Lee Richardson reviews the Sisu HV Kayak from Current Designs
I recently started paddling the Current Designs Sisu High Volume (HV). My first surf in this new boat was at Skookumchuck Narrows and it left me wondering when I would get to be in that kayak again. I had been trying a few different kayaks to see what I would select to be my favorite to use for sea kayak surfing. I was hoping to find something I could use in tidal races, that would be useful for touring, and be good in the surf. I had tried a few different surf boats and had some great times in all of them. The day I got the Sisu on the wave at Skookumchuck I knew this boat was going to be right for me.
There are 5 things I love about the Sisu from Current Designs.
It is maneuverable and, with the Swede form, it also tours and tracks well. The kayak is designed to be nimble yet track, which makes it great to handle, not to mention the hard chine allows the paddler to feel more stable and set and hold edge angles. The defined edges allow the paddler to feel when they get the bow and stern keel-lines out of the water and allows them to get the kayak to turn on a dime.
The Sisu is quite light and can be handled by a single person with ease but the layup is light and you have to be gentle with it. The kind of paddling I do it may even be a bit too light in the model I currently have, my next one will have a thicker layup, that is a personal choice I would make. If you aren’t paddling it in as rough off spots as me and don’t have it on and off vehicles three or four times a week, this layup would be fine.
It is so comfy. I have the foot pegs backed up as far as I can so I can get the tightest fit possible while surfing. There is room for me to adjust my knees and stretch my legs out between sets, this is key when surfing a lot. This would also be super helpful for longer paddles when you need a rest.
The 11 gallon day hatch is a great size and can easily store lunch, a small bag of dry gear, and safety gear. It is extremely helpful to have everything in a central location. Surfing with this hatch full of necessary gear is a breeze because the weight is in the right part of the kayak.
Speed of the Hull –
This is my number one for this kayak: it is fast. It feels like it actually accelerates through the turns when on edge. This is unique in my experience, some of the other kayaks designed for surf seem to slow down through the turn, and maybe even start to push a little water. The Sisu seems to accelerate through the turns. I have had a chance to experiment a little with the Low Volume as well, it handles similarly but I think because of the change in volume it slows down a bit through the turns.
The only two things I would change:
1. Placement of footpegs. Because I am shorter, they are too far forward and I need to shift the whole footpeg system back 3 or four inches.
2. Layup. I already have quite a few good dings in the hull. I need a tougher layup for the type of paddling I do, and because I am moving the kayak around almost daily.
I love this boat and would highly recommend it. It handles nicely and provides me with the flexibility of having a kayak that can surf as well as handle more touring style paddling.