Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stage 3 of The North American Odyssey under way!

Dave and Amy Freeman recently set out to undertake stage 3 of the North American Odyssey, a three year, 11,700 mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, and dogsled, sponsored by Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs. Their goal is to use their journey as a platform for gaining support and protection for North America’s waterways and wild places, while actively engaging over 100,000 elementary and middle school students in their journey though their website and live school assemblies.

Dave stopped by Wenonah Canoe last week to pick up their expedition logoed Kevlar ® Ultra-light Itasca Canoe that they will use later this spring when the ice thaws in central Canada and they begin stage 4 of the adventure. Read more from the North American Odyssey Blog.

“Greetings from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada! We arrived just a couple of days ago. Ellen, Van, Dave, and I spent ten days driving all the way from Minnesota. We hauled our twelve sled dogs, two sleds, plus most of our food and dog food in a big trailer. Ten days on the road might seem like a long time, but really all of the planning and preparation for this trip took much longer. About a year ago we began to research our route and contact people living and traveling in the area. Months ago we began training our two dog teams. Then we had to construct our dogsleds, pack our food, arrange school visits, and gather our equipment.

Now that we are in Norman Wells, we still have our final preparations to make. We will be here for about a week before we hit the trail and there are lots of things to do. We are getting used to the extreme cold and getting the dogs used to the terrain by running them almost every day. We are sorting through our equipment – making sure we have what we need and eliminating things that aren't absolutely necessary. We are talking to local hunters and trappers to ask about the trail conditions from here to Tulita. Dave is shuttling our vehicle and trailer south to Fort Resolution. We will visit the Mackenzie Mountain School here in Norman Wells. We are also researching local animals and plants to share with you on the website.

Our planned route is about 900 miles (1,448 km). This will take us about 80 days traveling by dog team. We will travel through seven communities along the way. If you were going to travel for 80 days, what would you bring with you? Keep in mind that you are traveling in cold weather. . . what would you wear? What would you bring to eat?

We can't wait to begin the expedition and we are so glad that you will be traveling with us! We look forward to the things we will learn, the advice you will give, the questions you will ask, and the important decisions you will make. Thanks for joining us as we learn about this land in the far north!”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wenonah Canoe Celebrates Another Great Year!

Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs held our annual holiday party this past weekend. Over 115 employees, friends, and guests made their way to Jefferson's Pub and Grill in Downtown Winona, MN to celebrate another great year of business. The evening was filled with delicious food, rockin music, and great company.

The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony where owner and founder Mike Cichanowski handed out the "Years of Service Awards". It is a Wenonah Canoe tradition to award employees that have been with the company for five years a specially engraved paddle in recognition of their commitment. Every five years after that they receive a plaque to add to their paddle. This year Mike C. was proud to hand out more service awards than ever before. 19 employees received recognition including eight 5 year, five 10 year, two 15 year, a 20 year, a 25 year, and two 35 year awards! Very special recognition and gifts were given to kayak plant manager Dave Thill and Rick Thrune who have been with the company for an astounding 35 years! Employees like this are what makes Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs so special, dedicated hard workers that have spent their whole working career helping form the company into what it is today. A big thank you goes out to all our employees and their families this holiday season.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Open canoeing in the U.K.

The U.K. has a strong history of canoeing and kayaking and every fall they hold an "open canoe" symposium. The 2010 Welsh Open Canoe Symposium was held in Wales Oct. 8-10th. Owner and Founder of Wenonah Canoe Mike Cichanowski attended and was the keynote speaker at the event. He gave a full presentation on american style paddling, and how open boat design and manufacturing has changed in the last 40 years to several hundred eager paddlers. He also provided 2 full days of on water instruction detailing proper technique and skill development for sit and switch paddling.

Also in attendance as main supporter and sponsor of the event was Richard Bennett, the owner of Outdoor Active (The Canoe and Kayak Store) our European importer.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dana Henry Whitewater Paddling the Flooded Root River

Watch the video here!

In a 24 hour period around September 23, 2010 localized heavy rainfall dumped 8-10” in areas of Southeast Minnesota. Many of the small rivers and creeks swelled well out of their banks in a short order and wide spread flooding occurred in many of the regional communities.

Wenonah Canoe’s own World Class whitewater paddler Dana Henry and Marketing Director Jake Greseth grabbed the video cameras, loaded up a trailer and headed for the Root River near Lanesboro, MN in search of some rare whitewater paddling in Southeast Minnesota.

They found some gnarly water, did some great play boating and caught it all on film as the small river ragged at over 13,000 cfs. With his extensive experience, Dana tamed the river and made the Wenonah Rendezvous dance with effortless strokes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Construction Introduction!- Barracuda Layup

You’ve never seen metal move quite like this!
By “this” we’re referring to Barracuda™ - new aluminized glass fabric. Barracuda™ boasts the look of metal with the functionality of traditional high performance composite fabrics. A marriage of style and function, this classy layup is a great combination of aesthetic appeal, weight, and strength. The distinctive appearance of Barracuda™ is achieved through a unique finishing process designed specifically for composite applications. When combined with the proper resin, our canoes made from Barracuda™ emulate the silver sheen of 3-D steel.

But a good looking exterior is only half the story. On the interior of our Barracuda™ layup we utilize a layer of Innegra S high performance fabric. Different than Kevlar® or fiberglass, this material dramatically increases the composite toughness and impact resistance of the Barracuda™ layup, and is one of the lightest weight fibers available. Overall our Barracuda™ canoes offer unique looking crafts with the same high-performance characteristics of our traditional composite fabrics: strong, durable, and lightweight. All Barracuda™ canoes feature a foam core and side ribs, as well as all black anodized aluminum trim. No other options are available for this layup.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wenonah Canak Makes its First Splash in the Boundary Waters!

Wenonah employees Mark A. and Jack K. got an opportunity to show off the new Wenonah Canak to some of our retail and outfitter operations around the Boundary Waters in Northern MN last week. The overall reception was great! Everyone loved the new design and were impressed at how well it paddled and how easily it portaged. Mark mentioned at one point they had a group of about 15 intrigued paddlers emerge from the Dairy Queen in Ely (blizzards in hand), all wanting to take a look at this unique new boat!

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Model Introduction!- Canak

With a hull shape similar to that of our most popular solo canoe the Prism, the new Wenonah Canak is great for solo lake camping when the capacity and portability of a canoe is needed, and the touring ability of a kayak is desired. The one of a kind bow and stern storage compartments are spacious and more accessible than standard kayak hatches for easy loading and unloading of canoe camping sized packs, while the slip over covers provide a dry ride no matter the weather conditions. The floor mounted sliding seat and adjustable kayak style foot braces make this boat as comfortable as any large cockpit kayak. Choose from our eight composite colors for the deck, the hull is skin coat.