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Thread: Surface Drive Canoe

  1. #1

    Default Surface Drive Canoe

    Through an extensive amount or research of old threads on these forums, I have narrowed down my boating selection to a canoe with a surface drive. In my opinion this is the most cost efficient way (both initial investment and operating costs) to duck hunt, caribou hunt, moose hunt, and for fishing river transportation with the ability to run shallow rocky rivers. The surface drive is ideal for these activities. My motor selection is the 7hp Copperhead (about 90lbs). The canoe will be trailered.

    All of the following canoes have the load carrying ability im looking for

    #1 Esquif Cargo (Royalex) 95lbs
    My concern is the oil canning issue. Ive read the forum posts about the fixes for it, and they seem like reasonable solutions. Has anyone used the fix for several years that could offer any updates to this situation or how the boat is doing overall with the surface drive.

    #2 Osagian Missourian 17 (Aluminum) 113lb
    Aluminum is very durable, but it does like to stick on rocks. Hull is .050 thick. I believe some of the solutions that the aluminum drift boats guys use on their boat bottoms would help the canoe in shallow water. There was some forum posts about build quality, but modifications and repair work would be easy as I have the ability to weld aluminum. The aluminum boat should handle a surface drive motor well. The Esquif Cargo and the Missourian are almost identical in dimensions except for the depth being 1.5 shorter on the Missourian.

    #3 Clipper MacKenzie Sport 18 (Fiberglass or Kevlar undecided) 113lb
    I read a few posts stating that this boat wouldnt work well with a surface drive. Any information on this would be appreciated (no specifics were given). The boat is the most expensive of the group but It looks like the quality is going to be there. Curious about durability in shallow rocky rivers.

    #4 Old Town Discovery Sport 15 (Three Layer Polyethylene) 113l
    Im curious if this canoe could handle the surface drive motor. It is the smallest of the group and least expensive. At one point I had considered getting this for a my duck boat canoe and later purchasing a larger canoe as well for moose and caribou hunting. I could just move the copperhead from one to the other.

    I left Grumman off of the list due to the cost being higher than the Osagian Missourian. The Missourian also has higher sides and a wider stance for stability.

    Any opinions on these canoes with this setup would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Fairbanks Area


    There is a local guy custom building canoes made to run on Alaskan river with Copperhead surface drives. Not sure if you knew that or not, just another option to consider.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"

  3. #3


    I have looked at those as well, and they are beyond impressive. Budget considerations do not allow that level of canoe at this time. Thanks for the reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    An Idea, but Alum channel on the bottom , it will make the Alum canoe stiffer, an you won't worry as much about rocks ripping the skin off.
    it, will also help on the canoe under load an fast fast turns , will not twist as much it is easy to put on , bolts, nuts & RTV SID

  5. #5


    The $200 dollar Fiberglass canoe in the classified might work well. You could glass in a couple keel strips to stiffen it.

  6. #6

    Default #2 Osagian Missourian 17 (Aluminum) 113lb

    Can't tell you about a surface drive but I can tell you about the Missourian. I've had one for 18 years now. Use it mostly to catfish out of. Tough boat. Mine lives in skinny Ozarks gravel rivers well. Trailers well and is very stable. No problem to walk around in it if you need to. Will handle a 10 prop motor easily and mates with a lift good. Not enough stern to plane, it's a real canoe, I guess like the Grumman 19. 10 or so mph is all you can get out it before the bow starts to rise. Seems like I paid around 800 for mine back in the 90s. Was looking at their web-site here recently and they're up around 1700 bucks now. No telling what you'd have to pay with freight to Alaska. Wal-Mart did handle them. Maybe you can do something with that on shipping. Made just up the road in Lebanon, Missouri.

  7. #7


    Have one you might want Grumman 16 foot square stern 1974 beautiful condition details on Crgs list
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8


    Something to keep in mind is to look at the boat stability, much of which is going to be controlled by it's width. The 90lb surface drive is putting the motor weight pretty high up above the water line, meaning it will make the boat more unstable as compared to a traditional outboard motor that sits low on the stern.

  9. #9


    I'm currently running a 17 esquif with a 7 1/2 hp copperhead. It does the job, but can be a little on the tippy side. It also digs in the stern unless I have some weight up front. It actually runs better loaded than with a light load and one guy. I beefed up my bottom but have a buddy with the same rig and his seems to run fine stock. Another buddy runs a sportboat with a 10 hp copperhead.. This boat is 2' shorter but 10" wider. This is as close to the perfect setup for my use. If I could widen my esquif by 10" and run a 10 hp, I think this would be perfect. I might add sponsons on the back 4-5' to add floatations and stability if I can find the right material.

  10. #10
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Delta Junction


    I've put away a lot of meat with an esquif cargo. It worked ok, except for breaking out the bottom of this flimsy tupperware container. After all that, I learned it would never be the right tool. BUT it can be done, IF you go to a smaller motor like akcarv's 7 hp. But then, you don't have the horsepower needed for hauling moose up river. also, the round bottom of the cargo, it will never be stable unless you get some weight down low, like 200-300 lbs worth down low.

    About the best boat going used, is the 17 ft. oldtown discovery sport. they are around, and are TOUGH and SLICK. These are WAY tougher than royalex. Back when I struggled through 4 years of college still needing to get on the water, the 17 ft. Old Town was the work horse I used for so much. I'm still fond of them. I'm not fond of anything riveted aluminum, cheap polyester resin, or royalex.

  11. #11


    The responses are much appreciated. I've been searching craigslist for a Discovery Sport 17 or Osagian Missourian. They are beyond hard to find for a decent price or a resonable distance. It seems as if people don't get rid of either of these for good reason. I will be moving back to Alaska from Washington in the spring, and my intention is to bring up the canoe with my drift boat. The surface drive is the motor choice for sure. The score of the day was 16' Pelican Bayou in good condition(Still a POS) on a Titled Canoe Trailer that was in very good condition for a grand total of $170. Looks like this temporary solution will work until I find exactly what i'm looking for. The daily search continues, but the price I paid can't be beat. At least it floats and will get me to where I need to be for duck hunting.


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