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Reviews for Squall Kayak by Current Designs


Rated: 8.44/10 Based On: 16 Reviews

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07-27-2013
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     The Squall by Current Designs is an excellent Kayak for use on inland lakes and the Great Lakes. We have taken this boat on three day treks thru the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior and she handles great, tracks straight and carries a good load.
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04-05-2013
Submitted by: DTSend Email
Rating: 10 of 10

     I've owned a Squall for 5 years now and enjoy it as much today as when I first bought it. After 5 years its taken a bit of a battering but still performs well. Have had many day and week trips in it and it has handled them well along with the variety of sea, lake and river paddles.

I have found it fast and an ease to paddle through all types of weather conditions. Even though I have now upgraded to a bigger touring style sea kayak I will still be keeping my Squall.

My only bad comment is at the end of a long days paddle, putting the kayak back on the roof of the ute it tends to be a bit heavy. It does weigh a bit more than others in its class, even my new eco at 5.4 metres long is lighter. I still will be enjoying my Squall for many years to come

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06-26-2009
Submitted by: JRCSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I have had my Squall for nine years and of the eight boats I've had it is the one I won't part with. I'm 5'11" and 165 pounds and the cockpit is a tight fit, but once I'm in the boat it does not feel too small.

For the width of the boat it has exceptional stability in big waves and is fast for a plastic boat. I use the boat in both lakes and rivers and I find the handling a bit sluggish at times on tight corners in a fast flowing river, but with practice it is easy to lean over for a quick turn. After nine years and about 300 day trips it is a bit scratched up on the bottom but otherwise good as new.

Only draw back is car-topping as it is a heavy boat for its size - once in the water I don't notice the weight at all. The boat definitely likes to point it's nose into the wind, but the rudder works very well and is easy to deploy and retract.

Overall I give the boat a 9 out of 10 - if it was a little lighter in weight it would be a 10.

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06-23-2008
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I've now been paddling for nearly 10 years. I have owned 4 boat (1 kevlar, 1 fiberglass, 2 rotomolded). I can say that the workmanship is wonderful on the Current Designs. The previous reviewer must have had a lemon or something. On to my review.

I'll begin by saying that this review comes after paddling 60 to 70 miles in the boat, a 4 day trip in the Everglades, and some serious weather (4' seas 25 to 30 mph winds - hard rain). I'm 5'8" and 150 lbs. The boat fits like a glove. I wouldn't suggest anyone over about 165 in weight and 5'10" tops in height - any taller and it would be tough to get your knees in under the deck. Initial and secondary stability are both good and predictable. The boat is actually very forgiving. Seems to handles better with a load as with many touring boats. This is probably the fastest rotomolded I've paddled. GPS says tops out at about 6mph on a hard push, 4 to 4.5mph with a good steady cadence, 3 to 3.5 with a good easy cadence. My buddy has a CD kevlar Caribou and our speeds were almost identical.

I believe you could pack the boat easy for a week of camping - 10 to 12 days on a stretch (dehydrated food and obviously sharing camping gear with a buddy). Some have complained about the high deck, I don't find it to be a problem, actually provided for a pretty dry ride in the rough stuff. No water in any of the compartments and we were definitely in the right conditions for water to be in everything. Tracking isn't bad (nothing like the caribou) and the weather cocking can be noticed at times but all this is corrected by the rudder.

Some have also complained about the seat. I don't find it to be uncomfortable, put a thin air seat under your bottom and one under your heels and you're good to go. All in all, I don't know if there is a better touring "rotomolded" boat out there for the midsize paddler. I really do like mine. In addition, this is my third Current Designs boat and all of them have been very well made.

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06-06-2007
Submitted by: pikabikeSend Email
Rating: 6 of 10

     I sold the Squall two years ago, but thought a final review might be useful for some people.

I have substantially downgraded the rating from 9 to 6, mainly because of quality issues, at least one of which I identified only well after the long AK trip. There is also a handling quirk that I first thought was "just me" but turns out was not.

