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Canoeing 101


IQ2 Owner's Manual

Welcome to one of the most innovative developments to come to canoeing in years, the Mad River IQ2 Modular Gunwale System. The IQ System will be complemented by a growing range of interchangeable modular accessories that can be added when needed and removed when paddling demands change. You can rig the boat for whitewater paddling one day, bring it home and set it up for a week-long camping trip the next. The beauty of it all is that nothing is permanently installed, no longer do you have to haul permanent whitewater outfitting along on casual outings or annual canoe trips. 

History of a concept that’s been two years in development is perhaps a bit grandiose but a little insight into where the IQ and IQ2 came from helps with perspective.  The IQ gunwale concept is truly the result of a group effort, no one individual came up with the idea and brought it full fleshed to the point you see it now.  There’s a certain beauty in it being a group effort.  Paddlers with whitewater play backgrounds joined with expedition trippers, with recreational day paddlers, with sportsmen, and even non-paddlers to create a system that offers significant advantages to however you choose to use your canoe. 

The original IQ gunwale system is crafted in aluminum and has the additional capability of movable seats. The IQ2 is based on a vinyl gunwale which does not have the structural integrity to allow the use of movable seats. However, it has the full capability of the original IQ in terms of accommodating accessory modules and letting you rig your boat for specific activities and it offers that capability at a significantly lower price. 

The canoe is undoubtedly the most versatile watercraft afloat.  The IQ exploits that inherent versatility and allows you to tailor outfitting to use or conditions.  Another exciting part of the system is that it’s so open ended. We’ve just begun rolling out accessory modules to complement the gunwale system.  For every one we bring to market, another two or three ideas come to mind.  The nice thing about it all is that your IQ canoe will be able to accept and use all those accessory modules that have yet to get off the drawing board. It won’t become obsolete. 

So, welcome aboard. The purpose of this manual is to help you make the most of your IQ canoe. As we’ve come to say around the shop, “The IQ, just think about it.” The possibilities are nearly endless. We’re not too proud to think we’re the only ones capable of coming up with new modular concepts.  Feel free to get in touch with us with your ideas.  It’s that exciting and intriguing. 

At first glance, the IQ2 may look like any other vinyl gunwale system.  Take a few moments to learn why it’s so different and the potentials it offers. 

Feel along the lower parts of the inwale (inside) and outwale (outside) and locate the slots that are the heart of the system.  They run end to end, from deck to deck. These channels are outfitted with opened feeder slots strategically placed to allow the insertion of accessory modules. The channels are independent of each other, you can insert one module in the outwale slot and a second module in the inwale slot. 

The gunwale is fastened to the hull via rivets installed along a flange extending below the channels. 

As you run your hands along the slots you’ll encounter a number of spaced openings or “feeders.” These feeders are placed to allow you to add or remove components or modules. Along the inwale slot you’ll find pairs of feeders behind the bow deck, on either side of the center thwart, and in front of the stern deck. On boats with a second or “tripping” thwart, you’ll find additional feeders on the stern side of that thwart. Along the outwale slot, you’ll find feeders behind the bow deck and in front of the stern deck. All told there are 6 to 10 feeders on the inwale and 4 feeders on the outwale. 

Once you have used your IQ2 for while, you may find you’d like additional slots installed for particular purposes.  We have available a Spreader Tool that will allow you to customize your system. Contact your local dealer or log on to to find out how best to acquire a Spreader. 

Explorer 14 & 16TT and Explorer Orion Triple Tough Rotomolded Models 
The IQ2 on our Explorer 14 and 16 TT (Triple Tough) models is available in choice of ash/web seats or a rotomolded bucket seat with adjustable backrest. The web seat requires no adjustments or modifications. 

To release the backrest from stored position, unclip bungee cord from clip on front of seat and raise backrest. Hook bungee cord over clip on back of seat to tension backrest. The backrest can be adjusted for angle by leaning forward to get your weight off the seat back and pulling or releasing the straps to either side of your hips. 

Royalex Canoe Models 
The IQ2 system in Royalex models is standard with ash/cane seats for maximum flexibility and minimal weight. No adjustment or modification is necessary. 

As there are few moving parts, there is little required maintenance on the IQ system.  As with any other piece of performance equipment, keeping it clean will enhance its’ ease of use and longevity. 

Periodically rinse both inwale and outwale slots by setting boat on side and flushing with water from center so that water and debris flow towards ends. Rinse gunwales after use in salt water or whenever you find the sliders or rope binding or encountering obstructions. 

Should slot be crimped or otherwise bind movement, use of spreader tool to bend slot to proper alignment will usually solve the problem.  Pliers can be used but care must be taken to bend the gunwale slowly and evenly to eliminate sharp edges. 

Periodic treatment of the gunwales with 303 Protectant will protect against long-term degradation by UV light and provide smooth insertion, positioning, or removal of modules. 

It is recommended that all modules be removed from canoe while cartopping. Certain modules such as the sprayshields, belly cover, work station, glove box will affect how your canoe fits on your rack bars and must be removed. If you choose to travel with any modules in place it is essential that you secure them in place with additional tethers for maximum security. This is necessary to prevent them from moving due to windage and vibration and reaching a feeder slot and perhaps dropping free. 

