Submitted: 06-02-2007 by NelsonL
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.