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Synergy 12

by  Mad River

This Product Has Been Discontinued

Synergy 12 Description

The Synergy 12 is a canoe brought to you by Mad River. Read Synergy 12 reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other canoe recommendations below or explore all canoes to find the perfect one for you!

Synergy 12 Reviews


Read and submit reviews for the Synergy 12.

Mad River
Synergy 12 Reviews

Read reviews for the Synergy 12 by Mad River as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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I enjoy this boat for…

Submitted by: weenerminr on 8/12/2016

I enjoy this boat for fishing which I do off and on, especially with 2 of my sons. Since I also have a great sea kayak, I am spoiled, so the effort in paddling this boat means I do not paddle for long distances. My boat is polyethylene and reasonable weight though again, heavier than my kevlar sea kayak. The pouches and pole holders and small bells and whistles typical of a fishing kayak are all great.

Overall, I like this boat a lot and it serves its purpose, though I am not a real avid fisherman. Well worth the moderate price.


Had this fishing hi bred for…

Submitted by: Rsbattis on 8/31/2015
Had this fishing hi bred for 5 years and it has been a good ride. Carries lots of stuff for a fishing outing or camping. Now made under a different name as Mad River was bought out. Easy turning, reasonably fast . Could be a bit lighter but is way less than the bigger new fishing Yaks. At 68, I find it difficult to get out of the low seating position after being on the water for several hours, but seat is fairly comfortable. Would be a good used buy for anyone. 3 fishing pole holders, small rubber covered stow area, front and back storage have net covers.

When Mad River Canoe was…

Submitted by: paddler234985 on 5/5/2013
When Mad River Canoe was bought out by Confluence Watersports (who also own Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, Harmony, etc.), the Synergy 12 mold was moved over to the Perception Sport brand and is now called the Destiny 12 and is sold at Academy as Scout 12.0.

This is an excellent kayak. I'm a big guy (6'3", 235lbs) and was having a lot of trouble finding an affordable sit-on-top kayak that was a dry ride. Sure, you can always put plugs in the scuppers, but if you have to do that because they're not working as designed then why have them at all? Well, the Destiny/Synergy doesn't have them. This kayak tracks well, is fairly speedy, and has lots of room for one body and gear. I have rigged it up to be a really nice fishing kayak. One caveat in that endeavor was the limited access to the inside of the hull, but that just means you have to use rivets.


I've had my Synergy 12 for…

Submitted by: marble57 on 11/5/2012
I've had my Synergy 12 for about a year now and love it...have had it on lakes and 1 river trip so far, I bought it mainly for fishing and it works great for that, but I've been doing some exploring float trips too and plan on much more in the future. I can't believe that Mad River discontinued this boat, it has so much going for it, comfort, stability, storage space, good looks, etc...I would buy another one if I could find one...

My wife and I each have a…

Submitted by: paddler234683 on 7/26/2012
My wife and I each have a Synergy 12 sit-on-top kayaks and have had them for four years. They are outstanding. We use them on rivers, large and small lakes. The kayaks are great for older folks that have knee, back or other issues that would make entering and exiting traditional kayaks difficult to impossible. They are extremely well made and we always get a lot of compliments from fellow kayakers. These kayaks are also great for the heavier kayaker as the upper weight limit is 300#. They are a little on the heavy side (60#) which makes portaging difficult but that is the only drawback. People know Mad River as a premier canoe builder but I guarantee you that our kayaks are not canoes and we use paddles, not oars.

If you can handle a 60 pound…

Submitted by: wetlands on 9/1/2011
If you can handle a 60 pound sit on top Kayak this is one sweet boat! Max Capacity 350 pounds - a lot of great features - lots of room for equipment - tracks well - 2 rod holders - adjustable foot braces - I’ve used it for fishing lakes, ponds, marshes in North Jersey - very stable.

The Synergy 12 is my third…

Submitted by: paddler233394 on 2/2/2011
The Synergy 12 is my third sit on top kayak. I love it. Stable fishing platform. Have had it in class 2 & 3 rapids. They are built to take a beating. I have had my mid-sized dog ride with me and had no problems. I would buy another

I have several other boats…

Submitted by: paddler233728 on 8/2/2010
I have several other boats but I use this the most. I have owned this boat since they came out. I have paddled the Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela, Delaware, Susquehanna, and Potomac in this fine craft. Class I and II rapids and many a lake and state park. Portage is a bear, I built a little cart for mine and when I am done for the day I lift it on top of my pick-up with cap and hi ground clearance to boot, so yes it is heavy no doubt. But, it is getting lighter as I scrape more of it off onto the rocks in the streams and rivers I paddle. I am 5'11" and 240# so I like the capacity of the S-12 as I use it to river camp also. I am getting older in the tooth but I can maintain 3.4 mph over a bumpy lake for several hours at a time. I like it, but there may be a ten out there somewhere I just have to find it.

