Read reviews for the Prism by We-no-nah Canoe, Inc. as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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If you're looking for a...
If you're looking for a smooth ride this is it. I've seen a few comments that the canoe is "tippy" and I have to disagree. I've fished in the prism empty and it feels just fine. Portaging them is great. Taken it in and out of the Angleworm portage in the BWCA twice and the canoe carries great. I think it's the perfect boat for an easy weeks worth of gear. Trimming is easy and seems best with a little more weight top the rear.
I have the Ultralight Graphite Version.
Pros: the boat glides perfectly in a…
I have the Ultralight Graphite Version.
Pros: the boat glides perfectly in a straight line! load the front and you can punch through big waves, if you load the rear the boat picks up about half a kilometer in speed and is easier to turn. portaging the boat is a dream I was able to pack for a week and portage boat and equipment in one go with 30 plus portages! yes it can be done.
trimming this boat seems to be VERY IMPORTANT ! if the front is loaded and you have a tail wind the boat does not turn easily. The initial stability is very tippy "getting in and out" once you get the first stroke in you'll be flying.
I am hesitant to offer a...
I am hesitant to offer a score so early in my ownership, but I will do so anyway... I just picked up a Prism in Kevlar ultralight. Wow. After lugging around my 60# tandem canoes, this was a joy. It came with the carrying yoke, but I haven't used it yet. At 34 pounds, I just pick it up and go. I haven't done any long portages yet that would require the yoke.
I have only paddled on flat water so far. The boat tracks very well. It does not require nearly the effort that it does to solo a tandem canoe. Yesterday I picked up a kayak paddle, and that is even better. This boat flys.
So far, my only concern is getting in and out of the canoe. It is a trickier affair than getting in or out of my wider canoes. I would prefer to have the option of kneeling, but the sliding tractor seat makes it a sit down canoe. After seven uses, I am adjusting to that.
I look forward to trying the canoe in heavier wind and chop to see how it feels.
Wenonah craftsmanship is top notch.
I've had this boat for...
I've had this boat for over a year now and have run multiple flat water trips and many day paddles in it. Overall, it's a good flat water boat, especially if you like to hit and switch. Having no rocker is a boon to me on the flat-water but if you are looking for a decent "all around" boat, this isn't it.
I have it in the tuff-weave layup and it is more than manageable to portage. It is holding up well to the numerous dings and scratches it has earned so far. I am not likely to part with it.
I rented a We-no-nah Prism...
I rented a We-no-nah Prism canoe for a seven day expedition into the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. It was a ultra light Kevlar canoe. The boat handle pretty well. I was with two other tandem canoes and was able to keep pace with them reasonably well. The boat was light to portage. Reasonable stable to paddle and fish with.
I recently acquired a...
I recently acquired a Wenonah Prism in ultra-light Kevlar. It is 16' 6", and weighs just 34 Lbs!
I have always paddled from a kneel in my solos. This boat has the molded seat on rails. That takes away a bit of stability when sitting versus kneeling IMHO, but some stability is gained back by the addition of a footbrace.
This boat is FAST! I GPS'd a 3 mile paddle last night & I was maintaining 4.5 mph easily with a kayak paddle. My max speed was over 6 mph. I switched to a single blade ottertail paddle, and maintained a 4 mph average speed (though I was working harder)You'll have no trouble keeping up with your kayaking friends!
The boat takes waves nicely at an angle or head-on. Taking waves broadside makes it feel a bit skittish. It turns readily, which was a bit of a surprise considering the speed & great tracking.
It is 4" or so narrower at the gunnels than at it's widest, so you don't have to worry about clunking the rails.
The workmanship on the boat is very good, and I like the fact that I can move the seat to balance the canoe after adding a portage pack or a dog.
As I paddled into a 30...
As I paddled into a 30 mile an hour wind on Lake Sakakawea with the waves building to over 3 feet, I realized just how well my Wenonah Prism (kevlar) was handling. I had been sitting in its tractor seat for over 1500 miles of the Missouri River and had never really worried about its stability.
New to canoeing with the idea of paddling the entire Missouri, I had no real idea of what canoe to purchase for a trip the length of such a big river, the longest on the North American continent. I decided to look for a boat that was light weight, strong and had good carrying capacity. Fifteen to 17 feet seemed to be the right length and somewhere between 35 and 40 pounds was a weight that I could easily handle with all of the portages and ins and outs of such a journey. After significant research I discovered that Wenonah Prism Kevlar Ultra-Light would be my choice. Proving a very good choice, it fulfilled all my expectations for a touring boat.
