Read reviews for the Caribou by Current Designs Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers.
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It is long, thin, fast and…
It is long, thin, fast and pretty. The speed is excellent, but this is not good around rocks. I like it for open water, and longer trips. Don't think of it for small rivers and rocky rapids. The seat has back support only very low. If you are looking for an open water boat with moderate stability, this is a beauty.
I have been kayaking on and…
I have been kayaking on and off for a little while now. The sport had never really captured my full attention until I decided to pull the trigger and get myself a much more serious vessel.
My previous Perception kayak was a fine boat, but there is absolutely no comparison to the Caribou. This is the boat that has made me fall in love with kayaking.
She tracks like a dream, is exceptionally stable, handles calm water with surprising speed and handles big waves with a confidence that I have never witnessed before.
If someone tells you that a 17+ boat isn't able to surf and get air...they have never been in a Caribou.
If you are looking for a boat that will allow you to 'get what you pay for', this is it. Mine wasn't cheap (kevlar layup) but every cent spent will be paid back in troves over the many, many years I plan to spend with this kayak.
My wife and I both bought…
My wife and I both bought Caribou kayaks last summer. She wanted a faster boat that takes less effort than our old kayaks. These are easy to paddle, fast and lightweight. They are narrow, so they won't work for everyone. The back rest seemed wrong, and did not support our lower back at all. After talking to the rep, we found we needed to bring the foot pedals closer, which pressed our lower back against the back support and helped.
We really like these kayaks.
Fell in love at first…
Fell in love at first paddle.. then had doubts as it seemed to be pushing quite a big bow wave, so I thought that forward speed must be compromised. Brought the boat home anyway as there was a 'je ne sais quoi' feeling about it and have loved it ever since! It's the Kevlar version (48lbs) so it's manageable in the car-top ritual after a hard workout, and feels a bit more nimble in the water too. The fit and finish are superb and the skeg works flawlessly on the rare occasions I use it.
It is a chined Greenland style hull which I love for its secondary 'bite' and also ease of rolling, despite being a fairly broad beam (21.5 inches). As for the forward speed issue I first had, it is simply not there.. As compared to my Nordkaap LV and of course, extra-fast hulls like my West-side Thunderbolt, it's not even close, but the sense of thrust as well as that secondary stability in heavy seas, there is no comparison. That is where this boat really thrives and feels like a Ferrari, as well as being an able and predictable roller.
In short, one of the nicest boats I've been in..!
First about me- I'm 6'2"…
First about me- I'm 6'2" 215ish. Been paddling about five years but at 62 not as adventurous as my adrenaline-fueled days. Advanced beginner-retarded intermediate at best.
Next the boat - 99ish 'glas, no skeg. Got it from a guy at an incredibly low price about three years ago. Minor scrapes and scars but when I wax it I still get comments from paddling buddies. Impeccable workmanship.
Now the review - in the context of full disclosure I own a few boats: Sirocco, Arctic Tern Hi that my son (6'8") paddles, a regular Arctic Tern (in progress), KajakSport Artisan Millennium Expedition, Sterling's Kayak Illusion, a home-built Sea Tour R (a Tom Yost design www.yostwerks.com), an older Folbot Greenland II, and several high-end whitewater inflatables... Oh, and my Scupper Pro fishing-and-general-messing-about yak. Not to mention I have demo'd around thirty+ other yaks. So I have some experience with different yaks. The Bou is my favorite. The Millennium is a better expedition boat - fast, tons of room, handles well for a big (18'3") yak but bobs like a cork with day-paddling kit. The Illusion is a finely tuned athlete, better in the surf and does everything well but is probably a better boat than I can really take advantage of. The Sirocco is a great all around boat and my first love that got me hooked on sea kayaking. It's the boat I put first timers in and the one I use for skills classes in the ocean and surf.
