Superior Expedition Review
Manufactured by Superior Sawyer Canoe Company
Submitted by paddlingfan1
I test paddled a Superior Expedition canoe 2-10-09 in Portland, Mi on the Grand River one day after the ice went out. A little background is needed. The Expedition is a high volume
tripping boat following the concept of the Kruger Sea Wind. It’s a
canoe you can bet your life on in the most extreme and adventurist trips.
The builder, Scott Smith, worked for Verlen Kruger for 7 years and has
built over 100 Kruger boats with Verlen. Scott put together all the
strengths of the Sea Wind design and improved all the weaknesses in
a larger package. .
We did an upstream and back paddle on the Grand River which was high and flowing at a rate of 3 to 5 mph. At first sight my first impression of the Expedition was, “It’s
huge”. After a few strokes my next impression was, “How could
a boat this big be this fast”. Then I thought, “I can’t believe
how nimble this thing is”. I couldn’t believe how responsive the
boat was for such a large volume boat. It just took off like a racing
hull up stream hopping from eddy to eddy with ease. In the fast water
I had no problem scooting up the shoreline at will.
The other surprise was the stability. Since the hull shape, I believe, is modeled after a racing hull, I expected it to be tippy. An inexperienced paddler might think so but to me it
felt rock solid and the secondary stability was superb. I was even
able to lean steer the Expedition in a difficult eddy hop. I even stood
up in the boat along the shore while Scott changed the seat height for
me. I bet I could even stand and Pole this canoe!
This canoe has a rudder system that is designed to handle a shallow stream unlike anything I’ve ever used before. This rudder bounced over rocks and logs as we eddy hopped up
the shoreline effortlessly. It has a design that is intended to keep
sand from hanging up the rudder so easily, that’s pretty cool.
I can’t stress enough how cavernous (Mega Capacity) the hull is. I have read where some people have to take as long as 2 hours to load a Sea Wind every day to get all their supplies
in the boat. I would guess those same supplies could be loaded in this
boat in about 5 or 10 minutes with room for half again as much. Scott
told me his intention for the larger size was to easily load a deer
kill in the boat after a hunt and believe me, I’m sure he has no problem
The rigging on the boat came with everything you can dream of and then some. There’s a storage rack beside the seat to keep the clutter off the floor, dry and handy to reach. There’s
a bungee on the front and back deck for a spare paddle. It’s got mounts
to catamaran to another Expedition to handle the heaviest wave conditions
or for sailing. The seat has a quick change feature to adjust to 2”,
4” or 6” in seconds. It’s even got a yoke built into it and for
those of us who know solo boats, this is almost unheard of.
In talking with the owner of Superior Canoe Company, I was impressed with his business philosophy. He didn’t seem to be interested in just selling boats as much as he was in building
a boat that you were so happy with you’d come to him for all your
canoe needs. Scott also builds Sawyer Canoes. He showed us a few Sawyer
Canoes he had built and I believe the workmanship is second to none.
In my opinion the Superior Expedition, designed and built by Scott Smith, is a Home Run! If you ask me, if you’re looking for a high volume boat that can do it all and does
it well, I would consider an “Expedition” by Scott Smith of Superior
Sawyer Company in Portland, MI. I think it just may be a boat that may
last you a lifetime. He can be reached by phone
at 517-526-3444 or by email at email@example.com.
About the 2 hour to pack a Sea Wind. I was reading an article written by a guy who was paddling up the Missouri River in his Sea Wind following the Lewis & Clark trail. He was the one who made the comment that it took him 2 hours to repack his Sea Wind.
About the weight difference and the strength of the hull, I found no great difference in the strength of the designs between the Kruger and the Expedition models I was looking at that day. I think both Kruger and Superior both state actual weights my very.
James G., Verlen Kruger saw the final product (Superior Expedition) in Scott's garage before he pasted away. His comments were of approval. Not dismay. If Verlen were alive today I believe he would be the first to say his design was not the end to all ends. After all, look at how many designs he built before he settled on the Sea Wind. I bet he would have kept testing new designs if it had been practical to do so.
As far as my background. At the time I wrote this review I owned a Wenonah Advantage and a Wenonah Prism. so I know what to expect from a good quality canoe design because I had been paddling 2 good designs. These were not my first canoes either. I have spent at least $20,000.00 on high quality fast canoes and kayaks over the years (before inflation. todays prices would be $30,000.00 I'll bet). I paddle hundreds of miles each year on rivers in the midwest. SO, if I say I like the design I'm experienced enough to know what I'm talking about. I'm not barging. I'm trying to give comfort to those who read this review that I know what I'm talking about.
There is no such thing as a canoe that does it all but I still believe that if your looking for a great deal on a decked canoe that the Superior Expedition would be a good choice.