The Prism handles well in rough water and high winds while tracking straight and turning easily. With a few professional lessons and practice, the boat responds to all my directions quickly and smoothly. Carrying up to 2 weeks supplies along with 5 gallons of water has little effect on its speed or handling.
During my training sessions on Emigrant Lake nearby my home, on the Klamath River with somewhat faster water then I thought a novice should be paddling and on the Willamette River I found that the Prism quickly inspired confidence. It just feels stable.
I am an old man in my 7th decade and comfort is an issue as my body does not bend easily or sit for long periods in discomfort very well. Neither of these has been a problem. Paddling for 8 or more hours a day still found me feeling ready to go every morning. I have added the Wenonah seat back and cushion which helped a great deal.
Kevlar is: strong but susceptible to scraping wounds. A little more care is required if you want to keep your boat bottom looking good. I do like a clean finish and that requires a little more care on my part.
Now that I am a more experienced paddler and understand boat design and its effect on performance would I choose a different canoe for the same journey? No. I would choose again a We-no-nah Prism.
As an update to my earlier...
As an update to my earlier review, I finally did receive the portage yoke I had ordered when I purchased the boat, six months after I received the boat. The yoke is very lightweight (2.5 pounds), very cleverly designed, and works exactly as advertised. It is made by another manufacturer for Wenonah, which is why it was not shipped with the boat -- it was apparently out of stock at Wenonah and the other manufacturer was behind in fulfilling its orders. The yoke makes the boat extremely easy to carry, but NOTE: you must specify whether you have a floor-mounted seat or a hung seat, as the design of the yoke differs for each, and one will not work on the other!
I purchased the 16'6"...
I purchased the 16'6" Wenonah Prism in the flex-core Kevlar layup with optional footrest in March of 2007. The boat arrived in a timely fashion but with several dings in the finish and some black spots which I believe to be overspray from painting the gunwales. I also ordered the portage yoke but have yet to receive it five months later; the factory reps have been very cordial and prompt in answering my emails but the yoke still has not arrived.
The Prism is fast -- my GPS clocks it at 4.5MPH without pressing when using the double-bladed kayak paddle, and it has exceeded 6MPH downwind in a current. I generally get about 3.5MPH when using the traditional single-blade canoe paddle. A recent solo trip demonstrated the boat's speed, which surprisingly was almost as fast fully loaded. Incidentally, the Prism handled like a barge fully loaded until I rearranged the gear to improve the trim, after which it was fine; the sliding seat definitely helps the trim, especially when lightly-loaded.
This boat is designed to track extremely well, which means that it is definitely NOT suited for whitewater use as it cannot be turned quickly enough to be safe in a rock-strewn rapid, especially when loaded. However, last week I found myself in big water with a 25MPH wind and two-foot waves (not recommended for any paddlecraft!) and found the boat to be extremely steady and seaworthy. In summary, this is an excellent touring and tripping solo canoe for flatwater use which I would definitely recommend to anyone. If whitewater is your thing, however, look elsewhere as this boat is just not designed for it.
I have paddled the Prism...
I have paddled the Prism for two years. A little more expensive to buy it here than in Germany but it’s one of the best solo-canoes for longer trips I think. The workmanship is not high-performance but very good for an industrial crafted boat, especially in big waves (Rhine River). Build by heavy ships, the Prism is very safe. I sit and switch and I also paddle in classic style. In this process I change between straight shaft and bent shaft paddles. Last week I finished a trip for 100 miles in frosty weather conditions on "Main-River" close to Frankfurt. The canoe was very heavy loaded but no problem with it. I customised the seat a little so I can kneel also. All the gear for 2 weeks in this boat? It’s working. Greetings to all paddlers from Germany to US. Sorry about my poor English folks.
Yup, the Prism is sleek,...
Yup, the Prism is sleek, fast, a great tripping boat, and pretty to look at. I'd give it a 10 except nothing in this world is perfect. I use my Kevlar/tuf-weave model (44 lbs.) as a camping vehicle on northern Wisconsin's flowages. It's OK to paddle, but I prefer to use oars (available from Spring Creek Outfitters in Mountain Iron, Mich.). With the rowing rig and 80-100 pounds of gear I can usually smoke the tandem paddlers, averaging 3.5-4 mph, even with a quartering wind. The Prism is a great boat but it's limited to open water and larger rivers. The only reason I'd use anything else would be take my partner and/or our dog. That's what the 18' Sundowner is for.
I have the Flexcore...
