by Scott Rawstorne
Current Designs kayaks have been available in Australia for some time and many kayakers will have experienced or at least seen popular models like the Storm, the Squall, the Pacifica and the Crosswind. However you may not know that Current Designs first started producing quality kayaks in Canada in the 1970s and they now have an wide range of beautiful boats. The latest kayak in my fleet is the gorgeous Current Designs Solstice GT which you may have seen in many of the photos taken on my recent South Australian research trip.
The entire range of Current Designs touring and sea kayaks will soon be available through Global Paddler. We are proud to be able to offer you a range of kayaks designed by paddlers for paddlers. We will be making it possible for everyone to test paddle selected models in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales and we will give a free introductory lesson to anyone who buys a new Current Designs kayak from us. For those reasons and without further ado, I would now like to reintroduce you to the top quality Current Designs brand of kayaks.
The following article was taken from the Current Designs 2014 catalogue.
The Story of Current Designs Kayaks
The West Coast of British Columbia is wild, beautiful, and home to some of the best sea kayaking on the planet. Adventurous explorers had long been using sea kayaks as the craft of choice to travel these magnificent waters when Brian Henry started paddling the coastal waterways. But Brian was a visionary, and as time went by, he saw the need for better boats and equipment for true kayak enthusiasts. It was at this moment in the late 1970’s Current Designs was born.
Brian started small, as most boat builders do, designing and building kayaks to enable his friends and him to better explore these waters. Brian quickly became well known locally for his kayaking trips and paddling skills. In 1981 he took his passion a step further by opening Ocean River Sports, a specialty store on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, in Victoria, B.C. This small retail shop formed the foundation for launching Current Designs to the world.
Brian’s first production kayaks were designed and built in early 1982 with the introduction of the Pisces and Equinox. These models were pure West-coast cruisers and became the cornerstone of the Current Designs brand. In 1984 Brian introduced the Solstice kayak family. These boats were a unique blend of North American and European design that were visually appealing, functional, comfortable, and extremely efficient. The Solstice family was extremely successful and to this day is the flag ship line for Current Designs.
As the market for sea kayaks grew, new designs, refinements and quality improvements became necessary. Campbell Black, a plastics specialist, became a major working partner in the company and under his leadership, production techniques and quality assurance improved. New models were introduced through partnerships with world famous designers. Legendary British kayaker Derek Hutchinson teamed with Current Designs to produce such great kayaks as the Gulfstream, Slipstream, and Andromeda. New England-based kayak designer Barry Buchanan partnered with Current Designs to manufacture his famous hard chined kayak, the Caribou. Most recently Nigel Foster and Current Designs brought the Rumour to the world’s waters.
Rotomolded polyethylene kayak production was quickly added to Current Designs’ manufacturing repertoire. These rugged kayaks introduced the Current Designs brand to first-time buyers, outfitters and rental operations at amazingly affordable prices. The success of these rotomolded kayaks flowed directly from the designs of their composite sisters. Continuous research and development in design, materials and manufacturing techniques helped maintain Current Designs promise of quality, innovation and performance.
As the popularity of kayaking boomed, Current Designs applied their expertise to develop a recreational kayak family, the Kestrels. The Kestrels set the standard for what is possible in a recreational kayak by delivering paddling efficiency and comfort in innovative, light weight constructions. These super-stable crafts are responsible for unlocking the thrill of kayaking to many thousands world wide. In another manufacturing first, Current Designs introduced the light weight Vision family of transitional kayaks in 2008. Together with their sea kayak sisters, the Visions and Kestrels broadened Current Designs into the fullest and finest line of kayaks ever produced.
In 1991, Wenonah Canoe, Inc., the leading American manufacturer of composite canoes, was selected as the strategic partner to distribute Current Designs kayaks in the United States. The synergy between the companies was immediately evident, both companies produced the highest quality paddling products and were passionate about their products and paddling. Wenonah Canoe became the majority owner of Current Designs in 1999. Soon after, Wenonah Canoe completed the acquisition and in 2004 moved its home base to the small Mississippi River town of Winona, MN.
Today, Current Designs and its parent company Wenonah Canoe continue to operate with the same values that trace back to their first boats; innovation, superior construction, performance, and extraordinary service.
For more information about the Current Designs range of touring and sea kayaks or to arrange a test paddle please contact Scott Rawstorne at Global Paddler using the Contact us page of the Global Paddler website.