Weight (lb)

Slipstream Options

  • 45 lb
  • 49 lb

    This Product Has Been Discontinued

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    Slipstream Description

    The Slipstream is a kayak brought to you by Current Designs Kayaks. Read Slipstream reviews or submit your own review to share with the paddling community. Check out a few other kayak recommendations below or explore all kayaks to find the perfect one for you!

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    Slipstream Reviews

    Read reviews for the Slipstream by Current Designs Kayaks as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!

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    A review should be…

    Submitted by: rsevenic on 4/29/2022

    A review should be accompanied by some notes on the reviewer. I am a small male paddler, born in 1940. I have been kayaking since 2006, have taken various kayak courses over the years, helped teach beginners, and get in between 40 and 60 day trips per year (rarely camp). I have a hobby of rotating kayaks through my small fleet. I buy decent kayaks, refurbish them as needed, learn their paddling characteristics, and typically release them back into the wild. I have cycled through kayaks by many manufacturers – Seaward, NDK-SKUK, P&H, Valley, Mariner etc.

    In spring of 2022 I purchased a used fiberglass Current Designs Slipstream kayak. It had several features that were particularly attractive to me:

    • it is a small person’s kayak (at 5’ 5” and 141 pounds, it works for me)

    • the foredeck is quite high for a small kayak (so my largish feet can move around if needed)

    • the backband is already comfortable (typically I must reconfigure the backband)

    • the skeg works smoothly

    For an expedition style paddler, this has a volume that is likely too small. As a day trip paddler, this does not hinder me.

    These are the specifications:

    • length 16’, width 22", depth 13.25"

    • stern, bow. and day hatches

    • weight 49 pounds

    • paddler weight, under 170 pounds

    • swede form, shallow 'V', medium chine

    • not much rocker, low stern deck

    • skeg

    • designed by Derek Hutchinson & Brian Henry

    • manufactured in Sydney, BC in December 2000 (before the Wenonah buyout)

    • serial number QDC10654L900

    I added a few semi-permanent items – none of which affect how the kayak handles:

    • keel strip

    • paddle park (as common on the Broze Brothers’ Mariners)

    • stainless steel pad eye near bow

    • cord on skeg blade for freeing it if stuck while on the water

    • minor rigging modifications

    This kayak was intended as our spare kayak for occasional visitors who might like to accompany us for day trips on our relatively large lake. Lake Pend Oreille has ~110 miles of shoreline with two rather nice deltas. It is said to be the 5th deepest lake in the USA; I may swim down to the deepest location to verify that. The lake exits via the Pend Oreille River which flows into the Columbia. I suppose, other than a few portages, one could paddle to Japan.

    It was not my intent that this 16’ kayak supplant my own preferred kayak, a Valley 17.3 Étaín. But that seems to be what’s happening. What about relative cruising speeds? Clearly the Étaín at 17.3’ will have a higher hull speed (5.56 knots) than the 16’ Slipstream (5.36 knots) – roughly a 4% difference. For comparing the cruising speed of two kayaks, one must consider how close can you get to the hull speed with the same effort. But it’s much more complicated than merely the hull speed; the hull shape really determines drag (e.g. various factors such as wetted surface). Further, things change with the load carried, because heavier weight immerses more of the hull. My experience with these two boats suggests (with no attempt at a scientific comparison) that the Slipstream is slightly faster when I am at my cruising speed with both kayaks lightly loaded with the same gear. Of course, I am nowhere near the hull speed. A heavier, stronger person might reverse my subjective results.

    The kayak behaves well. It goes straight, but turns easily with turning strokes when edged. The very slight weathercocking is easily tuned out by the skeg. I can get into and out of the kayak without scraping my shins (this required some initial practice). I haven’t found the kayak to be tippy at all. I avoid truly rough water and cannot address its handling in such conditions. I am sure I have the necessary skills for such conditions, but as conditions degenerate I always find myself starting to suck my right thumb, thereby inhibiting my paddle skills.

