Great White North Canoe

A collection of features resulting in a typical Canadian canoe


Great White North appearance options are - 1 Full Gel-coat White and 2 2-tone over White Gel-coat

H2O Great White North Canoes are made to be of a classic style, yet advanced construction Canoe, typical of features popular to our upper North American Paddlers category; these features include a brilliant Gel-coat exterior, maintenance free wood & aluminum components, durable yet lightweight to Portage and available at a below average cost.

Great White North Canoes from H2O are available in a solid colour Gel-coat exterior (White) or upgrade to a 2-tone style over a white bottom. The interior is coated in beige Gel-coat for ease of cleaning and uniformity.


Carbon Fiber Innegra Canoes H2O

Great White North by Design

The H2O Canoe Company Great White North Canoe is constructed in similarly to our Premium Kevlar Canoes with a few material selection changes including the inclusion of a full Aircraft grade Anodized Aluminum Gunwale versus the ICG – Great White North Canoes combine advanced material selection with many innovate concepts and fittings. Each part has their own purpose within the system to fill a role in creating the ultimate package of performance, lightweight and durability.

The Great White North lamination design goal is to achieve a high quality Canoe still in or under the 50lb finished weight range for a Canoe around 16’6” long. 17’ and longer Canoes will be a little over 50lb but still very lightweight for their overall size. Great White North will be at the entry level price point for Wilderness Tripping quality options

Similar build concepts to H2O Premium Kevlar combine techniques that all result in an important end goal. Which is – The most amount of weight and thus material (re-enforcement) is in the hull of the Canoe itself. The more substance in general and quality substance in this case the hull is made out of, the more resistant to damage it can be.

Too many Canoes on the market simply take away substance from the hull to make it lighter but carry on finishing the Canoe in a “standard fashion”, selecting heavy wood species, heavy Gunwales, wetting out flotation chambers with thick layers of FG and resin and covering the interior of the Canoe with a heavy, thick layer of Gel-coat. None of which these effects add value or reduce weight to an ultralights resistance to damage or enjoyment to carry.

It only stands to reason if a majority of the weight in your ultralight Canoe is made up of finishing’s and trim your hull can’t have much substance to it. This is why so many beautifully Gel-coated Canoes are quickly a mess of cracks and damage. They are simply a significantly heavy Gel layer backed by very little re-enforcement and an average quality resin. There is just not enough substance or quality products in the hull itself to resist damage.

Specific identifiers of the Great White North Canoe

The significant difference in our Great White North Canoe from other H2O Canoes is the limitation to White Gel-coated hulls only, with option to upgrade to a 2-tone, a Gel-coated interior in beige and full Anodized Aluminum Gunwale versus the ICG system.

Great White North Canoes are our entry level cost Canoes since the processing requirements are less taxing than other constructions. Some techniques create seams in the fabric as well as spot re-enforcements lack the uniformity of higher end laminations therefore require the use of the interior coating to please –

Key Feature Great White North Canoes – #1 Full Gel-coat & V/E Resin

H2O Great White North Canoes are constructed using a full Gel-coat on the exterior surface area. This is a traditional choice for the Canoes aesthetic and is the correct exterior for the resin system we use.

The aesthetic of the Great White North made this way is Brilliant. Great White North upgraded to a 2-tone provides a customizable look with multiple colour selections for the top, with a cool, visible White bottom that as a package is stunning. The benefit of the White bottom also is its disguise of scratches which show white regardless of the original Gel-coat colour on a Canoe.

Use of Gel-coat requires use of a chemically compatible resin which is Vinyl-ester. H2O has sourced a high quality V/E resin, which we add flex agents to that is UV stable and strong.

H2O Canoe Company Vinyl ester resin is at the high end of quality of any Vinyl ester resin and leaps and bounds superior to many Canoes made with Polyester resin systems commonly used in hand laminated construction. It will be superior in flex, impact resistance, shape retention and longevity.

Key Feature to Great White North Canoes – #2 100% Closed Cell Foam re-enforcement

Every Great White North Canoe from H2O has a full closed cell foam core, bilge ribs & mounting plates. Foam sandwiched between composite re-enforcement is very rigid & strong yet ultralight. By nature closed cell foam is buoyant. Great White North Canoes have high inherent flotation characteristics as well before adding extra flotation chambers to them.

This technique can be compared to the effect of box and beam construction in buildings and the rigidity of Truss style construction on a bridge. Each component which is rigid re-enforces a typically flexible area around it. By attaching each stiffening member to each other we create longitudinal & inherent stiffness for speed and power transmission yet remain flexible and absorbing in enough areas to standup to impact and resist damage.