But the Bou... It does everything the many previous reviewers have testified to. I add my comments here purely as a counterpoint to previous reviews inferring that the Bou isn't for large paddlers. It can be. I paddled the Bou initially at a demo day. My initial impression was that it was too tight. The foot pegs didn't have enough range for me and that forced my knees hard into the deck. So I then tried the larger version known as the Isle. Just the opposite problem -I was swallowed by it. Felt like a kid wearing his dad's shoes. But I liked the way they paddled. So a year or more later this amazing deal popped up on Craigslist - could not pass it up ("Hi. My name's John and I'm a yakaholic"...) I took the boat home and immediately removed the seat, cut the front of the hangers back about 1 1/2" and redrilled the bolt holes. This moved the seat back and lowered it. Instant leg room and lower center of gravity. While I was at it I replaced the back band. I also padded the front bulkhead and use that as my foot rest rather than the pegs. Perfect fit!
I had hoped that moving my weight aft would help cure the weather-cocking others have mentioned, but it hasn't. It's my only demerit in the performance department. Just gets to be a chore to compensate on a long paddle in the incessant Westerlies we have here in the SF Bay. I'm sure with a skeg I'd be rating it a 10. But it handles the chop created by the wind-tide combat zones with ease. It seems to smooth out the lumps and bumps and just cruise! The same conditions that create drama when in a different yak are fun in the Bou. I find myself looking for the bigger waves and more confused water... Maybe there's still some adrenaline left after all...
But enough of this. The sun is out. The Bou is loaded. Let's go paddling!
This is an add to my earlier review (3-28-11).
I've had my 'bou…
This is an add to my earlier review (3-28-11).
I've had my 'bou out in wind and whitecaps a few times now, and wanted to share the following:
My first time out in big wind I had my skeg down and was wondering why I kept veering off in spite of paddling really hard on the lee side
Turns out it's a lot easier to paddle upwind in strong wind if the skeg is up. By the same token, going downwind is easier with the skeg down. You can go straight into the wind just fine with the skeg down, but once you start trying to go at an angle to the wind you'd better raise that skeg!
Additional information: My 'bou is fiberglass, and I bought it in 2000, when the factory was still in British Columbia. Mine seems very well-built but I can't address whether new ones are as well-built.
I have paddled a Caribou S…
I have paddled a Caribou S for three seasons now. It is as competent as it is beautiful. Whether the conditions are calm, rough, windy, rolling, lakes, rivers, ocean, whatever; the Caribou can handle it. It tracks straight but turns easily with just a little bit of edging. The wind doesn't push it around so I almost never have to drop the skeg. It is also pretty fast. I am 5' 11" and 230 lbs with size 12 feet so the cockpit is a little snug but the control and capability I get are worth it.
The only downside that I can think of is that it doesn't have a lot of cargo room so it's not the best rig for camping but that is not a biggie to me so I'm sticking with my 10 out of 10 rating.
I suppose I should really…
I suppose I should really give it a 9 since it doesn't have as much storage space as many other models, but it is such a joy to paddle I figure I'm really subtracting a point from a score of 11!
I'm 5'4" with short arms, and this boat's narrowness is a boon to me - no leaning my whole body sideways for each paddle stroke just to keep my paddle shaft from hitting the gunwale.
All the nice stuff others have said here goes for me, too. It's fast (I think so, anyway), it tracks nicely (skeg gives a small improvement but without the skeg it's fine too), and it turns quite well enough, though not on a dime.
I feel more secure bracing against fixed foot pedals, so I actually like that there's no rudder.
I bought my Bou S Kevlar…
I bought my Bou S Kevlar Hull/Glass Deck. The boat tracks and carves wonderfully. I have not had it in rough water but look forward to determining performance in that arena. The other reviews give you accurate information on performance and I concur.
The finish of the boat is poor. Air between the gel and glass behind the deck and thin gel in general is a disappointment for a boat in this price range. The glass work around the skeg box is crap. It looks sloppy and poorly rolled in. Being an old fibreglass man this is way to easy to be this sloppy. CD needs to look closely at the neatness and detail of their high end boats. That being said, all are easy enough repairs, just disheartening.
As I get the boat in more severe conditions I will add an additional review.
No better boat.
I'm 6'4" 215lb - Okay, I just don't…
No better boat.
