Considering Zephyr 160 -

-- Last Updated: Sep-25-11 5:40 PM EST --

Are there other boats with similar characteristics - rocker and skeg - and with similar cockpit size? Looking for plastic.

Calm Water?
If you’re looking to paddle in windy, wavy conditions you might consider the Delphin and the Alchemy. I doubt their cockpits are as ‘shin-friendly’ as the Zephyr. The 160 is the ‘big boy’ boat. Have you tried the smaller one? Personally, I hate to paddle too much boat.

The cockpit …

– Last Updated: Nov-05-11 10:10 PM EST –

The usable length of the Delphin 155 cockpit is actually more than that in the Zephyr 15.5 - in the 15.5 I have to be careful about my shins not touching the front eu less I have the seat moved back 2"). The 160 might be a smidgen better since I think the front of the cockpit may be a bit higher. On the Delphin 155, the cockpit has more of a keyhole shape and the center area is actually farther away and has more space for my shins to pass when seated. This I think is mainly due to the fact that the seat is placed closer to the rear cockpit rim compared to the Zephyr - even with my seat moved back on the Z I can feel I have to stretch my skirt way back, where on the D I don't have to.

The cockpit on the D feels a bit narrower overall: at the seat it maybe just the seat that is narower a little, but in the Zephyr there is more lateral room under the cockpit for kness to go sideways. It really needs some padding on the side so that when edged the knees/thights have support on the outside (they have decent support up and on the inside through the hooks).

As to the original question - I wonder if a plastic Romany Surf would be similar? It is meant for a larger paddler I gather, but I have not paddled one so don't know for sure. The regular Romany I found not a perfect fit for my frame.

The Alchemy (the larger model) I think also has very good cockpit room, but my memory about it is vague regarding fit.

Romany Surf
The plastic Romany Surf is similar in fit too the Delphin 155. Seat might be a bit wider, but I had no complaints about fit (6’ 185#).

I liked the Surf. Fun boat, and it does surf well (though the D surfs better).

I haven’t paddled the glass version, but I hear it’s bigger.

Thanks - but
my problem with fit will always be that my thighs are big. I’m 5’10" and heading to the 200 to 220 range (not 180) and a LOT of my weight is in my thighs and my butt. I absolutely need the width AND the front deck height. I will never fit in the smaller Z - it just aint’ gonna happen. Given that reality - more and more I think the Z 160 may be the ticket. I would like to consider alternatives - but are their any real alternatives give my dimensions?

I’m 6’, 210
I’ve paddled (in flat, calm conditions) the Zephyr 160, the Delphin 155 and the Dagger Alchemy 14L. The Zephyr 160 definitely has more cockpit room than the other two. I fit in all three (bought the Alchemy), but from what you describe I think you might find the Delphin and Alchemy a bit tight. The only other boat I’ve been in with the cockpit size of the Zephyr 160 was the Tsunami 165, but that’s a different beast.

I Rented a Z Once
and spent a day playing at the coast. I thought it was a nice boat. I think you’d be plenty happy with it.

That is interesting because
I own a Tsunami 165 now and the cockpit fits very well.

Wait, are you looking for a boat primarily for surf/ocean play?

If yes, then I would go for the Delphin, if you can comfortably fit in it. Due to my Romany being out of commission for nearly four months now (gotta love NDK customer service!), I’ve had the chance to paddle the Delphin, Romany S (plastic version), and Zephyr this summer. All are good in surf. However, the Delphin, in my opinion, in the best surf/play kayak of the bunch. The other two I’d put at about equal.

I don’t believe NDK is still making the plastic Romany Surf, although I guess you could probably find one used if you looked hard enough. Word to the warning, though, the junction between the cockpit coaming and the hull leaks like a sieve.

