Swift Winisk

I’m looking for thoughts on the Winisk. Could anyone compare it to the Bell Northwind or a Souris River Q17, both of which I’ve tripped in.

Paddling efficiency, manueverability, and seaworthiness are all factors of interest.

Love the Winisk
Its a true tripping boat: great on flatwater, but manageable through the twisty stuff. I think Swift’s quality is overall better then a Bell. I haven’t had the opportunity to check out the new “fusion” layups they are doing.

The Winisk is reviewed on
Paddling.net under Product Reviews at:


Hope this helps.



Yes, thanks for the heads up on the reviews. I’ve checked them out and appreciate people who take the time to write up reviews. They are helpful.

I’m also hoping to get some comparisons with other boats I’m familiar with and thoughts from people with valuable opinions who didn’t happen to review the boats.

narrow bow paddling station
I rented a Winisk for a week-long trip. I was fine with it, but my bow paddler hated it. It was too narrow for him to kneel comfortably, and when sitting, there was room for his feet to take only one position.

I also remember it as a very asymmetrical boat. I prefer more maneuverability (I had more fun in a Swift Dumoine that I rented for another trip, but it was noticeably slower).

– Mark

We have a boat like that, narrow and
shaped wrong for the bow person to kneel. I cut an Ethafoam and Minicell kneeling block, shaped to fit the bottom of the boat, but flat on top.

Stripper version here:

I agree with tncook that Swift quality overall is better than Bell…especially in Expedition Kevlar lay-ups.

I’ve paddled almost all Swift boats during Swift demo days in Windsor and have also paddled a Northwind (17.5 feet right?) but only lightly loaded…well under 400 pounds with me and my light buddy. The Bell impressed us as a family boat…I think considerably less efficient/fast than a Northstar and also much less maneuverable but extra super stable and reasonably efficient at lower cruising speeds…a super friendly boat, and I remember the Winisk as a cool and dry and maneuverable boat but not as quick and efficient as we’d hoped and maybe not as “magic” of a boat as some others (odd rocker specs compared to more recent boats, high front rocker right?). The Winisk would out turn a Northwind and was equally or more efficient…I think. I think a Northstar is an amazing boat if your load fits it (takes 500 easy but maybe 475 or less is ideal) or maybe your dream tripper is something else. I used to have a Bluewater Freedom Tripper 17 and it was also an amazing boat for the right usage (also 475 or less)…more tender than a Northstar but faster and equally maneuverable and great in nasty conditions…but much lower capacity and not nearly as stable as a Northwind.

To me the magic Swift tandems are the Mattawa (sweet!), Temagami (like a giant Mattawa for families), and the Quetico 18 (I’d buy one in a minute and it’s like a long Northstar…super fast and efficient and you can still turn it on a dime and it’s super stable and you could carry a moose if you wanted to).

Thanks for all the input.

Angstrom, I’d seen those strip built boats on the Green Valley site. Just georgeous.

Whitewaterweenie, thanks man, I always enjoy your expressive reviews. Its obvious you get pretty ecstatic about boats and paddling - and have the ability to convey that. Cool.

g2d, thanks for that idea about making a foam kneeler with the bottom shaped to match the hull. Sounds like a winner.

Check this out
Under used and demo’s there are two.


both sold
Dave sold both of those Winisks last week.

Good Values
Thanks for the heads up. Both those boats looked good from the photos, and I’m sure people got a great boat for a really good value. The used eagles look good too for that matter.

So many boats, so little cash and storage space…