CD Squall Owners: Body Size and Fit

I’m curious about the average size of Current Designs “Squall” owners… (Past or Present)

I have one, and am 5’10", 178 lbs.

The boat fits tight, and is easy to roll, but is a bit tough getting out of. (Cockpit size, my legs are about 1" too long!)

The “Storm” was bathtub, and WAY to big… I love my Squall, but am curious about the average size of people who use/own them…

Any other opinions are welcome also… The Seakayaking thing is a litte new to me, coming from Class II-III whitewater…

As in other thread

– Last Updated: Dec-06-06 6:23 AM EST –

The Squall usually is recommended for women of average size or smaller guys, though frankly it's pushing the volume (a bit big) for me. (5'4" and 135 pd) But it was the smallest thing out there in a proven sea kayak that was easily available for a long time, so many have owned it. The Rumour design by Foster that CD is now making is really their response to that, or the Slipstream before if you are a backpacker camper andf don't mind wiggling around a lot.

The biggest thing that, to me, would push a decision for or against the Squall now is that it is out of the Solstice series. That series was fantastic for its time, but has been lapped in terms of performance by some of the newer lower profile designs. This is more because sea kayakers have changed than anything else. Even in the little time we've been paddling it seems that it's gone from a roll being a kinda wow thing to new paddlers wanting to get a roll before they have even learned to turn. The Squall stays admantly upright, has great secondary, and tracks great. Basically all the things that you want in a boat intended to get you from point A to point B and back home again safely. I can't say enough good about how this boat took care of me and allowed me to get out into real water with confidence, including some pretty nasty stuff.

And the Squall in particular remains very well-respected. CD redid the mold for them a few years ago, and I know a number of paddling professionals who give it exceptionally high marks as a first sea kayak to this day.

That all said, for its typical paddler (me) the decks are high enough to make paddle-float re-entries pretty athletic, it rolls fine but is a little unforgiving about mistakes, and it has that darned rudder in the way of most back deck options. She does well for tripping but just doesn't respond the way I'd prefer a boat to now.

This help?

volume vs, cockpit size
"but is a bit tough getting out of. (Cockpit size, my legs are about 1" too long!)"

I’m a little surprised you find any seakayak hard to get out of, given your whitewater background.

Are you trying to swing your leg out while sitting in the seat?

Most boats having larger cockpit than the Squall might all be even more of a bathtub for you.

WW Kayaks are more stable exiting…
I find WW boats more stable to “peel” myself out of in shallow water…

In the Squall, I need to bring my legs out, while my butt is still the seat or I tip… or I use my paddle as an outrigger, and visualize it snapping in two!!

Maybe some leg/knee stretching excercises would be my best bet… It’s free, good for me, and solves the problem… I’m not the most limber person though.

could try removing the seat back…and going to a backband that you could release when you want to get out…might give you a little slide back ability. Lots of people have the backbands tightened so that two leg slide is necessary.

one of the problems with the Squall is that the rear deck is rather high…so as you scoot out onto it , you way high up in the air

Best Wishes


Pick one side
"I use my paddle as an outrigger, and visualize it snapping in two!!"

Well, unless you’re using some of the most fragile carbon paddles, I kind of doubt you’ll snap a paddle. It’s not like you weight 250!

I don’t know if this work for you. But try pushing yourself up onto the back deck while swinging only ONE leg out. You’ll have to purposely lean a little towards the side of THAT leg. So if the boat does tip, your leg would already be out to catch your body.

And if you also had your paddle out on that same side, you’ll have a good chance of either your leg or your paddle preventing your from landing on your butt in the water.

“Smaller paddler” is deceiving

– Last Updated: Dec-05-06 2:26 PM EST –

I'm 5'2" and under 110 lbs and paddled a Squall as my sole kayak for almost 3 years. The boat was marketed as being for smaller paddlers, but I think CD's notion of small is laughable. It was CAVERNOUS for me, mainly due to the high foredeck AND aftdeck.