I have the Flexcore version in Tuf-weave. It could be a little lighter (mine seems to weigh a touch more than advertised, though my scale may not be entirely accurate), but I ended up paying $700 for a brand new canoe. I can deal with the slight weight penalty.
I took a four day solo trip this past spring. The total load I was carrying was about 340 pounds. That included a 70 pound Chesapeake. I was really happy with the way she handled the wind and waves when loaded, and when empty in the evening while fishing. I was real happy with the speed I was able to maintain. I generally use a bent shaft paddle with the sit-and-switch technique. I switch to a straight shaft when I am fishing (trolling) and paddle with a C-stroke then. Both techniques have their place.
I was most impressed with how she rode out waves. On the last morning of my trip there was a 15-20 mph wind that was kicking up waves that were about 1 foot (I don't believe reports of canoeing in 2-3 footers on small lakes, either dumb or not a good guess on wave height) with whitecaps. Things were a bit ticklish when the waves were directly on the beam, but quartering or heading directly into them was fine. I did slow down going into the waves just so that I wouldn't spear them, with unpleasant results.
In the wind it really helps to be properly trimmed. The sliding seat makes that quicker and easier than without. Any high performance hull will tend to have quirks when things are not in trim. I have had the boat out without cargo (just the dog and a small day pack) in about a 25 mile per hour wind (small bay w/o significant waves) and didn't have any problems with directional control. I had to work a bit harder to make her go straight, but I expected that.
I have been satisfied with the turning even without heeling over. You simply use a sweep stroke. Heeling over will allow a quicker turn though.
When I used her to paddle up a small windy river the Prism was clearly out of her element, even with a lot of heeling. The current just grabbed the bow and I couldn't make some curves w/o a few tries.
I guess to summarize this boat I would say that she is a sweet boat that paddles very well light and loaded. When I went on my solo trip I found that I did a lot more poking around off of my most direct route. The Prism paddles so easily that going off of my most direct path was not an issue.
I have flex core with...
I have flex core with aluminum gunwales, 44 lbs. I’ve done 4-7 day trips at Lowes Lake, Raquette River- Long Lake- Raquette Falls, and the three Saranac Lakes. I like the tractor seat and foot bar: comfortable and gives great leverage. You should probably not take her in any real whitewater, and she is stable enough seated, so why would you ever want to kneel? Sit and Switch. This baby moves. I noted other reviewers’ concern for the wind. I did not have a problem, but then again, she is fast enough that I get where I am going before the afternoon winds. I did face a day-long gale on Middle Saranac Lake and I was OK into the wind. Stable enough for comfortable fishing. The funky detachable yoke is serviceable enough. Carried a week’s worth of supplies no problemo. I plan to sell her only because I have a fear of commitment (or so they say) and just want to try out a different design.
The prism is incredibly...
The prism is incredibly stable in all the conditions that I have paddled. It has good speed and glide. However as a smaller paddler at 150lbs it does require more energy to keep it moving than other boats that Ive paddled. It also requires alot of leaning to make it turn upstream around hairpin turns. Im sure its an outstanding boat for larger paddlers.
I have had the ultralight...
I have had the ultralight kevlar prism with the bright red gel coat and black rails for a year now, I got it December 24th last year, it's been a wonderful toy! I have used it about 40 times so far and the lightweight is something that has paid for itself in full every time I hoist it up on the boat racks.
The stability is very good for a roundy bottom canoe. If you've never paddled a solo canoe, it's a bit like staying balanced on a bicycle only easier. If you could lower the seat an inch or two somehow I don't think you would ever be able to tip it over unless you tried really hard. Along with it's inherent stabillity it has the ability handle waves without any problem, in fact waves are fun in this boat, you don't feel like you are about to go over at any time and in big power boat wakes that is very re-assuring.
The tractor seat is comfy for hours and hours if you use a gel yak pad on top of it. You can also fit several boat cushions between your back and the rear thwart and it's almost like a lazyboy chair then. The foot braces work excellent, they're very well designed, just replace the wing nuts they give you with self locking nuts or they will come loose and fall off, possibly while on your roof going down the highway which is not good.
The width of 26" at the seat is great because it allows you to access stuff along side the seat pedastal like a water bottle or anything else that can get a little bit wet without hurting it. I bird watch with binoculars and make videos while parked and have found that a 2lb round fishing weight makes a great anchor and takes up little space.
