5'4 145 male. Athletic, intermediate sea kayaking experience.
Lime green poly Tempest 165.
I love this boat! Fast, smooth, responsive, and tracks well. Any weather helm is easily eliminated by adjusting the skeg depth using the slider next to the cockpit. With the skeg fully down, no matter the conditions, the boat feels like it's on railroad tracks along your heading.
The cockpit is comfortable and the seat, braces, and sliders are high quality. I'm not a big guy and I can make this boat fit like a glove. Likewise, so can guys who are 6' 200 +.
Hatch fittings are quality. Expect some leakage if you're spending a lot of time upside down, otherwise the compartments stay dry, even on long paddles.
Deck rigging is high quality and totally sufficient.
If this were the only sea kayak I ever owned, I would have no qualms. The boat is beautiful, gives me confidence on rough water, and handles like a dream.
This is one of the best purchases I've ever made.
The day hatch is great for snacks, spare jacket, keys, first aid box, etc.
The fore and aft hatches have plenty of room for food, stove, gear for an overnight if your gear's not too bulky.
The deck lines are well set up for carrying and the bungees are well laid out for holding on-deck gear.
It is easy to do a wet exit and paddle-float re-entry and it rolls well.
All in all, a very nice day-trip / overnight general purpose sea kayak.
The low deck and skeg allow me to slice the water easily, and it turns on a dime when I put it on edge. It is so responsive and I feel one with the boat. I have some lower back issues, but the seat system provides comfort, so I can paddle for hours without pain.
One of my favorite places to paddle in the area is a flowage that covers 15,300 acres with 223 miles of mostly undeveloped shoreline. The flowage is dotted with 140 islands. It is a huge playground for a paddler, so I spend hours out there investigating, and smiling. There are some good size crossings which can be tricky on a windy day, but the Tempest handles it so well. A friend borrowed my 2nd boat a few times, and was in awe with its performance compared to her boat.
I was a little worried about the flex behind the rear deck and how it would hold up sitting on it. I sat on it and its fine. it has some flex but I had no issue. I wouldn't mind that being beefed up some though and I may do that. The hatches are KS which is still standard on the pro's right now and they are excellent. I have gone back and forth with confluence questioning things I didn't understand regarding the construction and had everyone of my questions answered to my satisfaction. I don't know how the boat will be next year but right now there are zero, none, not a quality issues.
For my use, I had to make a few modifications but they were easy and effective. I tried other "top" brands and like those as well but I must have a unique build because out of those I did sample the t allowed me to do what I could not comfortably do in those kayaks. A simple layback on the deck test quickly allowed me to exclude certain boats while making some candidates. Someday I will come across a boat that allows me to do it as well as the t and I look forward to that day.
the skeg does clank against the inside of the box sometimes when down but that is just not an issue to me and many others have pointed out a simple fix if it were to bother someone. I don't understand the need for slidelock foot braces in a sea kayak but that too is a non issue. that is, by the way, something i modified.
I do think that all reviews regarding build quality prior to 2009 should be reviewed but keeping in mind that the 09 quality is a different boat. they are just built different than they were and the glassing process in itself allows for a slower build which allows time for working areas that need work during the process. The resin is vinyl ester, not poly ester and is excellent. This is more forgiving on impacts than epoxy as well. The gel coat is the same quality brand as many other top brands. The seems are taped well and the reinforcing patches at all pad eyes is good too. Attention is paid to the ends of the boat for strength. Special "paste" of some kind is used along the seams (entire boat) and special resin is poured into each end to add strength though I think that is a pretty standard method (end pour). I will let you know how that works some other time if need be.
