Nova Craft Super Nova Seat Placement???

Sorry to post another seat placement question…I ask this one because everyone complains about the seat placement in the Super Nova. I am probably going to buy one.

For those of you who may have one…what do you feel is the optimal position for the seat?

I am thinking about 4-6 inches aft of center.



It all depends on how you want to use it
Only you can tell with a level…I would move a milk crate around and use a level to find optimum trim.That is if you are sitting…use a board if you kneel.

The boat is intended for tripping with a load for weeks and weeks and weeks. Very few I know of on this site do that. Its actually good to have your load reachable if you have a problem in the middle of Great Slave Lake…but US paddlers dont seem to do that.

I would be kneeling and use the boat mostly for whitewater day trips, and some tripping; however, I do not plan to do the “Canadian Style” loading, preferring to place my pack behind me a a day pack in front.


How do you even get to know…
these boats you go thru. I’m just asking…I’m sure many of us here are wondering the same thoughts… you post about a Magic it seems after you’ve already put it up for sale and you inquire about so many different boats in a sort of short time span that I was wondering how it is that you make decisions on how good a boat is for intended purposes to suit your needs. I have a few myself and even after a year or 2, I’m still trying to get to know my boats. Trying them in different situations, with different loads, ect… It seem to me (and I know I’m insignificant to your objectives) you don’t seem to give these craft do diligence to really know how suitable they actually are or not. Most of the models you post about are pretty decent boats and you just don’t seem to be pleased with any of them…and you ask about such a variety that wouldn’t probably suit a specific individual as to one’s size. I’m just asking…not finding fault, just asking…How many yaks did ya go thru before ya found your 4 star training yak?

“one set of holes forward”

– Last Updated: Nov-29-09 1:05 PM EST –

I will also cast my vote for the "one set of holes" method. I originally moved my Supernova seat forward so that based strictly on proportions, it was in the same place as on my Mohawk Odyssey 14. That worked quite well, but since it is a longer boat than the Odyssey, the actual distance rear of center was a bit more than what seemed ideal (it took me a couple of years to be sure of that, by the way). Since then I moved it a few inches more toward the front, so that the back rail of the seat mounts to the gunwales using the same holes as originally used by the front rail of the seat. That seems just about perfect. It paddles well when empty (no load to move around for trim), and back-ferrys and other reverse moves are a lot less squirrelly. Off the top of my head, I don't know if the new seat (needed due to the boat being wider at the new mounting location) has the same dimensions from front to back as the original. The exact position of the FRONT edge of your replacement seat might vary by a slight amount when using the "one set of holes" method, depending on that seat's front-to-back dimension, but with most seats being pretty similar in that regard, it shouldn't matter much.

I moved mine
One seat width forward of the original position and I dropped it down a bit lower as I prefer to sit instead of kneel all day.

Works good for me.

I know you didn’t ask about this

– Last Updated: Nov-30-09 7:37 PM EST –

... but knee pad placement is key in this boat. Because the bottom is so round, you need those pads with a ridge on the inside only. The ridges go toward the center. You need them to keep your knees from dropping down into the center.

But, since you won't have it long -- you're really too small for this boat -- you may or may not want to go to the trouble or muck up the bottom with pads that will have to be relocated by the next guy.

And as Eric and guideboatboy said, one seat hole forward ought to be right.

too small…?
Do you think so? I know it is a fairly high volume boat. I am only 5’8 but weigh 200 pounds.

I do like a narrower boat for a snugger fit and less spread at the knees, but how do you get a canoe that is suitable for Class III water without going to a boat this big or to a true WW boat (which I don’t want to do)?


no comment on my post?

– Last Updated: Nov-30-09 6:44 PM EST –

and now you've put the Merlin 11 up for sale?......

Why not get a WW boat
If you are going to be doing class III, you might as well. Personally, I think they are a lot of fun to paddle. You can find them used pretty easily - any of the old Daggers, Mohawks or Mad Rivers - its another whole group of boats to experiment with.

What you seek is what I sought too
And IMO the Supernova is about as good a compromise as you’ll find. I loved my Super and paddled it almost exclusively for about 5 years. But, because of my local paddling conditions, I threw in the compromise towel and went full-on WW for WW paddling. But, my local conditions (and my interests) are what they are and yours are what they are and probably not the same as mine.

