'ugly duckling' canoe

I noticed a canoe the other day on the top of someone's car in a local parking lot. The label on the bow says "Radisson" but the canoe itself is a homely looking little thing, short, stubby with what looks like a roughly welded (although it isn't) seam joining the two 'halves' of the boat. The feature that makes it an 'ugly duckling' is this fat rubber 'bumper' that is fastened along the gunwale on each side of the boat. Is this to protect it from docks? What is this canoe chiefly designed for anyway? How does it rate in terms of quality? It's nothing in the aesthetics department!

That’s no Canoe
It’s a tub for washing dogs.

Radison Kennel Supplys


Where have you been??
Michael you live in Upstate NY and just now you see a sporting canoe that has been around since the mid 1960’s. It is the first version of the Sportspal canoe and is still made in Canada by Radisson.

Yes its ugly by many standards, but for its purpose it is very functional. It is made from one lightweight sheet of aluminum, cut and folded like an old paper cup. The seams are screwed together and the screw covered by an imitation tar. After all it is an imitation birchbark canoe. The bumpers you describe are ethafoam floation sponsons. Why stick the floatation in blocks in the ends of a canoe where they take up room? Sportspals have the floatation in sponsons along the outside where it adds stability and helps to prevent the dreaded capsize. Also gives your dog something to put his paws on when he tries to climb back in the boat. Some more floatation is used as a mat lining the inside of the aluminum hull. Acts as a sound deadener and anti-reflective material. On bench seat Sportspal canoes the tops of the seats have a thick layer of soft foam. More floatation and cushioning for your butt.

Yep, the 12’s Radisson is wide slow barge. But it will hold two men, a dog, a bunch of decoys, and be light enough at 39# to carry into a remote pond. It is stable enough to hunt or fish from, and much quieter than any other aluminum canoe.

Its ugly like a Jeep Universal. Also comes with oar locks and a motor mount standard.

Open those eyes of yours and look a bit harder at something before you ridicule it as an ugly duckling. It will do things a $3000 carbon fiber beauty of a sea kayak cannot.

I would not choose it for a long paddle, but floating down a small stream fishing, I would take it over many of my own canoes.


Was gonna buy my son
one of those canoes when he was born, to make him tough. Then I figgered I’d name him Sue instead.

Is this it??

Radisson / Sportspal

thats a Radisson version. the Meyers Sportspal is constructed in a conventional aluminum method, two identical halves riveted together at a keel and closed at the end by stempieces. The identifying characteristic is the raised seam near the front of the sponson going from near the sponson downward toward the hull bottom. These are one piece of aluminum cut and then seamed. they only got a “keel” strip recently to act as a rub strip protecting the thin aluminum hull during loading and unloading from trailers and pickup beds.