Nova Craft Prospector Canoe Review

by Brian Johnston

I had the pleasure to paddle one evening with Wilderness Supply Company staff at the Fort Whyte Alive Adventure site. By the time the boat trailer arrived Charles Burchill and I had already done a couple of laps of the pond in an old canoe—we were anxious to try out something newer, something sportier…

If you could pick a canoe off the rack, what colour would it be? Red—of course.

And the colour red matches what kind of hull shape? How does a classic, traditional, time-honoured Prospector in red catch your fancy?

That is what we took for a test paddle, a red Nova Craft Prospector.

We quickly put the canoe through its paces, passing nesting geese along the shoreline. Other in-flight geese honked overhead. There was no shortage of excitement, on or off the water.

We were unintentionally juxtaposing the two canoes.

Our warm-up was in an older Royalex canoe with a V-keel hull shape. It was once the vanguard of the industry but now it seems heavy and not overly maneuverable, even at the hands of skilled canoeists.

Our test canoe was fast to accelerate and quick to react. With little effort we had the Nova Craft Prospector canoe spin out but wait, was that because of the weight difference of Charles and I? Nevertheless, it was easy to control and fun to paddle.

Nova Craft Canoe has been producing Prospectors for years, in 15 to 18 foot lengths, and in a variety of materials. I particular like the TuffStuff material. It’s a good balance of strength, weight, and cost.

Nova Craft’s version of a Prospector provides ample bow room—it spacious, as well as affords more than enough gear storage space for serious overnight camping equipment. It’s expedition ready, complete with skid plates and aluminum or vinyl gunwales.

Really, the decision is simple. Red Prospector. It’s the only colour and canoe for you.

Postscript. Charles Burchill doesn’t own a red canoe. Brian Johnston has three.

Specs & Details:
Nova Craft Canoe, Prospector 17
Length 17 feet
Width at gunwales 36”
Depth bow 23”, centre 15”, stern 23”
Rocker 2.5”
Material TuffStuff (Innegra Blend)
Weight 58 lbs.