Submitted: 10-23-2005 by Randy Jackson
I have owned my Tarpon 160i for two months and use it in my West Florida area in the coastal marshes and out in the Gulf for day-long key-hopping.
Impressions? Wow, I LOVE this kayak!! I like the new deck design because it incorporates the features, like a small hatch between my legs for my wallet, cell phone, etc. The larger fore and aft hatches are excellent for storage. The large open well for dive fins and snorkel, dive tank, etc is simply perfect for my particular needs. This deck design suits my needs.
I am not a fisherman and do not really care for the deck design criteria built into the older 160 models. Others do, of course, and more power to them.
This kayak is EXTREMELY stable in both initial and secondary areas. It is very roomy and comfortable. I did remove the factory plastic backrest because I found it uncomfortable. A Wilderness Systems accessory low seat assembly with the stock plastic seat back removed has worked much better. Not really a criticism, just my particular body build worked better with the other seat arrangement.
Paddling effort efficient and comfortable. It is reasonably fast by SIT standards. This boat seems little effected by straight-on currents, although higher winds will cause it to 'cock'. As should be obvious by its length, it is not a quick turner, but very manageable, none-the-less.
All in all, I don't think I could have purchased a better kayak for my particular needs. Believe me, I looked at a lot.
I wish it were lighter, but after drilling a 3" hole in the upper deck to fit a compass, it's obvious the hull thickness is substantial. I guess all things considered, I can live with a bit of extra weight for the security of a thick, strong hull.
No complaints here. An excellent well-made product. My thanks to Wilderness Systems for a wildly enjoyable ride! Every paddle experience with my 160i is wonderful.
To sum up, I am very pleased with this kayak and recommend the 160i with no hesitation. It is well built, performs VERY well and is nothing but a Joy to spend time on.