneuverable.

Paddling is, sometimes, a modern, skill intensive sport. The better one does it the greater the reward.

And better gear enhances that performance too.

Paddlers discussing 25 year old designs is kinda like cross country skiers sitting around the table discussing the 3-pin binding. It may be fun with a full glass, but on the skate course we have Salomon or NNN binding on our skis, 'cause they perform way better.

MR Slipper
I paddled a Slipper for several years, having traded in my Proem/Drowning Machine. I like it a lot, not least because, unlike the Proem, I could actually look around without a low brace. It’s not fast, especially when overloaded with my 200# and gear, but it had that Mad River firming efect when you lean it over on the “V”. I took it down the Missinaibi about 10 years ago. It would surf those little rapids like a pro: pause at the edge, do an upstream ferry over to the gap, pivot around and over the drop. Repeat as necessary.

The only downside was that it was too low volume for what I was asking of it. Twice on bigger rapids it filled so fast I had no time to react. To it’s credit I was still able to paddle upright through the drops to where I could stop and bail out. (That was my first encounter with quicksand,but that’s another story.)

There are other more modern designs out there, but it’s still a good one.

You’re out of the doghouse already?

– Last Updated: Dec-30-08 5:04 PM EST –

Thought you were in hot water when you bought the Shockwave. ;-)

Enjoy your new boat. $35 seems quite a steal.