New Wenonah Mini Canak, 15"

-- Last Updated: Sep-01-11 1:58 AM EST --

Here's the "little sister" to the Wenonah Canak

They're moving in the right direction size-wise, but I'd still have preferred a narrower beam of 28".

Anyone paddled one yet?

I'd be tempted to have them install the same height seat as the Advantage if I were to have them build one for me.

Edit: The title should have said 15', not 15"

I don’t get it

– Last Updated: Sep-01-11 9:39 AM EST –

I'm truly not being facetious here, but I don't understand the intent of a boat like this one. It looks to me like a questionable hybrid of kayak and canoe with none of the advantages of either and some of the disadvantages of both. I'm primarily a kayaker but also share a 15' tandem canoe at times and have been considering getting an ultralight pack canoe next summer. Only mentioning that to clear up that I am definitely not an anti-canoe kayak snob. So I'm open to education on this one. What I see as drawbacks to this "mini canak" are high price and the odd deck option as well as awkward geometry. One of the top advantages of a canoe over a standard sit-in kayak for some uses is it being an open boat. With its restricted keyhole cockpit, the canak eliminates that advantage. Yes it has those yawning hatches, but I doubt the skin covers would protect from much but spray -- lacking buklheads, wouldn't you still need full flotation bow and stern in rough conditions? Yeah, the kevlar makes it light but it doesn't look like a boat designed for whitewater -- and the spec copy leans towards modest recreational touring.

And it seems overly wide and tall to comfortably propel with a double paddle -- the seat and track design appear to preclude kneeling. I just don't understand the attraction to or niche for a boat like this. If lightness and stowage accessibility are the main attractions, for $1000 less one could buy a Pakboat XT-15 which has a very similar hull shape, weighs exactly the same as the Canak 15, has a deck that can be completely peeled back for loading, has an adjustable seat, but also has a comfortable 23" beam and can be dismantled and stored or transported in a duffel bag. What am I missing here?

Feel free to challenge my presumptions.

for reference:

Don’t get it …

– Last Updated: Sep-01-11 11:48 AM EST –

I don't get it either............
$2,700.00 plus tax!

Buy yourself one of those new Osagian, aluminum kayak, "clunkers" & save yourself $1,900.00!
Leave the Osagian sitting outside; that appears to be it's most positive attribute.
Take the $1,900.00 savings, and buy yourself "really" nice canoe OR kayak.

Grudgingly, I have to admit that I do somewhat like the contrasting colors of the model they show on Wenohah's website, and I am not a big fan of 2 color boats.
I'll bet having a lighter color on the bottom half of the hull cuts down a lot of friction, and you can really fly by the solid colored boats.

Probably won't be too long before we see a 10+ review.


P.S. Didn't Dagger make a kayak called the Crossover? Perfect kayak for whitewater, or lily dipping. They still making those?

I don’t get it either
Seems very odd to me. For a good deal less you can buy a used dedicated solo and have a good bit of money left to buy a full spray cover from Dan Cooke which seems a good bit more secure from waves than those on the Canak.

its a conspiracy, man
More proof the kayaks are taking over.

But really, the Canak, and now its little brother, seem to me to be aimed at folks who want a kayak, but realize they need a canoe. Sort of like the SUV owner who really needs a mini-van. So enter the hybrid-SUV - practicality of the mini-van with the cool factor of the SUV. The Canak is the same thing. As is oft discussed here on pnet, kayaking is where the money is these days. Can’t really blame Wenonah for trying to get in on the action. No doubt many rec kayak paddlers looking to “upgrade” realize that kayaks have a lot of limitations for touring inland waters, but they still want the look and feel of a kayak.

I do agree that the Canak is not necessarily the best way integrate the canoe and kayak. Any number of pack canoes do the same thing, but weigh less. Cost about the same or less. Add a spray cover if you want it or need it.

i think
It is a want type boat. Of course I guess they are all want not need. But really it is intended to give the portage ability of a canoe with the semi protection of a kayak. The cockpit is big enough for a yoke I guess. It looks like a great boat for single blading, but still narrow enough for double. The specs arent far of my summersong, but the tumblehome of the Summersong is nicer than a full width boat. I would think I would like to see the canak a inch or two narrower. The seat so close to floor would still allow for plenty of stability. I think there is a growing group of people that want to single blade their kayaks and this boat kinda blends the two.

