The Squamish is a sporty boat that answers the call for a smaller rotomolded kayak that excels in touring performance. It represents a fresh approach to this category, incorporating some of the most desirable elements of North American and British design styles. The Squamish is sure to appeal to the wave of kayakers looking for a fun, easy-to-use, performance sea kayak for day paddling and short trips. Skeg and back band come standard.
Squamish Specs and Features
- Structure: Rigid / Hard Shell
- Cockpit Type: Sit Inside
- Seating Configuration: Solo
- Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
- Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
- Ideal Paddler Size: Smaller Adult/Child, Average Adult
- Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
- Retractable skeg
- SmartTrack Foot Brace
- Back Band
- Touring Roto Colors
Current Designs Kayaks
Last year I purchased a used…
Last year I purchased a used and very light 2005 Current Designs (CD) Squamish. Most Squamish kayaks are rotomolded, but this kayak is a very rare and much lighter composite. The seller thought it was carbon fiber, while CD says it is aramid/fiberglass. If aramid, the hull interior doesn’t look like any Kevlar hull I’ve seen. Whatever. The specifications are
- length 15’ 8” width 23” depth 12.5”
- weight 38.5 pounds!
- coaming 29” by 16”
- bow and stern hatches, no day hatch
- fish form, soft chine, shallow V
- mango deck, white hull
- paddler size small to medium
A review typically
depends on the reviewer’s size, experience, etc. I am 140 pounds
(naked, which you don’t want to see), 5’ 5” in height, and over
80 years old. I would probably be considered an intermediate paddler,
having kayaked for 16 years and been a BWCA canoe lad in my teens and
early twenties. I paddle about 40 day trips per year, mostly on my
home lake (110 miles around the periphery) and in the waters off
Vancouver Island on usually two trips per season.
Of my 3 composite
kayaks, the Squamish is the shortest, fattest, and slowest; but not
by much. However, it is by far the lightest, extremely important for
this small old guy. Other reviewers here have indicated that the
Squamish weather cocks readily. Maybe my hull is different, but the
weather cocking seems non existent. However, I avoid high winds these
days and have only been out in winds up to about 8 knots. It tracks
well and is maneuverable.
The rear hatch, despite the skeg box, easily holds my C-Tug cart. I can readily get the kayak onto and off of my Thule Hullavator. I have made these minor modifications to the Squamish:
- a keel strip via Keel Eazy
- a paddle holder via two open cleats (in the Broze Brothers style)
- a stainless steel pad eye on the bow deck
- under fore deck storage for the manual bilge pump
- a cord hanging down from the skeg blade to have a companion free the blade if stuck when far from shore
A practice rescue
session resulted in significant water in both hatches. It was enough
water that it could not just be coming in the hatches. Clearly water
was leaking from the cockpit into the hatches. Sealing the hatch
perimeters with Lexel seemed to fix the problem.
I have two other very nice fiberglass kayaks, a CD Slipstream and a Valley 17.3 Etain. Both are faster than the Squamish and both weathercock somewhat. However, because of its light weight and refusal to weathercock, the Squamish will be the keeper among those three (as old age begins to shut down my kayaking career).
I weigh approximately 150…
I weigh approximately 150 lbs and have owned this kayak for more than 13 years. It was sitting in an outfitters window for another six years before I bought it and was built in in 2003. I have used it on rivers, one large lake, saltwater marshes, and open sea. I have almost always used it for half day or full day paddling trips and only rarely for two day one night outings.
I have always felt secure. It is quite stable. The skeg is handy especially when want to take a picture while in the boat. The bungee cords help to hold some things with in reach as there is no day hatch. But I normally did use a spray skirt and would keep some items in reach below deck. It is a bit of tight squeeze but as a smaller built person there is some room. Water will enter the kayak when not using a skirt, especially if there is any wind or movement on the water. The bulkheads on mine have not been water tight but sealant can fix that. What others have said about the seat back (at least on older Squamishes) is true, they can be uncomfortable and may slide under paddler on quick entries or reentries. But I did not notice those issues until after a few years of using the kayak and once I began to use the kayak more in open waters. Also as I begin to dream, think of longer journeys, putting together a few days in a row paddling, I have noticed that the storage capacity is quite limited. It is not really designed for a longer trip. The skeg and skeg cable limit space in the stern hatch. Others here have shared that longer trips are still possible in this boat.
