Thursday, December 16, 2010

Innovation Never Hibernates at Current Designs!

Neither record snow fall, nor developing ice pack interferes with the Current Designs Design Team’s new product development. With air temperatures in the single digits and the ice pack forming on the Mississippi River, the Design Team put their newest hull design into water trials this week. Dana Henry was the only team member who admitted having a dry suite close at hand so was instantly promoted to “test paddler” although some might say “victim”. We located the last remaining open water along Winona’s scenic levee and put the design through its paces. With Dana on the water and other team members studying from the shore, the hull’s performance characteristics were evaluated and scrutinized. Is the hull clean through the water? Is the hull balanced correctly under the seat? Is the maneuverability on target? Tracking, efficiency, glide, speed…are these up to the Design Team’s targets and expectations? We now have the answers. Stay tuned for the results!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Current Designs 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.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Untamed Science" Invades Current Designs Kayak Factory

Producer Dan Bertalan & host Suze Roots from video production company Untamed Science visited the Current Designs Kayak factory last week to film an educational video featuring rotationally molded kayaks. The video segment will be featured on a DVD alongside a high school Chemistry text book to be released in 2011. The exact content of the video is a secret for now (can't spoil it for the kids!), but it was a great time working together both in the factory and on the water. Bill Kueper, Vice President of Wenonah Canoe, who also sports a PhD in Chemistry from The University of Kansas, impressed everyone with his uncanny acting abilities......who knew?

Learn more about Untamed Science at:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Current Designs Launches New Logo

Current Designs is excited to unveil a sweeping transformation of its brand identity including a new logo, boat graphics, and website update. The new look is designed to reflect the high performance style and grace that Current Designs Kayaks are so well known for.

“Over the last 5 years we have added new cutting edge models while expanding our line to over 30 performance designs”, said Mike Cichanowski, owner of Current Designs and Wenonah Canoe. “The style, look, outfitting, and paddling performance of our kayak designs has never been better, and it was time to update our aged logo to reflect that.”

The new Current Designs logo is available for download on our website at If you’d like a full set of logos, including vector format please contact

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The New and Improved Whistler!

Re-designed for 2011, we updated this old favorite with a modernized deck profile, keyhole cockpit, and recessed deck fittings. Now featuring increased foot room, the Whistler is a great option for paddlers wanting to move up from a recreational kayak, or start out with a more seaworthy transitional design. Stable and very user friendly, the upswept bow makes the Whistler highly maneuverable while keeping you dry when waves kick up. A great boat for activity oriented paddlers like photographers or fisherman. Offered with an optional rudder.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Model Introduction!- Kestrel X Series

New for 2011 we introduce the Kestrel X series, full-sized recreational style kayaks designed to comfortably fit paddlers of any size and put even the most wary beginners at ease. Extra deep and wide, the Kestrel X's feature generously sized cockpits for easy entry, as well as two composite bulkheads and storage compartments for maximum capacity. The largest members of our recreational family they are extremely stable and maneuverable. The Kestrel 120 X and Kestrel 140 X paddle as efficiently as any of our recreational designs and are a great option offered in our light weight composite hybrid layup. The Kestrel 120 X roto is great for beginners of any size who want to get into the sport on a budget. The Kestrel 140 X is offered with an optional rudder. Find specs and price information on the new Kestrel X series on our website!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Current Designs 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.

Current Designs and its parent company Wenonah Canoe has worked closely with this years event organizers to supply 85 Current Designs Kestrel 120 kayaks and 78 Kevlar Ultra-Light Wenonah Champlain’s. 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 of Current Designs, and Distinguished Eagle Scout award recipient Mike Cichanowski is in attendance at the event. “Wenonah Canoe and Current Designs 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.

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:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3-24-10 Trip Report: High Water River Paddling

Dana Henry and fellow ACA instructor Jessica Conaway from Three Rivers Outdoors in Lacrosse Wisconsin got to experience some high water paddling conditions today on Pool 6 of the Mississippi River. The river is expected to crest just above "official" flood stage next Monday or Tuesday. As you can tell the river levels are already extremely high due to the melting of the above average snow fall we had this winter in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. The flow of the main channel of the Mississippi is really cookin'! A lot of debris is being washed down stream in the current right now. We witnessed several 20'+ tall trees floating down the river as we crossed the channel into the backwaters.

When the river gets to these levels we have the opportunity to explore wooded areas and marshes that are normally dry ground. Paddling through the middle of flooded timber and grasslands is awesome. It's a unique paddling opportunity we get to experience most springs.

Check out the photos from today's trip. Dana and Jessica were paddling the Current Designs Willow and Suka.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canoecopia 2010 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 and Current Designs 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 and Current Designs 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 Current Designs 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 Current Designs 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 Current Designs 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 Current Designs and Wenonah Canoe 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 (the parent company of the Current Designs brand) 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 at

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome to the Current Designs Blog Launch!

Congratulations! You found the new Current Designs 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 Current Designs' world renowned kayaks.

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

We'll see you on the water!