    The fiberglass Slipstream dictates its name, the “Glass Slipper” or just “Slippy” for short. Slippy is a rather garish bright red (hull and deck) with yellow trim. Personally, I think some of the British kayaks are prettier. My aging physique can manhandle Slippy onto my hullavator, before raising it to the cartop.

    My summary is that this kayak is ideal for me as a small paddler who only does day trips. This has become my preferred kayak.


    I've owned this boat for…

    Submitted by: Louise-Adie on 6/19/2018

    I've owned this boat for eighteen years and have learned almost everything I know about good kayaking skills in it. I'd bought it for a 450-mile solo circumnavigation of Lake Ontario for my 50th birthday virtually without knowing anything about it, other than it looked small and petite and would fit me. Little did I know the gem I would end up with, practically living init for the duration. In 'those days' boats had initial and secondary stability. Initial stability was then defined as how well it handled without being fully loaded. It was wiggly feeling at first but I got very accustomed to that feeling quite quickly. What I wasn't prepared for was how well it handled in the diciest situations I could throw at it, while fully loaded. In one situation I was paddling a long dreary, sullen day with an increasing tailwind. It had started out as nothing at all...I was drenched to the bone after paddling for 7 hours and had the shoreline ahead in my sights, a mile off. I was feeling a bit glum and knackered so wasn't really paying attention until suddenly I was aware of confused waves coming off shore a mile out! I was now quite awake and alert. There was suddenly the roar of whitecaps and my boat was being covered with breaking waves on all sides. I thought for sure "this is it, I'm capsizing." I was bracing for all I was worth when I realized the boat seemed calmer than I did somehow, as if it was telling me, "calm down, I know what I'm doing." Continuing to brace, but more easily now that I had the confidence of the boat, we glided toward shore, FAST. In the end a wave picked me up and dumped me on shore and I scrambled out, hardly able to walk. In the process of this six-week trip I'd taken many of the skills I'd learned in a class and had put them to work, nearly effortlessly now. Such as carving turns, all kinds of bracing plus surf landings and launchings. The two things I could never master with this boat were a roll (I have a back injury so had to be content with learning bomb proof self-rescues) and correcting a nasty little habit the boat has of turning immediately to port when about to land in surf, but not always so I could never figure out what was going wrong. But that was SO minor compared to all the beautiful feelings I've had controlling and playing with this boat. I know the boat is no longer being made and the design creator, Derek Hutchinson, is deceased, but if you have a chance to buy this boat used and are small in stature I can't recommend it highly enough. I've only seen one other in all these years. It was on a car top and the guy had borrowed it from his wife, liking it better than his own boat. He was slight of build and loved the boat as much as I love mine. I'd seen him on the highway and pestered him to pull over so we could chat. If I could find this boat in Kevlar I'd buy it and paddle off into my seventies, still doing gung ho long mileage.


    Have had my Slipstream since…

    Submitted by: paddler231185 on 7/26/2016
    Have had my Slipstream since 2005 & love it more every time I paddle!! Fabulous kayak that is quick, maneuverable, FUN! Love it!!

    I'm in love. With a boat. 5'5…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 3/19/2012
    I'm in love. With a boat. 5'5 130lb girl meets 16' 22" dragon red Slipstream and lived happily ever after.

    First, it is beautiful. The shape of this boat is very sexy, a head turner on the water or on your car rack. Glides through water like butter. Used to own Eddyline Nighthawk that slammed its bow after every wave/wake. The Slipstream rides effortlessly through the water. Turns easily, but be vigilant; like an earlier reviewer said, an inch too far on edge and you'll go right over. Super small but dry hatches - pack wisely. I find the cockpit is a bit long & deck a little high where I need extra foam to have more control. When rolling or sculling, I found myself wanting to float out of the cockpit. Wish the deck height was around 12" instead of 13.5. Seat and backband are extremely comfortable. Very light boat - am able to load/unload solo easily.

