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Summersong Description

The Summersong is a canoe brought to you by Sawyer Canoes. Read Summersong 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!

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Summersong Reviews

Read reviews for the Summersong by Sawyer Canoes 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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This is a wonderful boat,…

Submitted by: bradlepc on 9/20/2021

This is a wonderful boat, with some reservations. It's quick, tracks like an arrow, fun to paddle, and with practice it's surprisingly capable in waves. I've paddled it on lakes, rivers, even Long Island Sound. The goldenglass version is just 42 pounds and with the short length it's easy to cartop and launch. It accelerates fast and can keep up with a rec sea kayak, so it's good in a mixed group of paddlers. The seat adjusts front to back and has three heights. Definitely one of the most fun boats I've paddled.

Now the reservations. First, load limit is about 200lb. If you're over 190, you probably should be looking at a different boat, over 200, fuggedaboutit. Above the weight limit, it's just not fun. Several reviewers have mentioned that they had trouble staying right side up. The Summersong has very low initial stability and it can be twitchy in quartering seas, but if you make it a little bow light and you have some big water experience, it'll take on waves up to 2', and even surf. But you have to go with it, if you panic when it does something unexpected, yeah, you could roll it. The tracking is great in open water, but not a good fit for twisty rivers. Finally, because of the short length, there's a pretty hard hull speed limit so you probably wouldn't race it (but it'll still blow the doors off almost any rec canoe).


I've had my Summersong now…

Submitted by: Andy_Szymczak on 5/2/2012
I've had my Summersong now for over a year and have paddled it many times and in various conditions. Been quite pleased with it's performance. Coming from kayaks and a surf ski, I found the Summersong very stable and quite fast. At 44-45 lbs, it's easy to lift and carry.

The Summersong I have is 28 years old and I did a complete restoration, the boat looks almost new and does attract quite a bit of attention. Overall, I'm very happy with this acquisition.


Well, my Summersong threw me.…

Submitted by: Wildwater on 2/13/2007
Well, my Summersong threw me. I am about 5'11" and 220. Tried to fish out of it in a sidewind, blowing down Lake Charlevoix. Went from kneeling to sitting and she threw me out. Still love her (took off the stupid rudder). Mine's lightweight Kevlar and is FAST. I paddle the Sawyer Autumn Mist when I am worried about capsizing. The Summersong is still my favorite (along w/the Bell Wildfire for rivers).

Wow, wow, wow. Mine is a…

Submitted by: Wildwater on 5/9/2005
Wow, wow, wow. Mine is a kevlar Summersong. The measurements are 15'6" by 27 1/2" wide, 23" at gunnels. Mine has a rudder, so I won't have trouble in the wind. I think this is as narrow and long a boat I want for flatwater. It is not a river canoe, although it'd be fine for slow rivers.

Wow, wow, wow. My favorite, perhaps (yes) over Bell Merlin II, maybe even over Magic. Nice, nice hull...


Nice river touring boat great…

Submitted by: thepalins on 1/24/2002
Nice river touring boat great acceralition and very stable in waves once you get used too it. Shes cruises a good pace putting many boats to shame and is unaffected by all but heavy wind gusts. It can be a bear too turn especially going upstream around hairpin turns on narrow rivers with current. I would rate it a 7 out of 10 only because of its unwilling desire to turn unless leaned all the way to the rail.

I've owned a Summersong for…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 7/30/2001
I've owned a Summersong for 15 years. It's the goldenglass layup. Also in our inventory of solo's is a Lotus Bucktail, Sawyer Shockwave, d.y. Special, starlight, autum mist, curtis vagabond, and a bell magic. Over the years I've used all the Wenonah solo's and a few others. As a friend of mine once stated, the Summersong is simply the "Boston Whaler" of solo canoes.

