Read reviews for the Tarpon 130T by Wilderness Systems as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
This is a great overall tandem kayak that can fit three. Seats are really not a problem without pads and I really don't have much natural padding back there either. Seat backing is great with no pain after long trips.
This one is a keeper.
I have paddled this kayak double many times and even more as a Solo fishing Limo! From the middle position, I clip on a standard seat and have more room for gear than other single Kayaks by far! I can have my fishing crate, bait bucket, cooler, cast-net, drift net, anchor and room to move to different fishing positions!
It is very stable (dumped only once in post hurricane waves when I reached out too far to insert stake in pole - my error -- tie all gear down - lost $140 fishing rod and reel!) I have installed several flush Scotty Mounts to increase my flexibility fishing. I have fished in the dead of night in the wavy Bay solo with complete confidence of this stable fishing platform. The weight is manageable as I load and unload it solo on the top of my 97' LandCruiser.
Regarding the stock seats, some reviewers have been critical. You can add a four dollar foam sport seat (sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors) and be comfortable all day (no numb butt). I have also removed the stock backrests and simply install standard kayak seats (as I switch from solo - middle position and tandem often).
I highly recommend this model for either dedicated tandem or a solo when you may have the need to be able to go tandem once in awhile. If in South Texas, I recommend contacting Efren at SPI Kayaks (10111 W US Expressway 83 La Feria, TX) as he is AWESOME with customer service and knowledge of the sport!
10/10 in comfort, stability, flexibility (double or single), tracking and speed.
The only complaint I have is that the stock seats are inadequate. I removed them and bought some better after market seats which attach to the fastening points that are already on the hull. Not only are the stock seats uncomfortable but they prevent you from putting the yak on your car upside down. WS should have left the seats off this boat, reduced the price, and let you get your own seat.
This is a big yak, but not so big you can't manage it. It's ok paddling solo, but a single yak would obviously be better. At 65lbs, it's a grunt to get it up on top of our SUV and strap down upside down on the luggage rack by myself. Possible, but a pain. I eventually bought a pickup truck to make it easier to haul. I can easily get it up in the back of my truck by myself. If you're looking for a yak that you can take one or two kids out on, and sometimes go solo, the 130T is a good choice.
As a tandem this boat excels! It handles well and carries lots of gear, less the limitation of the small access ports. Using dry bags it works out great. I even took a std milkcrate and cut one-side of it down so it is now tapered and matches the tapered well in the stern. This kayak is a blast for paddling or fishing for 2 people. She’s pretty quick and responsive for such a big girl and I believe it’s a great blend of performance and stability.
As a solo I find it fun too, less lugging it around … but I already mentioned that. Sometimes after putting it on the roof rack by myself, I often dream about getting a lighter 1-person SOT for fishing. But then I’ll use the 130T for two and I just love it all over again! There is plenty of space for customizing it for casual touring and fishing, as I’ve rigged an anchor trolley, fishfinder, and fish rod holders. To top it all off, I paid < $600 brand new! For sure, this is one kayak I’ll never get rid of!
I now have another boat I use for solo trips and the primary use for my 130T is when I take my two six year old kids out. I paddle from the middle seat and they are in the front and rear seats. The width of the boat in the middle seat is not ideal and you may be forced to modify your stroke to avoid the front passenger. None the less it is manageable for three people (providing at least one is a child).
The boat handles well and is extremely stable. The high level of buoyancy makes it a blast in the surf, especially with two people.
Overall I have been very happy with the boat. Other SOT manufactures don't offer a tandem with the versatility or ergonomics of the WS. It would be nice if they offered a 140T or 160T but for now the 130T seems to be the best SOT Tandem available.
Two friends, having paddled ours, have purchased their own and a third is considering it.
My wife and I have taken our two young boys with us almost every time, and while their patience runs out after an hour or two, we love it. My seven year-old sits in the rear tank well and fishes, while the three year old hangs out in the front footwells. I found that, with all four of us, scupper water will tend to marinate the boys' bottoms. That's OK - problem solved - I bought two bags of foam practice golf balls (the ugly yellow ones at W-mart), and stuff 'em in the scupper holes. Eight of these will do the trick, and for a lot cheaper than the mftr's scupper plugs. You won't lose 'em - they float.
Anyway, this boat does exceedingly well under all conditions - no whitewater yet. It does turn a bit slow, but that's because it tracks great going in a straight line. Not a bad trade-off. I'll probably buy another one when the boys are too big to fit in there with us.
One complaint: the hooks keep coming off the bungee cords that hold the seats in an upright position. I think this is an issue that WS could fix very easily by making the cords longer. This way, there wouldn't be as much tension on the cords.
For two person use, it’s perfect. My wife and I can paddle completely out of phase and not strike paddles most of the time. Paddling in phase moves us much better though. There's plenty of room. We even seat our toddler in front of the rear seat. There's even a good amount of storage space between the hatches and tank wells. Not enough for week long trips, but great for day trips.
As a solo craft, its a little harder to move, and the front of the boat sits higher up in the water making it a little harder to go straight. This gives you loads of room though if you want to carry lots of gear.
At first I had difficulty loading the 65 lb yak on the top of my relatively high minivan. I've since managed a good way to grasp, pickup, and load it up there. The large weight and size are a disadvantage, but that's what you get when you have a large boat that can carry two or three people.
The seats are a nice touch and are pretty comfortable. I also like the rod/paddle holders. Both of these are nice features that you don't have to pay extra for.
In general it’s a good kayak to do lots of things.
This boat does very well with two paddlers. However, I am actually rethinking my purchase of the boat. I have used the boat much more as a solo paddler boat than a tandem. Even though the boat does fine as a solo, its deficiencies are seen when paddled next to my Tarpon 140, which is an excellent boat by the way. Soon after I purchased the boat I took it on a two day, 20 mile paddle. On this paddle I encountered 20+ mph winds and 3 foot seas. I'm a pretty strong paddler, and I could only manage a half mph, according to my GPS, for around 3 miles. It was miserable! The boat sits high out of the water, so wind has a big impact. Another down side to the boat if you intend to take it on trips is its lack of dry storage. You better have a lot of dry bags, because you can't fit much in the two tiny day hatches.
This is an excellent boat for what it is intended to do...be a tandem. However, if you're thinking you may use this boat as a solo paddler routinely on trips over five miles, I'd consider a boat made for a solo paddler.
Tracks well even solo. It's a bit tough in 20+ knot winds solo on Biscayne Bay. But hey if you don't want a workout buy a motorboat. Anything less than 10 knots is an easy ride solo. Two people can make it go absolutely anywhere you want to go with relative ease in any seas you aren't terrified to encounter. The boat can take more than you can unless you are really hardcore. Me...give me a nice sand flat in the Keys and a couple hundred bonefish to pick from and well. If heaven doesn't have flats I'm gonna be PO'd. I have made it to within 20 feet of bonefish schools unnoticed. Right on top of a few tarpon. And directly on top of a 2000 lb Manatee that surfaced right under us. The yak slid right off his back talk about stability. That would have been one for a Wilderness Systems commercial right there.
Who ever gave the tandem Kayak the "divorce boat" title was wayyyyyy wrong. At least here, 20 years of marriage and now my wife asks me when are we going fishing.. Where is heaven? Guess. Now I just need more days off. Way to go wilderness. Tandems may not be for everyone But don't miss out on something good. Test drive one before you judge it. I nearly bought 2 120's. I still may buy one. But the Tandem is a keeper.