Need to know what I bought...

My husband and I bought two canoes at a yard sale bacause we thought it would be fun for our four kids to canoe, but before we put them in that water, we need a little advise about what we have. The are from an Atlanta based company called Whitesell. They both have a saddle in the middle. Does anyone know about this company and if we can get another saddle for each or what kind of canoes these are? One is has a plaque on it that indicates that it was custom made. Help.

reviews here
It seems you bought Nolan Whitesell boats. Whitewater boats. Out of business now

Not sure why you bought such specialized boats. The kids are apt to be frustrated even if you outfit each boat for tandem. They will have a hard time going straight until they develop quite a bit of skill. Maybe they will like whitewater later when they are older and can solo

Whitesell Canoes
Nolan Whitesell is a well-known and highly skilled whitewater boater who made whitewater canoes. Whitesell canoes have not been made for quite a few years now.

Whitesell made three different models. The Piranha is 14’ 3" in length, the Descender 13’ 1" in length, and the Whirlwind is 12’ long.

Nolan usually outfitted his boats with Perception rotomolded polyethylene saddles like the one in this photo:

Those saddles have not been made for a long time either. They do come up for sale from time to time if you really want one. Otherwise, you could substitute a pedestal saddle made of minicell foam which would be much lighter.

Whitesell canoes are whitewater boats. They are stable, deep, and dry. They make decent river tripping boats if there is at least a bit of current. They are pretty slow on stationary flat water, but would be perfectly fine for short distance cruises and just fooling around.

Maybe sell or trade them
You might want to consider selling them to the sort of folks who like to do whitewater canoeing. If they are in good condition there might be a market for them (like in the free classified ads on here). Then take the money and buy the kids a couple of Old Town Guide 147’s or Mad River Adventure 14’s. You can often pick those up used for $300 or less and they are good basic sturdy, decent tracking tandem canoes that will take a lot of kid abuse for knocking around lakes and small rivers.

I agree, rockered short whitewater canoes may be frustrating, depending on the kids’ ages and where you intend to let them paddle. Speaking of which, where are the kids going to be paddling, out of curiosity?

Solo whitewater boats
Those are solo whitewater boats - not meant to be paddled tandem. As others have said, they will not go straight at all until you learn the proper technique.

If your kids don’t want to mess with learning how to make them go straight, you could probably sell them by posting an ad on

hold on a sec.

– Last Updated: Apr-08-13 3:00 PM EST –

at 220 pounds apiece, my son and I have played in some big water tandeming out Whitesell Pyrana. Started as my kids solo boat, then when he got his fleet of boats, he converted it into a tandem for better play than our dumoine provides. We've surfed this boat and stayed fairly dry, now that he's away I have a few female kayaker friends who want to tandem ww with me, and this is the go-to tandem in my group of 3 tandems.
Personally, I feel these are far from radical hulls, they are somewhat piggish, but quite predictable. Rather than boring the living bejesus out of your kids with a OT guide or some other geriatric design, let 'em learn with something with a rounded hull and an ability to turn by leaning. Kids learn super quick.
Head over to if you want to learn more about these classic big water boats.
You can modify the seating easily enough, either installing kneeling thwarts or preferably making saddles out of foam. Our Whitesell has gone from Kneeling thwarts to solo Perception saddle to double foam saddles with thigh straps. I may have some pix in my bio. link...webshots died and not sure what I transferred, but you can e-mail if you need more detail.


Whitesell boats…

– Last Updated: Apr-08-13 9:24 PM EST –

If, for whatever reason, those boats don't work out for you; I might be interested in working out some kind of canoe trade with you.

I'm seeking a 13'1" Whitesell Descender, or a 12' Whirlwind. No interest in Piranha, as I have one already.

Can't tell where you are; you have no profile.
I am from central Missouri.