I recently purchased a Kestrel 140 roto and cannot recommend this kayak based on quality alone. The kayak has major flaws and numerous smaller ones all should have been discovered at the factory prior to the product being shipped. Also, my experience with the representatives at Current Designs including the regional sales reps and the headquarters have been unsatisfactory.
First, the kayak arrived with a large depression in the starboard forward bow. Secondly, the seam between the hull and deck. The bow depression is almost 1" deep by 8" around and is obviously noticeable and should have been discovered at the factory. The seam along the the hull to deck joint has numerous pitting along the entire length of the kayak and again, should have been discovered prior to leaving the factory. Both flaws have been noticed by other kayakers without me bringing them to their attention so the flaws are quite noticeable.
I spoke to the regional representative in regards to these flaws and was told first, that the depression would "pop out" on it's own over time (it hasn't). He also said that the depression probably happened in shipping. This should be one of the strongest areas in a hull and I cannot see how the depression could have happened in shipping. He also told me that the seam could be worked out with heat and a knife (I haven't even attempted to do so and I shouldn't be expected to attempt it). I find this attitude towards quality entirely unsatisfactory. These problems should have been discovered at the factory and weren't. Also the attitude towards the quality complaints were dismissive by Current Design reps.
Based on my experience and the product itself I cannot recommend this kayak or any of the roto kayaks by Current Designs if this is the quality of the other roto kayaks.I have pretty severe health issues, so I was looking for a boat that provided stability and ease of paddling. Since this is my first time ever Kayaking, I was unsure if I could paddle much distance. I decided on a rec boat as I could not envision myself paddling from island to island. Nor an all-day paddle situation.
Before purchasing I tested out the Wilderness systems (Pongo, Palimno) and Perception Carolina. I found those boats much to wide for me as I kept scraping my knuckles on the sides of the cockpit.
Lastly I paddled the Current Designs Kestrel 140 and instantly fell in love with the boat. This boat is a much better boat and handles like a dream in comparison. Current Designs sure did put more performance into this kayak.
Stability is great, speed is some what slow and can paddle like moving a Chevy truck through mud when the wind is up to 20mph. Of course this just might be due to my illness not being able to handle the boat well enough in heavy chop. So I contacted the local outfitter I bought the boat from and they suggested I try and "trim the boat". Once I did this I did not have as much problem with the handling despite the rough chop and wind. Again this could be due to my health status as my husband does not have this issue with his Kestrel 140 Roto. However he does outweigh me by 100 pounds.
I have paddled this boat in 7 different lakes (not open water) and local rivers and wet lands. Luckily we live in "lake country" and have plenty of lakes and rivers to paddle.
I am finding the cockpit not snug enough for me, as my legs just do not make contact with the sides of this boat. Once again I took my "issue" to the local outfitter. They suggested I "outfit the cockpit" to me. Cautioning me against making the cockpit "to snug".
I am rating the Kestrel 140 Roto a 10.
Due to really enjoying myself, I am now wanting to tour and may purchase my first touring kayak later this summer! I had no idea kayaking could be so much fun!