The outfitting doesn't need to be covered here. Its just a very adjustable, accommodating setup. I have a 165 pro and the hip pads without any additional padding were too tight for me. taking them out was too loose. I turned them inside out and fillet the attached padding down to where i was comfortable. I don't know if pre 09's had a slanted bulkhead behind the seat but the 09's do. I also have a t-165 rm. there are differences between the two. the pro is faster and more responsive not to mention much lighter. The rear coming is a little higher on the pro but is not an issue due to the positioning of the back band for me. I do wish that cargo transport companies were more careful. I would prefer to buy a boat off the floor but if you cant and it gets shipped to a store for you you chance damage due these companies. No big deal to replace except loss of time. I replaced the first one because of transport damage. had the new one in a week. my dealings with the store and my dealings with confluence were good experiences and everyone was helpful. In the end, find a kayak that works best for you or at least best you can tell at the time than check its quality out. There are a few top named companies out there that early on had pretty bad reviews and they did what a good company would do. They fix the problems. There are still some reviews based on what others have said without these people checking out the post fixed conditions of the product first. the tempest pro's have gone through the steps to correct negative aspects of the boat and at least from 2009 and until they change any build methods again should be checked out without any pre-notions. if you do, you may find yourself with a nice boat. also might not but you decide. I would base any decisions on a boat that has gone through build method changes with a personal inspection. The least important issue about the boat is the fact that it looks so good. that's just a bonus!! If you get one, enjoy it...If you get something else, enjoy that....
I'm 6'0" and 175 pounds, and I really like how this boat fits me. The factory outfitting with hip pads and all has worked great for me, and I feel a very tight connection to the boat. The size of the boat is nice for playing around in, as it turns quicker and is lighter than my longer boat. I've been working on bracing and rolling and have kayaked in reversing tidal falls in my area, and the tight connection between boat and paddler has given me a lot more security and a more reliable roll.
However, while the boat may roll well, it comes up extremely wet! During a day of playing in the tidal rapids, with the deck awash frequently in standing waves, and being upside down probably 5 or 6 times, the bow compartment had about 2 inches of water in it. The day hatch had about 1/2" of water, and the stern hatch had a few inches. All hatch covers were seated the best they could be, (although the stern oval hatch cover never seems to seat well, and gives the appearance of being poorly seated even after thoroughly trying to get it to sit flat).
Additionally, during a stern deck rescue of a swimmer (swimmer riding on the back deck of my boat while I paddled him in), the stern compartment completely flooded, which made the rescue almost impossible, since my stern sank and my bow was 2 feet clear of the water.
That did it for me. I will never take this boat in rough water conditions again, because it's a safety liability. There's no reason for hatch covers to seal so poorly. I have read reviews about the wildy hatches leaking in the past, and the susceptibility of the rear hatch to get lifted by a swimmer during rescues. This just proved it for me, and I won't be looking at Wildy boats during my boat shopping.
This boat rolls easily, tracks and maneuvers wonderfully, and speed is good. Sculling while lying back is a breeze. No leaks in the hatches, all deck-lines well thought out. Very comfortable seat, and thigh braces are adjustable, although mine fit perfect out of the box. The adjustable foot pegs are nice. Although as stated by an earlier poster, sometimes when you wet exit and try to re-enter and roll, the pegs will tend to slide out of position. There should be an easy fix for this.
Overall a very well made boat. I'd pick it again.
I run about 5' 8" and weigh around 155 pounds. I prefer a close fitting cockpit for greater boat control. I have to pad the heck out of many popular boats with foam to get a decent fit (i.e. VCP Avocet, QCC 600, Explorer). I tend to gravitate to all-round day boats. Kayaks that can used for coastal exploration, in surf and rock gardens, but will not be left behind on a long crossing. Moderate gear carry capacity is also a necessity for my normal day kit and the occasional overnighter. The Tempest fitted my needs nicely and I purchased a Tempest 165 Pro (glass) in the summer of 2004.
The Tempest shares many attributes with the Romany/Explorer including its seaworthiness. maneuverability, and secondary stability. I give the nod to the Tempest in these areas:
Initial stability: I find that's its a shade better, but not by much. It's a toss-up on secondary stability, both have an ample share.
Maneuverability: laid on edge the Tempest turns more quickly than the Explorer, but then it's over a foot shorter, so that's to be expected.