I'm 6'4" 215lb - Okay, I just don't use the pegs at all, but don't really miss it. Bracing knees against the underside of the cockpit works fine for me. I've had my Caribou for years, loved every minute in it. Fast, tracks extremely well.
I read another post here about putting some weight in the back compartment. Good idea - I recently bought a little fat-wheeled caddy that breaks down and fits back there easily. The few extra pounds really does help the tracking, and solves the problem of carrying the extra weight, too. Sweet.
This is an update to my…
This is an update to my review below (12/12/07) of the Bou-S that I had sold. As in "what goes around comes around" I was able to buy it back :-) . Maybe sort of like marrying the same person twice - that should tell you something about the 'Bou... or me...
I love my 96 fg Caribou…
I love my 96 fg Caribou without a skeg which I bought used from a friend with hardly a scratch. Unfortunately, it blew off my Malone rack several years ago in a big wind as I was reaching for a strap bouncing about two feet high. I learned you always load with the wind blowing your boat into the rack. Luckily all it needed was gel coat in a few spots.
I paddle about 175 days a year and recently the use (not abuse and probably saltwater) caught up with it. My cockpit coaming became detached from the deck so I called CD and was put in touch with a terrific young man named Josh. We dropped the boat off in Winona on our way to visit our daughter in Minneapolis on a Friday and picked up the boat on Tuesday. Josh fixed the cockpit at no charge- covered under warranty, put in a keel strip in white that is hard to detect(came in on Saturday to complete), put in some fiberglass patches in the hull and cleaned up my crude gel coats. It is like a new boat. Plus we got a tour of their new factory. Was I impressed and grateful.
I learned to roll in this boat (skipped the river boat step because it is so comfortable) with a Greenland paddle (Feathercraft- great customer relations,Theresa is terrific) We spend 6 weeks in Feb-March at Indian pass FL where my brother with his NDK Greenlander Pro kayak and I paddle everyday in all kinds of conditions. My 'Bou surfs better than the GP,is only a tad slower at sprint speed (he is 2 yrs younger), but cruises just as effortlessly, rolls as well, and is a lot less nervous.
For a 63 yr old guy I appreciate its generous primary and secondary stability especially when we spot an alligator in one of the rivers. It does require some edging in 15+ mph winds but it does so easily. I figure that make me a better paddler and it works my obliques. If Chris Duff and his group can paddle around Iceland in skegless boats, I guess I can. It cruises at 4.5-5, 5.5 workout pace, and 6-6.5 all out. We did a 3 day 60 mile trip down the Wisconsin river and I was able to easily take everything I wanted. Plus it is an all day boat - very comfortable. Looks great especially knifing through the water with its hard chines and is a good boat for almost any level of paddler. However my 6ft 6in. son doesn't fit in it. I'm 6'1", 185lbs and my 11.5 water shoes wear quickly on the outside heel although I have another notch or two on the pedals. Luckily he fits in my Valley Skerray which is a nice all around boat, but a barge compared to the Caribou.
If this boat ever dies, I'll get another one maybe in kevlar because I'm a van guy and I'm not getting younger. Maybe without a skeg. My friends who paddle NDK GP's, Romany and Explorers love this boat. If you get one, get a greenland paddle-everything from rolling to sprinting to paddling all day is easier. You'll never go back to your euro paddle.
I sold my Caribou S over a…
I sold my Caribou S over a year ago after paddling it for a few years. I had used it for guiding, camping and as a dayboat. While the 'Bou was only 51 lbs. (expedition layup) I found myself loading my Arctic Tern most often because of it’s lighter weight and decided to keep the Tern and sell the Bou.. BIG MISTAKE!
The Bou handled heavy weather much better and was faster. While the Tern was a larger boat for camping I would much rather pack lighter and take the Bou. The Bou maneuvered well, rode smooth in the bumps, had a ton of secondary. On a positive note, the new owner and I have become friends and occasional paddling partners so I still get to paddle the Bou.
The negatives are (to some) the hard chines and secondary are not conducive to some Greenland skills work and the low sleek bow does pearl a bit but never bothered me.
On the whole for speed, decent maneuverability and strong secondary, it’s a hard boat to beat.
