Submitted: 12-02-2010 by wcl
One of the best kayaks you've never heard of, I've owned a Current Designs Cypress (Kevlar) for the past two years. I purchased it after trying out several other kayak designs, including Valley's Aquanaut and Nordkapp, Current Design's Sirocco and Suka, Epic's 18x Performance, Impex Currituck, and P&H's Bahiya and Capella (of various lengths and compositions). I'm 5'10", 155 lbs, and at the time of purchase, I was 57 years old. I was bitten by the kayaking bug after my kids bought me a kayak lesson for my birthday. After a few more classes, I began my search for a boat. Having rented and paddled plastic boats, I decided that I really wanted a boat that I could transport without constant visits to the chiropractor, as well as one that would allow me to grow into as my skills improved. I wanted the Cypress on my first paddle in it Ė the glide was sweet, the fit was good, I just knew we'd get along - but I tried it for a couple more paddles before buying it, and I have been very happy with it.
I don't agree with Current Designs' positioning of the Cypress as a "non-entry level day-tripper," because I think it discourages beginning paddlers from getting one. In reality, to an entry level paddler, EVERY boat is a non-entry level boat. I did my share of getting to know my boat, but I think I would have been doing the same thing in any boat. On one of the first outings with the Cypress in a harbor in perfectly calm water, I capsized when I was trying to navigate between some pilings. I leaned a little too far and found myself swimming. I learned to perfect my paddle float rescue that day. A few months later, I caught my first wave in it and capsized. I didn't lean far enough and found myself swimming. I learned how to side surf that day. Inside of my first year with it, I learned how to roll in it on both my strong and off side. The Cypress has accompanied me on several surf zone classes and spends almost every Saturday and Sunday with me on the Pacific coast or San Francisco Bay. I have parked by butt inside of her cockpit for almost every weekend since purchase, and like a friend that's shared so many experiences and taught me so much about myself, she is still my favorite boat. The Cypress has taken me on the ocean in large swells when my friends convinced me to paddle beyond my fears. I've been at the tide rips at Yellow Bluff where my anxiety was well above my confidence level. And I've been in high winds where every paddler was struggling with directional control.
I know that in the universe of kayaks, you'll be able to find faster boats, and narrower boats, and better rock gardening boats, and boats that roll more easily, and boats that have better stability, and low volume boats that have a lower wind profile. I've been in a few and lusted after some of these boats myself. But if you're looking for an all-around boat that can do a lot of everything and that will reward you for every incremental improvement in your paddling skills, I think you'll be happy with the Cypress.
Hatches seal tightly, and deck lines have held up well. Even after two years of weekend beach launches, the gel coat and finish still look good. Good storage space in the hatches, and the boat behaves well when carrying a load. She is light, so holding position in a strong side wind unloaded will be more difficult than in a plastic boat. The back deck is higher than some classic British designs, but that wonít impede your roll - sometimes when Iím just goofing around with my roll, I take my feet off the pegs and scoot by butt further forward a little while leaning back. I right the boat so fast, I have to brace to prevent from rolling over to the other side.
If youíre looking for a well-appointed all-around tourer with good speed, looks, and the demeanor to match, one that you can grow into as your skills improve and that will inspire your paddling and provide you with the versatility to do all the fun things that come along with the sport, you canít go wrong with a Cypress.