First, the defects:

  1. The kayak came with some slightly misaligned bolts (left and right not straight across), which didn't seem to affect function.
  2. It never sat flat on the water but listed to one side. Later on, I noticed that it was getting more and more banana-shaped, curving to the left. However, if the left side was in strong sun and the right side shaded, it would straighten out or even begin to curve to the right. When left indoors for a long time, it always resumed a slight curve to the left. Again, I thought its tendency to pull left was "just me"--it wasn't. This boat was warped from the gitgo, and though at first it didn't matter, it got noticeable and very irritating as it warped/curved more. (Minus 1 point for this.)
  3. While in AK, the rear hatch compartment took on lots of water, between 1 and 2 cups per day. It had never leaked so much before. Mid-trip, I sealed all bolted areas with silicone sealant and I sprayed the neoprene hatch under covers with waterproofing spray. The leaking continued. Months after the trip ended, I thought about the fact that the leakage was worse when I had had the stern parked in water (bow on land). I finally took a close look at where the rudder pin goes into the top of the stern... and I found an ugly blobbed-over area there. I compared it with my husband's Storm, and his did NOT have any such blob. It was, apparently, a clumsy repair to a cracked or worn spot. (Minus another point.)
    This boat came to me as "new," with cheesecloth over it. No scratches. I don't know who did the repair, but if this is what CD represents as first-quality specimens, I will never buy from them again.
Back to the handling quirk... though it weathercocked in slight wind (as expected), in moderate to hard wind it became extremely *difficult* to turn into the wind. I thought it was my newness to paddling. Only after having paddled several other sea kayaks and owning two different designs (different from the Squall and different from each other), I realized that it's not "just me." (Minus a 3rd point.)

The only reason I am leaving the rating as high as 6 is because the Squall is very forgiving, and it has a long glide on calm water. Although I dislike the high deck, some people might actually prefer that for its dry ride and "keep me away from the water" feel.

But due to quality issues alone, I will never buy CD again.

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08-12-2004
Submitted by: pikabikeSend Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     I am following up my review from about 2 years ago, because I used the Squall to paddle from Ketchikan to Skagway, Alaska this summer. I feel a long-term review might be useful to other small paddlers.

Though the Squall is not a big boat, I managed to load it up with camping gear and enough food for up to 2 weeks at a stretch. (We sent caches of food to post offices along the way.) The catch is that I put any food that did not fit in the hatches in a big drybag that sat on my rear deck. Not exactly a great location for reasons of weathercocking and stability, but the boat actually remained stable, possibly because I am a bit light for the boat in the first place. A Pelican box for my SLR camera sat in front of my feet in the cockpit.

So.....it IS possible to use this small a kayak on an expedition, but if you don't like bags on deck, one week of camping would be a better duration so that the decks can remain "clean." Typical speed during this day-after-day stretch of loaded paddling dropped, compared with unloaded day paddles--about a quarter to a half a mile an hour. This was expected.

As also expected (from previous experience), the loaded kayak felt heavy and bargey, not exactly confidence-inspiring for leans but I still *could* lean it when I (tentatively) practiced with it like that. However, in actual progression I usually just flipped down the rudder and used that instead of body language. Less tiring. This was another big difference from using the same boat for day paddles.

Being plastic, the Squall endured the abuse from typical Alaskan "beaches" well. It came back with more scratches from 25 days of shore-hauling than it had garnered in the previous 2 years of day paddles, but nothing horrible. One odd thing everyone in my group noticed was that sea lions always popped up behind my blue Squall, NEVER behind any of their yellow kayaks.

Anyway, the Squall did its job well and I would say that I have gotten my money's worth from it. It is forgiving enough for a beginner to learn on, yet it still rewards diligent practice with improved handling. I just wish CD had made both the front and aft decks a bit lower.

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10-20-2003
Submitted by: Send Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I have owned the Squall for over four months now. I use it regularly in local lakes and at the New Jersey shore and I have taken it on a week-long trip to coastal Maine. I have found it to be very stable and predictable even in the roughest conditions. However, I have not been at all happy with the crude seat in the Squall, which I would rate as being truly uncomfortable, in spite of my best efforts to modify it with foam and pads. Hopefully Current Designs is aware of the seats now being offered by competitors, such as Prijon and Necky, and will upgrade their seats on future models.
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09-19-2003
Submitted by: Mogee
Rating: 9 of 10