My wife and I have been…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 4/16/2010
My wife and I have been canoeing and kayaking for over 40 years. Of all the dozen or so boats that we've paddled, I can truthfully say that we've never had so much fun with any of the other boats on so many different types of water.

I first purchased a Synergy two years ago, while my wife obtained a Liquid Logic Manta Ray. While the Manta Ray is a fine boat, we both competed to use the Synergy.

With the Synergy you sit low in the boat and because of this you achieve remarkable stability in a very comfortable seat. The tracking is great and maneuvering is very good. We've used the boat in class #1 to #3 rapids, fished large and small lakes, cruised the shoreline and caves in Lake Superior and and just generally puttering around, enjoying life.
And in the interest of harmony, we've just added another Synergy 12.


I bought my Synergy 12 two…

Submitted by: paddler233513 on 3/29/2010
I bought my Synergy 12 two years ago and absolutely love it. It is a good all-around boat - everything from a leisurely float to fishing to multi-day wilderness trips. Had some hardware come off early and figured out how to get my arm inside through the hatch to tighten everything - they didn't do much of a job of that at the factory - and I cleaned out all the loose plastic scrap that was knocking around in there.

I'm 6'4", 230, and I have lots of room and can carry enough gear for 3-4 nights - more if I pack super light. You WILL get your butt wet in choppy water, especially class III, so bring a pump. It doesn't track and glide like a touring kayak, but almost. It doesn't turn like a squirt boat, but it's better than a canoe. It's a lot heavier than a rec kayak, but it hauls a lot more stuff and is a lot more comfortable, especially for big people. I'm custom making my own skirt this year using tarp material. I'm also going to add a few more tie-down hooks.

Love this boat. This one's mine. Git yer own.


I got a used Synergy 12 about…

Submitted by: paddler233342 on 8/31/2009
I got a used Synergy 12 about a month ago and I love it. I had the same problem as ROBERTOAZUCENA in that the bolts were missing on one handle. I didn't worry too much about this since it was just one and I could handle the boat okay. Last weekend though I lost the second one, on the other side. So I looked for a solution. I found that I could get to the inner side of the handles through the hatch on the floor, right in front of the seat. I got in and tightened the remaining bolts and was able to get some of the loose hardware out through the hatch. I went to a specialty fastener outlet in my area and got matching button head stainless steel bolts (typical local hardware stores did not have stainless steel) and I got some replacement teflon washers at Home Depot. I put the new bolts in this morning and it took about a half and hour, but you do need to be a bit of a contortionist. Normally there is a teflon washer on the inside, but I left it out hoping there would be more thread engagement, because I think this could be one of the problems. There seems to be very little thread engagement and with the teflon locking nuts the first few thread engagements are not teflon so they might not lock well. I did this work on my own, but having someone there to help wouldn't be a bad idea.

I purchased this boat about a…

Submitted by: robertoazucena on 8/26/2009
I purchased this boat about a year ago, unfortunately I was unable to use it until the last 2 weeks. When I purchased I noticed a sound inside of the molded shell but didn't think much about. I thought that it may be a piece of plastic left over from the manufacturing process. I took the boat out two weeks ago and in the maiden voyage one of the side handle came off. It seems that a nut that holds the handle-screw in place came off and was not noticed (or didn't care) by the person doing the quality assurance of the product.
I have no idea how the boat could be fixed, if it can be fixed at all. I have contacted the company and a place that fixes boats and I am still waiting for a response.

The boat handled well and was stable in the water, I am 5'11 and 260lbs and I felt quite comfortable in it. I had a soggy bottom but mainly because of my short paddles; I will be getting 240 cms paddles soon. Getting the boat on top of my SUV was no fun, it is a heavy boat.

I give it a low rating due to the manufacturing defect, unfortunately my warranty is gone and I have to fix it myself.


I have owned this boat for a…

Submitted by: paddler233179 on 6/19/2009
I have owned this boat for a little over a year now, and I still love it. I had no previous experience with kayaks when I bought it, just canoes, and it was an easy adjustment. I am a fisherman, and that was the main purpose of getting it. The boat has served well in fishing, and I've actually just gone out joyriding in it also. I made it 10 days in the BWCA last summer, and have taken it down a couple Ozark streams too!