I feel compelled to amend my…

Submitted by: paddler229118 on 6/22/2001
I feel compelled to amend my previous review of The Summersong. I did a 10 day trip to Quetico in early May. I was accompanied by two freinds who rented a Wenonah Champlain. My Summersong astonished me with it's performance. We traversed moving water in rivers and white caps and 3 foot rollers on big water. I never felt the slightest instability. This boat is incredible.

My Summersong has been a good…

Submitted by: paddler229118 on 2/19/2001
My Summersong has been a good friend for many years. I bought it used at The Chicagoland Canoe Base in the early 90's. The original owner left it there on consignment, he claimed that he couldn't keep it upright. I assume he was a big dude with not much experience. As soon as I layed eyes on this boat,it was love at first sight. I was looking for a solo to kick around on local rivers and The Summersong has been a pure joy. Previous reviewers have mentioned that you have to learn this boat, I completely agree. Because of the lack of rocker, this boat can be a challenge to turn. This can be compensated for by thinking ahead and anticipating the next turn. I think this adds to the joy of paddling. It's kinda like driving a 5speed sports car on a winding road. Your more involved in the process and you become part of the machine. Of course when you remove rocker you gain speed, and lots of it. The glide on this boat is amazing. Another advantage of no rocker is that you can easily keep a straight tack without switching. I belong to a paddling club and I can easily keep pace with even the strongest tandem paddlers.We hit the rivers every weekend and I get alot of comments on the beautiful design of the Summersong. I have an 86' with a foot brace and a sliding seat,which I like a lot. It also has holes for changing the elevation of the seat. I have done over 40 trips in BWCA/Quetico area. I have done two solo trips and I rented a Winona Advantage both times. I didn't realy feel comfortable bringing the Summersong at the time as it is a bit undersized for the task. I think I've changed my mind on this and if I do another solo I will use my Summersong. I would not recommend this boat to newbies, however experienced paddlers would be very impressed with the speed and uncanny stability of this wonderfuly designed boat. Peace

I've owned and operated a…

Submitted by: guest-paddler on 1/22/2001
I've owned and operated a sawyer summersong since 1986. I bought it from algonquin outfitters as a used (previously rented) boat. I have the basic golden glass layup with adjustable seat, footbrace, and clip on carry yoke. This boat was all wood otherwise. Being stored outdoors all it's life I recently replaced the gunwhales with 3/8" aluminium bar stock for an estimated additional 5 lbs. of weight. Being an experienced and established paddler who has owned a number of canoes of various types this boat has become my personal vehicle. It's absolutely a boat you learn as you go. NEVER use pry or jam strokes as you WILL get wet. This boat is a pure pleasure to paddle when you know IT'S rules. I've done a number of northern Canadian trips in this canoe and it's VERY capable of carrying 250 to 300 lbs. of paddler and supplies (providing you know IT'S rules). The summersong is not an easy canoe to turn. With PRACTICE one learns how to heal the boat and navigate narrow twisty moving water streams or rivers. The original intention of this canoe design was as a flat water solo touring canoe (optimum load 180 lbs.) that was capable of being raced on weekends. If you are willing to carry it's 48 lbs. (golden glass) weight around anything class 2 or higher you will be rewarded with maximum distance with minimum effort. A true solo touring canoe if there ever was one! This canoe in automotive terms is a corvette. It's not the fastest canoe on the race track but it's damn fast, light, fun to paddle, and is under rated (capacity wise). It's radical design is pleasant to look at and it's capable of taking you FAST just about anywhere if you are willing to carry and not chance the whitwater. As I mentioned this is NOT a generic solo canoe. It has a personality that you MUST learn to enjoy and stay dry. Once mastered it's paddlers heaven! NOTHING PADDLES LIKE A SAWYER!

