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Submitted: 10-03-2011 by jrd

I have had my poly Tempest 165 for ten months. Prior to buying it I rented and/or tried out nearly 20 different yaks of both glass and poly construction.

The Tempest 165 was far and away the best boat I tried. From the moment I got in - I could tell... It was perfect. Many adjustment positions enabled it to become better than perfect. I belong to a club of FAST kayakers - and I wanted to be able to at least half-way keep up - but I am usually at the front or near the front with comparative ease. I disagree with another reviewer - this is a very fast boat if you know how to paddle a kayak properly.

For capsize training - the boat is great. It was much easier to re-enter than a Necky model I was originally trained in.

For comfort, the tempest is very good. The seat is fine, and I can lean all the way back on the deck. I do not know how to roll - but this yak is very stable and it dinks easily. It also edges remarkably well, enabling it to turn fast and easy. I do get leg cramps after a few hours - but with the on-the-fly foot peg adjustments - I can easily stretch out and change my position.

I seldom use the skeg unless I am in a heavy wind. It does not turn well with the skeg down but it stays straight in the wind when using the skeg. Since the skeg is infinitely adjustable - you can find the combination you need for the wind you are fighting.

I have already abused the yak tremendously by bumping logs, skimming rocks and running up onto beaches. There are many scratches on the Kayak - ... But it takes abuse well. I do not think I could ever have a glass boat - I would destroy it in no time.

Storage capacity is much less than I would like. It handles a three day trip - if you don't carry too much water and gear. If it carried more, I probably would not like the size and shape of it - so I cannot complain too much. It is what it is - a moderate sized, fast, comfortable boat that is one of the most highly rated on the market.

For what it is - the boat is not too heavy. The weight is an honest 55 pounds (I checked) - which includes the seat, hatch covers and rigging. Other folks I know have found that their Kayak's weight was understated by several pounds or more... I still need help with transporting it because it is long and bulky. I am sure a person with big feet (mine are tiny) would have a lot of trouble because I don't have a lot of foot-lifting room.

I feel very secure in this boat. It is 21.5 inches wide - and is soft chined. You can lean it over at virtually any angle - and the transition is continuous and smooth. I do not think I will ever want a hard chined boat after finding out all the advantages of the rounded bottom. Most people are fixated on getting a wide, stable boat - and then they find that it is slow and uncomfortable to paddle. This boat is stable like a wider boat, but sleek enough to prevent knuckle bashing.

The best thing to do is rent, rent, rent. Never buy a boat without testing it. I am so glad I kept looking. Any boat would have been OK for me. But only this Tempest was outstanding. No regrets.

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