Why so many boats…???
To respond to Coronaboy’s comment….

Sorry to be slow to respond but I have been busy and this may be a bit longer and more thought out response.

I know how my obsessive changing of boats appears. There is some explanation for it.

It is a matter of both figuring out what I really want to do as a paddler and then refining the boat that I most prefer to fulfill that role.

For instance. I am still defining what kind of paddling I am going to do most. I am a totally committed paddler and paddle every day, but have not been sure what type of paddling I would be doing most….will I really do whitewater….will I really stick more to streams….do I really want to do long distance touring. I like it all! But what I am going to do most and what is the most appropriate boat / one I will enjoy most?

I like the YS solo….but I am finding that I am really enjoying whitewater and want to do more substantial water than the boat is optimized for. It is good for Class I and II….but marginal on II+ or III. So in this case I have better defined the niche I am looking to fill.

With the Magic vs Merlin II….that is also really defining what I kind of paddling I really want to do and how to best round out a “fleet” Do I really want to sit and switch? Or do I really want only to kneel? Do I want a maneuverable boat for flat water when I already have a super maneuverable boat in the YS solo….or do I want to go for a fast and straight tracking boat for open water since I already have a maneuverable kneeling boat?

I decided to keep the YS solo for a good river touring boat, and keep the Magic because I really do like fast sit and switch too and why have a compromise boat like the Merlin when you can have the best of both worlds?

Additionally, I live in a unique location. I live right where the Susquehanna River empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes the water is flat and calm……sometimes the water is blown with large wind waves and high winds…20-30mph (one of my favorite times to paddle), and sometimes I like to paddle up river when they are releasing at the dam that is 5 miles up river and paddle in the swirling currents and then play in the standing waves.

I live right on the water and can launch right out of my garage. So I have a wide variety of conditions right at my doorstep….all of which really do favor a slightly different set of attributes in a boat.

Plus…I am just a boat whore. I am an obsessive guy and am totally obsessed with paddling. I eat, breath and sleep paddling….and I am very particular. And after having been through so many sea kayaks I have become very adept at quickly sizing up a boat’s characteristics.

Many people do not notice the slight nuances of a boat because they have nothing else to compare it to. If you have extensively paddled a lot of different boats you really learn a lot about boat characteristics and are able to pick up on the slight difference. Kind of like drinking wine. If you like wine you know that when you started drinking it you could not tell the difference among various red wines or whites…could not pick up on the subtle differences in flavor….did not really know one from the other or what you truly liked in a wine. After drinking lots of them you develop a palate. Same with boats. Really. They are all so different…and they are all good. They are a mix of various compromises and trade-offs. You have to learn which ones you want attributes for your boat and which you are willing to trade-off.

Plus, I find that canoes really have a much greater variance in characterisitics and applications than do sea kayaks. In sea kayaks, most any “true” sea kayak will perform as a good touring boat, but with more subtle differnces. Canoes I find are much different. Compare a 15 foot Super Nova to a 16 foot Bell Magic! They could not be any more different.

Even boats that are of the same general niche are much different. Compare the Mad River Freedom Solo to the YS Solo….much different.

So there is a combination of defining what you really want to do and what traits you really want among the various boats that fill that niche.

If you are a very particular person and very discerning then it is reasonable to search….maybe I go a bit over the top…but that is my personality and a function of my true passion for this sport.

The search is fun. You learn a lot about boats, and a lot about yourself as a paddler. And I think it makes you a better paddler as well. I really do. I am enjoying it and just like good beer I love all the boats I have tried. Just love some more than others.


But its far easier to change the paddler
and sometimes more beneficial.

One neat thing about canoeing is there is always something else to learn…some other way to use that four or five foot long stick…or 11 or 12 foot long stick…

Beginners at FreeStyle clinics (which is all about boat control) often worry about the right boat. There isn’t one and they learn lots of new tricks they can use with what they brought.I am happy I started with one solo and then took lessons…two years of lessons. Then got more boats. I still take lessons. Hmmm there is still room in the barn.

Sometimes I prefer the Canadian approach. Take one boat and use it a dozen different ways.

agree and disagree

– Last Updated: Dec-01-09 6:20 AM EST –

Assume a paddler who is skilled....then consider that you just can't do some things in some boats...or not well at least.