Not that space is an issue because this canoe has lots of it due to it's length and volume, it also tracks well, but is not quick to turn so forget whitewater in the prism. As for speed, my Etrex indicates that it does about 3 mph. at a comfy paddling pace with a kayak paddle. I use a bending branches 240 cm wood paddle which is very light weight and has that small amount of give that is so nice about wood plus it's warmer in the winter to hold onto than aluminum or composite would be.
I have been paddling since I was 15, now I'm 43 and spent some of the most happy hours in this canoe, and it does everything I want it too, almost. The one and only drawback I have found which I was unaware of before I bought it, is that any kind of breeze affects this canoe VERY adversely. If you compare the measurements that wenonah gives for the prism it is about 3" higher at the bow and the stern than the advantage, which people reviewing that canoe say is not affected by the wind so this may be why the prism has problems, at least with a 175 lb load. More weight might help with the wind problem but I haven't tried that yet. As it is it has very high freeboard and very little draft so this translates into sometimes not being able to control the canoe if the wind gets stiff enough. It just blows you sideways like other reviewers have also said. I personally feel this can be down right dangerous in the wrong set of circumstances and it's positively annoying otherwise to say the least. This cuts down on the number of places where I feel I want to use my otherwise fun little canoe. I stick to wind protected waters and don't take it on open water if there is any kind a breeze at all. I wish Wenonah would make a model of prism with less bow and stern height like the advantage for instance, because it really is a wonderful canoe otherwise, every thing else about it is just fine. I may get an Advantage someday simply because of the wind issue, but I just hate to give up that wonderful stability. If it wasn't for that I would rate the Prism a 10. But only, only, because of the wind problem I give it a 9 because I can't use it in places I would like to other wise. But I still love my Prism anyway!
My first boat was a...
My first boat was a SoloPlus and it's great for moderately twisty rivers. The Prism was a close second and I found a used one (44# kevlar composite) two years ago. Talk about a smooth operator! It'll take 3-4 strong strokes or 5-6 easy strokes in hit-and-switch mode, with a boat length or more for each stroke if I let it glide. It will also respond to a well executed C stroke when I want to stay on one side for a while. It's a great tripping boat and tracks even better when loaded. My favorite mode of travel is with a clamp-on rowing rig on big open water - about half the effort of paddling and easily keeping up with fast tandems.
I raised the back of the tractor seat about an inch to make it easier to kneel in, which helps the lower back. If you want to turn on a dime or do whitewater forget the Prism. But if you want a stable, predictable boat you can "cover ground" in and carry a week's or more worth of gear, laughing at the waves, give 'er a try.
I've been paddling the...
I've been paddling the Prism for about four years now. It's a great canoe, but it isn't for somebody who thinks it's an unneccessary hassel to switch sides every five or ten strokes. It just takes to much effort to bring back on course paddling Bill Mason style. The other thing that I have a real problem with is that it always wants to go sideways to the wind. Not into is and not with it,sideways. I've tried shifting the weight around but then the canoe loses that wonderful glide.
On a positive note about the Prism I don't even blink at 3 foot waves. The boat will take them at any angle. I have gotten it to spear waves but I had to really work at it. It carries a large load or a small load fast enough for me to keep up with any tandem and that includes a Minnesota II. It's stable enough to fish out of. For a hit and switch paddler there is nothing better, beginner or expert. If you have trouble getting this canoe to turn try contacting Wennonah. The staff there will be more then happy to give you some tips that really work.
Excellent all-around boat....
Excellent all-around boat. Very fast and tracks well. Maneuverability is decent for a boat this long - not exceptionally quick, but smooth and predictable, and much better than I expected after reading other reviews. Sliding bucket seat is comfortable, and the spring clip that holds it in place can be adjusted quickly with one hand. The footbrace is solid, and, when combined with the bucket seat, keeps you from shifting around so that you get get maximum efficiency out of each stroke. The kneeling position is a bit different than with a bench seat - you have to straddle the seat mount and put your feet on the sides of the seat instead of under it. You can't drop into a kneel quickly, but once you are down, you have a very solid paddling position. The aluminum gunwales are very well done - smooth, nicely rounded, and no screw heads sticking up. Very good initial stability for a solo, and can be comfortably leaned if you want to do so to get faster turns. Great boat!
I love my Kevlar Prism. ...
I love my Kevlar Prism. I'm so anal retentive about weight that I had mine made without the sealed air flotation tanks at the bow and stern, alleviating approx. 3 pounds! Wenonah assured me that it will still float. Handles well in all conditions. Fast upstream. Holds all my fishing and camping gear--let's see a kayak do that!!! Only sissies paddle kayaks. I've had mine for 5 years, I beat the hell out of it and it only has one small piece of duct tape on it.