The price doesn’t seem that high. Maybe a little more than high end canoes and definitely less than most sea kayaks. I’m just glad wenonah put something out that is a little different. All around seems like a fine boat for lazy trips on lakes.

Ryan L.

You just don’t get it. It’s not a Kayak
It’s a Decked Canoe. I raced sea kayaks competitively for many years so I know kayaks inside and out. The seat is not on the floor like a kayak so it’s much more comfortable to spend all day in. That’s why it’s wider than a kayak. Because of the stability lost from a higher seat height. Decked Canoes were never meant to be a take off of a kayak. Wenonah is the largest manufacture of kayaks in the world under the name Current Designs. Hear of them? Yes it can be paddled with a kayak paddle. But that’s where the similarity ends. The big funny looking hatches at either end are designed for tripping in lakes and rivers and can fit food barrels and canoe packs in. Wenonah’s Decked Canoes were never meant for Ocean Touring. The Canak is easy to portage. No kayak is easy to portage. What percentage of people that own composite kayaks in North America never need the seaworthiness of the high end sea kayak? Very Few. If their paddle sports dealer would advice them right they would have pointed this out to their clients. The Decked Canoe handles wind much better than an open canoe. Kinda like a kayak! But with the seat height much higher making the decked canoe easier to get in and out of and much more comfortable than a kayak. Your feet don’t go to sleep on you as in a kayak because you’re not sitting on the floor. I have something over 1,000 miles on my decked canoe in the last couple of years. And I’m a day paddler! I wouldn’t go back to kayaks and give up my comfort for anything. BTW The Canak hull is not a contrasting color. It’s skim coat over kevlar.

Single Blades Rock!
Well put radiomix. If you do the math a good carbon canoe paddle is much more efficient than the average kayak paddle. If you figure the paddle weight and how many time you have to lift that weight per mile (strokes) it’s staggering. The older I get the more important this formula becomes. I use a 15 oz. carbon paddle. I could buy paddles lighter but this paddle is tough enough to withstand anything I encounter. Most Kayak paddles are twice that weight and take just as many stroke per mile, if not more. I’ll never go back to kayaks if I can help it. Canoes mean COMFORT!

single blade
I am toying with the single blade switch in my kayak. I’m still young and strong enough to double all day with no problems, but for very long races a lot of people are single blading long kayaks with rudders. I can’t imagine giving up my wing exclusively, but a zre would make a great break paddle or night time paddle. I really like wood so I might go that way.

Since the canak came out it seems to have haters and people who like it. Most of whom have never paddled it. I’ve never paddled one but I like the idea of it.

Ryan L.

You mean?

– Last Updated: Sep-01-11 3:16 PM EST –

You mean I could have used the Blackhawk Starship I owned with it's full coverage, Cooke Custom Cover(thrown into the deal), that cost me about 850 bucks, saved myself 19 hundred bucks, and paddled the same waters?
You must be kidding?
You're making that up!
What a joker!

Seriously, a comparison test I'd love to see & take part in is this:
Gather 4 older/used boats; let's say a Dagger Sojourn, Bell Wildfire, Blackhawk Ariel, and a Bell Merlin. Put on a Cooke Custom Cover on all 4, and then test paddle them against a new Canjak.
Goes without saying; seats can be raised or lowered. 4 of the boats certainly could not be classified as "new innovations", or as "decked canoes". All could be used with canoe or kayak paddles. See what "shines".

Might be fun.


more questions
As to “comfort”, I do “sit on the floor” in my Greenland replica SOF but the two touring kayaks I use most often have quite comfortable seats and leg positions and I don’t have any discomfort sitting in them for long days. In fact, since you mention Current Designs (yes, I knew about the connection to Wenonah) my seats are functionally similar to CD’s new RCC seat in that they offer rake adjustments and thigh support.

