I've had my WS Tarpon 160i…
- I've had my WS Tarpon 160i for nearly 17 years. The river will claim it before I sell it and buy another. I'm still complemented on it every time I take it out. I will agree that the seat stays soggy, but after all, it's a water sport craft. It's nothing some wet gear or rain pants can't resolve. I can haul everything needed for a week long expedition. If capsized, I can roll it back over and re-mount without shoring. If WS was still making these, I might have purchased another. There is nothing better than the WS Tarpon 160i. Bring it back Wilderness Systems!
The Tarpon 160i is a…
The Tarpon 160i is a phenomenal kayak.
Stability and speed are top notch, and compared to other non-peddle-drive kayaks, the fishability is top tier.
ocean: launching through rough surf has not been an issue in this kayak. With proper technique, the hull design slices through crashing waves easily. The downside to this solution is that it is nothing close to a dry ride. Once you are past the surf, the Tarpon does a great job of riding swells without feeling unstable. The flush Mount rod holders are at a trolling angle, if that is your thing. Despite the length, the Tarpon is pretty good at riding waves on the way back to shore.
bay: the length allows you to take this boat much further distances compared to other fishing yaks. The rudder is a big help in extending range and speed even further. Easily handles boat wakes without much need to take head on in most cases. If I am extremely cautious and in sheltered water, I can just get away with standing to throw a cast net... though I will admit I have taken more than a few falls learning this technique. Plenty of room on board for a live well, cooler, extra tackle, and dry bags.
If you can pick one up used, do it. You don’t have to worry too much about past abuse because WS built these to be fairly indestructible. I added an aftermarket seat for comfort on longer trips which has been nice. My only complaints with this boat are that 1) it is a fairly wet ride. It is common to end up sitting in a puddle after a while which I am still trying to solve. And 2) when using shorter fishing rods, it can be difficult to get the line up and over the front of the boat if your fish switches sides during a fight (because of the long length). Overall, fantastic boat and I really wish Wildey would bring this model back - not that I will ever replace the 160i, but because others need to experience this platform.
I have paddled the WS tarpon…
I have paddled the WS tarpon 160i for 4 years now and love it more than ever. It is comfortable for long trips and is very fast for a SOT. I tried several SINK kayaks and didn't like being confined into kayak. It is much cooler to paddle in summer as I can hang my feet in water and still be stable.
I am currently enjoying my…
I am currently enjoying my 4th season on my Tarpon 160i. This boat is heavy, but once in the water, I love its stability and speed. You don't need to carry a pump, because there is really nothing to fill up. If water does get into the cockpit, it runs back out thru the scuppers. If I should end up in the water, I can get back on. This boat fits my requirements very well, and I highly recommend it.
Good but not fantastic
Good but not fantastic
I have had my WS Tarpon 160…
I have had my WS Tarpon 160 for several years now. I bought it new and it was my first and only yak. I purchased it with the rudder system installed. I don't see changing to any other make or model.
I use it for fishing and have added several creature features. The large hatch covers made the instillation easy. I am planning on a trip through the Everglades and finding I will have plenty of room for gear and provisions.
One purchases a long boat for speed and tracking and the Tarpon 160 has both. That being said turning a 16' boat around in a narrow channel with paddles is a chore for anyone; the rudder system is a big help. Nothing beats boat length at the end of the day and several miles to paddle back. The tracking and glide length of the Tarpon 160 makes you happy with your purchase. As with everyone else the weight going up and on a SUV is an issue. I just say it's keeping me fit.
Comparing this to other brands, there is not a better built or one with better features. Again, I don't see a reason to change make or model and would recommend this boat to anyone.
Have enjoyed my Tarpon 160i…
Have enjoyed my Tarpon 160i for the past year. Lots of trips to the local lakes in the Detroit area. Great trips in Lake Erie and Lake Superior Pictured Rocks. Look forward to the 2010 season!
