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.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Model Introduction!- 17 Wenonah

New for 2011 we introduce the boat that started it all, the original, the 17 Wenonah. The first canoe ever designed by owner and founder Mike Cichanowski in 1965, this instant classic was originally built out of wood strip and fiberglass in Mikes parents backyard shed. We carefully handcrafted a mold from the original boat that has been proudly displayed in Mikes home for the last 30 years. On July 17th, 2010 the original boat was officially inducted into the Winona County Historical Museum as a permanent fixture.

Available in our state of the art composite materials and layups, the 17 Wenonah displays lines similar to the classic wooden hulls built in the early 1900's. A great general use, canoe camping, and family boat with a unique look and storied past, the 17 Wenonah is a must have for serious canoe connoisseurs and open boat history buffs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wenonah Canoe Delivers Boats to the National Scout Jamboree

July 26th marks the beginning of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County, Virginia. 38,000 Boy Scouts and 3,700 adult leaders from all 50 states and from countries around the world will spend 10 days of fun, adventure, and fellowship together as they celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th Anniversary since its founding in 1910.

Wenonah Canoe has worked closely with this years event organizers to supply 78 Kevlar Ultra-Light Wenonah Champlain’s and 85 Current Designs Kestrel 120 kayaks. These special edition boats all feature the 100th Anniversary Boy Scouts of America logo. Three fully loaded trailers delivered the boats to be used by the scouts at the Jamboree early last week.

Owner and founder of Wenonah Canoe, and Distinguished Eagle Scout award recipient Mike Cichanowski is in attendance at the event. “Wenonah Canoe has had a long standing special relationship with the scouts, both on a local and national level”, Cichanowski said, “I am proud that our company is able to provide the Jamboree participants with great paddling, high quality boats. The Boy Scouts organization has done so much for this countries youth and companies in the outdoor industry such as ours.”

The 2010 National Scout Jamboree runs July 26th - August 4th.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

From the Wenonah Inbox: Waiting Patiently

I am an efficiency freak when it comes to tripping. I am the anti-traditionalist, the tech geek if you will. At one point in my career I was the guy who wanted to see the full Border Route in the BWCA in three days. Of course it took four but what the heck, Crane Lake to Lake Superior in four days? A lot of cool country to see. So now I have a family, I have a wife, a two year old and half the time I used to have to get fit and get loads of boat time in. That said however, my mantra on being light, nimble and quick has only become more relevant. I want a boat that will glide with every stroke, a boat that will haul easy as I am carrying both it, my gear and Tae's "Kiss me Elmo" over numerous 250 rod portages.

So my eyes wander over the new Wenonah Catalog and I come back to the old standby, the Minnesota II. The brain clicks, the history of the boat speaks for itself, however I want to super charge it. I pick up the phone and I place the order. Minnesota II. Graphite, Double Slider, internal skid plates please. I hang up the phone and begin the wait......

-Hansi J.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

From the Wenonah Inbox: MFPJS2680678 - still tripping

We-no-nah folks:

I thought you'd like to know that the We-no-nah fiberglass canoe I purchased in 1977 has, like its owner, a few scars but is still very much alive and kicking.

The wonderful memories this canoe has helped create could fill volumes: Mississippi, St. Croix, Lamprey, Moose, Potomac, Hudson, Mohawk, innumerable lakes and even the Atlantic Ocean (Well - not far out but still) many more - places I never should have gone but "had to". We won races, we caught monster fish, we survived rapids, we took weeklong trips and portaged innumerable miles, we got close to and into nature that would not have been otherwise possible.

My boys learned how to enjoy canoeing in this baby and I took my future wife on a moonlit cruise in it that helped "seal the deal". We slept soundly under it in rain storms, used it as a banquet table, towed it on the beach to transport supplies, set it up as a fish cleanng station much more.

This long term love affair is something I thought you'd like to know about. I'm sure many others have felt the same way.

