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The cockpit area is roomy and entry or exit are trivial. I am 5'9" 200 lbs. The hatches expose a lot of storage space that is contained by foam bulkheads. My kayak was used as a rental for several years and I had to seal one of the bulkheads with silicone.
Last week I tested the kayak in the Sol Duc River (class 3) Hatchery to Maxfield. It performed well navigating the boulder fields and shooting through the rapids. In the lake and salt water this boat performs well. The seat is comfortable but the material holding the padding is very weak in my model. I ended up duct taping the padding to the seat.
I'm considering buying the fiberglass model in the future (the Solstice model).
Over all I love this boat and will use it at least until I can afford a lighter fiberglass model. I love Current Designs boats though, and really enjoy touring in this boat. The seat keeps me comfortable for hours and I like the adjustable foot pegs with separate rudder controls at the toes.
I give it an 8 out of 10, would give it a 10 if it were 15 pounds lighter.
Next day we fought 30mph wind in standing 10-15' waves paddling absolutely full throttle only making inches of headway per stroke before breaking free of the point we were going around, paddled another 6 miles in sustained 10mph wind with gusts before riding a beach to crash on. Worst condition I have ever paddled in. Storm took all the abuse and handled exceptionally well considering the rudder was gone. Boat also took me from Cordova Alaska to Valdez, 317 miles with one 46 mile day.
Original fit was not great for me at 5'7", I moved the knee braces back to fit me, raised the seat 1", and added 1/2" foam to keep my calves off the bottom and under the foot pegs for padding and warmth against the Alaska waters I paddle.
Boat does sit low in the water when loaded, which means a few more waves come over the cockpit, but I will take that any day for the stability and handling the Storm provides in extreme conditions.
Given durability against beach beatings and its performance, I rate it very well and am looking for a replacement for my 25-yr old Nimbus Puffin whose keel has finally worn thru. Given that this boat did exactly what we wanted, i.e survive without defect (other than some color loss) on the beach 12 months a year for a decade ad still performance-perfect, I thought a review was well-warranted.
This is one tough beast and it wasn't designed to cater to sissies. If you want a kayak to paddle around in a puddle with and boast to your friends you were kayaking all weekend, this baby ain't for you. Looking forward to more battles this season...
The rotomolded Storm GT's handled the many class I and II rapids with ease, but were somewhat difficult to turn due to the limited rocker. My only negative feedback is with respect to the adjustment of the foot pegs. As we changed back and forth between boats, we had to move them frequently and the adjustment mechanisms were often sticky and hard to move.
That said, we love these kayaks!
I am 6'3" tall, weight 205 lbs, and have size 12 shoes. The Storm fits me like a glove, It's a large kayak, but doesn’t feel or handle like a big boat. It's stable, but not a barge.
At first I thought that using a lever to raise and lower the rudder was a funky idea. Once I got it adjusted, it was great. My Dagger had the best hatches of any kayak I've owned, but the Storm's hatches are a close second. They are watertight and easy to use.
I ultimately came to the conclusion that I really only needed one 17 foot poly boat. I had to decide which one would sell. The Storm is a prettier boat, I like the hatches better and it has a tad more knee room. The Kodiak is made from a superior polyethylene, it has gas-pedal type foot braces. The seat and knee braces are adjustable and the seat is more comfortable. So I kept the Kodiak and sold the Storm. It was a tough decision. Both kayaks are great poly boats.
I would recommend the CD Storm to any skill level paddler.
The Storm's components just seem sturdier, more reliable, and they work consistently! I'm seriously considering buying a Storm. The only thing I'd like to see added on this model is a day hatch. This is the 4th poly touring kayak I've rented, and as far as value and reliability, I've gotta' give it to the Storm.
After a year of really trying to adapt, I demo'ed the Storm and fell in love with it...I sold the Sirocco to a friend who is smaller and has a lower center of gravity... he loves the Sirocco, I love the Storm and we are both really happy
My wife (who loves her Valley Avocet), my friend, and I now paddle all over Narragansett Bay, including the areas exposed to the Atlantic...4 - 6 foot swells are commonplace and all 3 of us have no problems in our boats... it is fun to go out in the big waves and have the same confidence as the folks I paddle with.
I recommend this boat to any large person who wants a fast boat which is easy to put on edge (I never use the rudder) but gives the confidence in big seas to stay upright... the 3 of us are planning a week long paddle from Conanicut Island in Rhode Island to Orleans, Massachusetts on Cape Cod... should be outstanding. Happy paddling to everyone!
So why did I give it a 3 out of 10? Simple, it turned up with a bent stern, and as a consequence it permanently turns left. Every left hand stroke is a sweep, and I cannot do more than a mild power stroke on the right. It does full circles so its not prevailing conditions. Yes you can put the rudder in to counter the situation, and this makes it great for resistance training.
It is now October and I am still fighting to have it replaced with a straight boat, under the so called no-nonsense warranty! To date the dealer keeps getting new Storms in and they are all bent exactly the same way. The importer claims it occurs during transit. Clever the way transit managed to "damage" each new boat exactly the same way. The importer did admit that it was a problem with the mold in August, but they have since changed the story to the transit one.
At the end of the day I suggest you stay away from them till they get their act together.
I only have a few gripes: I'm short legged so the thigh supports were on top of my knees. This is a boat for big fellers. I'm not crazy about the hatch gaskets. They are a pain to get back on. That's it!!! Overall I was very impressed with the boat. I can't imagine there being a better 17' plastic boat.
Sounds like they have made some excellent improvements.
Only two beefs with the Storm, both easily repairable in minutes; the rudder lever needed a little adjustment right out of the wrapper; done in less than 2 minutes. The other was a bit more of a P/O as I was in high-water, mid-January when it occurred. If you buy a Storm, check the crimps that hold the foot pedal cabling - mine popped out quite easily, unfortunately, the very first day out in the water.
I have now re-crimped the cable with a larger crimp and even dropped a bit of crazy-glue into the crimp before clamping it. Otherwise, the Storm is the best under-$2000.00 boat that I have tried so far, (at least 20 other sub 2-Grand boats).
The Storm's rudder is easily moved up and down, its storage is sufficient for at least a week of touring, (lots of top-straps as well as two storage ports with a total of 152 litres of storage), and the seat, while not perfect, is better than most in this $ class, ($1400 – $1800.00).
One downside is the lack of reinforcement to the rockered bottom under the cockpit. Mine has a nasty oil-can dent that I've tried to remove but it keeps coming back. This problem may be reduced change in materials/design on the newer models. The dent doesn't have too much adverse effect on the handling. Definitely a decent boat for big guys on day trips or overnighters. Not really enough capacity for long expeditions & heavy paddler.
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