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Submitted: 09-03-2010 by RKBerta
I reviewed my Hurricane Tampico 135L earlier this year. I was impressed with it then and thought I would follow up with an addendum to my previous review.
It continues to be a very satisfactory kayak. I still use it about 3 times a week (isn't retirement great). I have been out with my kayak buddies in a variety of other brands and it never fails to impress them with its speed and tracking ability. As I mentioned in my original post, I had pretty much come to the conclusion my next kayak would have a rudder or skeg...but hated the idea as the complexity, weight and issues with weeds fouling them (a very big problem in my favorite lake) put me off. After owning the Tampico I have come to the conclusion a WELL designed kayak doesn't need a skeg or rudder. It also has no issues with weather cocking which is a big point for me as my favorite paddling lake frequently has winds in excess of 25 mph. With proper weight distribution and trimming the Tampico is dead neutral in winds. I suspect the low deck height is the secret as well as the Swede form hull design. That being said it can carve corners with the best of them even though it doesn't have any rocker.
Stability...yeah...those who have tried it said the initial tippyness (23" width) is a bit more noticeable but that isn't an issue after 5 minutes paddling. And in fact I found it to be able to deal with chop and waves better than a lot of other less tippy yaks...I think it is the "feel" you are getting through immediate feedback....sort of like the response of a sports car vs. a big soft riding car. Secondary stability is very good. I have never felt it was in danger of rolling unintentionally.
Finish of the Trylon hull remains flawless (although I baby it compared to my OLD TOWN Dirigo which is my "bomber" kayak for rough river runs). There is no sign of any oil caning, bad seams, etc. The seat is pretty comfortable...as long as you keep it in the low back position. I am 150# and 6' tall...I think it could take a person up to 6'4" or so but if you have large shoe size you may want to make sure you have sufficient toe room....the length is fine though. One thing which I came to appreciate is the large size of the rear hatch which is just large enough to allow me to fit my Wheelies kayak kart. Some other brands of kayak have smaller hatch openings which would be an issue.
The cockpit opening is just the right size...not overly large but large enough to get in and out of easily while still allowing a good drip skirt fit around the excellent coming. The shape of the cockpit allows me to brace my knees against the underside of the cockpit effectively without Micky Mouse thigh brace add on's... I did put some 1/4" high density foam on the inside to place my knees against. Hurricane might consider including a piece of the foam so buyers can decide if they want to use it or not. The cockpit opening is also large enough that you can get in easy enough that you don't have to use the standard paddle float rescue method...the cowboy method is fast and less troublesome. The fact that the rigging hardware is all recessed below the surface gives you a smooth surface that won't catch your PFD as you reenter.
The hatch covers keep everything dry and I like the "leashes" on them to prevent them from getting lost should they ever come loose. I have memories of a fellow practicing his rolls on a kayak without a cover tether, loosing a hatch cover and he never did find it again.
Everyt ime I take it out people comment how attractive the color (blue top white bottom) is and how shiny it looks (Trylon). That may be its one negative. It is so pretty I am reluctant to treat it rough like I do with my Dirigo!
The length of this kayak is a good balance giving speed without a big weight or maneuverability penalty. It has enough storage space in the two bulkheads to carry gear for a couple of days trips.
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