Odyssey 14 or Supernova

I’m thinking very strongly about a new boat. For what I do I’m leaning toward either the Odyssey 14 or the Supermova. Has anyone had the pleasure of paddling both of these? and what did you think? Demoing the Supernova is all but impossible, I could drive 8 hours and try the odyssey any input appreciated.

Have not paddled either, but the
Supernova appears to have more rocker than the Odyssey. I think the Supernova is likely to spin and maneuver more easily, though it might be the slower of the two.


– Last Updated: Nov-28-05 12:03 AM EST –

I've paddled both. It would help to know what sort of information you are interested in, but I'll take a stab at a few general things.

Initial stability: Supernova is a bit rolly. Odyssey is very comfortable.

Secondary stability: both are excellent

Build quality: comparable

Maneuverability: both are reasonably maneuverable

Tracking: the Odyssey tracks a bit better

Efficiency: Neither one will set any speed records

Seat position: Supernova seat is mounted quite a bit to the rear of center. I get the impression that the assumption is that you will have some gear in front of you. The Odyssey seat is rear of center, but not as far back as the Mohawk.

General paddling impressions:

The Mohawk is a very competent hull that won't give you any nasty surprises at inappropriate times. The worst I've heard folks say about it is that it is so uninspiring that it will put you to sleep. That isn't necessarily a bad thing - if you are out in bad conditions, or if you are on a trip and are a bit tired, a competent, predictable boat might be just what you need. It seems to handle well in both flat and moving water.

I also like the SuperNova a lot, but I've paddled with folks who didn't care for it. As I mentioned, it is a bit rolly, which can be somewhat disconcerting until you get used to it (and that doesn't take very long). I think it handles flat water okay, and it does an excellent job on moving water. One of the whitewater magazines described it as an excellent downriver solo tripper. I think it's a fun boat to paddle, although I'd consider relocating the seat closer to the center of the boat if I wasn't planning to paddle with a load.

BTW, other folks on the forum have a lot more experience in these boats. My post is only intended to give you some basic. I think sloopsailor and clarion both have SuperNovas, and I think jjoven either has or used to have an Odyssey that he used to do some tripping. They and others who have a lot of seat time in the boats can tell you if I'm close to the mark or if I'm full of crap.

Some basics

– Last Updated: Nov-28-05 2:08 AM EST –

There's a lot of overlap in the capabilities of these two boats. I own both. The Odyssey 14 has become my favorite all-purpose canoe, and I'd be absolutely lost without it. I haven't paddled the Supernova very much so far. I bought that boat very recently in anticipation of expanding my paddling choices to include river trips with whitewater beyond the scale of anything I've done so far (extended Class-IIs with brief Class-IIIs). If my plans stay on track, next year at this time I should be able to tell you more about how the Supernova handles in whitewater.

It would help to know what your intentions are for your new boat, but I can deal with some generalities. To start with, I will say that c2g was spot-on for everything he said about these two boats, or at least, my perceptions are the same as his. The Supernova has significantly more rocker than the Odyssey 14 and a lot more volume, and the seat is located unusually far back. I moved the seat on my Supernova forward from the as-built location to a position slighty to the rear of center to make boat control without a gear load easier (I usually split my gear into two packs to allow trimming the boat anyway, so the new seat location will be fine when tripping, too). The Odyssey 14 is highly maneuverable, but not to the degree of the Supernova. The Supernova spins on center easily enough that a slightly overcorrected J-stroke will send you into a very sharp turn *toward* your paddle side. It's not jumpy and hard to control like a dedicated whitewater boat, but its turning is still pretty remarkable compared to most general-purpose canoes (it's probably pretty similar to the Mad River Freedom/Guide). The Odyssey 14 turns nicely, but it won't jump into a turn as abruptly as the Supernova. That ease of turning has a downside, and at my present skill level I find that paddling the Supernova requires constant attention to detail. That could be seen as an inconvenience (though I consider it to be a great skill-builder until such time as I put it to my intended use) if you don't usually need that degree of maneuverability. On that note, I'd suggest that if you plan on often encountering rapids of the sort best negotiated with finesse, or rough water where the extra volume is an advantage, the Supernova should be a dandy choice. In less-demanding waters, the Odyssey 14 is likely to be better. However you might still prefer the Supernova if you are a really big guy, or if you routinely haul a lot of gear (this boat is a very traditional Canadian-style hull with high volume). I'm sure the Supernova settles down quite a bit when carrying a big load, though so far I haven't tried that. Conversely, if you are a smaller person, the Supernova's width and high sides may turn out to be a real inconvenience, though leaving the seat in the normal, far-back position would help in that case, as would Canadian-style paddling when on flatwater.