I have had my 160i for one…
I have had my 160i for one year now and it has never let me down. I paddle in the ocean, fishing or just paddling, it is faster than any kayak I have come across, and tracks like a rocket which is great out in the ocean covering miles at a time. Stability is rock solid, never been tossed even in 5-8' swells with wind. Capacity is amazing on camping trips to Colorado River. I now have two so I am not lonely. I have spoken with people who have traversed to the Channel Island National Park from Ventura and Santa Barbara, more than 20 miles of ocean. I will never get rid of mine. The one problem is WEIGHT - it is a beast to cartop, but a dream on the water.
This past weekend I took my…
This past weekend I took my tarpon 160i out in the Chesapeake Bay and it handled some pretty rough conditions. The waves from large boats were coming from many directions, and the wind was blowing around 15-20 mph, yet the boat was stable in all of the confused waves. Additionally, the boat tracked REALLY well and I did not even use the rudder. My biggest concern was that cockpit would fill up with water if I opened up the drains, since I weigh 220 lbs and the boat sits pretty low. But to my surprise the boat drained out even when I took multiple waves over the side.
This is probably one of the most stable boats I have paddled. One thing that I don't like about the boat is that it is not as fast as my touring kayak. The boat is 28" wide and it is a lot slower that my sit in kayak. I really had to tug on the paddle to keep the boat moving in the rough conditions. The other thing I don't like about the boat is that it is really heavy and very difficult to put on top of the car by myself. I am 6'4" 220 lbs so typically it is not too tough to lift a kayak overhead to put on the car. But the Tarpon really gives you a workout probably because there is no good place to grab the boat to lift it overhead.
After 3 summers of paddling…
After 3 summers of paddling our Tarpon 160i's all over the Eastern Shore of MD we give them a 10+. Initially we paddled sheltered areas close to shore but as we have learned the capabilities of these kayaks we have ventured into large open river and bay areas. They handle light to moderate chop without any loss of control. In windy conditions we have no complaints on their ability to track in a straight line. Waves from the side often result in some extra water in the cockpit, but the stability of these kayaks is amazing.
We have found that using a paddle a length longer than normal results in less paddle drip in the boat. In rough/windy conditions wearing rain pants serves the same purpose as a spray skirt. We carry both on a set of Thule Slide and Glide racks on top of a Toyota Highlander without any trouble. Due to the weight they would be extremely difficult for one person to load, although we have a friend who loads his alone all the time. We would never consider replacing these kayaks with a Sit inside.
I just bought 2 Tarpon 160i's…
I just bought 2 Tarpon 160i's '08 model w/ Comfort Seating Systems from Sierra Trading Post for $632 each a couple of weeks ago. They were seconds but they look new to me. These are the first boats I have ever had or paddled and I love em. NO COMPLAINTS PERIOD! Finally took the plunge after reading review after review on all kinds of kayaks for 9 months.
I got to say these yaks are nice. No leaks, no shavings, no damage, no problem turning either and I am a beginner. I am 5'10" 170 and ran her without scuppers and didn't notice hardly any water at all. Track great and can't wait to put in again.
This is the best of the best.…
This is the best of the best. Wilderness Systems is a top manufacturer of kayaks. This boat tracks well while still turning well. Very stable. I prefer sit-on-top kayaks for their versatility, and this is the best sit-on-top you can get. The Tarpon 160i laughs at waves and slices through the strongest currents.
After long hesitations I…
After long hesitations I decided to move from my beautiful orange Prowler 15 to an even better looking bright orange T160i. Although I've paddled this kayak before, I was concerned about it's (too) strong tracking but since talked a lot to other paddlers using this yak an repaddling it a few more times i really fell in love with it.
This is definitely not the yak a novice will feel right at home for the first time. Its turning characteristics are really poor, but I've found ways to improve them: first, leaning forward while making the turn (not only sideways). the other, using a longer than usual paddle. A low angle straight shaft of 240 cm works great for me.
This kayak works great for fishing it's faster than most out there it has more stability than the prowler 15. It's still a wet ride, not much more than the P15 but a lot more than the 'desert' Trident 15. The new '09 model is totally redone hope they only improved it not ruining whats already one of the greatest fast-fishing yaks on the planet.
Bought a WS Tarpon 160i…
Bought a WS Tarpon 160i recreational version used for a third of its price, added a Scotty Baitcast Rod Holder on the front console with the mini extension to clear rod butt & reel from my feet, one Fish Finder on a Ram Mount & two flush mount rod holders behind the seat.
