A Kayak Quandry

My plan
Based on everyone’s feedback, yesterday’s maiden ride, and a night to think things over and sleep on it, I’ve come to a conclusion.

I have two boats that are very different, and am expert in neither. I know what I’ve enjoyed so far but there may be many other opportunities out there that will excite me as much or maybe even more.

Consequently, here’s my current plan – I going to stop being so obsessed over what kayak is the “perfect” one (I know - there’s no such thing, but if anyone has suggested candidates, please let me know :wink: ). Over the next year I will paddle both boats (and hopefully others) a lot, learn, read, talk and paddle with other people, and just get more experience. Now let’s see – since I got the Dirigo (that I returned) on March 31 and have paddled three different Kayaks a total of 19 times over 38 days, that’ll be equivalent to paddling 183 times over the first year (next year is a leap year so it gives me an extra day-- and yes, I was good in math). I might have to cancel some of those rides if the ice is too thick next winter :wink: but it should give me enough experience to reassess things next April, just in time for kayak buying and selling season.

Thanks again to each of you.

New Math!
Pool sessions - bypass ice - keep paddling! :slight_smile:

See you on the water,



Hyde Park, NY

just for the price alone i would buy it.
i just purchased a used Tempest 170 for $975 and i love it. for that price it is a no brainer. you could probably sell it for a profit even if you didn’t like it (though that is VERY unlikely).


Paddle it with the skeg up
…on calm days. It will help you pay attention to your stroke and body position.

I started out with a ruddered kayak and worried slightly that I would “run out of skeg” in the T165. It has not happened yet, and I’ve been paddling it for almost 2 years now.

But I used to avoid deploying the rudder in my first sea kayak anyway, and before I bought the T165 I got a used WW SOT. Paddling that makes any sea kayak feel like a train on a track, by contrast.

The T165’s mix of maneuverability and tracking is one of its charms, IMO. It meeds my needs very well. If it turns out to not meet your needs, you can always sell it for the same price you paid. But give it a good chance before that; right now you are referencing ONE kayak that does not belong in the same category.

Progress report
Well, I took the Tempest 165 out today for the second time – did about 7 miles with half of it into a strong headwind. The water was about as choppy as you might expect for a 1.5 mile long wind-water exposure (certainly not ocean, but not totally flatwater either).

The boat felt very secure in these conditions. I noticed quite a bit less deck splash than I got with the Skylark under similar conditions.

The other thing I really don’t understand. The skeg was not down, but the boat tracked much better. It must be the change in moon phase – it couldn’t possibly be any change in my technique as a result of all the useful suggestions many of you have provided so far.

I do have a question – the hull is pretty scuffed up from the previous owner(s). No really big gouges or dents, but just a lot of scratches, some kind of deep. I carefully trimmed off stuff that was obviously sticking out with a sharp razor. Is there any way to restore the surface any more to cut down on drag (and to make it look “shiny” as my wife has requested)?

Anyway, I’m really starting to like the T165. Anyone want to buy an Eddyline Skylark in excellent condition?


sorry like my T170 too much.
i also bought my tempest 170 used and it did have some scratches and marks. i’m new the “owning” a kayak and only rented prior. from what i understood scratches are ok and the durability of poly would not be affected by scratches, but gouges i don’t know. i would appreciate the input of those with more experience. is there a need to fill scratches and gouges for improved performance?


Into a headwind
Keeping it straight going into a headwind is not difficult, in my experience with the T165 as well as other kayaks. Supposedly most of them are designed to turn towards the wind (weathercock).

Wind coming from other angles can get interesting.

Generally, if it’s coming directly behind me, I still don’t need the skeg deployed in the T165, though it definitely tracks harder when deployed. I have to pay more attention with the skeg up in a tailwind, though.

Coming from other angles gets still more interesting, and a little harder to figure out (for me, anyway). Seems like I can’t totally pin it down on just wind direction. The one case where I almost always want some skeg down (about 2/3 to almost fully-deployed) is quartering wind (coming from the “southwest” or “southeast” quadrants relative to the kayak–sorry for my weird terminology). If the wind comes from the “northwest” or “northeast” quadrants that’s easier for me to manage without the skeg and/or edging.

I don’t know how much of this will apply to you. You’re heavier but also much taller.

Salute from Athol, MA

"the hull is pretty scuffed up …"
did flatpick sell you that boat?

Tracking improvement

– Last Updated: May-08-07 8:43 PM EST –

As Pikabike says, into a headwind will straighten out a boat every time. If you are straight on and not getting particularly knocked around by waves, the wind will actually help hold it on track. It isn't unlikely that you were leaning forward a bit more too because of the headwind, so your stroke may have been a little more short and helpful at staying straight.

Very common to go out and have a boat do odd things and think it's the boat - it just about never is though. Always goes back to the paddler.

Again - lessons. They'll make all of this much easier.

As to the hull - unless there are super deep gouges the scratch stuff shouldn't be an issue. I would suggest that you find a way to forego having to make the bottom look shiny or any other particular way for a spouse though. That's not a good path to start down. If a compromise is needed, use 303 on the top deck. It'll protect against UV damage and will make the part that your wife can see look shiny.

yep :slight_smile:
I had a feeling you would ‘see the light’!!!

have fun