The Odyssey 14 seems to me to be a remarkable compromise in design that does all sorts of average jobs reasonably well. It's neither a rocket ship nor an extreme turner, but does quite nicely on either flat water or light rapids.

One thing I like about both boats is the symetrical rocker. Though I'm still learning about the nuances of rocker, it seems to me that asymetrical rocker is fine if you paddle forward all the time. If, however, you like to use your back-ferry (or for that matter, paddle backwards for any other reason), asymetrical rocker becomes a royal PTA.

limited help here: haven’t paddled both

– Last Updated: Nov-28-05 11:49 AM EST –

But, I think the question can't be answered without knowing how much, if any, whitewater you plan to do. To me, the Supernova's rocker is a waste unless you plan on doing a lot of class II+ whitewater.

To get more specific advice, you may want to discuss what you want to do with the boat.

I have a Supernova and like it a whole lot. As mentioned, it is a very rolley boat on initial stability, not tippy though. It turns very well and tracks well with a decent J stroke. I think it has good speed for its volume due to its 14'10" length and fully arched bottom. I readily outpace my buddy in his Yellowstone Solo. But that said, I'm sure there are plenty of paddlers here who could deliver a different result.

One thing I think I can say is that (depending on your current skill level of course) the Supernova will force you to become a better paddler than would the Odyssey.

Thanks for the input
I would (other than afternoon playtime) use this boat for 3-5 day trips. Upper class 2 water broken by long flatwater some class 3 if the boat or I suppose I can handle it. Big Southfork of Cumberland, Little Southfork,Upper New… I’m 6-2 190 and have no paddle time in any boat less than 17ft. other kyak…

I have the Supernova

– Last Updated: Nov-28-05 11:03 PM EST –

I haven't paddled the other boat. I like my Supernova, you do have to get used to it. If you are coming from something like an Old Town discovery---it's a big change(I know!!). the boat is almost impossible to flip but you can fall out of it, usually with little water actually getting in the boat--don't ask :)

The Supernova will make you a paddle properly, if I get sloppy it tells me. It is responsive to the paddle and handles flat water fine, but it loves moving water and loves to surf the waves.

You can load a tremendous amount of gear in it. I did a trip with a friend for a few days and we travelled very heavy! While I think the 850lb load limit is optimistic, 650lbs is very realistic.

I have the Kevlar/cap version and it takes a beating from me. I bought it to learn to be a better paddler. In my opinion, in that role it has served me very well.


Odyssey 14 (royalex)
I owned mine for 3 years, recently sold it and bought the Solo 14. I used the Odyssey for wilderness 2 week trips. Total weight for me and gear was 320 lbs.

The Odyssey is a good all around canoe. It doesn’t have the get up and go as faster designed boats but it is stable and forgiving if you are a beginner or intermediate paddler. It won’t “spin on a dime” but does have adequate rocker for manuvering down C II tech. I liked my Odyssey , it just got too heavy on my old knees and I needed to lighten up.

Thanks to all
for the input and experience. i ordered a Supernova today. i have no doubt that even with several years of paddle time it will be like starting over…in the end the biggest deciding factor was the load hauling capability of the supernova…being the only canoe in a group of kayakers I seem to always be the pack mule “grin”


– Last Updated: Nov-30-05 8:00 AM EST –

For the mission you've described, II and above WW and a big gear load, I think you'll be very pleased.

Forgot to ask, do you like to kneel? The Supernova loves it. If you do, you'll want to get the type of kneeling pads that have a raised edge to prevent you from slipping down into the bilge. Give yourself a nice wide comfortable stance.

Another Supernova paddler—good choice.

i do kneel alot… i get way more control that way…i was thinking those would probably work better than a pad like i use …have or do you use a kneeling thwart??? what are the pros or cons on them

Up to now I’ve kneeled under the seat

– Last Updated: Dec-01-05 2:30 PM EST –

The Supernova has a lot of room under the seat for bigish feet. I have size 13 clunkers. The generous space is largely a function of the pronounced arch.