First impressions are that the T160i is a tippy craft with poor secondary stability but that is not true, paddler needs to brain-body synch with the kayak and then she becomes a rock solid seaworthy kayak.
At 16 feet in length & advertised as 65 pounds she might sound on the heavy side for loading & carrying but her sleek lines with a 28 inches width makes her easy to car top.
The T160i comes with the layout ready to install a rudder but I haven’t found enough grounds to do so; 20 mph winds & feisty seas are home for this excellent well thought out kayak.
Speed is a plus with an astounding capability; maneuverability is excellent despite her length.
Take into account that I am talking about an used 4 years old kayak and yet finishing & craftsmanship still hold up to the rigors of saltwater kayak fishing.
I give her a 10 for layout, seaworthiness, maneuverability & speed. People with more knowledge than me on these matters have stated that everyone wants a light kayak on land & a large capable one on the water:
It is in fact a rule of the thumb, a minor hassle on land pays out big time while you are out there.
If you are a sit on top kayaker looking for a trustworthy kayak for long trips with large capacity for loading/carrying stuff & covering long distances you might like to consider the T160i, there is nothing like it on the market.
I've been in the market for a…
I've been in the market for a fishing yak lately and as a result have been doing some pretty extensive research.
This weekend I had the opportunity to test out all of the yaks I've been considering at Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo, FL. They had an open demo this weekend and were allowing visitors to test out all the latest yaks on the market. I tried out the WS Tarpon 160i, the Tarpon 140 and the OK Trident.
I would have to say that the 160i was my favorite by far. The Trident was just a barge. It felt like I was riding a giant baked potato! The WS 140 was nice, but it didn't track as well as I would have liked and it lacked a little bit in the speed department. The 160i however was a dream!
I tried the 160i, both with a rudder, and without. While it still tracked well without, you can definitely notice the difference the rudder makes. There was a moderate wind and I was very close to shore and I noticed the difference so I can only imagine the difference it makes for those really windy days.
Besides for the handling, I also thought that all the WS yaks were superior in finish to all the other yaks that were there. The finish on these boats looks a lot more expensive than the boat actually is. Also, the attention to detail is just superb. I really liked the hatch lids "tupperware" style closure over other manufacturers complicated clips and straps.
It's also designed quite ergonomically. I'm not a tall guy by any stretch of the imagination and this is a long boat. However, I could easily reach everything on the boat from a seated position in the cockpit. I especially like the height adjustable seat which is new for 2008.
I also found that it felt quite stable when standing up for those that like to stand in their yaks. I'm not sure if I'd stand while fishing the gator and shark filled waters of Flamingo but that's just me ;-)
So all in all, I would have to say that I highly recommend the Tarpon 160i above the other WS Tarpons and definitely over anything produced by Ocean Kayaks.
Oh, and the only reason I didn't give it a 10 was because I wasn't crazy about how it turned. But I guess it didn't do too bad for being 16ft long.
Bought a 2001 Tarpon 16,…
Bought a 2001 Tarpon 16, loved it so much I bought a new 2006. Had to return the 2006 due to hull leak from stern rudder nut insert damage from shipping, recently was given a 2007 in replacement, that also had leaks,this time in the cargo area both drain holes where the upper and lower shells were to be joined. Working on this now with the dealer to resolve. The boat is otherwise excellent and fast. I have 7 other kayaks from small to large. Love this boat, my wife is getting one too. Watch for leaks, test it by filling up with water, then finding the holes where it leaks out. Watch for stern damage to the rudder insert nuts from shipping, that was the main leak source on the 2006. Seat does collect puddle, I wonder why the set aft drain holes are not further down or just have one in the middle center seat. I have no rudder, will see how it goes next week on Eastern Shore, VA.
I love this boat. It's fast,…
I love this boat. It's fast, tracks well in crosswinds and following seas. The cockpit is pretty dry, although you can be sitting in a puddle all day. I feel secure in rough water. I've had it in 25 knot winds without problems. I can get back into it from deep water without a problem. It's my first kayak, but it's a keeper.
