Submitted: 07-31-2006 by bryanpsims
I have just paddled my new yellow poly Wilderness System Pamlico 135 Tandem for the first time since purchasing it. I chose this model after paddling a green one during a recent demo day sponsored by one of my local dealers. After paddling a Tarpon 140 S-O-T for about a year and only demoing one other S-in-K (a Pungo 140) in the past, I had narrowed my tandem search down to either a Tarpon 130T or the Pamlico 135T based largely on reviews from this site. I was looking for a tandem so I could take my 5 year old daughter with me from time to time and I knew going in whatever tandem I chose would have to paddle well solo. After trying the Tarpon 130T, I decided against it (for a variety of reasons I won't go into now). I then had to wait my turn to try the demo 135T so I took out a Pamlico 120 to pass the time. I wasn't particularly impressed with the Pamlico 120 (mainly due to the poor tracking) and that made me start to second guess myself on even thinking about the 135T as they share a similar hull design, etc. Luckily, when I finally got into the 135T my apprehension faded. Even though they shared a similar hull design, the extra 1.5 - 2 feet of length greatly improved the tracking. The 135T is heavy (around 70 pounds) so it took me several extra strokes to get it moving and up to speed by myself. Once it was up to speed it tracked well and glided along smoothly and quietly. Two good paddlers should really be able to make it go. For a big and heavy boat it was fairly maneuverable, swinging around the end of the pond and some cypress stumps during my demo and the many bends of the relatively narrow bayou where I took it on my first official outing. The cockpit is roomy and easy to get and out of. The adjustable seats make paddling it solo easier as they slide and lock into any of several positions from which to paddle. The Phase 3 Lite seats were comfortable although the position of the adjusting straps (low and slightly behind me, blocked by my PFD) for the backrest made it a little difficult to adjust while paddling. Apart from those straps, my only other complaint would be for the lack of a drain plug...something I really needed after picking up some water while passing though a brief summer shower on the way to the launch. Overall, a good solid boat for a solo paddler (with a small passenger) or as a true tandem. I also thought that it was priced about right for it's value and as compared to other similar boats in it's class.