CD Kestrel 120 Hybrid for exercise boat?

I’m looking for a light weight (35 lbs or less) solo canoe or kayak for before work exercise on a local small lake and I have recently seen a new hybrid Current Designs Kestrel 120 in a store that doesn’t allow test paddles.

The shoreline of the local lake has changed and it’s more difficult to get heavier boats to the water now, hence the search for a lighter, but still efficent boat.

It’s a real pretty boat that only weighs about 32 lbs, but it is 26" wide and I’m concerned about it’s efficiency for paddling at reasonably high cadence for exercise. At least one of the reviews describes the hybrid Kestrel 120 as a good exercise boat and said they could maintain 4.3mph cruising speed.

Anyone else have thoughts on this boat for exercise three to four times a week?

I’m 5’6" and 155 lbs and would be using an Epic Relaxed Tour paddle.


What is your budget?

– Last Updated: Jul-23-08 7:34 PM EST –
GK has paddled the Kestral a lot of miles and vouches for it, but is getting a different boat to replace it.

I had a Kestral 120 RM…
While a nice little boat I wouldn’t call it an exercise boat… rather bland and I wouldn’t think it would hold your interest as a fun ride… maybe the 140 SOT, now that’s my favorite SOT.

G.K’s is poly, not hyprid construction.
A Rapidfire outfitted the way I’d want it would be about $3500 plus shipping.

I’d want it reinforced for kneeling, capable of removing the kneeling seat and using either the medium or high carbon sitting seats, have cobra sox rails & thwarts and have a skirt.

I don’t want to mess with wood trim unless I’m buying a used boat at a large discount from new. I want low maintenance if I’m buying a boat for over $1k.

I want the skirt to reduce paddle drips for those times when I choose to use a double blades - I don’t like a lot of water in the boat.

Thanks for the suggestion.

I’d expect the Kestrel poly and hybrid
to offer different paddler experiences. That’s my impression from the reviews. Maybe I’m wrong about that assumption.

I want to keep the weight at 35 lbs or less. I don’t think the poly Kestrel meets that requirement, does it?

It is possible that I’d get bored with it.

Ideally I’d find an appropriate boat (Kestrel or otherwise) for under $1k, but they don’t come available in my area very often.

Thanks for that feedback.

Both still short fat boats…

– Last Updated: Jul-23-08 8:21 PM EST –

Just one is a little lighter.. :-)

It's like having a shorter fatter QCC 400... not a lot of fun for workouts.. JMHO

Maybe you could find a used beginner surf ski.. that would be more fun.

Look for a CD Vision series boat instead
CD has a some newer designs that use the same light hybrid layup as the Kestrel 120 and would be better suited for what you’re looking to do.

Take a look at the Vision 13 or the Vision 14 - at your size, either is do-able (the 14 might be a little big, but you never know until you sit it it). The shapes are more rec-touring than rec, and have weights(and prices) that are in the same range as the Kestrel.

Epic GP
is a very light boat. Even in the heaviest layup [the value version] it comes in at about 37#. I paddled one at a demo day and thought it pretty quick but the big cockpit and wide beam made an awkward fit. I did notice that, because the boat is very swede form, where you place your paddle is 23 inches. It’s about 25

at the seat pan. Just don’t know why they have to make these short boats so wide. John

Bland…well Excuse me!!!
I’m hurt. Come with me and I’ll take you on a river where paddlin’ a Kestrel is anything but bland.

Paddlin’ on


I have a shorter, fatter Swift Caspian
Sea. I agree that it’s not much fun for workouts and is a lot of work for me to turn quickly.

The CD Vision and Epic boats
aren’t available in my neighborhood, so I can’t get my hands on them to check them out for fit.

Thanks for the suggestions.

A Phoenix Isere would fit your needs.

that reviewer was probably me
You can maintain very good speed in the kestrel…do be warned that it is an iffy boat when the water rocks and rolls. And if you get the hybrid you will love the weight…I was thinking mine actually weighed in at 29 pounds, only lighter boat i’ve got is the Jet.

Honestly though you can get excercise in any kayayk and you can always handicap yourself. Years ago in the pool we’d put on a sweatshirt while swimming laps.

I’ve got a Phoenix Isere, you know that.
It’s not efficient enough for me when I’m wanting relatively high strokes per minute and doesn’t track as well as I’d like. It’s also a little tricky to to get into and out of at Crystal Lake, since there’s no actual boat launch and I have to step into it from the shore. I may be selling it, the Poke Boat and the Caspian Sea in the next month or two.

Yes, you were the reviewer.
I’m looking for more cardio and minimal wear and tear on the shoulders, so I don’t need to handicap myself by adding drag to the boat - I’m not one of those strong old retired guys :slight_smile:

Ideally I’d have a boat that tracked when I wanted and turned easily when I wanted - similar fit and handling to the composite Sea Lion would be great - and weighed 35 lbs or less. The Sea Lion is efficient enough for me, so a boat as efficient as the Sea Lion or more efficient would be good enough. A couple feet shorter than the Sea Lion would also be good. As far as I know, a boat with all of these qualities doesn’t exist.

Thanks for your input.

The Kestrel’s a fine boat…
But as a work-out boat???

I just can’t picture Steve Mcqueen opening “The Thomas Crown Affair” paddling a Kestrel… :slight_smile:

hybrid by design?
or Made in China?