    Was looking for a Valley Avocet LV for my long term mate but have fallen for the Slipstream and this seems to be THE one. Too bad they don't make them anymore unless you special order one. You won't find a lot of details or discussion forums on the web about this boat. I found this one on a web classifieds ad, drove two hours to get it, bought without paddling it, kept my fingers crossed that it didn't drown me on my maiden voyage out due to what others describe as twitchiness, hoping this wasn't too advanced of a boat for me, and was rewarded with a well behaved (if you respect its capabilities) boat that is so, so much fun to paddle.

    If you find one and you're the right size for it (I would say less than 170lbs), you will be very pleased with it.


    I purchased my Slipstream in…

    Submitted by: paddler232861 on 9/5/2008
    I purchased my Slipstream in October 2006 and I'm in love...for a number of reasons. I'm female, 5'5", 130 lbs. and my Slipstream fits like it was custom made. The kevlar layup makes loading to the top of my suv a breeze. And like the manufacturer's promo said, "it dances on the water". I work to live. But I live to put this boat on the water. 2 thumbs up guys.

    I've had one for 5 years now.…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 6/2/2007
    I've had one for 5 years now. It's a good boat for the smaller paddler (I'm 5'6", 140lbs). The light weight is a great bonus. Actually I should note that my wife kind of took possession of it once she tried it (she's 5'3").

    My impression is that it is a great boat at the beginner and intermediate levels. It handles well, rolls well, paddles easily at touring speeds. It does have some minuses that surface as skills improve such as the secondary stability point is not very distinct (it's hard to tell how far you can edge it without capsize - I can't do a graceful reverse figure 8 in it), gets hard to control in heavy rear quartering seas, has much less usable storage space than similar length kayaks because the bow and stern are heavily pinched (very narrow near the ends), the front deck is a little higher than I'd like. Does my wife still paddle it? Usually No. As her skills improved we would go out in more challenging conditions and last year she found herself in some two to three foot rear quartering wind waves that made her feel unstable and made it hard to maintain control (this is also true to an extent for many boats)- so the luster of the Slipstream started to fade in her eyes. So she decided to try something new and now has a NDK Romany (in Elite layup so the weight is the same as the Slipstream, 47 lbs) and a plastic WS Tempest 165. So far she really loves both the Romany and the Tempest, but often prefers the Romany (elite) for its light weight. FYI, the Elite layup of the Romany is visibly not as strong/durable as the regular Slipstream layup. The only maintenance problem we've had with the Slipstream is that I had to re-seal the hatch rims. (ugh)

    More details on storage - I think that the Slipstream has much less storage space than the other boats you mentioned. For camping you'll have to think and pack like a backpacker, especially if you need to carry all of your drinking water.

    In summary the Pros and Cons are:
    Pros: Fits the smaller paddler comfortably, light weight, good quality construction, easily maintains touring speed, handles well, rolls easily, nice hatch covers, good skeg, relatively inexpensive.
    Cons: Low storage for camping, low secondary stability distinction, poor control in moderate to heavy quartering seas, high front deck.


    I would have given a higher…

    Submitted by: paddler231185 on 7/6/2005
    I would have given a higher rating except for the seat and peddles.

    1) Re the seat: I find the seat extremely uncomfortable. The ridges at the seat/seat-side of the molded seat cut into the outside of the very tops of my thigh bones (about 6" below my hip)...just about where a woman is widest. (I weigh 150, so it's not like I'm an obese person.)This is a shame for such a great boat. Padding helps somewhat. Still trying to figure out how to deal long-term with this significant problem; may try cutting it out and buying a closed-cell seat.

    2) Also need to pad the fixed peddles as they are a waffle design. Sure enough there is a good grip, but after a short while paddling barefoot, the balls of my feet hurt quite a bit.

    Otherwise, construction is good (except 1 thigh pad has separated a very small bit from the boat). Primary stability twitchy-but that's what I wanted, as its secondary stability is very good as well as lots of fun. Very responsive, maneuverable. Low, narrow profile makes it cut nicely through wind. Fast. A light 43 pounds in kevlar makes it easy to sling over my shoulder. I've been kayaking for 13 years, so its twitchiness was fun but quick to get used to. An excellent boat for intermediate and advanced kayakers; a challenge and surfs well. I don't think I'd recommend this boat for a casual user. However, if you're a serious beginner, you will find this a boat that gives you lots of room to grow into.


