Field Tested: Current Designs Vision 140

A predictable and fast recreational touring kayak that will work for almost any paddler

Current Designs Vision 140 photographed from the water in Laguna Beach. June 12, 2011.

Current Designs Vision 140 photographed from the water in Laguna Beach. June 12, 2011.

(L: 14'; W: 24"; 43 LBS.; Composite, $2,399 with skeg or optional rudder; $2,199 without either CDKAYAK.COM)

The Vision 140 has a clean, angular style. It's well crafted, and the Kevlar Hybrid proprietary lay-up is light and stiff. The skeg is well integrated and clean, and the slider is easily accessed and set back a little so it won't get in the way of a paddler's knuckles.

The Current Design weighs in at a svelte 43 pounds, in part because of the builder's light hand with the gel coat. Under very hard use you might have to fill in some chips and scratches now and then; the tradeoff is a light and lively hull.

The seating system is unique. While most seats have adjustable pads and lifts under the thighs to make the seat pan more comfortable, the Vision seat pan pivots at the hips and locks via a simple yet strong lever positioned conveniently between your legs. I found it very comfortable. I like the large cockpit, and it was easy for me to lift my legs up and stretch a little without barking my shins on the cockpit. My size-10 feet had gobs of room. My guess is Sasquatch would like this kayak.

The cockpit is recessed below the deck, which keeps the profile low. I like that detail, but the downside is that if you ever paddle without a sprayskirt, water will run into the cockpit.

The backrest is highly adjustable. I had mine all the way down so as to not interfere with the sprayskirt, and found the back support to be adequate. The backrest is not adjustable from inside the boat, which I don't consider a big deal. If you want to set it on high-back setting, do it before you get in, but in the high position I could not for the life of me put on a sprayskirt. Just keep it low and you'll be happy. Because of the rotating seat pan, you may find you need less back support.

The hatches are very large, and make it easy to load and unload. Both hatches are rubber Tupperware-style hatches, but the front hatch of the Vision 140 is covered with a composite shield that adds to the aesthetics of the Vision. It's another barrier against splashes and protects the hatch cover from UV, the number one killer of rubber hatches.

I like how the Vision paddles. It accelerates quickly and has a nice, lively feel. The initial stability is somewhat less than the more stable boats in the fleet, but it has bombproof secondary stability. Personally, I like that feeling as it does make it easier to edge the kayak without fighting the hull. If you're concerned about initial stability, just paddle it for another half an hour and you'll get used to it. Load it down and you can tap dance in it.

The long waterline makes for a quick boat. It tracks well and is a pleasant kayak, with a predictability that would work for almost any paddler.

 

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Stellar 14 Dagger Stratos Current Designs Vision 140 title= necky Looksha Hurricane Sojourn Delta 14