This boat review of the Wenonah Advantage canoe first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Canoeroots and Family Camping magazine.
During a roundtable discussion with industry leaders, Bill Kueper of Wenonah Canoe proposed the idea that we’ve been selling people the wrong canoes. Why have we been selling tandem tripping canoes to people who do only one big canoe trip per year? Why are we not selling them the canoes they will paddle most often?
I look out my office window at an 18-kilometer stretch of slow moving river. For years I’ve talked about paddling at lunchtime, but never did it. Why not? According to Bill, I owned the wrong boats. He sent me an Ultralight Wenonah Advantage, a boat he thought I’d paddle more often.
The Advantage was first released way back in 1982 as a competitive racing canoe. The legend goes that it was so popular that a couple years later designer Dave Kruger tweaked his design, adding more buoyancy so that it is both fast and seaworthy when used for pleasure paddling.
At 16 feet and six inches the Advantage is all waterline with virtually no rocker, making it fast and true. Its shallow 13-inch center depth offers less for the wind to play with. If you took a cross section you might say it’s shaped like the bottom half of a hollowed-out butternut squash—wider and round at the waterline for stability with aggressive tumblehome at the gunnels where you don’t want the width.
The day the Advantage was delivered to the office I grabbed a bentshaft paddle, threw the feathery 32 pounds of Kevlar and aluminum over my shoulder like a kayak, and snuck down to the river. I wasn’t sure how tippy these racing canoes were. If I was going to fall out, I didn’t want an audience of editors applauding my first swim in years…
Get the rest of this boat review that originally appeared in Canoeroots and Family Camping, Spring 2014 by downloading our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it on your desktop here.