I had never been in a kayak before buying and using this one, and have loved every adventure at outing in this boat. Others say that it is good for novices, and that has been the case for me and I still very much enjoy it.
Also, I live in an apartment and have not always been able to store the boat inside. Maybe a year ago the joint were the skeg and skeg cable are connected became so corroded that the skeg fell out of the boat. With proper care this can be prevented. (E.g. washing salt watee off boat after each use would have helped.) I found that Wenonah Canoe/Current Designs customer service very helpful and the parts inexpensive and the repair uncomplicated. The boats require very little care but even when that is neglected, at least mine went years without needing any repairs, replacing the skeg has proven uncomplicated and customer service was helpful.
This new to me kayak, 2006…
This new to me kayak, 2006 Squamish, has more experience than I do. The excursion that I have been planning and training for is from Stokes Bay south to Sarnia. Training has been mostly a flat 1km circuit at the edge of a 5 ft deep river pond. The kayak was slightly undersized for my 210 lbs, but slowly the goal of 175 is approaching.
Great fit! Sleek and trim…
I have an older model of…
I have an older model of this boat that I bought used; it is my first kayak and I think it was a good choice. My paddling so far has been day trips including ocean, lakes and large rivers. The boat tracks decently but is quite responsive when edged. I feel quite stable in it, which has helped my confidence when working on skills. I appreciate the lower rear deck when practicing re-entries; having a skeg rather than a rudder is also helpful there since there's nothing sticking up to be in the way. On that note, I did take out the original seat back after realizing that it had an annoying tendency to flip down and end up underneath me when re-entering or getting in quickly for a launch; I replaced it with a back band that eliminated that issue. Not sure if the newer models have that same seat back or not. Now for the cons: I find myself wishing it had a day hatch so I wouldn't have to put things in the cockpit to have them readily accessible on the water. It's also probably a little wider than ideal for me (5' 3", 115 lbs, long legs/short torso) which may be part of the reason it is taking me a while to get my roll. According to Current Designs it is supposed to fit "small to medium" paddlers but I may be on the smaller end of that.
I am a 5'11" 160lb male and…
It has a very low profile and will let you roll over any wave...the flexibility of your core muscles will limit your rolling before this kayak. It glides on top of the water when there is no wind. When all you can see on the water are the ripples from the boat and your paddle, this thing is FLYING. Soft chine means extra responsive to minute changes you make when skill comes in to play. Polyethylene means TOUGH boat. Light when empty--I believe approx 55lb.
There are some issues I had with it on THIS trip--but taking into consideration my circumstances of touring over 1000 miles...you may easily look past them if you are considering recreational or light touring (<1 week). Hatches couldn't fit everything that I needed, all the time. But bungee cords are plentiful on this craft and I made it work. The weight limit is 250lb. on this, also stemming into a bit of a problem for my use--setting a not so strict limit of 100lb. of gear, food, and water--I was over the weight limit, and would often be until I drank and ate through some water and food.
My only real beef with this kayak was the seat--traditional british styling grew uncomfortable and I had to buy a back pad for $40. However, I did own an early model of this and know that they have since employed a better seating system inside the new models. For this small reason, I give it a 9 instead of a 10. Other than that it sits as the best kayak I've ever pushed. It's truly amazing and would say 800 is a fair price for such a boat.
Great kayak for small built…
I use this in the Yellowstone River which has a lot of tricky water. Very stable and good beginner boat or for younger, smaller built people or petite women.
Current Design kayak are…
Great boat. Good initial and…
My Squamish has seen a great…
My height is 5'8"-ish and my weight fluctuates between 170-180 lbs. The yak does have a max capacity of 250lbs. I have maxed it out camping gear and the boat can get sluggish, but it is still a capable sea vessel. The boat does sit low in the water due to the low volume design and I often use my spray skirt if the water conditions are questionable. However, I personally feel that my weight nearly maxes the boat out if one wants to get the best performance out of it. The combination of being low in the water and my weight bringing it down more puts the hull farther in the water. This can make the kayak challenging in taking tight turns even with good leaning/edging techniques. That issue is mine and not an issue with the kayak. Turning aside, the Squamish is an excellent and efficient touring kayak. I've found that I'm able to do long distances without excess fatigue. Keep in mind that this is a plastic boat too.
