I've owned an Eddyline Nighthawk, Impex Force-4, and a Current Designs Stratus…
I've owned an Eddyline Nighthawk, Impex Force-4, and a Current Designs Stratus 18 kayak.
The Eddyline and Impex were okay for basic Sunday-afternoon paddling, but the Current Designs boat took kayaking to the next level. I'm looking forward to getting it out onto the ocean to see how it handles in really confused water.
I purchased the Stratus 18 for one reason- Speed. Although its a…
I purchased the Stratus 18 for one reason- Speed. Although its a very fast and efficient boat, I was surprised how stable it is for a long, narrow kayak. I've had it out in some pretty decent waves on the Great Lakes and there were no worries at all.
I wasn't planning on using it for week long trips but the gear I can get in it is unbelievable. It makes paddling through the rivers of Northern Ontario a complete delight. It even handles small sets of rapids with ease although that's not what its made for.
As the owner of 4 previous kayaks, the Stratus 18 is by far the best boat I've paddled so far. The only people that don't enjoy it are my paddling buddies who now have to paddle harder to keep up!
The Current Designs Stratus 18 is designed more for racing…
The Current Designs Stratus 18 is designed more for racing or fitness than for as a true touring boat. It would be a handful with a full load and open water. On the other hand, as a fitness boat, it's a delight. Nimble, quick to react, lively enough to edge easily, but very dependable in inland conditions. The new models have a Seal Line rudder system (like the Epic) which is a vast improvement. Where the Stratus really separates itself from the competition is in shallower water. It doesn't suck down like the Epic18, and pops up nicely. No surprises when surfing either.
About the only real negative is the rather poorly finished cockpit ring, which tends to wear on your knees if you paddle 'knees up' K1 style. This can be overcome with a careful foam installation.
The Stratus is a kayak for someone who tours at a brisk…
The Stratus is a kayak for someone who tours at a brisk pace or races. It is efficient at this pace; more so than most sea kayaks. This is acheived by a more rounded, narrower hull, and longer waterline. However this rounded hull is round enough that depending on who you are, may make you sea-sick. I would test this kayak out in waves of a foot and a half or more for at least 20 minutes to see if you have a problem with sea-sickness. That is of course if you ever paddle in these type of conditions. I have never had sea-sickness problems in a kayak before, but the kayaks I've owned or kayaked all had a more shallow hull. I wouldn't say that the Stratus was instable, but you will notice that it has a tendency to be "rolley". It is not rudder-dependent like Epic's 18, however with enough waves you will want a rudder. With that said I do like the more comfortable footrest rudder system of the Epic's (Seal Line) and seat.