I have owned the boat (royalex) for 2 years and have logged over 3000km of river trips and 700 km of lake trips in northern BC and Yukon. It has been on the Stikine, Spatsizi, Tunagain, Gataka, Kechika, Dease, Morice, Telkwa, Kispiox, Weaton and Wind to name a few. The boat is great in ww; it accelerates quickly even when loaded, is easy to eddy, peel out, ferry. It can take a large load and has enough freeboard for ww. The boat tracks well on lakes, but is horrible in the wind, even when spray decked and paddled Canadian Style. The royalex is nice and warm to sit in versus a kevlar boat. Some of my friends who are novice/intermediate paddlers have complained that it is difficult to track on flat water, my intermediate/advanced paddler friends have no difficulties. All complain about tracking in wind.
My biggest complaints about the boat are the lack of a yoke and the fixed seat/seat position. If Novacraft advertises the boat as a solo tripper, they need to provide a yoke for portage. I drilled the gunnals and made a removable yoke (the balance point is just in front of the seat, so you cannot paddle with the yoke in place, hence the removable yoke). The seat position is ok, however an adjustable seat would make this boat a 10/10. An adjustable seat would allow you to trim the boat according to the load. I have made my own and am much happier with the boat now that I can trim it properly. I lowered the seat 3 inches for stability in ww. Also, forget about putting any gear behind the seat unless you have a lot of weight in front to counterbalance it. The boat is very sensitive to load, it will not eddy/ferry/peel out well if not loaded properly. To solve this I put a large air bag behind the seat so that I can't put any gear behind me.
The quality of the boat is excellent with one minor complaint, the vinyl gunnals are slightly cupped and funnel water into the boat.
Stability is excellent, I have taken it through 3+ ww and into 6-7 foot wave trains (loaded and unloaded) and the boat is reasonably dry, and very, very stable. This is very important in the cold northern waters where I paddle. Joining the swim team in northern waters is very unpleasant, this boat keeps me from that.
I have not been gentle with this boat and paddle it like I stole it. The hull is in remarkably great shape, with only minor scratches and one small dent.
As far as a ww playboat, it is marginaly acceptable; but it is not really designed for that purpose. I will stick with my Dagger Ovation and Hellman Otter for heavy ww.
If you are looking for a solid ww tripping boat and are willing to spend some time and money customizing it this is a great boat. There are probably better lake tripping solo boats, but this one is just OK, it's real home is ww.The SN's river tripping/WW reputation is well established, so my interest is to know first hand if as well it will make an everyday boat for some of my local landscape photography work. Here in SE WV lie big, heavy water rivers, lakes and small streams, the latter both quiet and turbulent. I've had the boat(Royalex) for two days.
The first impression, on flat water, was the surprising speed, the nice glide. Faster and easier than my (NC) Bob Special (Royalex Lite) for example. Back in snaggy little channels behind a few islands, turning was quick and light and precise. Keeping dead-on straight and avoiding roll took a little conscious effort at first, but practice should continue to smooth my technique.
It sits pretty high when empty. A collapsible 5 gal. water jug placed forward helped the trim on this breezy day. Some effort and thinking are needed on open windy water when empty, and on some days I'll want another boat. But on the other days, I'll be able to work things out.
It's heavier than the Bob on a carry, but feels lighter on the water: better acceleration, easier turning, and faster and easier at a cruise. I looked at the round cross section bottom and swallowed hard. But I did get in and out with no problem. Even stood up in it without a scare. Don't know if it'll pole. Might be possible.
The experts say that its WW behavior when empty is very good and very user friendly and that loaded for a trip its capability is still so strong that the paddler can take a wide range of water comfortably and safely.
I say that the SN also has its feet on the ground and might become my daily transport. 8 stars and not 10 because I'm not sure yet about wind and poling. But the 8 are well earned so far. It's responsive, feels connected to me, feels really good.
I have had the Super Nova for almost 4 years now. I got the Blue Steel lay up. This is an awesome boat. The only thing people need to know, it's a Canadian style boat. It is designed to be leaned on its side and paddled. It requires a little different style of paddling. It's great on rivers.
Get a detachable carrying yoke. It has no yoke of its own.
I don't know why people think it doesn't track well. This boat paddles great in flat water. In fact, that's all I used it for my first year. Since there is no such thing as an "everything" boat, this is a great multi-tasker. It begs to be loaded down with gear and taken on an adventure.When I first demoed this canoe on flat water it was horrible. However, I could see that it was well made and designed for moving water so I took the plunge and parted with my money. After adding minicel foam knee pads and thigh straps I took it down some class 3. Wow! It was a changed character, it never missed a beat all day and was a total joy to crank in and out of eddies, and was fast onto the waves and surfed really sweet.
With 7 boats to choose from I reckon this will see more than its fair share of river time. It does what it says on the box, and with style.
Only 9 out of 10 because the gunwales are not reinforced with an alloy strip and deform when bolts are tightened. I use Old Town over sized super big washers which help, but really if the gunwales were as good as Wenonah ones the build quality of Nova Craft would then be second to none.I just got back from a trip on a nice river with lots of class I and II rapids. I borrowed a Supernova at the last minute from a friend and I was amazed after the first rapid. This boat has NO bad habits. It accelerates very quickly, has great secondary stability (beginning paddlers might think it's initially a little tippy but that passes quickly), and is very well-made. I would raise the seat a little bit (my ankles went to sleep after an hour) but other than that, no real changes. I like the aesthetics of the Bob's Special better (wish they made a solo Bob's Special), but I'm enjoying more and more the spartan lines of the Supernova.
I came home last night at 5:30 PM. I ordered one this morning at 9:00 AM.I feel I can now give a half way descent review of the Supernova. I am a novice paddler and moved from a OT Discovery to the Supernova. Wow--what a difference. As to the initial stability--it doesn't have much, the boat likes to lean. With the rocker she also likes to turn. Suprisingly quick on the water and as long as you do your part a nice J stroke will keep her tracking straight. The secondary stability is amazing. I am just know getting a feel for what this boat can do. I have had her gunnel on one side seeping water and she will come right back up--simply amazing. I have watched good canoers in my boat and they can just make her dance. This is a high volume boat, so paddling in a strong cross wind on flatwater will take some effort, but it is doable. The load limit on the boat is stamped at 850lbs.
As to surfing--I am a novice and even I can get her up a wave. The boat will set there all day. This boat has made me become a better paddler. I am just now beginning to recognize the strength in the design.
Build quality--very good. I have the kevlar/fiberglass cap. The finish is very nice. The seat is comfortable, although from the factory it is too high without a load in the boat. The only thing I would complain about. The built in flotation chambers could have been made a bit bigger without sacrificing much space. Another 1 1/2" on each end would have provided a lot of extra flotation.