Current Designs Slipstream

Well I paddled this boat last weekend (fiberglass version) and loved it!! So, now I am making a list of reasons to blow my budget and buy it. I read the product reviews and they were all good. Anyone else have an opinion of this boat, good or bad?? Any other low volume boats for smaller paddlers that I should try? (I am 5’5" and 120). Wheew, I have been paddling around a 17ft plastic Magellan, and getting into the Slipstream was like going from an old buick to a new sportscar!!

Thanks for any advice-


Other Boats

– Last Updated: Jun-23-06 12:25 AM EST –

Actually, while I quite liked the Slipstream when I paddled it myself the cockpit isn't quite as good a fit for someone your size as a few other lower/low volume boats out there. Not an issue for staying upright, but becomes a real factor when you start wanting to learn to do stuff like roll and side scull. I am 5'4" and 135 pounds.

Other boats with hull volume and/or cockpits designed to give good contact at your size -
CD Rumour, an older Foster design being made by CD
P&H Vela
NDK Explorer LV (regular hull, but a lowered deck and an extra small cockpit with fairly positive thigh braces)
Foster Silhouette, made by Seaward
Betsie Bay has one - Inuk or some such? Call them, they can give you the right name of their smaller paddlers boat

Part of the question is how long a boat you need. If you are talking about major expeditioning, as in needing to carry other than backpacking level camping stuff, the Silhouette or the Explorer LV are better bets. If that isn't a consideration, the closer to 16 footers like the Vela or the Rumour would do you. I should also mention that of the above group, the NDK boat has the most forgiving stability and the Rumour probably the least. Less forgiving than the Slipstream. Not sure where to rate the Silhouette, it's been a while since I sat in one, and I haven't had a crack at the Betsie Bay boat.

If you want to consider plastic, the newest models of the Valley Avocets in plastic have adjustable thigh braces and finally a cockpit that has been brought in enough that it can be fitted out for an average sized woman. Just tried a RM 2006 Avocet at tonight's skills session, and while I still wish there was about an inch less of the boat on either side of my hips a decent cockpit fit was definately reachable with some padding.

I would suggest that you try a lot of boats before buying. There is a world of diff between the Magellan and the kind of boat that it seems appeals to you now, and you need to take some time to get a good feel for the smaller and more apt fits.

how was the thigh bracing in the CD Rumor for you compared to a Slipstream?

Rumour v. Skipstream Thigh Braces

– Last Updated: Jun-23-06 12:23 AM EST –

It's been longer since I've been in a Slipstream so my memory is not as precise as for the Rumour, which was just a week ago Monday. But specifically on the thigh bracing, as I recall in the Slipstream I was still in the kinda froggy position that I had become accustomed to in my Squall. The deck was still fairly high for the allover size of the boat, and the cockpit wasn't significantly shortened in length, so the braces were catching the lower part of my thigh towards the knee and it required that I keep my knees somwhat elevated to keep the hold. Just a bit less than in the Squall. Adequate control, but as I said a bit froggy.

There really aren't any thigh braces in the Rumour - for true affirmative thigh braces you'd have to build them in. But it'd be doable. The cockpit is shorter than most, and the deck lower, so that I had very good control for sculling and rolling by just sticking my legs under the coaming. My thought was that for being in the boat all day, I'd want to build in some foam to have a more affirmative brace and to create a cushier feeling than just bing hooked under the coaming.

The biggest diff in fit between these boats is that the Rumour has your legs lower and closer to flat, while not being fully there. I find this position to be much more comfortable for my back and sciatic nerves these days.

The Rumour does have real active primary stability and doesn't stop at a secondary point until it is nearly vertical in the water. It'd take some time to be comfy in this boat in big stuff, I think.

Also, Impex Force Cat 3
Another boat built for smaller paddlers. My SO just got one and likes the fit very much (5’6", 120#)

Forgot about that one
I haven’t gotten in one yet, but I hear that they lengthened the thigh brace back so someone shorter is actually grabbing some real brace and lowered the deck. I had a nagging feeling there was one I’d forgotten.

Yes - should definately go on the demo list from the reviews I’ve heard of its bigger cousin, the Force 4.