The kayak itself is well made. The polyethylene used in its construction is solid and has held up to anything I've thrown at it. However, I do have issues with the stern/bow hatch covers and the stern hatch that still plague me to this day. Using the yak in rough water conditions the first few times, I noticed a moderate amount of water in the rear hatch. After some troubleshooting I found that some of the guide holes that the deck lines pass through had small openings to the stern hatch. Water would pool up around these guide holes and drip into the hatch. I solved this problem by sealing these openings from inside of the hatch with silicone sealant. This has nearly solved the leak issue. However, I still have a minor amount of water that gets in the hatch from time to time, which I believe is due to the hatch cover itself. It simply doesn't seal the hatch well enough. The bow hatch has been completely leak proof which is very surprising considering how many times the entire bow of my Squamish has been underwater. The only problem I have with the bow hatch cover is that the rip cord ring that holds the cover on the hatch opening separates from the cover itself just about every time I open it. The same thing happens with the stern cover too. Lastly, the decorative tape that covers the seal line of the boat comes undone frequently. CD is aware of this and has sent me, free of charge, a roll of this tape. These negatives aside, the rest of the yak works great.
Overall, I'm happy with yak and I'll rate an 8. I would give it a higher score if not for the leaking stern hatch and hatch cover construction. The Squamish is wonderful poly sea kayak for the right sized person.
In SE Texas where sit-on-tops…
After paddling the Squamish the past two years from calm lakes to slight bay swells, I have been very pleased with my choice. It's light enough to load easily, long enough to track efficiently -- especially into the wind with the skeg down, and narrow enough for good speed and handling. No problem with weather cocking - my old Perception Spectrum was notorious for that. It's cargo capacity is smaller than the Spectrum (so I still use the Spectrum for overnight river trips).
I removed the thigh brace for a more comfortable fit -- I am 5'9"; 165 lbs. Most of my paddling is day trips on local creeks and rivers so the Squamish is an excellent choice; turning is easy, especially with slight edging. But I have no problem taking it into bigger water and bays. It handles swells up to 2 ft with ease and enjoyment -- especially running with the wind and "surfing" waves.
This is an update on the review immediately below. Having the boat…
Having the boat for three summers now, not much has changed my mind on the earlier review. The combing is splitting in the back along a production seam, but it's not bad -- I JB Welded the crack, so I'll see. The rest of the boat has stood up nicely. I dropped it off the step ladder last year (ankle still hurts a little) and take it exclusively onto Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Try to paddle in 2-footers -- anything less just doesn't cut it, so boat doesn't take a great pounding, but slams and plows enough for my excitement. Don't use the hatches, so no further comment. I had to move the thigh braces to give my legs more room -- the demo did NOT have the factory-installed seat cushion, but the new one did -- thus the depth was off a little. I figured I'd leave the cushion on and move the braces -- not perfect, but okay (I can go about 8-10 miles before I get squirmy).
The boats performance is very good. I quickly learned that I could trust it in big water and don't worry about flipping -- unless you count the constant worry of getting run over by the power boaters -- and I generally cross the open bays and the lake itself without much trepidation. I use a Boreal Design Aloonaq paddle, which is a carbon version of a Greenland stick.
The biggest drawback is that the boat turns very slowly in big wind and waves. But I don't possess great skill at edging, so maybe it will turn better for those who are good edgers. It weathercocks readily, so combined with the slow turning, I have to dial in the skeg. (Without the skeg, my boat would be very taxing to paddle in big water.) Again, check my body measurements against the boats specs. for a better understanding of my review.
All in all, still rate the boat an 8 -- a strong 7 for the nit-pickers. One last thing. My next boat will be fiberglass and either a Greenland style or British style. (I really like the Current Designs Suka, Cypress and the Endeavor by Seaward. I'm leaning toward the Suka because it closer matches my body size, but the Cypress is a faster boat. The Endeavor blows both of them away, but it might be too long for me both on the water and especially out.) For those new to the sport -- matching body size to boat specs is the BIGGEST factor to weigh (period).