I bought one of the first...
I bought one of the first Prism's about 1993. It is Tuf-Weave center rib construction with aluminum trim and foot brace. I give it a 9 considering its a glass boat that weighs 50 lbs. The other layups would be better I'm sure. Mine is the least expensive model. But in the flatwater swamps and large shallow lakes and medium rivers I paddle it's great. You can really put some miles behind you. I paddle it sit'n switch with a bent shaft but it's not bad with a J or C stroke either. It tracks very well but with an outside lean will carve a nice although not very sharp curve. Waves or wakes are not a problem. It is qiute stable but with considerable tumblehome I dont lean it too far over. Easy to stand up in. I would get a lighter layup but this was my first solo and I'm quite attatched to it. It's just a little heavy lifting it up to the rafters in my garage, or if you have to carry it very far.
Bought a kevlar/flex prism...
Bought a kevlar/flex prism a couple of years ago. Lovely boat, fairly fast, good stability, performs well loaded. About my only complaint is the near impossibility of dropping to a kneeling position in rough conditions. I loved it; so did the Ms. So much so, that she stole the sucker, leaving me to paddle my beat-up ol' C1W. So I bought another one last season, in kevler/ultralite/wood. Beautiful boat, incredibly light. Caught m'lady casting longing eyes upon it as well, so I'll probably be paddling the original Prism this season ;->
Great boat! Very fast and...
Great boat! Very fast and paddles well with any style, J stroke, C stoke or hit and switch. Above all, it's quiet. Good design with no gurgle when it comes up to speed. I'm not real wild about the tractor seat, but it does slide to help adjust the trim. With no "rocker" the boat doesn't turn as quickly as other designs. It makes up for this minor fault by tracking straight and is very fast. This boat rewards good technique and a bent shaft paddle. I can usually get strokes to side before switching. It also has enough volume for a comfortable week tripping. I recommend this boat for any intermediate paddler and above who wants to go solo! I paddled this boat up the Thoroughfare River in N. Idaho (between Upper and Lower Priest Lake) last Memorial Day against a very strong current from the snowmelt. Loaded with 4 days of supplies, it made it when even tandem canoes were turning back and giving up!
I bought a prism (Foam...
I bought a prism (Foam core Kevlar) after canoeing for years and looking for a solo for about a year. I use it both in flat water in a bayou for exercise and in small to medium rivers. It is a pleasure to paddle solo in flat water, regardless of the waves, and down river it's fun to be the fastest boat in a group, getting to visit those at both ends of the group, but when it really shines is when you have to paddle up stream, it's so fast it's scary. Turning is the compromise, but once you get used to leaning the boat, that imprves dramatically. I like the tractor seat, and the only mods I've made is to improve the slide system with a rope, bungee, and a cam cleat.(probably added 4 ounces and $10.)sweeeeeeet boat.
I have owned several...
I have owned several We-no-nah canoes and the Prizm (Kevlar std weight) is my third solo from them. I did a lot of research before choosing the Prizm and it paid off in a great boat. It is all We-no-nah states in their catalog. It's greatest charm is it's versatility... paddles well empty or loaded, great flatwater tripper, OK in mild whitewater and very fast! I really don't care much for the tractor seat design, will probably switch to cane seat with backrest.
I went shopping for a solo...
I went shopping for a solo canoe suitable for BWCAW tripping and after looking for a couple of years settled on the Prism in ultralight kevlar. I do not like the tractor seats so I ordered the canoe with cane and wood seats and wood gunwales.
In general the canoe is well made. The wood trim is reasonably well done but not perfect. In general I don't think the We-no-nah canoes are quite as well finished as the Bell canoes but they are satisfactory. On the other hand I wanted a canoe without rocker and Bell doesn't make one.
I took the canoe to the BWCAW in late September. When crossing Brule Lake I was in 2 to 2 1/2 foot waves. At first I was somewhat nervous about this but the canoe handled the waves without any problems at all. I took no water over the bow. The canoe weight is cataloged at 34 pounds and We-no-nah states the wood gunwales will add about 2 pounds. Weighing the canoe on an accurate (balance beam) scale it weighs 35 pounds. Its a dream to portage and a dream to paddle both with steering strokes and with switch side techniques. It does not turn readily (due to its 16'6" length and lack of rocker) unless well heeled over. On the other hand I bought it for the BWCAW not as a white water boat. Due to its light weight I was very careful to tie in to a tree every night, something I never felt necessary with my Grumman canoe!
All in all I have been very satisfied with this canoe.