     Well I won't give it a pure 10 cause nothing is perfect. I do have to say that after 6 months and 30 miles of paddling I'm can honestly say that I'm happy with the boat. Using a gps to monitor distance I can push out 5mph, but its more confortable around 4. My biggest problem more than anything is my own ability over any shortcomming of the boat that their might be. I love taking it in 2 foot swells and busting the waves. It seems to drag a bit when going with the waves but this is a phenomenom beyond my ability or comprehension right now. It leans easy and can be too easy to get up to the comming so I need to get a spray skirt to avoid filling it up. I did tend to get sore heels and bumm after a 10 mile ride though I think some padding would help. I'm sure this is rambeling but I want you to know its a good boat. The only problem I had was from the way that I trasported it had a sharp edge to it and put a small creese in the hull. This was fixed by letting it sit in the sun and it eventually popped it self out 80% or so. I'm sure, its nothing to worry about. I do feel it is (and this is what the dealer said too) faster and less draggie feeling in choppy water than in placid water. But then I have tended to have to deep of a paddle stroke too. Anyways, its money worth spent if you can't justify the extra 1000 for glass.
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11-04-2002
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I find it a fast boat, particularly for plastic and have been able to keep up with longer, glass boats in some major chop when paddling at normal pace. Takes enough gear and through careful packing was able to load it for a three day camping trip with some room to spare. Turned out it ran faster with a full load, presumably due to the longer water line. I'm 5'9, #155 and fit was too loose on me so added some pads in thigh and hip area to tighten it up.

My one complaint is I dont like the pedal movement even when the rudder is in the up position. It's held in place but a single bungey and when you press hard such as during a brace, the rudder jumps out of the holding "groove" and turns outward anyway. Not a big deal but is annoying and prefer it held better. Actually have yet to use the rudder as the boat tracks well with very little weathercocking. All in all I'm impressed with CD's quality and recommend.

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10-31-2002
Submitted by: View Profile Send Email
Rating: 9 of 10

     Now that I've been paddling this boat for 6 months, usually twice a week, I feel like I have enough information to do it justice in a review. The Squall fits my 5'2"-110 lbs body reasonably well. I did have to add some padding under the thigh braces, and I hated the seat back so I immediately replaced that with a Snapdragon seat band. For someone of my build, this boat is stable and forgiving in rough water. I have paddled it in gusts over 40 mph (though I definitely do not *recommend* doing so) without being dumped.

Since this was my first narrow kayak, it's the one in which I learned to do J-leans, hip snaps, low and high braces, and sculling -- anything that uses edging or leaning. Recently I also learned to roll it. This boat behaves predictably (maybe because of the rounded hull?), making it easy to learn new skills.

The Squall has served me well on camping trips along the North Platte River (Wyoming), Lewis and Shoshone Lakes, and Yellowstone Lake. While the longest trip I took was 3 days/2 nights, it appears that a week's worth of supplies would fit if I used the water filter instead of carrying it as backup. Four gallons of drinking water takes up a lot of space. While there is adequate room for camping trips (if one packs carefully), the Squall is no slug for daytripping, either. It has a nice glide, very noticeable when I demo'd it before and after other plastic boats. I have had no trouble averaging 4 to 4.5 mph on outings of 7 to 10 miles, and a friend with a GPS has clocked me (us) hitting 6.1 mph in a sprint. It's a plastic boat, but don't let that deter you from using it to the max; it might surprise you.

If you want to TURN fast as opposed to barreling ahead fast, you'd better put the Squall on edge, because when sitting flat it is a leisurely turner. I have not found this to be an obstacle, though.

Lest it sound as though I consider the Squall perfect, let me describe the shortcomings also. I find the foredeck higher than it needs to be; I have a paddling style with high enough angle that I rarely scrape knuckles, but the height undoubtedly contributes to weathercocking. (Some people thought the deck might be too high to allow me to roll the boat, which has not turned out to be the case.)

Another area that could use improvement is the standard rudder footpeg/rail system. I do not like the fact that the footpegs move if I have the rudder deployed -- there are times I put the rudder down merely to improve tracking in a quartering wind and do not wish the footpegs to move when I am exerting normal pressure on them. (I do like Current Designs' rudder activation lever better than the usual pull-on-the-cord-with-hands set-up.)

Finally, my boat shows some sloppy touches that I am surprised passed inspection. For example, a bolt on the left side of the cockpit does not align with its counterpart on the right side. Also, the stern hatch cover (the plastic lid, not the neoprene undercover) has two buckles whose release snaps are oriented in opposite directions, whereas on the bow hatch cover they both face the same way.