For TT canoes with roto seats, lower seat backs and pull bungee cord over top of seat back and clip over hook attached to front of seat. 
The process of developing IQ and IQ2 modular accessories is a happily never ending process. We will continually be expanding the available options or “modules.” For more information on existing modules and to keep tabs on additional modules, we suggest you log on to  

REMOVABLE YOKE (#62-03590) 
Padded and contoured and connects right into holes pre-drilled in the center thwart on IQ models and can easily be fitted to center yoke on IQ2 by drilling two ¼” holes.  A contoured aluminum frame supports a dense neoprene-covered foam pad, adding both comfort and stability to your carry. Yoke is secured by wing nuts and can easily be fitted to canoes with conventional wood yoke. Anodized aluminum frame with corrosion resistant fittings. 
                    MSRP:  $85.00 

Provides maximum comfort and paddling efficiency, once you’ve tried a footbrace you’ll never go back.  Sized for stern and/or center seats, the tube over tube footbrace is fully adjustable.  Suspended from the inwale slot, the IQ Footbrace requires no holes drilled in the hull or having to rely on unreliable adhesives.  A “V” suspension, relying on the same spindle that holds the seats, slides to coordinate with seat position and is also height adjustable to suit particular paddling styles. Lift foot bar and brace slides to position.  Lower foot bar and brace is locked securely in position.  Complete with elastic tender to secure footbrace while car topping canoe. 
                        MSRP:  $79.00 

SPRAYSHIELD  - TANDEM (#62-00190) 
Like a kayak miniskirt the Sprayshield extends over bow (or stern) of canoe, protecting paddlers from spray or wave and can serve to protect bow paddler’s legs from sun as well. Keys into outwale slot and cone-like profile deflects water overboard rather than into paddler’s lap. Multiple stays hold shape and keep it from draping down onto paddler’s legs.  Semi-collapsible so it can be pushed out of way when not needed. Side zipper makes for easy installation or removal and lets you open cover to access gear without having to remove cover. Great way to paddle dry when crossing a lake with the chop kicking up. Not intended for use in Class III or above whitewater. 36” long x 33” wide. 
                                    MSRP:  $69.00 

Designed for shorter tandem canoes such as Adventure 14 or for stern of 15’ or longer canoes. Similar construction to Tandem Sprayshield in a more compact length. Side zipper makes for easy installation or removal and lets you open cover to access gear without having to remove cover.Not intended for use in Class III or above whitewater. 28” long x 32” wide. 
                                    MSRP:  $65.00 

SPRAYSHIELD – SOLO (#62-00590) 
We’ve taken the tandem sprayshield and extended it for center-seated solo use.  Long enough to cover gear and reduce windage, making paddling easier and more efficient. Can be installed on bow or stern of solo canoes.  Side zipper makes for easy installation or removal and lets you open cover to access gear without having to remove cover. 46” long x 33” wide. 
Fits:  Royalex Freedom Solo, Horizon 15                    MSRP:  $89.00 

BELLY COVER (#62-01090) 
Covers center of tandem boats, protecting from waves, spray, and sun. Hoop stays elevate cover to keep from pooling water, also provides a shady nook for napping pre-school paddlers.  Can be slid forward or back as needed, providing some sun protection for stern paddlers and protecting valuable gear wherever it might be stowed.  Side zipper makes for easy installation or removal and lets you open cover to access gear without having to remove cover. Not intended for Class III or above whitewater. 
                        MSRP:  $99.00 

Keys into inwale slot and provides protected enclosed storage and lash-in for flotation bags and/or dry bags. Nylon oxford deck is smooth and snag-free – no lashing to catch on obstacles. Mesh sides, base, and back allow easy drainage.  Eliminates necessity of installing permanent lash systems in canoe or drilling holes in gunwales or hull. Zippered rear entry provides easy access.  Internal mesh pocket keeps gear like throw bags, water bottles, etc. secure yet readily available.  Does a great job protecting float bags from hazards of highway travel too. Yellow deck with black mesh. Specific bag for each model Outrage. 
                            MSRP:  $67.00 

Two piece zippered installation goes in and out easy. Long axis zipper allows for insertion of up to 36” end bag or for assorted gear and equipment. Coated top deck resists splash and spray, mesh sides and base won’t collect water. External mesh pocket keeps often needed items close at hand. Great way to use often ignored storage space. Overbag and contents are integrated securely into boat, can’t wash out should something go wrong. Fits in bow or stern of IQ boats. Black deck with black mesh. 
                        MSRP:  $55.00 

Inspired by the old rigid Wanigan canoe boxes, the Center Overbag slots into IQ gunwales at center of hull. Adjustable rope rail system allows use in boats of varying widths and ability to keep bag tensioned to avoid pooling of water. Half-moon zipper allows easy in and out of bulky gear from mini split center float bags to a weekend or more worth of gear. Lash straps secure bag to center thwart and combined with IQ attachment make it virtually impossible to have Overbag separate from canoe unless you want it to, then it’s fast and easy. Overbags can be offset to allow doubling up, one bag on each side of thwart. External mesh pocket for easy access to frequently needed items. Coated fabric deck resists spray and splash, mesh base and sides won’t trap water. Linked side carry handles make it easy to haul loaded bag from vehicle to canoe or canoe to campsite and in one easy trip to boot. Black deck with black mesh. 
                                    MSRP:  $75.00 