Deck rigging: plenty of well thought out spots to store your stuff. You can secure you spare paddle on either the fore or aft deck, your choice.
Skeg: it is very easy to deploy and adjust trim on the Tempest, particularly when compared to an Explorer with a rope skeg.
Weight: the Tempest is about 5-7 pounds lighter than the NDK boats in a glass lay-up.
Quality of construction: no rough interior edges, uneven hatch rims, blems in the gelcoat or leaky skeg boxes
Paddling efficiency: it seems faster that the Explorer, but I have not taken any GPS readings for comparison.
The Tempest is considerably faster than the Chatham 16. Boy, paddling the Chatham 16 is like pushing a barge up river. Necky raves about the Chatham 16's surfing ability but you have to catch the wave first. Good luck! ; - ) Footbraces: being able to adjust the footbrace on the fly, but see my counter-comment below.
Obviously the Explorer has the Tempest beat on carrying capacity, but I'm normally a day tripper, so the Wildy has more than enough room. I am sure that with the use of my backpacking gear I could paddle and camp out of the Tempest for a week and that would be all the room I would need.
If you are wondering why I didn't make a closer comparison to the NDK Romany, it is because I do not fit particularly well in the Romany's cockpit. The knee/thigh braces just fall in the wrong place.
Now what do I perceive as issues or disadvantages of the Tempest?
Wildy is owned by Confluence, a huge outdoor sports conglomerate. You will find direct customer service from Wildy/Confluence to be nonexistent. They will send to your "local dealer". I have found dealer support to be spotty a best. It should be pointed out that I have received great support and advice directly from Steve Scherrer (Flatpick) the designer of the Tempest. I just wish I lived in Oregon near Steve and the rest of his paddling buddies. They are a great group of folks.
Unlike P&H, NDK, VCP, Impex and others you cannot order a Tempest with any owner specified options, such as custom placed forward bulkhead or keel strip.
If your back-up self-rescue is a reenter-and-roll you will most likely find the Tempest's foot braces problematic. Under normal paddling conditions the ability to adjust the Wildy footbraces on the move is pretty handy. However, if you capsize, wet exit, and try to re-enter the boat you will probably knock the footbraces all the way forward. When inverted these foot braces do not lock in-place like Werner/Yakima braces. That's the trade-off. The adjustability feature makes it a bit harder to solidly brace your feet when reentering while upside-down. It's certainly doable, but you have to really concentrate on the position of you feet.
Hatch covers. This is the single biggest issue I have with the Tempest. Wildy uses a proprietary in-house hatch system for their boats. This in itself is not an issue, but......
I have had my bow hatch (once) and aft hatch (multiple times) dislodged during rescue drills. Sea conditions were not a factor. Conditions were flat. The hatches were mounted with care, so it was not user error. Wildy's large oval aft hatch is particularly irksome in this area. Due to the size of the hatch and the beam of the T-165, the aft hatch actually over-hangs the hull by just a smidge (Note: this is not a concern on the wider T-170 and T-180). It is very easy for a swimmer/victim that is coming up over your deck to hook the lip of the hatch cover with their PFD and pull it off. I have done this myself performing a 'cowboy' reentry. It can even occur if you use the supplied bungies which aid in securing the covers. I have never had this happen with VCP or Kajak Sport hatch covers when performing rescues.
I should note that the Tempest's hatches have never accidental dislodged while just paddling, even in rough water. It's rescues that are a cause for concern. I can foresee an ugly scenario: you have to perform an assisted-rescue in heavy seas, and one of your hatches is accidentally knocked-off by the victim. At least Wildy tethers the hatch covers to the boat, so you will not lose them.
I see two possible solutions to this problem:
(1) develop a hatch that seals more securely (e.g. that old Tupperware vacuum seal)
(2) replace the aft oval hatch with one that is circular. The aft storage compartment on the Tempest 165 is not overly large. You do not need a hatch cover that is almost 1.5 times larger in surface area than that of a VCP to gain access to the compartment. A smaller circular opening, ala NDK will do just fine.