I've had my 160i for almost…
I've had my 160i for almost two years. It followed my first purchases of a Tarpon 120 and Tempest 170. I have been extremely happy with all three kayaks. The 160i provides more speed than the 120, and tracks very well. Being 6'2" and 240 lbs. comfort and room are always a consideration. The 160i gives both. It is used for both fishing and day cruising. Living on a great little island where Tampa Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico, they all get a lot of use. The 160i easily handles all the gear needed for tournament or just laid back fishing. The only minor draw back, a little tricky in the mangrove cuts and some of the smaller rivers. I have always been happy with the quality of Wilderness System kayaks, enough to make my latest purchase of a Pungo 140.
After 5 days paddling a variety of conditions on Maryland's Eastern Shore we easily rate our Tarpon 160i's a 9. They track well in any condition, and we've seen both wind and light chop the last few days. We've used them on winding creeks, large rivers and the more open waters of Chincoteaque Bay. The ease of entry and exit, the comfortable seating position and the large storage capacity if needed are all pluses. They act more like a touring kayak then ever expected. As noted in several other reviews the finish work leaves a little something to be desired.(That's the 9 instead of a 10). There are large amounts of shavings in both the compartments and one of the foot braces immediatly popped off because a screw was loose. Drain plugs underneath the seat would also be a plus. Dripped water tends to puddle there and the seat soaks it up. But they are SOT, if you dress right you'll never notice. Put the scupper plugs in the holes just in front of the seat instead of the foot well and you will collect much less water.The paddle holders are a nice touch which get very handy. We paddled a variety of sit in kayaks and had almost chosen the ones we considered appropriate for us for day trips on the rivers and protected bays. Then we tried the Tarpon 160i SOT and realized they were a solution we had never considered. With the addition of thigh straps they'll be almost perfect. My husband is 6 ft. 2 and I'm 5 ft 2 and these work great for both of us. If you want a little more freedom than a sit in side give these a try.
I purchased my first kayak 18…
I purchased my first kayak 18 months ago; a Wilderness T-140. Within a month, and after reading comments on this review page, I purchased my first of 3 T-160i's. I now also have a Necky Elaho XL sit-in. I kayak 1-3 times a week in Pensacola Bay and the adjacent Bayous. We have formed a local Kayaking group and every opportunity I get, I try out other members boats. In my experience, the T-160i is as good as it gets in a sot. It's performance in terms of speed and tracking (no rudder) is fantastic! It has all the advantages of a sot with near sit in performance. I love my Necky Elaho, but if I could only have one kayak here in Florida, it would be the T-160i. By the way, I'm 6'2, 210lbs with size 13 feet and have had lower back surgery....this boat is the most comfortable boat I've ever paddled. I now have 2 more, one for my 5'2" 118 lb wife, and one for "guest" paddlers. To top it all off, they look great too!!! The lines are reminiscent of a nice sit in. If I could sustain 5 miles an hour in it, I'd give it a perfect 10! Apparantly, Wilderness does have some QA shortcomings. My wife's boat came with the foot peg rails installed in the wrong position, and another member of our group received his boat with no drain plug hole drilled in it. Also they tend to come with all the plastic "shavings' from the fabrication drilling still in the boat.
I have owned 2 T160; the…
I have owned 2 T160; the current one is the "i" model. It is my go anywhere boat. I've paddled it in 3-4' confused waves(beat me to death, but the boat was great), mild rapids, rocky rivers, serious wind and it did very well in all conditions. I like the "i" because I can put my coler in the tankwell.
The 8 is for the weight. A prince on the water, but a beast to handle off.
Bought my T160i and have used…
Bought my T160i and have used it extensively here in California for nearshore fishing and even took it out for a power boat assisted multiday Channel Islands trip. As many of the other reviews indicate, the T160i's hull cuts through waves and wind much better than most all sit on tops. For a touring-type hull this boat is stable enough to fish from and provides good storage capacity. I'm 6'4" 230lbs and carry a full load of fishing gear with no problems. Getting to the front hatch takes some practice but I'm able to access my stowed fishing rods without too much trouble. The boat's layout is good and allows installation of the necessities (fish finder and add'l rod holders, etc.). You will trade some stability and carrying capacity with this boat though.
