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Submitted: 02-02-2004 by J Wright

I just bought a Tempest 165pro and I’d like to tell you why. First I should give you some personal stats. I am a 5’4”, 125 pound, female. I have gained intermediate kayaking skills while paddling a 16’8” Perception Shadow Sea Lion this past year.

While the Shadow is a great boat for camping and point A to point B paddling, I found it cumbersome to edge or roll. I started my mission to find a kayak that was easy to play in wind and waves and also easy to paddle long distances. I also wanted a kayak that I can expand my skills in.

I reviewed the buyer’s guides and websites. Due to my stature (or lack of) I quickly developed a short list of demo worthy boats by sitting in them. A lot of good boats had cockpits that were too big. These fit nice: Impex Currituck, NDK Romany, Necky Chatham 16, P&H Vela, VCP Pintail, WS Tempest 165pro.

Next I paddled them. I ruled out the Romany and Chatham 16 because they were not easy to paddle distances although they were very nimble. I didn’t paddle the Vela, I suspected that it would perform like the Romany due to its length. Oh, if only I could have a few boats, not just one. The Pintail was an echelon higher than I was willing to extend myself skill wise. That left me the Currituck and the Tempest 165pro to decide on.

The Currituck was a nice kayak. It came up to speed nicely, tracked well and flat turned well. The Currituck also edged wonderfully and securely. Too secure for my desires. So I moved on to the Tempest 165pro. I quickly adding up the assets of the Tempest 165pro. The seat is excellent. Very comfortable and form fitting. The thigh braces have a hooked shape at the inner thigh for more contact and ease of edging. It is very relaxing to lay back on; nothing jabbed me in the back and my arch wasn’t hyper-extended.

I took the demo to pool practice and found I could easily roll the Tempest. It felt like it wasn’t even there. Wet exiting was a challenge at first. Remember that this is my first snug fitting kayak. I had to think about not bringing both knees out at the same time. Quickly remedied!

I paddled the demo Tempest with some of my paddling buddies. I easily kept up and even had time to take some edged turns to look back at them and grin. The back hatch opening is large enough to accommodate my regular dry bag. A lot of other boats do not have this feature. I should have plenty of room to pack for camping (even with the skeg box), but I got even more room because I selected to have the bow bulkhead moved to use as my foot brace instead of foot pegs. Not only do I get eight more inches of storage, only my twin (if I had one) could use my boat since it is custom fitted to my leg length. With a boat like this who would want to share?

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