Are you a small paddler? As small as 115 lbs, 5'3", with a 32 inch inseam and size 6 feet, like me? Maybe you despair of finding a kayak that *really* fits you like the proverbial kayak glove and is also quality built, fast, light, and agile. Add dual sealed bulkheads, two hatches, a simple yet serious cockpit with really usable thigh braces, light and easy to carry. American built, backed by superb customer service with real paddlers, and a three year warranty? Are you asking too much in today's supersized world of steroidal (and often sterile) kayaks? No, you are not. Give the Tampico 135 your immediate consideration. Besides all the excellent comments below, there's more:
Fit & finish: New in August, fresh out of the shrink wrap. All surfaces smooth, even in tricky areas like the combing and thigh braces. The black trim dividing deck and hull is smoother & straighter than most FG layups. The deck rigging, pad eyes and toggles are all fitted without flaw. Inside, the bulkhead walls are smooth and well sealed. (I've yet to get a drop in the rear hatch after tipping it for rescues and wet exits. The Beckson foredeck hatch, after these sessions, sometimes held a tablespoon or two of water. It must be supertight.)
Material: The deep, almost luminous luster of the Trylon material won compliments every time I took my Tampico out. Gleams like fiberglass, wipes clean w. dish soap, and a simple green scrunge pad buffs out the usual light scratches and dark marks. I've seen a couple that are 2-3 years old - they keep their good looks.
Skill Advancement: If you take pride in your edging, arcing and leans, this kayak will reward you. If you are a true beginner,this kayak is a confidence coach.
The primary stability is there, but far from bargelike. The secondary stability makes the kayak fun and versatile in different conditions: flat water, light chop, chop and wind, waves to 3 feet, etc. I've paddled, braced, and did a little surfing in all these w. the utmost confidence.
Rollability (is that a word?) You CAN roll this kayak: 23.5" on the beam, with a flat aftdeck and very low foredeck. I haven't got my roll yet, but I've seen it done easily.
BTW, this low profile not only lets you layback as you set up, but also cuts wind effect, and makes self rescue speedier,thus safer.
Cockpit: No Barcalounger in my cockpit, please. Hurricane AS has answered w. a low sculpted backband by Surf to Summit (two snaps up from the usual OEM torture device). The seat has a slight rise at front for gripping w. the inner thighs and those nice thigh braces. A firm but accomodating ride - think sporty roadster, not SUV mushy.
Performance: this kayak was born to go straight, and turns like someone just pulled a string. The Tampico doesn't know what weathercocking is. If you make yourself a fast, efficient paddling engine the Tampico can be your bullet train.
With low rocker bow and stern, a great deal of wetted hull on the water, the mysteriously efficient asymmetrical hull and light weight, you may surprise yourself and not a few of your friends in their heavier, longer boats of similiar or wider beam.
About me: Flatwater beginner. Hit the water in midAugust with my TampicoS. Since then I have gone out 40-50 times for a total of about 225 hours actual water time. So my review is not the typical beginner's review in that sense.
Nothing has made me waiver from giving it a 10. If I could gild the lily I'd replace the Beckson hatch w. rubber and extend the perimeter lines to each end, as on its big bro, the Tampico L. This kayak is lean, but not mean..... it's the consummate river boat, the beginner's pal, the boat that is your shoulders' friend whether paddling or loading up at day's end. Or maybe it's just what the kayak instructor told me last August: "She's the sweetheart boat, everyone wants to paddle that Tampico."