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Submitted: 01-20-2014 by DJH
Just purchased the Current Designs Solstice GT Titan. Ordered the boat in Kevlar layup with the Dimension Seat Back and Smart Rudder. Purchased through Village Outfitters in Cocoa, FL. Special props to them, a great shop with great people.
Firstly, I am a rather large paddler, 6'3" and 250 lbs with an athletic build. I already own a CD Extreme HV in Kevlar (renamed Nomad GTS HV) which I love except, is a little small for me. With a cockpit size of 29.5x 15 and a seat width of 21.25 it made for a tight fit of my 22 in wide bottom and 36 in legs. I was unable to draw my knees up as the cockpit hit me mid thigh. Made for some gymnastics boarding as I had to lay on the deck and pencil myself into the cockpit. Once in the boat, though tight, fit like a glove and handled beautifully. In comes the new Solstice GT Titan.
First, the fit and finish is what I've come to expect from CD. Absolutely beautiful. The boat really is considerably larger (1 foot shorter at 17'7" but felt much deeper than its extra 1/2 inch, 14.25 vs 13.75). The 3 inches of extra width was very noticeable, 24.25 vs 21.25. The keyhole cockpit hatch at 35 in long vs the 29.5 was awesome. Made for much easier boarding and exiting while allowing to draw up knees on long paddles. This was the main reason for buying this kayak.
The interior volume, as said was much larger than expected. Unlike the Extreme that fit like an extension of part of my body with legs securely in the braces and feet on the pedals, the Titan had a lot of room to move around. I found myself using the keyhole to brace as the built-in braces were too high and wide to be effective. I'll have to add some padding to customize the fit.
This boat could easily handle someone much taller and larger than my 6'3" 250lbs size. Props to CD on the dimension seat back. It is well worth the money as it is the most comfortable thing I've ever paddled. The smart rudders are also excellent. The pedals stay fixed for solid bracing while the rudder moves with just a slight toe pressure on the pedals attached and just above (like an airplane braking system). Deploying and retracting from the cockpit is extremely easy and positive.
Only complaint (a small one) is that for storing in a rack, the rudder folds either fully down or pointing straight up (as far as I can tell). Unlike the basic rudder that retracts all the way up and over to lie flat on the rear deck. This leaves a shark tail sticking up that can hit the ceiling or a rack above the boat. It's remedied easily enough as the rudder itself has a quick release pin and is removable.
As for the handling of the Titan. It was awesome while the deck did feel slightly higher it wasn't really a big factor on crosswinds. Even thought the boar was a foot shorter and 3" wider than the Extreme, the extra volume made the boat sit higher in the water for my heavy weight. This definitely made the boat feel more lively and a little faster for me. This might be different for a smaller paddler but the Titan is aimed at the larger paddler.
Overall, first impression is very good for the Solstice Titan. A very nice handling, well made, and attractive boat for the larger paddler. I'm sure after I get the inner cockpit padded with some closed cell foam to customize the fit, it will be absolutely outstanding.
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