I've finished my first season…
I've finished my first season with the Caribou and, without reservation, can score it an 8 out of 10. My last boat was an Arctic Hawk and I feel that the Caribou is an improvement in almost every way. She is a playful, lively boat but sure-footed and predictable when the going gets a bit gnarly. With the skeg up [which is most of the time] the Caribou maneuvers easily, carving graceful turns. With the wind on the aft quarter or running down a steep chop, using a bit of skeg makes keeping a straight course an easy task. I find the cockpit quite comfortable but it may prove a tight fit for anyone in the 200 pound category. I especially like the light weight of the boat; the standard fiberglass layup is just about 50#.
It's been awhile since I…
It's been awhile since I paddled a Caribou, I've owned about a dozen sea kayaks and built the same number in s&g. Been paddling 14yrs, moderate experience. Long time favorite was a Mariner Express and presently paddle a Chatham 16.
I don't get it, this is such a simple hull shape, originally made in plywood, that works as well as most molded hulls. I'd put it in a list of top five "all around" sea kayaks with this one giving more speed and stability than most.
Recently bought an 8 yr old…
Recently bought an 8 yr old fiberglass Caribou S. Cosmetically, it is a bit nicked up, but no functional problems whatsoever after all these years. This is a great boat! Be ready to go fast, be aware that this might hurt the egos of those poor people stuck in ordinary kayaks. I love just looking at its sleek lines, what a thoroughbred, it's like owning an Arabian horse or a Jaguar sports car. We use this for short to all day trips, mostly on a big, fast, windy river where you do need performance.
What's not to like about the…
What's not to like about the Caribou? Fast enough, turns well, fun in waves. I've not had it in surf, so not sure about this, but it's a fine kayak otherwise. Mine's glass with a skeg which is handy, but I never deploy it fully. Just nice to have a little skeg in the water when in the wind...
Have had the caribou out…
Have had the caribou out a couple of times now... All i can say is what a wonderful kayak it is... perfect manners with the hard chines... flair of the hull provides a dryer ride the my previous craft.. it tracks as if it were on a rail... drop the skeg a smidgen and you are ready to take on rougher water.
Owned caribou for a few…
Owned caribou for a few months, was nice boat to paddle. Very stable, actually not lively enough. That was reason I sold. Really good secondary stablity, comfortable, good in wind & ruff water. Just wasn't my kayak, not lively enough & seemed to hit a wall for speed fairly quick. Overall nice kayak that seemed to do alot of things good.
Two year old fibreglass "S"…
Two year old fibreglass "S" model. Comfortable primary stability and solid secondary. Will turn quite well when edged a bit. I find the boat has good speed. I haven't paddled anything that seemed to jump out as faster. The boat's speed seems to be more about efficiency than just flat-out racing speed. I find it holds this speed well in rougher conditions. Actually, I find this boat seems to show what it can do in the rougher stuff quite well.
Comparing it to other boats I have owned, it seems to be on the higher end of rough water performance, yet still be well-mannered enough to inspire confidence to push yourself.
Compared to my Seaward Navigator (barge) it is very lively, but not to the point where I ever felt uncomfortable, like in the P&H Sirius.( great boat but painfully uncomfortable for me).The boat does really like to surf, even in small swells, so be ready. I don't think the boat is as well built as a Seaward (durability-wise).
I think the fine bow and stern would likely wear if they were run onto the beach without any care, but time will tell. I did break one of the integrated thigh braces during roll practice. Wasn't exactly the best time for that to happen, but CD was very helpful in getting instructions and materials to do at home repairs. They would have done the repairs but I live on the east coast and had no intentions in sending my boat cross country for a relatively minor repair.
I've owned no less than eleven boats to this point and built one. No doubt I will own more. That said, I am very happy with the Caribou and will probably keep it for some time yet for its comfort and overall performance.
