This review is for the Kestrel 140 poly version, without rudder and after having this kayak for a little over a year now, I feel like I am able to give a fairly accurate review on it.
First off, I probably broke the cardinal rule on buying a kayak. I bought this kayak sight unseen and never had even taken a test paddle in it much less even had seen a Current Design kayak. I based my purchase on the other reviews on the Kestrel and hoped these reviews were fairly accurate and also by looking over CD‘s catalog to gain some information. Also, I was able to purchase this kayak brand new for $629.00! Had to drive 250 miles to pick it up, but I figured if I didn’t like it I could resale it and make a little money on it.
- Quality – The quality to me is very good. The plastic has no thin spots, the hatch covers fit good and the rigging is more than adequate. Extremely pleased with it.
- Storage – Only do day trips so I have plenty of room to pack my spare clothes, food and drinks with room left over.
- Seat – When I first saw the kayak and the seat I thought “What in the world have I done!” It looked like it would be the most uncomfortable thing in the world to sit in, much less to spend hours out kayaking. But I have been extremely surprised how comfortable it is. I did put a 1” thick piece of foam rubber in the back rest to give a little more padding. I have never been uncomfortable, had a sore back or butt, legs gone to sleep or anything bad to say about the seat. It sits a lot better than it looks.
- Cockpit Size – I am 6’ 4”, 185 lbs. with long legs and have no problem getting in or out. Plenty of room.
- Tracking – Seems to be fairly good, although at times it does want to be hard to get along with. But this could be due to my paddling skills or lack of and /or water and wind conditions. Can’t really complain to much.
- Speed – Pretty decent. I can average 3-3.5mph doing my easy casual paddling. Have done 3.8-4.5mph, but wouldn’t want to do that for a whole trip. Have really pushed it and have got up to 5.6mph but that takes all the fun out of going in the first place. All speeds were with my GPS.
- Stability – Very good. Seemed a lot tippy the first few times, but after a few trips it’s not even a problem.
- Weight – CD lists the weight as 54 lbs. Able to load and unload by myself onto my 4Runner without any problems and I am not blessed with muscles.
Now for my biggest complaint. When I first sat in the kayak my knees were sticking out above the cockpit even with the footpegs moved all the way up and the shoes that I normally wore kayaking wouldn’t even fit inside. I do have big size 12 feet and they were very cramped. Well I though to myself, since I had already bought it sight unseen and had paid for it I would have to make the best of the situation. Had to look around and find other paddling shoes that would fit inside and that wasn’t to bad of a problem to work out. After quite a few trips paddling with my knees sticking out and finally getting tired of that I moved the footpeg rails forward about 2 3/4″ until they were almost touching the bulkhead. What a difference that made. I can finally stretch my legs out and I could probably move the footpegs back one notch and still have room. That also gave my feet a little more room. If the deck was about 1” higher everything would be fine. My feet still feel a little bit cramped at times, but it’s not all that bad and usually it’s not to much of a problem.
So, after this long review, I give the Kestrel an overall rating of 8. If I had more room for my big feet I would give it a 9. Very good kayak for the money.