Souris River Speed

I like the Souris River Canoes I have. They claim to be tough and light, and they are. They are also really easy to repair and refinish. I haven’t found them to be at all fast, though. In fact, I have a Wilderness 18 that is a good boat, but never seems to be in the lead. Red Rock makes the following claim about the Quetico 17. Any thoughts from those who have paddled both of these boats extensively?

“Because the MN II has a zero inches of rocker, a shallow arched bottom, and a very rigid hull due to it’s foam core construction, it is a very fast canoe when paddled by two, more skilled paddlers with no significant load. However, when you load it and a Quetico 17 up with the same amount of camping gear and people the MN II travels at about the same fast clip of the shorter Quetico 17 but its freeboard decreases and turning it becomes more difficult which all canoes experience.”

( July 19, 2010)

Not Likely

– Last Updated: Jul-19-10 5:41 PM EST –

Extremely unlikely that the first part is true. We get plus 1/3 mph per foot of length so the Minn II has about 1/2 mph on the 17 footer

The handling part may be factual. Longer hulls are harder to turn with the same rocker, much harder with less rocker.


– Last Updated: Jul-19-10 8:04 PM EST –

While outwardly a boast read closely and that sentence says nothing.

All canoes sink with loads. No rockered boats get their ends pinned,

What it does not say is that with a little heel the Wenonah MN II turns well. So would the SR,

Red Rock is trying to make claims that really are not claims..look at the phrase "any canoe".

I have a MN II and a Wilderness 18 and the latter hss been timed slower than the former with a load. Of course waterline is the determinant for speed and the length to width ration.

Also the stems on the Wilderness 18 make it a bit of a wrestling match on windy lakes with rear quartering seas. A cut down stern sheer helps with that.

Actually on Greenbush Lake north of Savant Lake I was pretty sure that the Wilderness 18 was going to be the last boat I ever lived to paddle. At that point speed was moot. Living was pretty important.

The Redrockstore guy just can’t admit
that any other canoe maker exceeds Souris River in any way whatsoever. He’s totally narcissistic about Souris River and incapable of meaningful discussion.

On the other hand, he has some nice instructional boat repair sequences with pictures… not perfect, and no one would provide perfection, but nice, and useful.

My experience

– Last Updated: Jul-19-10 8:02 PM EST –

I've done flatwater trips of a week or more in a Minnesota 2, Quetico 17, and Quetico 18.5. I'd have to say the performance capacity of the MN2 and the Q17 are similar, something under 600 lbs. If you stay under that load, there is no way that a Q17 keeps pace with a MN2. I don't know how the MN2 would do compared with a Q17 with a heavier load than 600lbs. If I have that much to carry, I select my MN3 or Champlain. The Q18.5 is the better Souris River to match on a trip with a MN2, and the Q18.5 has much more hauling capacity than the Q17 or the MN2. And if the Q18.5 is set up for 3 paddlers, they can be a little faster than a MN2.

Red Rock Store
I like the services they provide and whatnot, but he really does seem like he learned his sales technique on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

Joe at Redrock

– Last Updated: Jul-19-10 10:30 PM EST –

I really found him to be a straight shooter when I made my SR 17 purchase. His web site is very informational. I hope he runs for political office some day.

Very informational when true.

Yes, it is true.

I owned both as well.
The Q17 is a nice canoe but is noticeably slower than the MNII. Nothing scientific but my experience was that in calm conditions the difference was not huge. When paddling into mild to moderate waves, the Q17 slowed much more than the MNII and was easily left behind. I know that according to the mentioned website, it is not safe to cross Bayley Bay in another brand canoe but we did in fact take both across in some very rough weather. Both took water over the bow and both made it across safely. The MNII may have taken a bit more water and seemed more difficult to control but it was not as drastic a difference as some would have you believe.

I have been on that website several
times, and there are plenty of false statements about the practices of other canoe makers. If you can’t spot them, I’m sorry.

Last word syndrome?

Do you want me to make a list? How
about his stupid statement that vinylester resins deteriorate with age? I have never seen a study showing that, nor have I seen any boat maker (including Souris itself) make such a claim. I have two whitewater decked boats made in the early '80s with vinylester, and neither shows any sign whatsoever of resin deterioration.

He also claims that Vinylester does not bond well to Kevlar or carbon. One of my '82 kayaks is Kevlar, and the laminate still bends markedly from blows without delaminating or breaking. I have two later Millbrooks made with Kevlar and vinylester, and both have shown their ability to take a beating.

I also have epoxy canoes, a Dagger slalom boat and a Bluewater Chippewa. I can’t tell the difference between my epoxy boats and my vinylester boats in ability to take a beating. I know from studies that epoxy has maybe a 15% edge over vinylester, but that difference just does not show in real life whitewater use.

Perhaps the most telling thing is that I have never seen epoxy boat makers make the kind of exaggerated claims about vinylester that RedRockHead throws out at every opportunity. It seems other epoxy proponents can sell boats that aren’t reinforced by sliced baloney.

I have had both as well
sold the Q17 to a guy who mainly wanted it for fishing. its a good canoe for that and seems durable,but its too hard to keep up with allot of other canoes on trips ,even other canoes in the 17 foot range .MN2 is a nice canoe and will turn well enough with 2 good paddlers ,maybe a litle wetter in bigger waves ,but also faster in rough water .hope this helps.


I appreciate the answers.

It seemed strange to me that a canoe could be shorter, fuller, and still as fast, but strange things do happen. Personally, while I have an interest in fast canoes, I don’t really see the need for them on trips. It’s not like we actually have to cover certain distances to enjoy being out there. As such, I still am happy with the Souris brand, and the Wenonah brand, and it doesn’t much matter that they are a bit different.

When I was looking for a solo
one of the boats on my list was a Tranquility Solo. But Rutabaga had a Magic in B/G for $500 off at the end of the 2006 season, so I jumped on it.

The next spring when I was in Ely I stopped in Red Rock I was considering a test paddle of a Tranq just for information gathering purposes. I told him that I had already purchased a Magic, to which he said “My condolences.” So he is willing to diss other manufacturers even to the owners of those boats.


Yeah, while I admire the construction
quality of Souris River, I can’t put it ahead of Bell, and Souris really needs better boat designers.

17’ canoe speed
guys who paddle canoes in races will buy the fastest boat for their class, even if its a rumor that one boat is the fastest.

In over 17 years of canoe racing, i have not seen one Souris River canoe win a race. In the recreational class in our area, the length limit is 17’6". The two boats to beat are the Wenonah 17’ Jensen and 17’6" Escape. I have not seen a Souris river even entered in a rec class race.

The Minnesota II is one of the most popular hulls in the Stock Class, it makes up the majority of the entries in that class. People buy them cause they can race and trip with the same hull. Their are other boats that win Stock Class races, Savage River, Grasse River, Wenonah Jensens, but never seen a Souris River on the podium.

Might be different north of the border, but not here.

And the vinylester resin topic that was brough up earlier; i have several 80’s vintage hulls made with vinylester resin and Kevlar, both have taken a beating.The cross-rib Spirit has had the hull flexed up too many times going over rocks and logs, the ribs have come loose from the hull, but the hull is still solid and the resin and cloth together after thousands of flexes.


you made the better choice
No GPS test but I timed between two points of land with a stopwatch with Merlin II and SR Tranquility solo.

My condolences to the kind owner of the SR solo who was nice enough to let me try.