    I purchased my Slipstream in…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 5/25/2005
    I purchased my Slipstream in Sept. of 2004 and have been in it 16 times. It is water tight with regards to hatch covers and bulkheads and is taking on no water at all. It is playful, with great secondary stability, tracks beautifully, and a fast boat. Being only 22 inches wide, and not a high volume boat, I find it fits well, as I am 5'3". I would recommend it to a lightweight person who wants the most from a sea kayak. Having the bow and stern designed as such allows for more stability in chop and ocean waves. I'm set now!

    This is an update of my…

    Submitted by: yooperchic on 6/25/2004
    This is an update of my review from 3 years ago. Though I stand by all of my previous comments, I have lowered my rating of this boat because of what I feel are sub-standard construction issues. The two major ones are the glued-in plastic bulheads (flimsy and just asking to leak) and poorly finished and ill-fitting hatch fittings. Though I have had only a very tiny leak in one bulkhead, the bulkhead construction is not up to the standards of any other fiberglass boat I have seen. Why not glass in the bulkheads?

    The hatch fittings have been a problem for me (leaks) since the first year of owning the boat. They are not well fitted into the deck openings, are secured with only 4 screws, and in my boat at least were not well caulked. My rear compartment takes on a considerable amount of water whenever the rear deck gets reasonably wet, and it comes in right between the deck and hatch fitting. I have pulled the hatch off and recaulked it, but that has only helped marginally. Again, in examining many other brands of fiberglass boats, nearly all have much more carefully finished and sealed joints between the deck and hatch fitting.

    One other more minor issue; I had the compass factory installed, and it was placed aft of the forward hatch. This placement not only impedes my ability to move the bulkhead forward and/or add a footpump, but also tends to induce neck strain and seasickness if I have to refer often to the too-closely positioned compass.

    Now that I have paddled, examined, and learned about many more boats than I did when I first bought the Slipstream, I would think twice about buying another CD kayak, despite how much I like the design.


    Great boat for the smaller…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 12/31/2002
    Great boat for the smaller paddler! I'm a 5-foot-4 female weighing about 135 pounds and I found this boat to fit better than a number of other low-volume sea kayaks that I've tried. This boat does not pinch you or force you to become a contortionist to sit in it. I highly recommend this Derek Hutchinson design for both comfort and performance. The boat responds to the slightest lean or paddle stroke, turning on a dime when needed but tracking arrow-straight with the skeg down. The boat has a twitchy, thoroughbred-racehorse feel that makes you realize you are paddling a fun performance craft. I have not found a more comfortable or more responsive boat for someone in my size range. This extremely agile boat has a beautiful, sleek hull design to match. At only 16 feet, it can easily match the cruising speed of some longer boats I have seen. The seat and cockpit could not be better designed. The seat is roomy and feels great on a long paddle! The footpegs are rock solid and the backband perfect. Even without additional padding on the test boat, my legs locked solidly into the thigh braces and I felt totally in control. Hardly a cruise ship, this nimble boat will carry adequate gear for several nights of camping but of course won't come anywhere near matching the storage capacity of some of the larger-volume boats. Having said that, this boat is a pure joy to paddle. Mine will have a purple deck and white hull. Can't wait till it arrives! I give this boat an A-plus (with extra credit!)

    We bought a kevlar Slipstream…

    Submitted by: paddler229837 on 7/29/2002
    We bought a kevlar Slipstream as a compromise for my 10-year-old son and myself, after returning a Gulfstream that I loved but which he hated because it was "too hard to turn" - basically too big for him. I *just* fit the Slipstream at 165 lbs. and 5' 10" - and for me, it's a very tippy boat. (And I'm used to an old slalom racing kayak, which does *not* feel tippy to me.)