A review of the plastic Squamish. First, a few points. I see…
First, a few points. I see ratings of 10 on this board quite a bit, but wonder how a boat - any boat - can rate a 10? How can a long kayak with great tracking but slow turning rate a 10? Conversely, of course, how can a short, heavily-rockered craft with limited tracking ability receive a perfect score after trying to cross frontally-diagonal a wind-chopped large body of water? NO kayak can be PERFECT in all conditions. Therefore trade-offs must be taken into consideration. I paddle Lake St. Clair - the sixth Great Lake - almost exclusively and am able at all times - with just a few strokes of the paddle - to go from traditional open water sea-kayaking to punting around deadheads and cattail islands chasing swans through miles of marshland.
Can a boat like the absolutely beautiful Seaward Endeavor respond well to this dichotomy? Or, how about a Perception Avatar? Neither will rate a 10 during these combination paddles. Now, if I owned both of the just-mentioned boats, they would each rate very high using them for each specialty-paddle. Still, each boat could only rate a 10 on some of the trips, maybe most... but certainly not every paddle. A kayak can rate a 10 in certain categories, but fall short in others. And, a 10 for a short heavy-set person, might be a 2 for a tall slender paddler each in the same boat.
After MUCH searching I made a compromise and chose the Current Designs Squamish. It wasn't originally the boat I wanted, but it has - for me - the best trade-off of features to suit my main paddling aspect. It doesn't carry much, but I don't need it to. It doesn't have a day hatch, so capacity rates a 6. It's plastic - not the fiberglass I'd prefer, so maybe a 7 for efficiency (compared to a composite boat). BUT, because it's plastic, it cost a full ONE-THIRD LESS than the composite boat I've had my eyes on - a 10 all the way! Being plastic, it will take lots of abuse, but screws and weak points in the plastic may have me chasing problems in the future - 7. It tracks okay, the skeg bringing tracking up to an 8. It turns readily - 8. It's a good-looking craft (based on my preferences, though), but I really wanted a boat with great finish and color. But I also realize the safety-enhancing faculties of an all-brightly-colored kayak. My Squamish is mango. Not as bright as yellow, but better looking I thought - a final aesthetic rating of 8. Design of any kayak rates a 10 using the parameters it was laid out to on the drawing board, so is superseded by build. My Squamish seems to be all in order, skeg works, hatches stay down, foot pegs work, seat is padded, etc. - a 9. Although most of us can lift 54 lbs. over our heads, a long package like a kayak makes it more difficult. I can just car-top the Squamish onto my Grand Cherokee by myself - 8. Add all these up and I give MY Squamish a final rating of about 7.5 - 8.
Using a formula of comparison and objective trade-offs would, in my opinion, render ANY kayak about the same. The largest ratings fall-off would be low-quality craftsmanship or using a boat contrary to its designed intended performance. Fit of kayak to body size and build is probably the largest ratings enhancement.
I must add - to help qualify any objective consideration - my body size. 5'8" 130 lbs., above-average fit and conditioning. I also have a kayakers dream build - short legs and tall torso, which allows me many more choices in kayaks than a lot of people. Almost any kayak fits me on the water. On shore, I'd need help with a boat bigger and heavier than the Squamish.
Just bought the Squamish HV…
Rating would be 10 of 10 but for the hatch problem. I'll hold off on assigning a rating until I see whether/how/when CD fixes the problem.
Squamish HV Fiberglass. At 46…
Squamish Fiberglass HV…
For a beginner/smaller…
Squamish by Current Designs.…
This boat fits a niche that…
This boat does not have a lot of storage room for long trips, but has plenty of room for an overnight or weekend trip. For longer trips, you might need to either pack light, or share the load with another kayaker that has more room. But if the bulk of the paddling that you do is day trips or weekends you will have no problem with storage in this boat.
Another issue with this boat is the toggles/handles on the ends. They are attached so that they can hang down under the boat. It actually makes portaging much easier but it may get on your nerves to have them banging into the hull with every wave. It's not hard to fix with a little modification though.
I have also seen another review claiming that the stern hatch seeped water, but I have not had that problem. The hatches are sometimes hard to open and close, but it gets easier with use (and a little armor-all).
All in all, this is a great light touring boat for the experienced smaller kayaker that doesn't want/need the extra storage room of a larger touring boat.