Submitted: 05-17-2004 by madsam99
I first paddled the Whistler last July as a rental. I was immediately impressed with it. This boat offered everything I'd been looking for. Its length (14' 6") and width (25") suit me perfectly, both for my size and the type of paddling I do. I am 6' tall, and rather "broad" (i.e. the nice way of saying I weigh 250 lbs). I typically paddle on lakes and on slow moving rivers. I like a stable boat that allows me to stop and take pictures without worrying about stability. However, just because this boat is very stable (one shop owner I know referred to it as "a rock on the water"), don't assume it's a dog. It tracks very well, and turns with no trouble. I first paddled it on a very choppy Susquehana River, and it proved plenty sea-worthy. I've since had it on lakes and rivers where I had to contend with the wake from large motorboats; again, I had no problems in the Whistler. I'd been shopping around for a new boat all summer, and had settled on the Dagger Charleston 14.0. Although the Charleston is every bit as pleasant to paddle, and priced the same, the Current Designs construction just seamed better. I believe this "better construction" is mainly due to thicker plastic, and this does add a few pounds. I am still able to car-top it by myself though. Although it is equipped to handle a rudder, I do not believe you need one for this boat. I reccomend purchasing it without the rudder; you can easily add one later. I did have to remove the thigh braces, and outfit the cockpit to my liking. I simply added strips of foam padding to where my thighs make contact. I am also considering adding foam to the seat (molded plastic, and very hard). I do think that all of these boat makers could learn something from Wildernes Systems when it comes to seat design. I was able to pick-up this boat for $725 during an end-of-season clearance sale last year. I felt I got a lot of boat for the money, considering the length, two bulkheads, and great outfitting including a "hurricane cover" for the front hatch, and extensive deck rigging. Even at the list price of $845, you'll be hard-pressed to find better value. If you are a big guy/girl, and you're looking for a solid day-touring kayak at a reasonable price - check out the Whistler.