I LOVE THIS BOAT. I'm 5'6",…
I LOVE THIS BOAT. I'm 5'6", 220, and paddled a Perception Eclipse for 2 years, and an America for 2 years before that. I was never completely comfortable with the Eclipse (too buoyant) and because of this, limited my paddling to "safe" locales, days and techniques. I bought the Caribou used from Rusted Moon Outfitters in Indianapolis, and after a brief adjustment to the lower initial stability, have really learned to kayak. I am now comfortably doing braces, edging, and leaning for sweep turns, things I would have NEVER had the confidence to try before. The boat tracks well without the skeg, requiring very modest paddling corrections in anything less than fierce wind and with the skeg down, feels like it's on a rail. The skeg control is a solid slider next to the cockpit, and several friends have commented on how much they wish their boats had this control.
It carves turns easily on edge, and will sit on one side of the hard chined hull with considerable stability. It is the fastest boat I've tried or been around. While not a speedster (age 55), I have not had trouble keeping up with anyone in the paddling group, and can paddle for hours very comfortably.
My only criticism is the crappy backband, but I replaced it with an NSI whitewater band, and now am PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE all day.
The hull of this boat has NO round areas, and is completely multi-flat surfaced. It takes some getting used to, as it wants to lean over on one edge or the other when standing still, but it is a dream to paddle.
Caribou-S in fiberglass. My…
Caribou-S in fiberglass. My first hardshell single and I didn't try any others so won't offer any comparisons. I bought it based on recommendations here, on usenet, by the dealer, and because when I walked in the store it was the best-looking boat there.
I've been mostly happy with it, comfort is good (5'10", 180lbs). Very nice deck rigging, including for spare paddles, either front or rear. Stability is reassuring; have yet to need to do an actual "brace."
Tracking is where the "mostly" comes in. If you search the forums you may stumble over a number of discussions where I've complained about a bit of wandering during light-air smooth-water conditions. The skeg of course can cure this but with the cost of some loss of glide and slower turning. Okay if you really need it for heavy wind, not ok when you don't think conditions should warrant using it.
Many comments said after more seat time you'll learn how to make it track. Well, after a full season it never happened. It was not a matter of not knowing how to get it back on line, it was just annoyance over how quickly it wanted to veer off line in the first place. The tracking just felt unstable, in anything other than a headwind.
Many owners, especially of the pre-skeg versions, talk about adding 10-20 lbs of weight in the back to improve tracking behavior. I use mine only for few-hour day trips and wanted to avoid this hassle. I did experiment though. I rigged 9 lbs of scuba weights on a stick that I could push way to the back, thinking the further back it went the less I would need. This was not good, boat was too heavy in back and the bow bobbed over waves most ungracefully.
After that I tried really hard to like using half-skeg most all the time, but just couldn't. So recently, back to the weight idea, this time I used just a 3 lb weight, again pushed back as far as it would go. Well, I'll be darned, it is pretty amazing what this does. It seems to balance the boat such that it responds more quickly to subtle leans to stay on course, and you can also feel turn-carving behavior respond to leans forward and back. It's like this is how the boat was meant to feel. Maybe I just have heavy feet, who knows. I'd guesstimate this moves the center of balance of the empty boat back about 5 inches. Very importantly, for me, it can be shoulder-carried to/from the water with the weight in place. I don't think this much weight hurts the rough-water riding behavior to any noticeable degree.
So, with that, I'm a happy 'bou owner and expect to keep it for quite awhile.
I purchased one in Kevlar…
I purchased one in Kevlar with the standard seam. It took alot longer that they quoted from order date to delivery...about 12 weeks opposed to the quoted 6-8. My boat came off the production line in Winona MN. The boat is everything I expected in performance. The storage is the driest I've delt with. After many rolls, the front stayed bone dry, and the rear had less than a tablespoon of water. My complaint would by workmanship. The hull is fine, the seam join is poorly done, not very straight and bonding looks inconsistent. The deck gelcoat is very thin, and some small air pockets that have broken in show the kevlar plys underneath. I also notice one that has been repaired...but is quite obvious. I have not seen such imperfection on other typical manufacturers. I'm pleased with the kayak design and features. I'm displeased with the finished construction and delivery time.