Nevertheless, I did once manage to briefly wear my Supernova as a 14'10" shoe on my right foot in whitewater. Being fairly anxious to remove it before the next rapid, I wretched my knee enough to realize I didn't want it to happen again. Consequently, I toyed for a year and a half with the idea of installing a removable saddle.

As of last weekend, I'm finished toying with the idea and am ready to toy with the actual saddle. I'm anxious to try it out. It is a Mohawk with thigh retainer and footbraces that I bought from our own Markdc70. My initial dry-dock impression is that it sure allows me to bolt myself into the hull, much more than my previous velcro thigh straps.

It'll be quite a while before I have an opinion on how I like paddling it with the saddle installed. I'm sure it will take some getting used to, like the Supernova itself.

I did nt chim in because I have not paddled the other boat you where condisdering. (that is my disclaimer). I do have a SuppeNova and love it. I have paddled her on exteded back country trips>Yellowstone, The Green etc, and also enjoyed playing in ww with her. She is sweet, forgiving and very resposive. I don’t find her tippy at all. Which leads to kneeling. I am one of thoose that does not feel comfortable unless kneeling( my mental block?). I have the SN outfited with a Mohawk ww saddle etc. I can’t imagine paddling any other way in a canoe. For the record the SN is the boat I learned to canoe in, 2 years and close to 600 river miles. s… Congratulations on your choice…kim

i would guess that if your ww outfitted with a saddle then you have removed the original seating…doesn’t this get tiresome after two or three hours in the same position…while i do paddle most of the time kneeling i also quite frequently sit up on the seat and stretch my legs to rest them and just drift along…

i am guessing that with the “removable” saddle u will be leaving the seat as is and using the saddle when you want to play???


– Last Updated: Dec-02-05 5:51 AM EST –

I'm not sure if I understood your question but the seat has to come out to put the saddle in.

Right now I'm not sure how much I'll put the seat back in. It depends on how comfortable I am with the saddle. Also, if paddling conditions (much fishing) look like I'll want to be sitting, I'll take the Malecite.

I never had any trouble kneeling in the Supernova for hours at a time using raised-edge pads glued nice and wide into the hull. I generally have to stop to relieve my bladder before having to sit to relieve my body.

For me in that hull, (6'2" and 210ish#) generously spaced, raised-edge pads require no muscle exertion to stay in position. The generous space below the seat lets you change the position of your lower legs or cross them without having them bind on the seat.

You said you currently use a removable kneeling pad. I'd bet you'd find fixed pads in this boat more much more comfy.

To me, a wide stance is the key to comfort and I can't achieve that with my removable Bell pad. It's not long enough nor does it allow you to kneel without having to use my leg and back muscles just to stay in place.

I was going to take a pic of my knee pads and placement but I don't know where my wife put the camera. I'll try to take a pic over the weekend.

Edit: Here is a pic of the type of raised edge pads I'm talking about. They only have a single raised edge, not two. Double raised edge pads don't work for me in this boat. A double raised edge pad "closes" when fitted in the chine.


Tipping over, or falling out!
A friend got a Supernova last spring and had basically no experience in a solo canoe. The first time he got in the boat, he was in the drink within seconds but the boat was floating upright nicely beside him with just a splash of water in it. From what I’ve heard, swamping this boat is much harder than just staying in it! :slight_smile:

pic of pad placement

– Last Updated: Dec-03-05 12:09 PM EST –

Here is that pic of my pad placement. This is the same place the pads were in pre-saddle. (I did have to cut out some of the pads in order to place the new thigh strap anchors).

You can see old glue residue around the knee pads. That's where the boat's previous owner had the pads mounted. I was very uncomfortable with the pads in that location. I got a terrible sore back that lasted for days after just an hour's paddle. Differences in preferences and body sizes. With the pads spaced wider, I'm nice and comfy.


not at all
I switched to canoes due to a degenerated disc. The saddle ensures my ability to keep the weight off the spine while allowing me to stretch forward when needed and change my foot position depending on conditions. I am able to sit up on the saddle but it is not my prefered position, I am much happier with the close contact to my boat kneeling provides. A change I have noticed from paddlings SINKS is the end of “sleeping leg syndrome”…Something that constantly plagued me regardless of numerous attempts and mods to my yak. I am content with 10-12 hour paddle days as long as I do get out of the boat for a good stretch every now and then.