The length was right, and the beam kind of wide for me but OK. The tallness was the main problem. Even with extra layers (yes, that's layers, plural) of minicell and Ensolite padding added to the stock thigh brace pads, I still had more room than necessary. When rolling, I had to consciously jam up my knees and dig down with my heels to maintain contact with the boat. I had to stretch to reach way up to get my paddle on top of the water to start the sweep. Also, my legs were splayed wider than I like.

The seat did not help things; it was so low that the bottom lay directly on the hull floor. I always felt like I was sitting in a barrel. Putting this boat on edge was more of a strain than it should have been. And it NEEDED to be edged to turn at reasonable speed without using the rudder.

Obviously, I was able to make it all work but it was far from optimal, though I didn't fully realize it at the time (it was my first sea kayak). The good things about the Squall, as Celia mentioned, were its very high secondary stability (and I thought primary was good, too) and strong tracking. However, for me that strong tracking in calmer conditions tended to suddenly become wacko in confused waters--and that was even when carrying a full load of camping gear. It would yaw, hobbyhorse, and fight efforts to keep it going straight. All the while, keeping it upright was easy as long as I stayed flexible and relaxed. It just didn't maintain forward progress nearly as well as other boats I've since paddled. And it had a nasty tendency to broach with little warning.

I didn't find paddle-float re-entry difficult on it. Not the easiest (that was the Necky Elaho), but certainly not a struggle.

Probably the best attribute of the Squall was its ease of maintaining a nice cruising speed in calm water.

All of the above is definitely written from the perspective of a small, light paddler. With someone your size in it, it might handle differently. OTOH, I don't consider your size "smaller"--I consider it "medium."

I consider it "medium.“
Last time I checked average height for an American male was 5’9”. I don’t know the average weight but I would imagine it is somewhere 160-180.

When I tried to get into my wife’s Squall, I couldn’t get my legs fully into the boat. My feet hit the forward bulkhead. I’m 6’, 170. My recollection is that the weight most often given for medium/average paddler for sea kayaks seems to be 180.

do you have a range of kayaks you’d recommend for a 5’2" 95lb woman? That’s light enough that most small kayaks seem too big. She’s not experienced and is looking at the Rumour but I’m wondering if it’s too big. I wonder if QCC smallest boat the 10X? would be ideal. CD has a boat called the Suka that looks good but I wonder if Betsy Bay is the only low volume boat builder making 14’ waterline boats. Seems that a light and small paddler can get away with a very light and narrow kayak.

14’2"x20, with a 10-11" fordeck. Needs add on braces though.

Tight seat for me at 140 but for 95lbs, it should work. Yeah, it would be perfect. I would still buy the next one I see used. Would rip the plastic seat out and put in a foam one.


used…not that much new.

Best Wishes


'Cause I Am Cheap…

– Last Updated: Dec-05-06 8:34 PM EST –

And I don't longboat much at all these days (four seakayks sitting mostly unused on the racks), though the episea would be perfect for some rock playing. And I really would rather save money for what is MUCH more important to me... A new "gun" waveski. It's about the fun (STOKE) factor. Much more fun to be ripping on a waveski. :D


explains it…I understand Cheap

Best Wishes


Unfortunately, I don’t know of many
This is a recurring lament, sigh.

If you’re still building S&G kayaks and this person would pay you for the materials and time, maybe contact someone like Eric Schade, who is willing to customize his designs. On the stripper side, Nick Schade lists (or used to list) a Guillemot S for small people; I think it was 16’ long and had a 20" beam–might be worth looking into if you are willing to make a strip boat. (I’m actually starting to think about building another wood boat some time–STOP ME! Though I’m sure this refinishing job I’ve started on my Merganser will cure that, hah.)

Speaking of which, the stock Merganser 16 would be doable for her (and it’s pretty fast) but I’d prefer it if the deck were a bit lower. And you already know about the far-forward thigh brace “ears.”

As you already know and are probably sick of hearing by now, I really like the Tempest 165. She’d likely want to add at least 1/2" minicell under the seat cover as I did but that is easy to do. The rest of the stock outfitting should adjust to fit her. I have the footpegs several notches forward so this boat can accommodate shorter-legged people.