I picked up a used "Bou" to…
I picked up a used "Bou" to enahnce my traditional paddling and rolling skills and have found it very resposnive. I do not do any significant trips in it as it is purely a rolling boat for me, but still provides the ability to do some weekend trips with adequate storage. The deck height is very good for layback rolls being just a little over a "fistmele" for me. This is our third CD kayak we have purchased and we continue to be impressed with workmanship, design and customer service.
I bought a Caribou S a couple…
I bought a Caribou S a couple months ago based upon the recommendation of the dealer as well as the great press I read on the web. The boat has performed very well and met all my expectations. My wife decided she also wanted a Caribou S so we ordered another from the dealer. Unfortunately, Current Designs has demonstrated it's total disregard for the customer with missed shipping commitments, out right lies about shipment that had not happened and unresponsiveness. I finally cancelled my order for a second Caribou and would caution anyone thinking of buying from Current Designs. While the boat is a real performer, I want to do business with a company who doesnt take me for granted.
Wow! Just purchased a "Boo"…
Wow! Just purchased a "Boo" from this website. FG with Skeg( you would cry if I told you the price) Craftmanship - Wow! Handling - Wow I also have a CD solstice and it will be fun comparing as the summer goes on. Used primarily on large lakes in Quebec, but will be three weeks up the St Lawrence this summer, Will keep you posted.
I bought a composite Caribou…
I bought a composite Caribou S in April 2001, and paddled it from then through this summer. It is a great boat - it has beautiful lines (long and sleek), and is very fast, with excellent initial stability and very good secondary stability. The finish was beautiful, although it seemed a bit more prone to scuffs and scratches than some other kayaks I have owned.
The Caribou fit me very well (5'-10" 180lbs), the seat is very comfortable, and the cockpit large. I especially liked the way I could enter the Caribou by straddling the kayak in shallow water, sitting down, and then pulling in one foot/leg and then the other, without a bobble by the kayak.
We paddle mostly flat water (NY Finger Lakes), but I did have a chance to take it out into 4-6 foot tumbling swells with 9-18" wind chop in Maine. The boat handled the conditions well, but for some reason I found it did not inspire confidence. Maybe it was the initial stability showing up in a somewhat jittery motion from the wind chop. I found out that the Caribou surfs like a rocket - it really took off on a couple of smaller breaking waves - what a ride!
While lots of people told me that the Caribou is reasonably easy to turn, I found it takes 4-5 sweep strokes to turn it 180 degrees when I need to go back and help someone. I also found that it weathercocks some, but the adjustable skeg does a wonderful job of putting you on track.
I went camping for 3 days with my son, who paddles an Eddyline Merlin LT (read limited storage), and I found that the Caribou has adequate storage and is pretty easy to get things in and out of the hatches. Packing articles around the skeg box was a bit of a challenge, but something that you learn to work around.
All in all, it's a great kayak. I sold two weeks ago. It's only weakness in my case is it's speed - the rest of my family couldn't keep up with it! Since one of my kayaking goals is exercise, I found myself waiting for them too much, and I decided to switch to a slower, more manoeverable kayak. Sigh. Some things are just too good.
I picked up an older caribou…
I picked up an older caribou without a skeg. It still tracks well, and the absence of a skeg has only encouraged me to develop proper paddling skills. Fun in waves, a challenge in wind. Being both rudderless and skegless it goes much faster without the drag. I am 6'1" and I would not recomend it for taller folks (I'm comfortable with the pegs all the way to the forward bulkhead). If my prjion seayak is an SUV then the caribou is certainly a race car. Good boat.
It's hard to see what…
It's hard to see what superlative is left to pile on, but it is remarkable to paddle a flat out fast boat that can also carve a turn like this one. The boat is also very comfortable and the workmanship (workpersonship?) is excellent.
CD Caribou "S" AN excellent…
CD Caribou "S" AN excellent choice for the beginner and experienced kayaker, both male and female. Stabiliy, control and speed. Because of its low foredeck and bow, you will get wet plowing thru waves in windy conditions but who cares when you have a kayak with a skeg that tracks like a train. I love the Caribou and its all personal as to what you are looking for---PERFORMANCE---10+ in my book.
