T he Current Designs Storm has been completely redesigned for 2004. Brian Henry designed the original Storm, the first rotomolded polyethylene kayak from Current Designs, in 1994. It was based on the template of his flagship composite design, the do-it-all, beginner-friendly Solstice GT.

Current Designs Storm Specs
Length: 17’ 1”
Width: 24”
Depth: 14.75”
Weight polymer: 64 lbs
Cockpit: 32.5” x 17.5”
Rear hatch: 15” – oval
Forward hatch: 9” – round
Total volume: 394 litres
MSRP: $1,349 USD / $1,999 CAD

Plastic was difficult to shape in the same lines as fibreglass, so the original Storm was a compromise with a slightly more rounded cross section and more rocker than the Solstice. It had a little less tracking and stability, but was still a great all-around touring kayak. The public quickly fell in love with the Storm.

Now, with over 5,000 well-loved Storm kayaks in use, there were bound to be a few complaints. Common nitpicks about the old Storm were “oil-canning” (concave denting of the hull, once common in plastic boats), weathercocking and the finicky nature of the neoprene inner hatch covers on plastic lips.

What’s new with the Storm

Current Designs has addressed the rigidity issue by introducing stiffer materials in recent years. Other wishes on the list have been ticked off by this year’s complete redesign. Newer rotomolding technology allow the new Storm to be shaped closer to Brian Henry’s original vision.

With a tad less rocker and a flatter hull, the new Storm paddles more like the Solstice, with steady tracking and a minimal tendency to weathercock into a crosswind. The old neoprene hatches have been replaced. Other tweaks include lower decks fore and aft of the cockpit for ease of entry and layback rolling, and a more streamlined feel. Designers retained the roomy cockpit by moving the volume outboard towards the chines.

While predictable and stable, the Storm is also a graceful kayak that’s as fast and manoeuvrable as any boat in her class. This durable, affordable plastic kayak offers room to carry gear on extended voyages. Little Goldilocks might want a smaller boat like the Current Designs Squamish, but for any mid- to large-sized paddler, the boat that was “juuust right” to begin with is now even better.

Notable features of the updated Storm sea kayak

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Klutz-resistant hatches: The old Storm’s finicky neoprene hatches have been replaced by the rubber Kajak-Sport hatches found on many high-end composite kayaks. Ours lived up to their watertight rep and were remarkably easy to peel off or thump back on. The front hatch is protected by a plastic cover that’s flush with the rest of the deck, adding to the clean lines and overall dry ride.

Groovy rudder: The rudder uphaul/downhaul system is a pair of lines on the rear deck threaded with large red baubles. The lightweight plastic rudder sits firmly into a molded groove in the deck that flares near the stern so that you don’t have to look behind you to centre the rudder when you pull it up. The foot pedals are mounted on a sturdy aluminum rail and are smooth and easy to adjust.

Roomy cockpit: The Storm’s cockpit is generous, with ample room to lift the knees out while sitting and lots of volume in the sides of the boat for long legs and big feet. Foam-padded plastic thigh braces are bolted under the coaming. They don’t provide the stiff, aggressive support of the latest whitewater-inspired outfitting, but they do give adequate, comfortable thigh contact and fit long legs well. Over the years Current Designs has made its seats longer and less deeply bucketed, eliminating pressure points and providing good support under the thighs.

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