Lots of boats
There are lots of boats out there in the world, and you can spend the rest of your life trying them. Try a few more of the lower volume boats, and then make the decision. If you fit well in the boat, that is the deciding factor. Don’t let someone else tell you how the boat fit, they weren’t in it with you. If you really liked the Slipstream, use that as your base mark to compare the other boats against. We could come up with a list of 20 boats to try out, but how long do you want to spend trying them out and driving around to do it, versus getting a boat and paddling the rest of the season?

Just my 2 cents

IMHO anyone thinking about a day boat owes it to themselves to try a Romany. At your size you might also try the LV version.

While not a fast boat, the Romany is a real blast. It is both responsive and reassurring in a manner unlike most any other boat.

Last night I put someone in my Romany who I was working with on Greenland bracing and the start of rolling. Her boat is a Merlin LT. She was nervous at first as the Romany was snugger fitting and looked very narrow to her. Once she was in it and paddling she really enjoyed herself.

If you think the Slipstream felt like a sports car, then you need to try a Romany.

It’s a fine boat

Unless you are getting a really great deal on the boat, there does not appear to be any rush to buy it.

It’s a well regarded boat but there are a number of other well regarded boats too. What other similar boats have you tried?

You are apparently are in the Hudson valley. Check out the Annsville Kayak Center in Peekskill for some other boats to try.

that’s what I thought
I was surprised because I thought it was a small persons boat until I say a 5’2" woman get in it and there really wasn’t any thigh bracing for her,it looked like knee cap bracing and that a thick wedge of minicell would be required to fit it out,which is perfectly ok but different than most manufacturers intention. Seems to me CD should have put in some adjustable type thigh braces like Necky or WS.

I have a Slipstream
and I’m very happy with the boat. At 5’5, 110 pounds, I did have to add some padding to the cockpit (it is a little roomy for smaller paddlers).

Celia has made a good point in regards to the type of paddling that you will be doing. If you are looking at major expeditions, the volume of storage space in the Slipstream will pose a problem. The skeg assembly takes up most of the space in the rear hatch. However, it won’t be an issue for day trips or short multi-day trips.

Aside from that, it’s really just a matter of what feels right for you. I’ve tried both the LV Romany and Rumour, but they didn’t impress me enough to switch from the Slipstream. For me, the Slipstream is a great all around kayak.


Length of thigh
Yeah - at an average woman’s height which I am exactly, you could get some useful padding starting decently under the coaming to emulate a brace. But any shorter than me would start being more problematic - in fact I made that comment to someone asking about the Rumour who is 5’1" so three inches shorter than I am. The poster here is an inch taller, so it’d be more feasible for them.

When boat manufacturers say small, they mean a small guy. And some of those boats will do OK on an average sized woman. So if you are shorter than an average sized woman… it is really really tough to find a well-fitting boat on length alone. As to hull volume and waterline, not even worth trying for. Short of a custom boat, for big water and expeditioning it isn’t out there.

Yes - try Annsville
That’s where I got my Vela. They have a couple of fans of the boat down there so they always have a demo around, which is nice because it’s not an easy boat to find. And they’ll have the Romany and Avocet, which have more useable volume for storage than many in their size class.

I don’t recall in Annsville has Impex. But check out the site for Marshall who is on this board. He’s an Impex dealer a bit further up the river.

If you go there and they have it, take a crack at the P&H Capella 160. It is their newest of the Capella series, and the folks at Annsville have hopes that it’ll be the boat for a small paddler that the 161 really wasn’t.

I also had forgotten about the Romany, the 16 ft cousin of the Explorer. It has a fuller size cockpit but pretty aggressive thigh braces that make up for that.

The Vela is probably the fastest from a sprint of the three, the Avocet has good hull speed for its length and the Romany excels more at being a great play boat than speed. It sets up a bit of a bow wake.

But heck - if you can get to Annsville and Marshall’s place to demo you’ll have fun. Annsville charges one fee for a day and will pull out all the boats you want while you are there. One piece of advice for Annsville though - wear gloves and try to get there at high tide. By late int he summer their little bay is pretty visibly loaded with swan droppings etc at low tide.