It has plenty of room for a weeks worth of gear. It's easy to carry, for me. The included cargo nets make it easy to tie down all your packs and fishing gear. The tracking on a windy day is the only drawback I've had with this boat.

I would recommend this to anyone interested. It's quick, light, easy, and fun. What more could you want in a fishing boat?


This my second season for my…

Submitted by: paddler233080 on 4/24/2009
This my second season for my Mad River Synergy 12 and so far I love it. I looked at others but the design and storage with built in rod holders sold me. You can literally sneak up on fish like a leaf on top of the water. It fits my 4Runner roof rack perfectly and I can load and unload by myself. I added 12v power a Hummingbird fish finder and a minnow pump to this yak and it completes the package. It also looks really cool; lots of compliments at the dock !!!

I've been paddling (1st yak)…

Submitted by: paddler232867 on 9/8/2008
I've been paddling (1st yak) my Synergy for about 7-8 months now. Though its seen mostly flat water trips, I have taken it on a few rivers *class 1...maybe 2*. I'm a flyfisherman - trout mostly, but bass lately. I wanted a boat that I could load in the back of my truck yet be stable enough to stand in (I'm only 160lbs). My Synergy has provided me everything that I needed. It tracks fairly well, although may benefit from a rudder. I can stand and flycast, but it is somewhat wobbly when I do so. I usually will only stand for 15 minutes or so to give my but a rest(seat's uncomfortable - added a yakpad recently though). I love the storage! I don't have to pack light at all. I bring cooler, change of cloths, 4 rods, tons of tackle and still don't ever run out of room. That, plus the lack of sculper hole, is what sold me on this yak. The river floats is where this yak really can pack for a week long trip, if necessary. It seems to easily float over small class 2 barely even feel them.

One of the other benefits is that it has a crazy skinny draft...I'm guessing around 4 inches. This is a huge benefit when floating a never bottom out. Getting in and out of this boat from shore is a breeze. I can simply hit the shore line dead on and stand up and walk out of it - without even getting wet.

You can see a float trip I took at

Things I added that were much needed: extra padded seat, bow and stern anchors. The 2 main items that this boat could improve upon are :stability (so you can stand easier) & weight (it's a bear picking up). Other than that, I love it and would definitely recommend it for those that want a boat versatile enough to run dry in flat water, but still be able to handle rough water when needed.


Owned the Synergy 12 for 1…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/30/2008
Owned the Synergy 12 for 1 season now. This is a sit on top Kayak that you sit more down inside. So it perfect for someone who wants the feel of more inside seating while the freedom and ease of entry such as a sit on top.

As an over sized paddler (6’5” tall and about 300lbs.) I picked this boat as it fit me great. It was large enough for plenty of legroom and gear, plus it supports my weight. While many sit on tops would have fit me to, the Synergy 12 sat further down “in” the boat giving me the feel of a real Kayak. Also I wanted to avoid the scupper holes as other sit on tops always gave me a “wet ride” keeping some water in the boat. With the dry ride my hope was I could extend the paddling season, and that has been true thanks to the Synergy 12.

The Synergy 12 tries blends the ease of a SOT with the feel of a cockpit rec. boat. Overall it does a pretty good job. While being a “jack of all trades” type boat, it is still fun to paddle.

The maneuverability is good for a 12’ boat especially with as heavy as this one is. (Again fun to ride, not so fun getting it on top the van!) It can easily go where you want it. It is not the best tracking boat but does pretty well. Although it is no racing boat, you can get this boat moving and up to speed with ease. This may be one area the weight helps, because once it is cursing along it is quite easy to keep it going!

Stability is good too. While other sit on tops do provide better stability the Synergy 12 has a feel more like many cockpit kayaks I have paddled previously.

Also this is a tough boat to categorize. I would call it a Sit on top Kayak even though Mad River Canoe claims they “only build canoes”. (FYI: The manufactures’ statement of origin slip from Mad River lists it as a Kayak.) This boat is similar to the Perception Search 13 which is made by a sister company. The advantage the Synergy 12 has it is Drier, you set ‘down in” the boat more, and is capable of carrying more weight. Before you buy the Perception (which seems like a decent boat too.) make sure you check out the Mad River Synergy12.

Although this is not a performance boat, I recommend it to any novice paddler in need of a 1st boat to start out or anyone seeking a very well rounded fun boat for simple day recreation or fishing. Also any one seeking a sit on top kayak should seriously consider this one as I feel it is the best SOT currently on the market.

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