I got my WS T160i in June of…
I got my WS T160i in June of this year. And have fished any and every kind of waters from rivers to off shore. It has met my expectations in all areas but one. That being I sit in water most of the time, no matter the conditions .6'3" 225 lb w/ less than 30 lbs of gear. Speed 10, tracking 10, stability 9, wet ride 7, lay out 10, seat 10,(I think the factory seat is great) I will add some kind of keeper to the front hatch. Came off while going out through the surf. That was the only problem I had going beyond the breakers. Oh, by the way it can be tipped over if your turned around in your seat trying take pictures to show how far out you are and you get hit by a six foot roller! But it was easy to turn over and re-enter. I am pleased w/ this yak and would say it's the best 16' SOT out there. I tried four other of the top brands, before I bought mine. Paddle as many kayaks as you can so you can make the right decision. Let's go fishing!
This is my first kayak. The…
This is my first kayak. The Tarpon 160i is a great SOT. My boat is the 2006 model with the tank well. I store a medium sized cooler perfectly in the tank well with room to spare for other storage.
I’ve paddled several trips of 6 miles in a flat spillway with ease, finishing in under two hours with energy to spare. On two of the trips, my friend in a Seda Impulse went along and I kept up with him easy enough at 3.5 mph average speed.
Just this weekend, I went to Horn Island off the Mississippi Coast with two friends in who had expensive sit in kayaks. I was worried that in the wind and chop I couldn’t keep up, but really I had no problem paddling with them. I worked a little harder to maintain speed, but the head wind (heavy at 15 to 20 mph) and choppy seas (1.5 to 2.0 foot) were no problem. A few times tugs boats passed and increased the swells to 3.0 foot and the Tarpon crashed right through. We made the 6-mile paddle in a little over 3-hours but the head wind was murder.
I’m 6.0 foot, 245 lbs and my boat was loaded with about 100lbs of camping gear, food and water, so it sat low in the water. The scupper holes were under and the entire time I sat in water because of choppy waves crashing into the boat. No problem, it was a hot day.
Very stable boat - nearly impossible to tip over without actually trying. Speed is Good – but I had to work harder to keep up with my friends in their sit in kayaks. In choppy seas, plan to sit in water – the waves crash over the boat and work to drain towards the back under the seat scupper holes.
The center 6-inch dry storage is perfect for cell phone and camera (In water tight bags of course). The bungeed center drink holder is perfect to keep hydration quick at hand. The bungeed paddle holders on either side work great - quick and easy to secure the paddle.
Easy boat to sit on sideways, with legs dangling in the water, to access drinks or whatever from the rear storage. A little heavy at 68lbs, but since it’s roto-molded plastic, no worries about damaging it while putting it on/off the vehicle.
I purchased 2 T160i's w/o…
I purchased 2 T160i's w/o rudder plus accessories from a dealer in Myrtle Beach SC a few months ago. Our intended use is fishing and touring. My wife and I are both beginners and have found our 160's to track and turn well (glad we did not spend the extra money for the rudder), paddle easy enough even into the wind (gloves protect the hands from the handles), and to be very stable. We use our 160's on the intracoastal waterway so are subjected to some fairly large wake and at times some decent sized windblown waves but stability has not been a issue even when we do not have the time or space to turn to better handle wake. Even though we have little to compare with, we have no problem giving the T160's a 10 rating for performance. Quality control however is a different matter. The finishing work left a bit to be desired. Not knowing the technical term for the mold line running from bow to stern, I found that to be quite unfinished in places (that is not sanded smooth) on one unit and that unit still contained much manufacturing waste material (small item but for that kind of money you should be able to expect a cleaned unit). The other unit did not have the drain plug drilled or installed and some rough spots. As usually happens, we did not notice these things prior to bringing the units home. In this area I give the units a 7. I recommend a very close inspection of the unit prior to accepting delivery to save yourself some time and inconvenience. Overall I rate the 160i a 9.