I rented a Valley Avocet one day and liked it (not as much as I like the T165). Not narrow but the fairly low deck felt good. The thigh braces in the one I rented were minimal, though.

The only really narrow kayak I’ve tried was a Tom Yost SOF, 17’ long overall with 18.5" beam. Oddly enough, it had lots of primary stability (probably the flattish bottom), and I still had wiggle room on the sides. I really liked its light weight and quick acceleration but other than that, I wasn’t wowed.

The boat that fit me the most snugly was a rented Piccolo. Super-easy to accelerate and turn, but the shortness was, well, too short. No matter how quickly or forcefully I paddled, it hit a wall at noticeably lower speed than the 16±footers I’m used to. To be honest, I don’t think I’d want that low a foredeck for longer paddles, either. My legs were pretty much flat on the bottom and straight in front, even though I still had good wiggle room on the sides of my hips/thighs. I rented the Piccolo for two days, one of which I felt a bit cramped on.

Flatpick said WS will come out with a small-person’s Tsunami with similar dimensions as the old Piccolo.

Patrick of Onno Paddles was working on a kayak meant for small paddlers (he told me his wife is about 5’2" also). It’s called the Mermaid, and he has some web photos of its prototype out there.

I’ve never tried a Rumour or Suka–or even seen one, for that matter. Bnystrom said his GF (now his wife, I think) has/had a non-CD Rumour, so you might ask him about it.

There is a really narrow Betsy Bay kayak called the Idun (?). I’ve only seen the specs, never the actual kayak (not even a photo).

I liked the Eddyline Nighthawk 16 I rented once. It felt too roomy, though–possibly because of the large cockpit. Maybe if they made a slimmed-down version…


dont own but have paddled it
i am 5’8 140 and i thought the cockpit was nice and snug. not much extra space and was easy to lock in on the braces. i usually end up moveing the pegs almost entirely forward in order to be comfy.

it is a little tricky to get in and out but not that much of a hassle

one thing i hate is the rudder wire as it digs into my thigh all the time, same thing with the storm

small paddler kayaks
I’m a small paddler (5’3", 115 lbs)- here are some I considered. It was very hard to find one in the 13’-14’ range that wasn’t a ponderous wide barge, or that wasn’t more suitable for fishing, or disportionately heavy for its size.

IMO There are actually more choices in the 15-16’ range which I have paddled, but I will keep much closer to your desired length.

I own a Hurricane Aqua Sports Tampico 135S (at 13’.5" the small paddler design) and I love it for rivers, lakes and coastal paddling…it’s considered a light touring boat. Light, fast, and easy to turn. No skeg or rudder, doesn’t need one. Goes up on edge beautifully, can be rolled (nice flat aftdeck) and behaves in wind and waves up to 3 feet. Some certified instructors I know have taken it across the Wilderness Straits across Lake Michigan but I don’t advocate that unless the paddler is very skilled.

41 lbs! Three year warranty. Fine American company that walks the talk on customer service.

You can learn more at

I also paddled a Squall and a Squamish this summer. Both of them had too high of a foredeck IMO and yes, they did not really fit a small paddler. Being rotomoulded they are, to me, disproportionately heavy for carrying and cartopping (which I do myself)

Sorry this got long but I really sympathize w. your wife’s desire to find a kayak that fits… it ain’t that easy out here in the land of supersized Murrican paddlers.

If you want to know more about the TampicoS pls. feel free to e-mail.

CD Suka…
I’ve seen one up close… basically a scaled down Caribou… I wouldn’t even try to get in one as the cockpit looks tiny. It might be worth a look for smaller paddlers.

I sold one once to a customer…
who was around 5’10" and 200lbs. He was a marathon racer who used it as a bad weather /winter trainer. He loved it, and felt he didn’t ‘sink’ it enough to detract from performance.

I’m 4’11" (we’ll skip the weight…I’m always working on that last ten pounds!) and the boats that fit me best are my Betsie Bay Valkyrie and my new Rumour. The Rumour is becoming my favorite boat! I think it’s what smaller paddlers have been waiting for.