For anyone hesitating to buy a We-no-nah, I'd tell them it's a no-brainer. Just do it and enjoy whatever life you can expereince - life is just better with a great canoe.

My plan is to now loan her to a young boy who loves the outdoors. If he gets even one more good memory out of it - it will be worth it.

-Frank J. Priznar

PS. The subject is the canoe serial number etched into the bow. The etching seems pretty unofficial but that is the only ID I have now. I bought it in Madison, WI. It was one of two - and I know where the other is!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Independent Shipping- How We Do It

Wenonah Canoe, Inc. and it's brands Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs Kayaks are set apart from other companies in our industry in many ways. One example is the way we ship our boats from our Minnesota-based factories and warehouses to our retail partners. Since it's inception, Wenonah Canoe has managed and controlled its own logistics department. Today, nearly all the boats we ship are shipped on our own trucks and trailers by Wenonah Canoe employees. This ensures safe handling of our composite boats without cross-docking and never involves fork lifts! This approach completely eliminates the dreaded Canoe-kabob - a canoe pierced through the hull by an unknowing forklift and driver.

Our fleet includes specially outfitted, heavy duty trucks with auxillary fuel tanks and racked trailers specially designed to all but eliminate shipping damage. Our largest trailers and fully racked trucks can carry 46 canoes or over 80 kayaks and canoes together.

Our peak shipping season is early October through early summer. In these times, multiple loads depart every week to destinations all over North America including Canada and Alaska. The same logistics team is also responsible for our international shipping program that utilizes a containerized freight approach to ship Wenonah Canoes and Current Deisigns kayaks throughout the world.

Managing a vertically integrated logistics function from factory to retailer is a huge undertaking. We accept these challanges because it ensures the integrity of our product quality until it reaches our customer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

North American Odyssey Set to Launch 3 year Expedition

On Earth Day 2010 (this Thursday, April 22!) Dave and Amy Freeman will begin a three year, 11,700 mile journey across North America by kayak, canoe, and dogsled. 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 through their website and live school assemblies.

Their odyssey begins by kayak on the Pacific Coast studying temperate rainforests and marine life of the pacific northwest, but this is just the first in a series of six stages on their quest to highlight North America's wildest places. After kayaking 1,400 miles from Seattle, Wash. to Skagway, Alaska, the team will progress over the history-studded mountains in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush, to the home of Inuit along the Arctic Ocean where polar bears roam. From the Arctic Ocean they will dogsled and canoe south through central Canada, kayak across the Great Lakes, then follow the annual whale migration past the salt marshes and sea turtles of the Atlantic Coast, finishing in the mangroves and coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

Dave and Amy will paddle a Current Designs Solstice GT and Solstice GTS up the Inside Passage, across the Great Lakes and down the Atlantic Coast line. For the whitewater river sections of Alaska and the Yukon they've chosen a Royalex Wenonah Cascade. Rounding out the watercraft quiver, a Kevlar Ultra-light Wenonah Champlain will deliver them through the lakes and rivers of Central Canada and Minnesota's Boundary Waters.

Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs wish Dave and Amy safe travels and the best of luck in this awesome adventure.

You can follow the progress of the North American Odyssey by visiting their website:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canoecopia Recap

The Wenonah Canoe & Current Designs Teams express our sincere gratitude to everyone who joined us at Canoecopia! We enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. The crowd was as big and enthusiastic as ever, especially on Saturday when the convention center was shoulder to shoulder with eager and aspiring paddlers.