This is my first Kayak. At…
This is my first Kayak. At first I was going to purchase one of those cheap $250 used kayaks to paddle around with my kid. I've had it for about 10 days now and I’ve been out 4 times. I just love Kayaking. I live in La Jolla California and I’ve had it out in the surf and some HUGE swells, I’ve paddled through thick kelp beds with no problem. Just pulled up the rudder. I am very impressed with all the storage and the way its setup. Today I took my 5yr old boy out for about 3 hours. He sat in the back open storage area and had a blast. This boat is so stable that while we were out there he climbed from the back, over my shoulder and sat between my legs for a while then climbed back. I can access all the storage areas while underway if I need a warm jacket or a snack. I’m hooked 10 out of 10!!!
I have owned my Tarpon 160i…
I have owned my Tarpon 160i for two months and use it in my West Florida area in the coastal marshes and out in the Gulf for day-long key-hopping.
Impressions? Wow, I LOVE this kayak!! I like the new deck design because it incorporates the features, like a small hatch between my legs for my wallet, cell phone, etc. The larger fore and aft hatches are excellent for storage. The large open well for dive fins and snorkel, dive tank, etc is simply perfect for my particular needs. This deck design suits my needs.
I am not a fisherman and do not really care for the deck design criteria built into the older 160 models. Others do, of course, and more power to them.
This kayak is EXTREMELY stable in both initial and secondary areas. It is very roomy and comfortable. I did remove the factory plastic backrest because I found it uncomfortable. A Wilderness Systems accessory low seat assembly with the stock plastic seat back removed has worked much better. Not really a criticism, just my particular body build worked better with the other seat arrangement.
Paddling effort efficient and comfortable. It is reasonably fast by SIT standards. This boat seems little effected by straight-on currents, although higher winds will cause it to 'cock'. As should be obvious by its length, it is not a quick turner, but very manageable, none-the-less.
All in all, I don't think I could have purchased a better kayak for my particular needs. Believe me, I looked at a lot.
I wish it were lighter, but after drilling a 3" hole in the upper deck to fit a compass, it's obvious the hull thickness is substantial. I guess all things considered, I can live with a bit of extra weight for the security of a thick, strong hull.
No complaints here. An excellent well-made product. My thanks to Wilderness Systems for a wildly enjoyable ride! Every paddle experience with my 160i is wonderful.
To sum up, I am very pleased with this kayak and recommend the 160i with no hesitation. It is well built, performs VERY well and is nothing but a Joy to spend time on.
Recently we bought a Tarpon…
Recently we bought a Tarpon 160i in Mystic Blue for my wife after having my 160 for two years. We have had it out 4 times and haul it and store it on its side on our trailer. It’s stored under cover out of the sun. The performance of the boat is what I've come to like in the Tarpon hull and the top deck of the 160i has more versatility.
Two things are observed which we've asked our dealer to check with Wilderness on. First, parting line cleanup/trim is terrible. Not flush with hull and top deck and irregular.
Second, the tie down straps are causing the plastic to streak or smear, in some places making it look like the color is coming out.
Dealer says the Wilderness response was that the parting line was "the quality of the work we were doing on the day the boat was made" and the plastic is "what we are using these days".
We think that is just plain poor. Hopefully they never have a day when their parting line trim out is so bad they put slits in the hull.
This is my second 160, since…
This is my second 160, since I paddled the I's daddy for 3 years. I took the I for the first paddle today and the features WS added are great! I parked my cooler in the tankwell and my drinks were cold for the whole 10 mile paddle.That was very good today since it was 93 when we took out and little breeze. This boat paddles just like the other - fast for a SOT , great stability. I love the paddle keepers, and the seat back is much better than the original. The foot pedals have a better foot-holding shape, and I think it has more room for my long legs. The 9 is for the weight, which has not improved. It is still a tank.
