Submitted: 10-31-2003 by jshribbs
After much research and testing, I picked the Current Design (CD) systems over other brands for a hybrid boat. Both the Breeze and Whistler were a cut above the competition in the same length and price range for looks, amount of webbing, keel design, and hardness of plastic. I am 50 years old, 5’ 10’’, 200 lbs., with thick, strong, short legs and wanted a stable boat for exercise on a slow river system, the Petaluma River in California, where I could bird watch, cruise, etc. on a regular basis (90% of my expected water time) and still have enough boat for intermediate paddling situations such as the SF Bay and overnight camping (5-10% of trips). I particularly liked the keel system with the solid, easy-in rest and large beads for raising and lowering the keel. I also liked the larger cockpit with an extra inch of room for my toes, knees, and thighs. I found all the other brands a tad tight and slightly less comfortable. I had to make adjustments on other brands, but I fit right into this one.
I chose the CD Breeze over the CD Whistler since it is much more maneuverable with little loss in speed and storage. The tracking I found is very dependent on the paddling. Moving the center of weight a little, or pressing on one of the petals a little more than the other, or shifting the strokes even a little can affect the turning of the boat. I can keep the boat straight, but have to maintain vigilance on my style. I love its maneuverability, but it has a price.
So why did I buy the Breeze instead of the Whistler, especially since it has less cargo space with only one hatch in the rear, and 1 foot shorter? I will be day tripping over 90% of the time, so I felt the added space was not essential or even necessary. For the few longer trips I can use water proof bags stowed in the front. The $100 savings was not a critical factor since my total cost for an all gear package was in the range of $1700. Being a few pounds lighter did not seem to be much different for loading and unloading. The cruise speeds did not seem that different.
The main factors for going with the Breeze were: 1) greater comfort and 2) greater maneuverability. Even though the Breeze has less depth than the Whistler, it feels like it has more room for toes and knees and just seemed to fit my body better. The Petaluma River system has marshes with sloughs that are narrow so maneuverability became a major factor, especially after I saw a 17 foot racer get stuck trying to turn around. I decided short was better. The cruise speed is similar, but I gave up a lot on tracking and have to constantly correct and consciously maintain good paddling style or tend to drift off course. However, I can turn on a dime and move the kayak in a new direction with a single stroke without having to tip much. In this respect, the Breeze was superior to any boat over 12 feet.
I agree with other reviewers on the seat back. I have excellent posture and sit straight up and want a seat back that can be moved more forward for lumbar support.