Key Feature to Great White North Canoes – #3 Lightweight finishes and trim

As we discussed our goal is to place the most amount of substance (weight) in the hull itself. We accomplish this by selecting lightest weight species of Wood for Components; design a Gunwale system which is significantly lighter than many other Aluminum or Wood concepts and apply techniques to add features typically heavier, which add no value being heavier.

Components of a Great White North Canoe

Vinyl ester Resin & Gel-coat - Vinyl ester resin is a “snap” cure product which is advantageous in processing for time and curing efficiencies. A catalyst mixed with the V/E resin promotes a reaction which then heats and cures the resin into a solid. When it is cooled it is fully cured and needs no further processing to achieve top physical properties.

The single most important element in a Canoe is the resin holding it together.

The choices manufacturers make on where to save money impact greatly on the quality of product consumers receive.

Great White North Canoes are a little less costly than Premium Kevlar Canoes because processing and material costs are a little less for certain parts of this lamination. The reason they are only a little less is that even though the materials have moved down a selection, the scale has only moved marginally.

The V/E resin we use in the GWN is the same as the Premium Kevlar - more engineered to elongation, stability and longevity of bond than the upgraded Core Shell we use in the Helium, or Epoxy in the EPS. They are engineered for ultimate impact resistance and flex.

This V/E is the best available in these parameters and suits the price point of GWN.

Like most choices in any materials there is a vast quality range. H2O Canoe Company Canoes from top to bottom make choices in the highest of that range regardless of what category of use they are targeted. Every aspect of the GWN is made from the best selection available for quality and durability in its material selection range. We save some costs on GWN by trimming re-enforcement to suit installation minus the intent of leaving a natural cloth finish upon completion. This is quicker and less costly and passed on in retail price savings.

Gel-coat is a layer of substance which is brilliant and UV stable. It is highly attractive and impressive so some paddlers would not go without. H2O uses a Gel-coat with a flex agent making it more pliable to resist damage.

Both the V/E resin and Gel-coat is repairable and will bond to Polyester and Epoxy repair resins.

Advanced Fabrics

– Re-enforcement in fabric form layered and positioned strategically for strength and rigidity of the hull.

Fiberglass – common boat cloth, excellent resin retention, easily repairable, structural when saturated with resin.

Innegra – polypropylene based material with excellent flex, impact absorption, ideally combined with another fabric in a blend to share bond and resilience characteristics.

Basalt – Earth mineral resource sharing characteristics similar to Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber. Wets out well with resin.

Kevlar (Aramid) – Aramid is the product, Kevlar is a brand within the product category, Twaron is another product within the Aramid family. Aramid is resistant to tear, impact absorbing and structural when wet out.

Carbon Fiber – Carbon Fiber is the most advanced material available for light weight composite construction. Elegant aesthetically - replaces multiple layers of Fiber-glass for structural rigidity.



Foam Core – the base of the hull is closed cell high density foam. Providing rigidity against Boat twist and oil canning, this component is essential to a well performing Canoe.

Skeletal Rib – The H2O Canoe skeletal rib system is part of a complete re-enforcement system. The ribs fill the role of supporting and tying in the foam core to the sheer line of the Canoe for bilge stiffness, eliminating torsional flex and are much lighter yet stronger than additional bilge layers of cloth


ICG – Integral Composite Gunwale is the combination of foam cored gunwale wrapped in Kevlar, Carbon or combinations inherent to the hull itself - with an outer aluminum trim for impact resistance and rack sliding. The ICG is the top plate in a joist type construction system of ribs and foam core. ICG construction weighs approximately half a regular aluminum Gunwale set.



Resin Infusion – this is an advanced process method of wetting a dry stack laminate under vacuum pressure. Only as much resin as is necessary to adequately wet out the laminate is used under pressure- surrounding core, filling voids and saturating the re-enforcement. Resin infusion ensures consistent weights, void free laminates and is environmentally friendly, as resins cure under closed molds with no off-gassing.


Preformed Flotation Chamber – Flotation chambers constructed on a form in a similar process to the Canoe hull by vacuum processing. “Float tanks” made this way are bonded onto the hull with an adhesive and sealed using much less product compared to wetting out a form with Fiberglass and resin to create flotation chambers.

Bilge mounted seat brackets – Attaching the seat on a bracket attached and bonded to the bilge of the Canoe creates a stiffening opportunity across the Canoe adding to its overall rigidity. This is further to the “system” doing everything possible to make each component in the Canoe fill a role in creating structure. Also seats mounted this way will not sway or wear on the gunwales.

Light weight component selection – Naturally rot resistant, yet ultra light wood species for the interior components ensure longevity and weight savings. Natural tone or Blackout available.