Spaced web loops sewn to slot-fitting “rope” make it easy to secure float bags or gear in your canoe. Each 56” length has 6 tie-in sewn loops.  Can fit in center of boat or in bow or stern.  Can be trimmed to length for smaller areas.  Sold in pairs.            MSRP:  $29.00 (pair) 

Dry bag sewn to slot-fitting “rope” with waterproof zipper provides bomb-proof dry and secure storage for valued gear.  Keeps equipment much more accessible than when tumbled in a pile in center of canoe.  Long zipper on a 40” long x 6.5” tall bag easily swallows long awkward items. Rope rail keeps bag secure in canoe and prevents loss.  External lashing points to secure bulky items like paddles or tripods.  Can be positioned or moved just about anywhere in canoe, on either side amidships or in front of paddlers for even faster access to gear.  Yellow. 
                        MSRP:  $79.00 

WORK STATION (#62-05290) 
Unique accessory that provides a stable hard surface to fix lunch, organize fishing lines, tie lures or flies, study maps and plot courses. Molded box is suspended on two tube over tube poles and can be pulled towards you when needed or pushed away when not.  Can be oriented in two directions and set up in choice of two heights. Lid has molded in cup holders and slot to hold tools, pencils, markers, etc. Top is secured to base with bungee cords.  Box measures 8” deep x 12.5” x 14.25”.  Complete with suspension poles and hardware. 
                            MSRP:  $99.00 
COMING SOON:  Interchangeable modules to tailor your work station to particular uses such a kitchen afloat, photographer’s assistant, birder’s library, fisherman’s tackle box, cooler, etc.  Look for first of these late spring/early summer, 2005. 

GLOVE BOX (#62-05090) 
Handy, personal-sized storage box that slides along inwale slot and keeps often needed items such as sun screen, bug repellant, etc. close at hand.  Glove Box measures 6” deep x 4” x 6.5” and is tapered to also fit between the side arms of conventional wood/cane seats. 
                        MSRP:  $30.00 

In its’ own way, perhaps the most exciting of IQ Modules, the adjustable tie downs can be positioned anywhere on the inwale slots or on carry handles or thwarts to provide handy anchor points to secure gear. The Tie Downs lock into the slot with a screw controlled by a thumb knob and are milled to accept rope up to.25”/6 mm in diameter or 1”/2.5mm webbing. Will secure large or small items and can also serve as brakes to firmly secure seat positioning when actively paddling. Set of 4. 
                        MSRP:  $12.00 

Canoeists have long envied the flexible backrests available for sit-on-top kayaks. With the IQ, you can become the envy of your paddling friends.  Low profile wraparound adjustable backrest is designed to allow for comfortable paddling in all but most arduous conditions yet provide blissful support when floating about your favorite fishing hole. Secures to seat and to inwale slot in gunwale.  Black 
                        MSRP:  $49.00 

Essential for those wanting to further customize their IQ system.  Slotted tool grabs edge of slot and simple bending motion opens up slot to allow accessories to be fed into place. Tool opens a smooth 3” slot in rail with no sharp edges to snag fingers or fittings. Use on slots in gunwales, not designed to open slots in carry handles or thwarts. 
                        MSRP:  $30.00 

Now you can match your canoe to the habitat you’re paddling in, even if you paddle in different areas. A key accessory for the sportsman. Mesh side drapes slide into the external slot on IQ gunwales to cloak the sides of the canoe in choice of Shadowgrass or New Break-Up camo patterns. Panels overlap to accommodate canoes ranging from 13 to 17.5’ in length. Keyed end covers overlap side panels to complete the “illusion.” Easily installed while afloat so paddling efficiency to reach prime hunting areas is not impeded. 
Set includes 4 side panels and 2 end covers. 
                MSRP:  $200.00 

Chameleon Camouflage Top Cover 
Mesh top cover mates to side drapes via hook and loop and includes 2 seating positions that can be cinched tight with drawstrings. Completes the concealment of the canoe from birds overhead. Available in choice of Shadowgrass or New Break-Up patterns. 
                 MSRP:  $100.00 

Like all Mad River Canoe products, the IQ Gunwale System and accessory modules are covered by our Lifetime Warranty.  Basically, if you ever experience failure attributable to defective materials or workmanship, we will repair or replace it at no charge.  Damage due to abuse, modification or improper use and wear and tear are not covered. Warranty consideration may entail shipping your boat or damaged part to Trinity, NC at your expense.  Mad River will provide return transportation. For warranty information call Mad River Customer Service (8-5 Eastern time, M-F) at 800/311-7245 or contact us by email at [email protected] 


Please call Mad River Customer Service (8-5 Eastern time, M-F) at 800/311-7245 or contact us by email at [email protected]. We welcome any feedback that contributes to improving what we think is already something special. 

the IQ……………… 
……….. think about it!