Don’t see how the mini Canak would be any different to portage than one of my 35 to 40 lb 15’ kayaks (which I can easily balance over my shoulder). You’d have to carry this the same way, right? Don’t see how you could use a yoke with your head up inside the cockpit.

So, I’m getting that the primary advantage is the 2 extra inches of hull to deck height and 4 to 6 inches of width (compared to the average 15’ touring kayak)? Doesn’t the higher seat cancel out some of the depth advantage or is the comfort mainly in being able to flex your legs? I take it there is little or no hip or back contact with the boat. So you don’t really “wear” the boat like you do a kayak, right? Are these really that much easier to get into than a keyhole kayak for an average sized person?

What I like about canoes IS the lack of a deck. But if I need to have a deck I want a solid one, so I understand the appeal and utility of decked canoes (and kayaks, except SOTs, which I do dislike). But not yawning openings with “shower cap” covers. Wouldn’t those pool an awful lot of rain and spray or do they have a reinforcing rib in them? Is the Canak made that way just to save weight and make it easier to load gear inside and to provide a coaming for a spray skirt?

Never paddled a kayak with a single blad
I’ve never tried paddling a kayak with a single blade. The seating position is so low. The longest boat I’ve owned was a Seda Glider. I have paddled my Clipper Sea 1 Decked Canoe with the seat in the lowest position and it seem to work just fine. When the water gets just above freezing I paddle with the seat all the way down for added stability just for safety’s sake. That’s still twice as high as a kayaks seat. I like wood because it gives and reduces stress on the joints but I like carbon or graphite better because of the weight.

single blade
I’ve tooled around a bit in my qcc 500 with a single blade. It is surprisingly fast. It takes a real short paddle. I used a fifty inch, and a rudder is required.

Ryan L.

Clamp on yokes work fo rkayaks, too.
They clamp on the cockpit coaming.

I don’t know where people get the notion that clamp on portage yokes don’t work for kayaks.

I’ve used them, so I know.


New Wenonah Mini Canak, 15"
I have a Kruger Sea Wind, Nigel Foster Legend, Wenonah Prism and a Penobscot. The Sea Wind (decked canoe) by far can do the most things with the least effort. I do carry a 50" Zav that I use with the Legend as a second paddle. The Legend has a skeg (no rudder) and I can comfortably paddle for miles and miles with no problems.Sometimes I use a greenland paddle, with the Legend sometimes I use a typical euro paddle, and sometimes I use the Zav. Lighten up guys and use whatever pleases you. You can be highly efficient with any of them all it takes is practice, so use what you enjoy. Life is to short for all this regimentation.

yoke and portaging
A yoke isn’t the only thing for portaging. The deck hatches allow for big portage bags not the ten or so that people shove in their kayak.

Ryan L.

Too much like a kayak to work for me.
I like kayaks, but due to physical issues, I need a higher seat, ease of entry, and the ability to shift positions often. We also need to haul gear for several days. I think these companies are missing an opportunity to sell boats to an aging paddler population.

Why too much like a kayak to work for

I’m sure they’d install a higher seat, as in the Advantage or Prism, if someone asked, so that the low seat would no longer be an issue.

What about a Sea 1, by Clipper
I have a Sea 1. The cockpit is over 9 feet long by 20 inches wide so it’s easy to get in and out of and plenty of space to move around. It looks like a kayak too. The seat can be put up high enough to get your feet under it and kneel. (I never do) It has a rudder like a kayak. You can carry enough gear for a month. Many people have done just that. I’m older and have physical limitations too. It works great for me and I’ll be it will work well for you too. Just drop me a note and I’ll send you lots of photos and videos if that would help convince you that it would work for you too.

whos regimented?
Maybe the folks who started the tread. But we were just discussing single blading in a different set up that a high seated canoe. I couldn’t keep my 500 straight with single blade w/o rudder. I was switching every two strokes, but that could just be me. If you can go straight w/o one, then great.

Ryan L.