Caribou S fiberglass. This is…
Caribou S fiberglass. This is a wonderful boat. 40+ years of canoeing flatwater and whitewater. touring kayak for 5 yrs. Spent a week in Belize in a Seayak; nice all around boat. Many hours in CD Breeze fun boat, actually quite seaworth, very stable and maneuverable, roomy cockpit, quicker than you would expect - great for messin' about, fishing and shooting film, works good in rivers and easy whitewater. Wanted something with more legs but still stable and meneuverable enough for photography. Demoed Capella, Romany, Avocet, Storm, Squall, Eclipse, all were good boats and probably could have been content in any of them. Tried the Caribou S and found "the boat." So smooth and effortless. Amazing combination of speed and maneuverability. Inital stability good enough for photography or fishing and good solid secondary stability. Easy to put on edge and hold there where I think it turns as well as the Capella or Romany and is less twitchy doing it. Low profile is great in the wind. The capacity may not be expedition size, but a week or ten days is very doable. All boats are compromises but I think the Caribou S is one of the best blends of those compromises.
I own a kevlar Caribou S. …
I own a kevlar Caribou S. Like the other reviewers I think it is a great boat. Great Speed. Great tracking, skeg up, superb skeg down. Could turn better, though if you have the nerve to use an inside lean and a sweep stroke it turns much faster than with an outside lean. Both hatches are bone dry. Note to heavier paddlers: at 220 I am abusing some of the wonderfully predictable secondary stability of this boat because it does ride a bit low for me. I am pulling the seat and installing a gel seat which will sit very low to the bottom, feeling it might give a bit more stability. I also need lower thigh braces but I think I would custom pad any boat I owned. I will never outgrow this boat , and even if I had a fleet it would often be my choice to paddle. If I weighed 180 I would give it a 9.5.
Understand, that a 10 rating,…
Understand, that a 10 rating, is my racing surf ski :) I have paddled the Caribou S, with the skeg, and it is indeed a wonderful boat, stability-wise, nimble, just feels great - one of my two favorites. get it in kevlar, though, worth it.
Being a sea kayak trip leader…
Being a sea kayak trip leader and instructor on Lake Superior can be demanding on a kayak. But my Caribou (in fibreglass) had withstood every test imaginable! The relativly small carrying capacity compared to other Current Designs models has proven not to be a problem, it just means being organized. The Caribou is great in surf, turns on a dime, and tracks great! I've added extra closed cell foam on the thigh braces and hips to tighten up the cockpit and reasponse of the boat. Also have plans to add a knee tube to the cockpit to store some small gadgets etc. ( I hate things on my deck...ruins the sleekness of the boat!) The Caribou is an all around great boat.
I have owned a Kevlar Caribou…
I have owned a Kevlar Caribou "S" since November 1999 and absolutely love this boat! It's everything that I imagined it to be and more, so much so that we're having another one shipped down for me and my girlfriend is taking ownership of my current mango/mango colored Caribou "S". I'm 6'1" tall @195 lbs. and I'm definitely at the top of the weight range fo this boat but it always performs beautifully for me. I did however have the front Kevlar bulkhead moved forward an 1" to accomodate my size 11 feet on my new Caribou. Even though I've only had this boat for a few months it has received much use with great results including a month long trip to the Baja Peninsula. On this trip it was exposed to 8' to 10' swell with my girlfriend paddling it and performed incredibly under these conditions. This is when she decided that this is the boat for her. Please feel free to email me if you wish to talk about the Caribou "S" further! Ps; when not paddling it, I love to just look at it and apply a fresh coat of wax!
I've had my Caribou since the…
I've had my Caribou since the first year they were produced. It has been all over the the northwest and BC in every condition you would encounter. It is a beautiful playful sea worthy craft. It turns on a dime and loves large water. The only thing I would change is to have a slightly higher fordeck for my size 11 feet. Since the deck fore and aft is realtively low, I end up carrying all the small heavy items like canned goods and water. It holds a suprising amount of stuff. On long trips, she starts out as a submarine.