A few months ago I bought a…
A few months ago I bought a new 160i WS Tarpon -- I paddled it on two occasions and both times it leaked significantly (it was not the drain hole, the plug was tight) -- by filling it with water in the backyard I found a leak in the right front foot scupper hole where the hull and top are welded together -- WS took back the defective boat and after 6 weeks replaced it with a new Tarpon -- the replacement leaked in the exact same place -- I called WS to voice my concern but they didn't seem concerned at all -- this time I patched the hole with Lexel caulk, so far so good -- suggest you test for leaks before you buy or take it on a trip -- quality control at WS apparently has gone down -- a few years ago I bought my first Tarpon 16 (the original Tarpon, which never leaked)-- I loved the boat but wanted to 'upgrade' to the 160i -- I agree with all the positive reviews posted here but suggest you test for leaks before you buy, since WS apparently does not.
Got my new Wildy Tarpon 160i…
Got my new Wildy Tarpon 160i June 30 at Mountain Sports in Arlington. Mango ! It is a thing of beauty.
Spent most of Friday night, Saturday and Sunday reading articles, and making runs to Academy, Wal Mart, Home Depot, Lowes and Bass Pro getting "stuff" to rig it for fishing. The bride allowed me to do this in the living room since it was about 100 degrees outside, day and night. And did it fill up the living room!
Loaded it on the truck Sunday night, got up at 0500 July 4 and headed for Lake Grapevine to find a launch site. What a beautiful morning! North wind 10 to 15, COOL, and cloudy. Clear water. Hardly any boats about. Could not have been better.
Unloaded it by myself, attached the essentials, and launched directly into the wind, northbound. Had to use my 230 four-piece back-up paddle because my 240 Werner Camano hasn't come in yet.
What wind? She tracked and handled beautifully in light-to-moderate chop. Very responsive to the rudder. Moved head-on into the wind and slightly quartering into it with the greatest of ease. A very stable and enjoyable ride.
Paddled a half mile or so, stopped to check for leaks. There were none. The hatches fit very snugly. And adjusted the Surf to Summit "GTX Elite" seat, which is another matter of joy and pure comfort. Paddled another mile to a beach with a picnic shelter above. Got out for a breakfast snack and delighted in the sight of the mango on the beach below. It started getting darker behind me.
Got back in, and heard several booms as skies to the north turned blue- black. Wasn't ready to quit, but turned around and headed back south where I had come from. Wind kicked up to at least 40 and waves started whitecapping and thunder increased. Discretion being the better part of valor, beached again and sought shelter behind a shrub thicket as it began to rain.
The lightening and rain blew over, but not the wind. By now the waves were about 3-4' and whitecapping as the wind increased and began to gust. Decided to run for it as the wind was behind my back, and it looked like more T-boomers might be coming.
It turned out to be a fun run all the way back to the truck, waves coming from the rear. Had to use more rudder than when going into the wind. I assume the rear end was getting tossed around a little. Otherwise, the T-160i rode very nicely through crest and trough. I was impressed.
Back at the truck I learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to solo- load a 16-foot yak on a roof rack while parked perpendicular to the wind. Could not believe how much wind it caught. My major mistake of the day. A gust blew her off the roof rack and gave my truck's deck lid a major rash. But the yak seems OK.
All in all, a good learning experience in varied wind and water conditions. Love the yak. I think it was a good choice. Can't wait to hit the salt and do some fishing!
Just concluded a 4 day trip…
Just concluded a 4 day trip to the N.C. coast. Kayaked Bogue Inlet which is fairly shallow. Waves and wind were quite active. The Tarpon 160i performed very well. The ride was a bit wet but very comfortable. Stability excellent and speed comparable to my Necky Eskia. Would certainly suggest the optional rudder as mine saved a lot of paddle corrections due to the wind and tides. Great to fish from and the anchor system worked well in the sandy bottom. Well pleased with my Tarpon. My wife's Tarpon 120 performed just as well but a bit slower. Would suggest using foam practice golf balls to plug the drains if you prefer a dry ride.
I've had my new T160i for…
I've had my new T160i for about a month now and love this yak. It is fast, smooth and quiet, haven't found another yak that glides through the water as well. Initial stability is good, secondary is excellent. The tankwell on this is the same size as the T120 (some were expecting bigger) and the front hatch is now the same size as the T140 and T120 (wish they could have kept the bigger one as on the old 160). This is the only drawback I've found. It is a great kayak. I still give it a 10 because I haven't found any others that compare.