Overall, the Squall seems like a good touring all-rounder: stability in waves, decent speed, enough volume for several days of camping, predictable handling.

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09-23-2002
Submitted by: Alfred VoetmannSend Email
Rating: 8 of 10

     I'm living in Denmark (europe) where we have different kinds of coasts. Sandy beaches, rocks and someplaces tree-roots down into the water. The Squall handles it all. I like the boat best when theres alot of waves. On flat water, lakes and so, I find it slow. It almost sticks to the water. The second stability is very good, I have not been tipped over yet this year (2002). I have even had 1,5 meter waves breaking down over me. The boat is to small for me when im carrying gear for more days. But I guess thats just me bringing to much stuff with me :-)
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12-11-2001
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     I just bought a used Squall. I am upgrading from a Perception Carolina. I still think the Carolina is a great boat and will continue to use in on rivers and lakes, but I wanted something faster and easier to paddle on bigger water. Here is what I like about the Squall.

1) It is very fast and easy to paddle. My wife and I went out She in the Carolina, me in the Squall. While the Carolina could keep up in calm water, it took a lot more effort to do so. In rough water, there was not contest. 2) Tracking is awesome. I went for a paddle where calm conditions changed to a strong wind. I tried paddling in all directions, headwind, tail wind quatering winds, etc. and the boat went straight. I didn't have to lower the rudder. 3) It handles rough water very well. That upswept bow slices right through waves without too much spray. It Has very good secondary stability as well. 4) It is a great fit for a smaller paddler. I'm 5'6" and 150 pounds. I wouldn't recommend this boat for a big person. The neat thing about this boat is that it is designed for the little guy, but it is 16'6" long. Most boats designed for small people are shorter. 5) The rudder has very low drag. I really don't plan to use it, but it is one of the nicest ones I have tried.

Now what I don't like.

1) The fit and finish is a bit disappointing. I bought this boat used and would hesitate to pay over $1000 for a boat built with this little regard to the finish. 2) It is plastic. While this boat is a great performer, it is not a fiberglass boat. It will never go as fast and it is a bit heavier.

Bottom line is, if you want a good performing kayak and don't want to spend $2000+, the Squall is a great alternative.

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07-12-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 9 of 10

     I love the boat. It's very fast and versatile, not to mention beautifully sleek and graceful. The oilcanning is a problem which I wish I was aware of before buyiny. It doesn't appear to affect performance though and it pops out in no time (especially in the heat/sun. This is a wonderful cruising boat. If you want to go fast and straight this boat is a good option (especially at $1400.00 Canadian). Paddle on Wayne!
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06-25-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 7 of 10

     Yup, the oil can problem (tendency to dent/pucker/bend, esp. when transported on car-top) is a downer. Otherwise, I'm very satisfied with my choice, except for the excessively high deck right in front of the cockpit: I find myself bumping the deck with my paddle on occasion. It's a very fast boat, though, and handles well when put on edge. Rolling it is also pretty smooth. So, if the plastic has been improved, the high deck right in front of the cockpit is the only other thing I would have changed on this boat. I gave a 7 out of 10 because I'm very stingy with my 10 ratings.
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05-13-2000
Submitted by: KevinSend Email
Rating: 7 of 10

     Hands down, the fastest plastic boat I've ever been in! As close to a racing scull as you'll get in a standard kayak - just cuts through the water, and glides like ice. Because it is so thin (it IS the smaller sister of the Storm) it takes a bit of skill to turn it - you have to put it over quite a bit for a tight turn. The oil-can problem is a big concern - I hope the new plastic takes care of it. If you can fit in it (low volume cockpit) and want to go fast - check it out.
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03-13-2000
Submitted by: ---
Rating: 8 of 10

     The Squall is the smaller version of the storm, with a small and tight cockpit. The boat paddles well and tracks like a dream, but manueverability is sacrificed. If you are destination focused, this is the boat for you. If you like exploring areas with lots of obstacles, look elsewhere - Squall is a cruiser! The bottom does oil can easily and requires care. CD has changed their plastic for the 2001 models and i wish I had waited. Beautiful boat, I will always paddle CD boats.
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