Recently bought a glass…
Recently bought a glass Caribou S after years of paddling Eddyline's Raven. In terms of performance, there's no comparison. Caribou much nimbler, tracks great with or without skeg. Raven packs far more equipment, and is a nice craft. Still for all around performance, I don't thinlk there's anything better than the Caribou. Like other comments above, I no longer look for the best boat for me. I've got it. If you special order one of these and live on the East Coast, count on waiting at least several months for delivery.
I am 5ft.4in., 120lbs. I…
I am 5ft.4in., 120lbs. I have been kayaking for just one year. Due to my height and weight, I test paddled most of the 16 foot long boats. None of them said, take me home. My boyfriend owns a Current Designs Caribou S in fiberglass with a skeg, so I decided to test paddled his boat. I was amazed. I went out immediatlely and purchased a Caribou S with skeg in Kevlar. Paddled the boat in 25mph wind and 2ft. waves and the boat handled beautifully. I felt safe and secure in this boat. I paddled with the skeg up most of the trip and it tracked like a charm. For a 17+foot boat turning is excellent. The boat tracked like a train with the skeg down. I love this boat.
I bought the (fiberglass, no…
I bought the (fiberglass, no skeg) Caribou last year, and it is a thing of beauty that feels exquisite in the water. The lack of a skeg does show up slightly in a crosswind, but you can use the hard chines (with some practice)to compensate. I find the back pad inadequate, leaving my spine exposed to the unforgiving back edge of the cockpit coaming, so I corrected that problem with a larger piggyback pad. I had to cut additional slots in the footbrace anchors, because I found them too short at the longest setting, and I'm only 5'11'', which is a little puzzling, but now it's just perfect. And the cockpit opening is wonderful - you can straddle the boat and simply sit down with your legs dangling over the side, then draw your legs in one after the other, without risking the embarrassment of a wet exit before you even start off. This is a pleasant surprise in such a narrow kayak. This boat strikes a nice balance between tracking and turning. It has a noticeable rocker (midship keel lower than ends) which allows easy turning, but I suspect the acute V near the ends combined with the hard chines might explain why the tracking is also quite good. I love this boat. In spite of the tweaks I felt were necessary for my use, it rates a 10.
I've been paddling my Caribou…
I've been paddling my Caribou for over two years now. It doesn't have a skeg, and I'm very happy about that. It handles wonderfully, and it takes care of me in every sea condition. This boat dances with beauty and grace. It surfs well, too. Add mine to this list of raves!
As a newbie to kayaking I…
As a newbie to kayaking I went all the way and bought the kevlar Caribou S (with skeg). It's sleek, tracks well, and turns great on the hard chine. At only 43 lbs. it loads easily on top of the car. You feel like one with this boat! Who needs a rudder!!! This is a performance craft. Drawbacks: Some space is sacrificed due to the low profile. In other words, you can't load as much in a Ferrari as you can in Ford, but boy can you feel the difference in the ride.
This is the second season on…
This is the second season on my "boo". She has no skeg, nor does she need one. This kayak does everything well enough that I've stopped
looking for the "perfect" boat. My recommendation to purchase is directed to anyone that likes to be one with the boat and not just along for the ride.
The Caribou is my first SK…
The Caribou is my first SK after years of canoeing and WW kayaking. I love the way it paddles. Very responsive, tracks great, cuts through waves, wakes, etc. and turns well. No need for a rudder on this boat. Initial and secondary stability are very good. Beautiful design and workmanship also.
Have owned one for a year now…
Have owned one for a year now (No skeg), and it just keeps growing on you. Handles following seas without a problem, loves big swells, and surfs well. Turns really quick when leaned out on its chines, yet still has good tracking. A lot of fun to paddle!
Very nimble for it's 17'8"…
Very nimble for it's 17'8" length. Turns quick, tracks great (w/o skeg down), good speed, and for it's 21 3/4" width it has very good initial stability. Fairly light weighing in at 49 lbs in fiberglass. And I agree with the previous review, this boat is a joy to paddle.
I have had several occassions…
I have had several occassions to paddle the Caribou and it was pure joy. It tracked wonderfully and it turned real sweet when put on edge. This is definitely a boat that one can grow into. The boat I have is currently for sale and I know what I will spend the money on.... Caribou.