If you want one boat and want to do everything in it that can be done, but you do sacrifice a lot. For instance, the Prospector, which is the boat that most of those Canadian folks probably are using.

I have one and it is a great boat, but is somewhat uninspring for a lot of applications. Certainly not a good, fast boat for sit and switch...and I challenge you to take it out on a 25 mph wind where I live. Who would want to? I'll take the Magic for that any day!

Prospector for solo WW....absolutely. Very capable...but a little boring. So big it seems it will punch through anything, but just not as much fun as a true solo in my opinion.

YS solo...great boat...but just not quite optimal for Class III water. Regardless of paddler skill and technique there are some things that just require more volume and higher sides. The YS solo takes on a lot of water on drops and standing waves.

So while yes, you can have one boat to do it all, I choose not to. It is much more fun to have a specialized craft in my opinion.

And...unless you have a truly well rounded boat, there are just some things you can't do in some boats regardless of how good or versatile the paddler.

I get a lot of criticizm here from both canoeists and is often assumed that I am a lousy paddler looking for a boat to overcome my shortcomings as a paddler and believe that the "right boat" is the answer. On the contrary. I can say that I am a highly skilled sea kayaker and have become quite skilled as a canoeist as well since I believe the principles of paddling and the basic strokes cross over quite well with practice of course. That is why the BCU now emphasizes sea kayak coaches also having qualifications as a canoeist as well. The two genres of the sport share the same principles and learning both makes you a better all-around paddler.

Perhaps it is not what you are trying to say, but I do find that it has been implied by others about me here on this board many times in the past. Understandable I guess since most unskilled folks like to blame the equipment...but that is not the case here. I am just very discerning and there is a difference. As far as making up for any shortcomings in skill I woudl love for people on this board who have paddled with me to chime in on one of these posts sometime as I can guarantee that not a single one of them would say that I am lacking in skill as either a kayaker or a canoeist. I am just a very intense individual with a different personality so I don't fit into most stereotypes...I am a pretty driven and anally retentive individual, perfectionist, etc. Just how I am. I am probably a little bit crazy...all my neighbors who watch my paddle every day (since I live on the water), well into the night, or before daylight, or breaking ice in the winter, and then rolling in ice cold water, etc. seem to think so and they are probalby right! I only say these things to emphasize the personality type that I have and that it is probably not typical of most folks.

So for me, I don't want a general purpose boat, but rather am seeking a small contingent of specialized boats for particular purposes that will suit the wide variety of conditions in which I like to paddle and do so with minimal compromises.

The other thing that is often said is that I need to do less thinking and more paddling...well I can't comment on that now because it is 5:45 AM and I am going paddling in 15 minutes so I have to


Good Answer
I started a post in your defense last night but didn’t follow through. Like your comments about figuring out the nature of various boats, this was well reasoned and well stated.

I’ve been paying more attention to your boat posts since you switched to trying out canoes. For my part, I enjoy following along with your experiences, and learning a bit about some boats I haven’t had the chance to try. Clearly you are getting what you want from these experiments, so who’s place is it to criticize? It sounds like you manage to break even on the cost of buying and selling, but even if you didn’t, that’s no one’s business but yours. I sometimes wonder which is harder to keep track of, the number of boats you’ve tried, or the number of times you’ve thoroughly and patiently explained why you play around with them and that you are not a total novice looking for some mythical Holy Grail of boats! By my way of thinking, if you are getting out on the water and having fun, what fault can there be in all this?

I am giving up
No…Canadian does not equal Prospector.

What really impresses me is how Yanks are obsessed with their toys. Gotta be another one better…

I agree that one boat is not going to do it all but the paddler is more important than the boat. And when you add the factor of tripping loads that change boat behaviors, some boats more than others, the dynamic changes again.

Clearly you are enjoying yourself and that is what is important.

Yes, Prospector does not equal Canadian…but does serve as a pretty good symbol of Canadian style paddling.

Certainly true that the paddler is more important than the boat…but if it is the same paddler and that paddler is already skilled then the boat becomes a tool.

A golfer is more important than his clubs…but a good golfer will golf better with good clubs, and will benefit from having a bag full of them.

Of course he could golf with just one from Walmart and still do better than a lot of others out there, but then why?

