Submitted: 07-25-2007 by Zeek
Just got the kayak a week ago and have been out on the bay twice with two very different experiences. The first time out the Chesapeake was relatively calm, and it made for quick paddling. The Tarpon is much faster than I expected it to be, faster than my wife's Dagger Blackwater 10.5. I didn't have any trouble keeping the kayak tracking straight. I think the only reason I'd look at a rudder is for waves (see below).
The second time out was totally different. The bay was very choppy with many waves about a foot tall, and one that was at least a foot and a half tall (a friend told me that means it is probably a 'three foot wave') and high winds. The Tarpon would go up the waves, and slap down only to go back up again a second later. I still was going where I wanted to, but was having trouble making much headway. Then again, I don't know what could change that. I had put my keys in the little storage area in front of me. Big mistake. I hadn't bungeed the top down, and a big wave washed the top off, and got some water in the kayak. The keys were fine, and I learned a lesson about how to rig the boat. I'll probably use the storage behind me for my keys from here on out.
The first trip I was totally dry. During this crazy second trip waves washed up high enough that my butt was wet, but that was really part of the fun. I spend 45 minutes going out, and 8 minutes riding waves back in. The Tarpon is no wave rider, but I caught one wave that took me about 20 yards, it was great! The waves pushing me in did tend to turn the boat a bit, but that's the only time I'd ever consider a rudder, and by just keeping paddling I could go where I wanted to. This was definitely the boat for me.