Current Designs Willow

The CD Willow says For Petite / Average Adults . Any one Who Is About 5’ 10’’ 185 lbs , #38 waist Used One / Owned One Or is That Too Big.

The specs show the Willow is rated with a Max Capacity as 275 lbs. (Depending on manufacturer, that load would put the boat on the verge of sinking. The safe load factor is between 60% or 66% of maximum load - that means the combined weight of the paddler and gear will put the boat at the load water line of the design).

If you plan to paddle an empty boat, you can approach the top end of the safe limit. If you plan to use the boat for camping, you might want a larger margin. Depending on the design, a kayak that rides too high or too low may not track properly, change edging characteristics, handle wind more or less efficiently, weather cock, or become tippy.

I paddled a Tsunami 145 with a max capacity of 350 lbs. I overloaded the safe load upper limit of 231 lbs when I weight 255 lbs. After losing 30 lbs, the kayak was easier to edge, track and turn.

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At 180# plus gear (185?), 6-0, 34 waist, I am paddling a CD Squamish which is spec wise similar (15-8 x 23, 250 max) . Seems fine except it seems a little harder to edge, but that may be just me. Easy 3.5-4 mph cruising though. One slot left on foot pegs and barely finger room at my hips. Wearing booties since I have size 13 feet, so no shoes. I am wearing this boat. For my tastes I wish it were just a tiny bit higher volume, but the used kayak market isn’t Burger King and I paid peanuts for it. Best if you can be sure you fit.


Deck height can be a factor too. At the area around the knees and also the area above the toes.

I bough an old Sea Lion Shadow from my friend Jim because he just could not use it with any comfort. He’s a bit over 6 feet tall and 175 pounds. He has a 35" inseam. I outweigh him (188 pounds ) and my thighs are notably bigger around. Yet for all that, I fit the kayak very well. Why? Because I have a 28" inseam. So the hull and foot pegs don’t force me to bend my knees near as much as it did him. He and I both wear the same size boots, but my feet sit a lot farther back then his do. He had the foot pegs all the way forward and it was not enough for him.
So Jim is 7" taller then I am and has thinner legs but I can easily and comfortable fit into a kayak he could not. I am not at all petite but I also am not at all tall. But being more “compact” I find I can do well in many kayaks made for smaller paddlers.

Just guessing from the specs you gave and the specs I see on CD sheet, I am going to say the kayak may not be right for you. But before I’d commit to such an opinion I’d need to know your inseam length, diameter of thighs and shoe size.

In my opinion, the more details you can give the better it is to make good guesses as to what will fit and what will not.

And then, even if you have a good controllable and comfortable fit, you may find you are maxing out the kayak for capacity which is 100% ok if you neve intend to carry more then about 20 pounds of gear. But if 2-3 day (or longer) trips are in the plan, I’d have to guess you’d need a larger kayak.
The best thing you could do is to go try it if that’s possible. And taking two 30 pound sand bags can also be helpful so you can load it and then sit inside and paddle it, and see how it will do for you in the real world


The CD pdf file for the Willow states, “Best for paddlers approximately: 100-160 lbs”, with a max load of 250 lbs.

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Never paddled one but it’s spec’s are for a smaller person as stated above.

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That Leaves Me Out, Thanks For The Good Advice . Wasn’t Thinking About Max Weight.

You might look at a few of these:

And remember to haunt the used market before you make a decision to buy anything new. That’s not to say you should not buy a new one, but just that it’s often not too hard to find something that suits the need used and save a lot of cash doing so.

Exactly @ That’s How I Saw The CD Willow . I Wasn’t Sure Of Fit So I Asked Advice, Just Have To Keep looking.

@Coaster I found the same to be true about edging. When I dropped 30 lbs of body weight, edging improved dramatically. At first I attributed that to improving my paddling skill but since realized I was 35 lbs over the safe load rating for the kayak. The 175 Tsunami with a 400 max load rating (safe load 240 lb to 264 lb) is more within my weight class. I hope to put it in the water this season to compare the speed performance and edging characteristic. It might help me to determine how much is related to load water line design of the hull and my handling skill. The Tsunamis from the 12 ft SP, the 125, 140 and 145 handle well without a rudder, but I find that a rudder is requied under about 10% of a trip (depends on whether the track encounters contrary currents due to the confluence of currents, tides, channel restrictions and bottom contours. I hope to drop 10 to 20 additional lbs, but will probably have to pull some teeth to reach that goal.

The 145 Tsunami is far too large for you guys, but I mention it because I experienced the same change in characteristics. I’m 6 ft tall, 230 lbs with size 13 foot. The deck/width combination of the 125, 145 and 175 give more than adequate length to foot peg clearance. I also have a 145 with rudder but couldn’t get enough leg room to tuck my legs inside. Moving the seat rearward by 43 mm made the handling squirrelly when speeds reached 6.4 mph on following waves. The rudderless 145 has no problem under similar conditions so I didn’t even try to deploy the rudder. Bottom line is that going outside of the designed weight range wil influence performance, possibly negatively or positively.

John looking at the WS site I see the Tsunami is still there up to 14-5 feet but the long Tsunami is now gone. My guess is that the Tempest was seen as a better replacement. (???)
Some time ago we were talking and if my memory is correct you had (or have) a 17 foot Tempest. Is that correct?

The 170 Tempest is out of my size class. First issue is the 325 maximum load (safe range is between 195 lbs and 214 lb). Even at my present weight of 230 lbs, that puts me 15 lbs over the designed load water line. Kayak weight is similar to the 145 Tsunami. The Tempest 22 inch width and 13.5 deck height reduces the foot space that I need, whereas my early model 145 and 175 Tsunamis are 24.5 and 24 inches wide, with decks at 16 and 15.75 inches, and max load capacity is 350 lbs and 400 lbs.

The 175 Tsunami is the proper size class for my weight, height and ample seat (I interpret that as, “I was designed to sit”). However, the 145 is easier to transport, carry (58 lbs compared to about 69 lbs for the 175. The 175 handles rough conditions much better, but I like the overall handling characteristics of the 145 more that fighting the 175. When I was in my mid 60s, I could push the 175 faster, but my recent recovery from the shoulder injury has me struggling to hit maximun sprint speeds that I achieved in the good old days. The 175 will come out of mothballs this season, but as pointed out, a paddler needs the power to take advantage of a longer boat’s greater hull speed. I don’t think I will be able to progress much beyond what I accomplish at present.

I believe the 170 Tempest may also be gone from the lineup. I bought the 175 Tsunami when I had better knees and more strength. I’m not impressed with what WS did to any of the models in their lineup. I’ll never get rid of the ones I have: 12 ft Tsunami SP, 125 Tsunami, two 140 Duralite Pungos, two 140 Tsunamis, two 145 Tsunamis, one 175 Tsunami w/rudder. Family members als own two 120 Pungos, a 125 Pungo, a 140 Pungo, a 140 Tsunami, and a 145 Tsunami. All are plastic except for the Duralite Pungos.

I like the WS line because every one of those boats have very similar handling characteristics. That way I can get a sense of the stability and what a guest paddler is experiencing under the conditions.