Submitted: 01-30-2010 by CAG
I got a t165 pro in September. Ive used it a good amount since than and will add some comments about it. First, I was nervous about this boat being my choice because of a lot of negative feedback on build quality. The boat design and how well it is suited to me is what I had to ultimately go with. I never had a pro prior to 2009 so I can't compare it to that but the new boats are not made like the old boats. the 09's are not made in u.s. anymore where fdep and osha and other federal regulations make it impossible to do fiber-glassing with any real quality and still make a profit, unfortunately, so they have the fiberglassing done in a china plant. They are vacuum infused and the glass is very consistent throughout. The foredeck has some extra cloth (i think) which i like.
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....