Once again the invited speakers delivered inspirational, informative, and entertaining seminars. Rutabaga has a history of showcasing the best of the best. Wenonah Canoe’s Dana Henry thanks everyone who attended his co-authored presentation about canoeing on the North Forest Canoe Trail:

Overall it’s clear the people of the upper Midwest are ready for spring. Shortly the paddling season will be in full swing. All of us at Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs look forward to seeing you at one of our many demos, trade shows, and events in the coming months. Check for an event near you. It's that time of year, let's get on the water!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Canoecopia 2010- Presenter Information

Come get in the paddling spirit at Canoecopia 2010! It starts Friday at 4pm-9. Saturday 9-6. Sunday 10-5.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT): Theory and Practice.
Wenonah Canoe's very own Dana Henry is co-presenting alongside Darren Bush (owner of Rutabaga) and Rob Center (co-founder of the NFCT) detailing the trail and a recent trip on the NFCT itself. Make it a point to go see this presentation, the photos are amazing! Showing Saturday at 9:30 and Sunday at 12:30.

For more information about this presentation visit

Wenonah Canoe sponsored paddler and Wilderness Classroom founder Dave Freeman is giving two presentations. The Trans-Amazon Expedition, a paddling adventure down the length of the worlds longest river is showing on Friday at 4:30. Dave will also presenting his plan for The North American Odyssey, a 3 year, 12,000 mile journey by canoe, kayak, and dogsled around the continent on Saturday at 9:30.

For more information about this presentation visit

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Come See Us at Canoecopia 2010

Nothing symbolizes the onset of spring at Wenonah Canoe more than preparing for the largest indoor paddlesport expo in the country. That’s right, Canoecopia 2010 is almost here!

After a winter of skiing and shoveling the Wenonah team looks forward to the impending ice out and returning to the water. Canoecopia is the event that reignites our passion for paddling. The enthusiasm level is always high at Canoecopia for consumers, presenters and venders alike. And rightfully so. Here in the upper Midwest, we’ve been cooped up since early December patiently waiting for spring to arrive.

Canoecopia also marks the first opportunity for most consumers to see our new products in 2010. So if you plan on making the trip to Madison, make sure to stop by the Wenonah Canoe booth and say "hello!" We’ll be happy to show you what’s new, what's improved and share our passion for paddling!

Canoecopia 2010, presented by Rutabaga Paddlesports, runs next Friday, March 12-Sunday, March 14. For more information visit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar Visits Current Designs Kayak Factory

United States Senator Amy Klobuchar (D, Minnesota) visited the Current Designs kayak manufacturing facility on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Senator Klobuchar's visit was part of a state wide mission to visit successful small businesses throughout her state.

Mike Cichanowski, owner of Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs talked with the Senator about the company's history and challenges going forward for a company of its size. Cichanowski lead Klobuchar, other dignitaries including the mayor of Winona and local media on a winding tour through the kayak factory. Throughout the tour, Senator Klobuchar talked personally with many employees. At one stop along the tour, Klobuchar gave assistance to the vacuum bag crew helping distribute resin throughout the composite laminate.

Klobuchar’s visits to growing companies give the Senator a chance to learn how these organizations have weathered the recession — and, more importantly, how she can help them lead Minnesota into better economic times.

“The success of Minnesota’s small businesses is vital to the success of Minnesota’s overall economy,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Small businesses are engines of job creation ... They have led our economy out of past recessions, and we need them to do it again. Wenonah Canoe and companies like it, may be poised to do just that. They epitomize what we need to see throughout the state,” said the Senator. “We have to figure out the best way to let businesses create new jobs.”

To learn more about Senator Klobuchar's vision for the manufacturing businesses in Minnesota, see: Enterprise Minnesota, Jan/Feb 2010, pp18-23; also available online

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome to the Wenonah Canoe Blog Launch!

Congratulations! You found the new Wenonah Canoe Blog!

Visit us often to see stories, photos, company info, product news, tech tips, event anouncements and reports from the field. Look here to learn, laugh and experience Wenonah's world renowned canoes.

Don't forget to become a FAN of Wenonah on Facebook. On Facebook you can share photos, stories and connect with other paddling enthusiasts from around the globe! Wenonah Canoe Facebook Fans will also have access to contests, give aways, and special promotions so check back often.

We'll see you on the water!