    The Slipstream is just the right size for my son and doesn't feel tippy to him, but I have very little freeboard and it's way too easy to dip the coaming underwater. I've only capsized while horsing around, though, and have paddled maybe 10-20 miles in quiet water (and with motorboat waves) without a problem. I don't know how I'd fare on the sea with it - a sprayskirt would be imperative.

    It's remarkable how different the Slipstream and Gulfstream are for two boats of the same design, only a few percent different in dimensions. The Slipstream is a lot faster but tight and tippy for an average-sized man. The Gulfsteam is smooth and stable and big enough for a large fellow - it's a little slower but still turns beautifully when edging. The Slipstream is more manageable and stable for a smaller person than the Gulfstream, and my girlfriend also has done well with it on quiet water, with no prior experience (aside from one dunking while climbing in).

    My main point is the big difference between the two boats and how the Slipstream is much more suitable for a smaller person, though it does work with someone up to my size, if you want a fast, responsive boat that has little margin for error in balance.


    I bought my used fiberglass…

    Submitted by: guest-paddler on 9/28/2001
    I bought my used fiberglass Slipstream about 5 months ago. I formerly paddled a Seaward Endeavor which I found was a fine boat, but a bit large for me when loading or portaging ( I'm 5'9"/145 lbs.). I had demoed the Slip several times and knew it was the boat for me. It is much easier to load and carry, especially on windy days. It handles well in tight spots (like mangrove tunnels) and is easy to roll. The skeg is easy to operate and I would not be without the day hatch. The cockpit is well designed and I can get my legs out to stretch and to make 2 point landings. Works for me. I'm thinking of another one in kevlar. I was lucky enough to meet its designer, Derek Hutchinson, on the west coast of Florida last year. He is real English gentleman and one of my heroes.

    I love this boat! I violated…

    Submitted by: yooperchic on 8/20/2001
    I love this boat! I violated the cardinal rule of kayak buying by purchasing this boat without paddling it first, based on my research and paddling of other boats. I was looking for a smaller volume boat with a skeg, and the overall shape and dimensions as well as hull configuration of the Slipstream seemed to be just what I was looking for. Luckily, I was right! It tracks beautifully, though in a strong side wind it has a tendency to weathercock somewhat without the skeg. With the skeg down it is rock solid on line. It also edges and turns amazingly well considering my "developing" skills; and rolls with ease. In fact, the first time I righted myself in this boat I used way too much effort and did a complete 360! You barely need to flick the paddle, a little hip snap, and you're up. A nice low deck behind the cockpit helps considerably. I am 5' 7", 135 lbs., and the fit is excellent, though I (my boat, that is) could probably use a bit of padding at the hip braces. Other niceties; the backband gives enough support without getting in the way, a tow line is included, and I like the artsy decal on each side of the bow. I would recommend this kayak to any smaller paddler who wanted a responsive (feels a little "twitchy" at first) boat that also tracks well and is beautiful to boot.

    I bought my Slipstream 5…

    Submitted by: paddler229372 on 7/26/2001
    I bought my Slipstream 5 months ago and love it. It is the kevlar model, weighing only 43 lbs. As a very petite woman (5'2" and 98 lbs), this factor heavily influenced my choice of boat. The Slipstream is easy to get on and off the car and down to the water. The fit is excellent (I did add some hip pads to tighten the fit.) It's very comfortable and a joy to paddle. Very maneuverable, stable and great tracking, especially in a following sea with the skeg down. I highly recommend it for all smaller paddlers looking for a good quality sea kayak.

    The Slipstream is a great…

    Submitted by: paddler229008 on 11/21/2000
    The Slipstream is a great sistership to the Gulfstream designed by Derek Hutchinson. I paddled it at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium and was impressed how well it fit me. I am a fairly small male only weighing 145 and the boat performed like a dream. Great manuverability and what a dream to roll! I recommend that any experienced paddler who has a small body profile to try this kayak. A true dream to paddle!