Submitted: 06-06-2007 by pikabike
I sold the Squall two years ago, but thought a final review might be useful for some people.
I have substantially downgraded the rating from 9 to 6, mainly because of quality issues, at least one of which I identified only well after the long AK trip. There is also a handling quirk that I first thought was "just me" but turns out was not.
First, the defects:
Back to the handling quirk... though it weathercocked in slight wind (as expected), in moderate to hard wind it became extremely *difficult* to turn into the wind. I thought it was my newness to paddling. Only after having paddled several other sea kayaks and owning two different designs (different from the Squall and different from each other), I realized that it's not "just me." (Minus a 3rd point.)
- The kayak came with some slightly misaligned bolts (left and right not straight across), which didn't seem to affect function.
- It never sat flat on the water but listed to one side. Later on, I noticed that it was getting more and more banana-shaped, curving to the left. However, if the left side was in strong sun and the right side shaded, it would straighten out or even begin to curve to the right. When left indoors for a long time, it always resumed a slight curve to the left. Again, I thought its tendency to pull left was "just me"--it wasn't. This boat was warped from the gitgo, and though at first it didn't matter, it got noticeable and very irritating as it warped/curved more. (Minus 1 point for this.)
- While in AK, the rear hatch compartment took on lots of water, between 1 and 2 cups per day. It had never leaked so much before. Mid-trip, I sealed all bolted areas with silicone sealant and I sprayed the neoprene hatch under covers with waterproofing spray. The leaking continued. Months after the trip ended, I thought about the fact that the leakage was worse when I had had the stern parked in water (bow on land). I finally took a close look at where the rudder pin goes into the top of the stern... and I found an ugly blobbed-over area there. I compared it with my husband's Storm, and his did NOT have any such blob. It was, apparently, a clumsy repair to a cracked or worn spot. (Minus another point.)
This boat came to me as "new," with cheesecloth over it. No scratches. I don't know who did the repair, but if this is what CD represents as first-quality specimens, I will never buy from them again.
The only reason I am leaving the rating as high as 6 is because the Squall is very forgiving, and it has a long glide on calm water. Although I dislike the high deck, some people might actually prefer that for its dry ride and "keep me away from the water" feel.
But due to quality issues alone, I will never buy CD again.