Just like cycling. I like road biking and mountain biking. I could just buy a “hybrid” but it would suck for both applications.

I don’t disagree with your comments and thoughts at all and share the same ones in many ways, but subscribe to a bit different way of thinking on the matter.

Both ways of thinking are right.


Thanks Matt…
See… I have some of the boats you have been asking about…Actually, I have a fleet of boats and maybe that’s why I’m still learning about them all almost every time I go out. I have been paddling my Magic for 2 seasons now and a Wildfire for almost 6 weeks. I started out in an Autumn Mist and then purchased a kevlar Prism before I got the Magic. I bought a Mohawk Solo 13 for cheap this spring although it is in great condition. $200 cheap. My “problem” is I love every boat I buy so I don’t get rid of them. My real babies are my comp. Avocet and Aquanaut. I’m a kayaker who loves canoes too.

Chiming in (he asked for it!)
I’ve paddled with Matt a few times. Let me count…Antietam Creek, S. Branch Patapsco, Muddy Creek (2) , Lower Gunpowder, Gunpowder Gorge (2). And I hope to paddle with him again. I’d seen his p-net posts and many boats for sale on the classified. We’ve talked about his “boat whoring” (maybe it was even my term), and he similarly described himself as obsessive and picky about boats.

On S. Branch, we were paddling canoe-zero. It’s a twisting narrow CII stream and the level made it trickier. We traded boats for a time. That Yellowstone is a nice boat, but with limited rocker, it doesn’t pivot like a ww boat, and after paddling it I was impressed with how Matt managed to bend that boat through the bolders and into some very small eddies. The Gorge is very narrow with tight turns and forceful torrents over ledges in close succession. The AW site rates it CIII but we thought it probably II+ at the near zero level we hit it. Some of the local GBCC-ers told me it’s not canoeable because it’s so tight. Anyway, there’s a double drop ledge where the exit is 90 degrees into a rock wall. I watched Matt come out of the second drop and was pretty sure he was going to crash into that wall head on. But he cranked the Yellowstone 90-degrees on the spot and paddled away clean. IMO, that’s not easy in that boat. So, yeah, I don’t think Matt is short on the skills. And on some of those bends, there’s no sneak route. You have to punch the hole straight on because that’s all there is.

We’ve been in a few spots where there is a steep hole leading into a wave. Not huge waves, but maybe two feet. The Encore has volume and flare in the ends, and it catches water in some of those spots. I’m not the best paddler but had a lot of practice blocking waves because my prior boat was very susceptable to water over the bow. If the Encore catches water, those spots have to be a challenge for the Yellowstone. So it doesn’t surprise me that Matt has to stop and empty out his boat after handling those kind of waves, and it doesn’t surprise me that he’s thinking of a drier ride for his next boat (it’s a given that there will be a next boat!)

Friday we paddled the Lower Gunpowder. I guess we were out about four hours. That included two carries back up the final rapid. Not an overwhelming amount of work, but enough to satisfy me. As we wound up our shuttle, we noted the wind. Matt said he had a boat that he wanted to test out in wind, so he figured he’d just leave his drysuit on so he could go out kayaking when he got home, likely around sunset. I checked the Marine Forecast later that night. Not small craft advisory, not small craft warning, no, it was gale warning. When Matt says he likes to paddle, believe him. The guy seems to have a serious bug.

Done chiming-in. Now I have a question. What paddler is completely happy with the boat he has for all conditions? What paddler isn’t thinking “the next boat I get is gonna have…”? Most of us are able to repress the next boat urge most of the time. Matt’s case of paddling disease is just a little more severe than most of ours. But we all gain a little with these discussions, so its not completely dysfunctional!


Now you have some nice boats…
You have some great boats, and a couple that span the same niche (YS and Mohawk and the Magic and Prism). I would like to paddle a Prism for a while. Seems that it may be a great boat too.

Also you have some nice kayaks. I have owned both! No suprise! And I love both of those kayaks. Especially the Aquanaut. Of all the kayaks I have owned…and it has been a lot…a whole lot…I have to say that the Aquanaut is one of the best. I have paddled it in some crazy rough conditions too and it is a superb rough water boat (pretty close to the Explorer in being one of the most solid rough water boats out there). Let me know if you want to sell it!