As others have indicated, I have had some weepage with the Tempest's hatches, particularly the aft oval (half cup of water). I have had both the day hatch and bow hatch remain bone dry, but occasionally I will see a less than a teaspoon of water in the bow compartment. This is after extensive rolling and sculling practice and I do not normally use the provided bungies on these hatches. I should mention that Wildy hatches are far easier to mount and remove in cold weather than either VCP or Kajak Sport.
The Wildy Phase 3 seat is pretty high tech (i.e. straps, adjustment, moveable padding) and possibly not to everyone's liking, but I find it extremely comfortable and easy to adjust. With the multitude of adjustments you can get a customized, secure fit with little effort. The Tempest backband provides more that adequate support and does not get in the way on reentries. Lay-back rolls are a snap (pun intended) in the Tempest. I can fully layout on the aft deck.
As to durability, I have not babied the Tempest in practice or rock gardens and it has held up well. The Tempest tips the scales at every ounce of its stated 55 pound weight in glass and I find that it balances well and is an easy solo carry.
I will not give this or any other boat a rating of '10'. I would have given it a '9' if it wasn't for the hatch covers, but you should keep in mind that the only kayak I would currently trade it for is another Tempest in Kevlar. ; - )
It tracks well, is easy to turn and put on its edge. Its primary and seconday stability is more than satisfactory. The cockpit fit is exceptional with the foot peds, the hip pads, the thigh supports and the seat all being easy to adjust and comfortable. I could not be more pleased.
I have yet to test the Tempest in "extreme" conditions as the current conditions here in NC are not very blustery. More later as I use what appears to be a winner.
By the way, the workmanship on the Tempest is outstanding. The fiber glass work is first class, the colors are bright and consistent and the elastic webbing is stong and well secured. I give the Tempest 165 Pro a 9 until I can test in more than normal conditions.
While the Shadow is a great boat for camping and point A to point B paddling, I found it cumbersome to edge or roll. I started my mission to find a kayak that was easy to play in wind and waves and also easy to paddle long distances. I also wanted a kayak that I can expand my skills in.
I reviewed the buyer’s guides and websites. Due to my stature (or lack of) I quickly developed a short list of demo worthy boats by sitting in them. A lot of good boats had cockpits that were too big. These fit nice: Impex Currituck, NDK Romany, Necky Chatham 16, P&H Vela, VCP Pintail, WS Tempest 165pro.
Next I paddled them. I ruled out the Romany and Chatham 16 because they were not easy to paddle distances although they were very nimble. I didn’t paddle the Vela, I suspected that it would perform like the Romany due to its length. Oh, if only I could have a few boats, not just one. The Pintail was an echelon higher than I was willing to extend myself skill wise. That left me the Currituck and the Tempest 165pro to decide on.
The Currituck was a nice kayak. It came up to speed nicely, tracked well and flat turned well. The Currituck also edged wonderfully and securely. Too secure for my desires. So I moved on to the Tempest 165pro. I quickly adding up the assets of the Tempest 165pro. The seat is excellent. Very comfortable and form fitting. The thigh braces have a hooked shape at the inner thigh for more contact and ease of edging. It is very relaxing to lay back on; nothing jabbed me in the back and my arch wasn’t hyper-extended.
I took the demo to pool practice and found I could easily roll the Tempest. It felt like it wasn’t even there. Wet exiting was a challenge at first. Remember that this is my first snug fitting kayak. I had to think about not bringing both knees out at the same time. Quickly remedied!
I paddled the demo Tempest with some of my paddling buddies. I easily kept up and even had time to take some edged turns to look back at them and grin. The back hatch opening is large enough to accommodate my regular dry bag. A lot of other boats do not have this feature. I should have plenty of room to pack for camping (even with the skeg box), but I got even more room because I selected to have the bow bulkhead moved to use as my foot brace instead of foot pegs. Not only do I get eight more inches of storage, only my twin (if I had one) could use my boat since it is custom fitted to my leg length. With a boat like this who would want to share?