Another one to try
When my wife and I were trying out new kayaks (at The Jersey Paddler in Brick, NJ), we tried the Slipstream, among others, but the ones we selected were WS Tempest Pro boats, 165 for my wife and 170 for me. We are very satisfied with our choice; In our opinions, Steve has produced a fine design, reasonable initial stability, good secondary stability, thigh braces and seat easily adjustable.

Since apparently you are in the Hudson valley, it might be worth your while to talk with Marty or Al at the JP to arrange a side-by-side tryout.

Thanks for all the helpful comments
I definetely agree that it would be fun to just buy the boat and have it to paddle for the season, versus driving around to demo. But, for the $ I will be investing it seems worthwhile to try out some other boats to make sure I will be happy with what I get. I read in some reviews of the Slipstream that it tracked well in following seas, I wonder how the other boats mentioned are in that regard?

I guess that is the benefit of trying them out. I live close enough to Altantic Kayak that I think I will go on up and paddle some other boats, as suggested. The Slipstream doesn’t have as much carrying capacity as the others, but I think I could fit what I would need for a few overnighters or weekend trip into it. Any thoughts on how the boat handles when loaded for a few nights out??


– Last Updated: Jun-24-06 6:10 AM EST –

if you load/trim it right, it will probably be better in conditions because the CG will be lower and windage reduced.

Unfortunately, it's a bit of trial and error, although a trial run, unloaded, in some winds and waves will tell you how it'll weatherhelm. This will allow you to guess a bit better where to put more weight.


Pics of Rumour with added thigh braces

– Last Updated: Jun-24-06 8:47 AM EST –

In my "Kayak Outfitting" album, there are four pics of the outfitting I did on Linda's boat, which consists primarily of adding Minicel thigh braces that basically convert the cockpit into a "mini-keyhole" (it's only 25" or 26" long). She's ~5'1" with relatively short legs and it fits her great. It was pretty easy to do, as well.

I have 2 Slipstreams I’d sell CHEAP…
that have been in stock since '02, both are new, 1 kevlar and 1 fiberglass and both are smoke (white) deck over smoke hull. E-mail me for prices. Composites died for us, only seam to sell rec boats, :^(

Tracking and Loaded
Any boat loaded will tend to be less reactive (and feel more stabil) than when unloaded, I suppose unless you have managed to overload it. Then it could go in the opposite direction. My only complaint about a fully loaded boat is that it paddles like a truck - slow to get started and you never want to slow down if you can help it.

As to tracking in following seas… there is a lot of diff between the boats listed. And the skeg is there for that purpose. But it is in the nature of the boat too. Some 16 footers like the Romany and the Avocet are are intended to be more reactive on purpose so that they are fun to use in surf conditions. If that is one of your criteria, you may want to isolate to the longer boats.

I’d say the Vela is kinda inbetween - the boat has a tight bow so with the skeg down she tracks fairly well, at least the boat itself. I’ve (unintentionally) had the boat in just under 3 ft steep waves with breaking tops and a high wind (gusts to 31 mph), and she held on course easily as well as the long boat in the group. And the time I started down a few foot wave face she was driving down the front of it straight as a rail - until I unintentionally shifted my weight just a smidge. Then we were turning and starting back over the top of it. Oops. (Then I was flipped over and swimming…)

Like I said, she’s a great little boat but she is a fast reactor. And I’d be challenged to figure out how to load her for other than backpack style camping. The usual advice is to split the weight front to back at a 40/60 or therabouts, and the way the stern of the Vela skinnies out and falls up I am not sure how easy it would be to get the majority of the weight back there.

Also, for camping you want to think about the dryness of the hatches. The 10 inch round on the NDK boats tend to be bone dry, though my husband has had to insert some filling aournd the hatch plate of his Romany since there is a small space that wasn’t closed in fully tightly with glass. The Vela has a really huge oval hatch cover in the rear, and I find that it tends to be so big that it tends to have uneven tension around the edge. If I keep it religiously greased with 303 it seals better, but if I let that go and start doing a lot of upside down work with it I’ll find a cup of water in there.

Any thoughts about the Valley Pintail
versus the Slipstream??

I got to use one yesterday, paddled in wind/moderate chop in following seas with the wind behind, then into the wind against the flood. Boat handled well and I really enjoyed it. Decisions, decisions!