First I bought a Sawyer…

Submitted by: paddler228879 on 9/5/2000
First I bought a Sawyer Autumn Mist. The next year I traded in for a Summersong with foot brace and fore-aft/vertical adjustable seat. My wife paddles a Blackhawk Zepher and I've paddled solo touring canoes by Mad River, Swift, Clipper and other Blackhawks. We've been on numerous backcountry trips in Ontario, Georgian Bay, the Everglades and Okefenokee Swamp (sp?). Big lakes, wide open bays, large rivers, and small streams. No whitewater above class I - definitely not the realm of the Summersong. The Summersong is a fast, capable tripper. Responds equally friendly whether using steering strokes or sit-&-switch. Very straight tracking yet can turn "on a dime" with the right amount of lean. I lean the Summersong way over without experiencing instability - the paddle is a trusty outrigger. When playing around I routinely heel over till water comes over the gunwales - not an easy task but possible with practice. Very comfortable paddling - no having to reach out due to extreme tumblehome. Very ample room for gear and food - disappear for several weeks no problem. Very bouyant in the bow to rise over waves and chop for a dry ride (I've never taken water over the bow - but I don't charge foolishly into snarly breaking waves either). My best story is of one trip in Georgian Bay south of Killarney: I paddle with a 48" and a 56" bent shaft. This particular day, about the 6th day out on a 11 day trip, the waves were enormous! They were coming at me on my starboard bow quarter. I sat with the seat at it lowest position. I was using my 48". When I was in the trough between waves I could reach up with my bentshaft and the tip of my outstretched paddle over my head was below the crest of the wave. That puts the waves at around eight feet high from trough to crest. I'm not exagerating! I was laughing the whole time. It was totally unbelievable. My wife was in her sea kayak having a great time. I've paddled head on and quartering in 20+ knot winds gusting to 30+ knots and made great headway with sit&switch power paddling. I've paddled equally in extremely narrow twisty streams and with outward leans and an offside post I fared just as well if not better than my wife in her freestyle rockered Blackhawk. Lastly I want to say that my wife loves her Blackhawk and doesn't like the straight tracking Summersong as much. Friends have taken our solos out and some like the Summersong and others don't. Everyone looks for something different in a canoe. The Summersong was radical when it showed up for the "Vortex of Visionaries" back in the 80s and it's still just as radical today. I also like paddling a legend.

I've owned my Summersong for…

Submitted by: paddler228814 on 8/7/2000
I've owned my Summersong for about five years. Soon after I purchased it, with only 10 hours or so "practicing" under belt, I took it for a week long solo trip in the BWCA. It's not a voluminous boat, but to my surprise, it handled one person's gear and food just fine, split in two smaller packes fore and aft. As I recall, it's a David Yost design, and I've always been amazed at how well this boat slips through big waves. I got myself into some windy conditions on that solo trip, and the Summersong served me well and kept me dry, even though I'm sure it's primary design is pleasure paddling. Nowadays, I mostly use it for casual paddling, but I long for another trip up north. Just haven't found the time since fatherhood. I'm not sure how this rating system works, but for casual paddling I'd give it a 10. It's really a fast cruising canoe that's a lot of fun to paddle. For wilderness tripping, I've proved it can be done, but be wary of load limitations. I'd rate it an 8 for this use. By the way, my model has the adjustable foot rest and seat (always set to the lowest position).

I bought a new Summersong in…

Submitted by: paddler228420 on 1/18/2000
I bought a new Summersong in 1987 and didn't know what I was getting into. After much awkward frustration and a LOT of time, I mastered the boat. Took it on small windy streams and surfed barge wakes on the Mississippi. I loved it. I also have a 19 foot Current Designs Extreme kayak. I can't prove this, but the Summersong feels faster. Only drawback to the Summersong is that all its good for is to paddle. I've tried fishing, photography, and camping. No way. One person rating the Summersong here said that their boat had no foot brace nor 4-way seat. Mine has both, but then I've never seen another Summersong.

I recently purchased this…

Submitted by: paddler228317 on 10/16/1999
I recently purchased this boat from a dealer that used it as his river boat. The time that I've had in the canoe has been most enjoyable, but there is a lot to learn about it's ability and design intention (freestyle???) My ONLY complaint is that this model did not come with a foot-brace or 4 way adjustable seat. Any info from other owners would be appreciated.