Bought a Zephyr today

– Last Updated: Oct-02-11 4:18 PM EST –

I found a 20% off deal on a plastic Zephyr 160 at Eastern Mountain Sports and pulled the trigger. Drove down to to pick it up this morning. Best part is EMS took the Tsunami I bought from them last month as a return. Full 100% refund. Amazing. The Zephyr is actually slightly less than the Tsunami with the rudder so I ended up with a net gain. Not bad.

It was cold and pouring rain all day so I will wait till tomorrow to go out paddling.

The cockpit fits fine (EDIT - ignore this fit comment - the boat they sold me turned out to be a Z 155 not 160 and it does NOT fit fine)- not unlike the Tsunami 165. I hope I am up to this boat. The hull is much more rounded than the Tsunami and it has a lot of rocker. I have no doubt it is going to have much less initial stability compared the Tsunami. This is going to force me to develop my skills which is a good thing.

Another plus is that this boat is approximately 10 Lbs. lighter than my rudder equipped Tsunami - much easier to get this baby up on the racks.

I don’t think you’ll notice much difference in stability between the two. In my experience they have similar stability. Both are fairly wide (for sea kayaks), and have fairly flat bottoms. You’ll turn faster in the Zephyr though. Should give you a chance to refine your forward stroke, so you can minimize steering strokes.

You will enjoy your Zephyr. It has rather high and defined stability so you will not likely feel uneasy on the water.

The Zephyr is a fine boat you will not outgrow.

You are going to shine!
Good choice!


Hope you like it. It won’t be any faster than the 165 I think, but more fun in moving water. Stability should feel solid, especially once you edge it a bit. Just sitting on-center it is lively but even a little edge and you will feel it. Have not paddled the 165 myself so not sure how they compare (but the 145 I thought was very stable when I had it and the Z is not far behind that and I would not be surprised if it is similarly stable when edged).

First Paddle

– Last Updated: Oct-02-11 1:48 PM EST –

I managed to get out for an hour on a local mostly flat river with a good current. The fit is snug for me right now but not uncomfortable. Actually it fits quite well which surprised me a bit because I am over the maximum recommended paddler weight at the moment but my weight is on the way down in a major way and I expected it would be a tad snug right now.

My first impressions (remember I started paddling kayaks about 6 weeks ago after 30 years of extensive open boat paddling of all types) is that it is indeed quite a bit different than my Tsunami 165. At the beginning of my paddle today I came real close to putting myself in the water a couple of times. But, by the end of the paddle I was much more comfortable. I was able to get it on edge and feel how lively it is and how well it turns. I even execute a few eddy turns and there is a world of difference in that area. This boat really snaps around the way I like when Yoiu execute an eddy turn. This is a MUCH more lively boat and I am confident that my skills will increase much more paddling this boat as opposed to the Tsunami. It is exactly the kind of boat I am looking for. But I do need quite a bit of time in the saddle before I am really feeling 100% sure about what is going to happen in various situations. Part of this - maybe most of it - is because I am learning to paddle a kayak and has nothing to do with this particular kayak except that this boat does not have the initial stability that the Tsunami has. Also, I have a big bladed paddle and I need to be pretty careful what I do with it or I'll be in the water.

Now - there is a pretty odd situation going on with the dimensions on this boat compared to the specs on the WS web page. The certificate of origin says it is 16 feet long and that it is a Zephyr 160. The web page says a Zephyr 160 is 16 feet long. But this boat is not 16 feet long - it is appox. 15'6" long according to my careful measuring! Also, the badge on the side of the boat says "Zephyr 15.5" I find this very strange and I am beginning to wonder if there was some sort of mistake made at the WS factory. The serial number on the certificate of origin matches up with the number on the hull. Not sure how to get it sorted out. Any suggestions or thoughts on this? Do you think they might have made an error?

UPDATE - I spoke with EMS, they think there was an error made on the paper work and that this boat is actually a 155 not a 160. No wonder it is snug. Problem is they won't know until tomorrow if they have a red 160. I predict they don't in which event they are going to give me the option of returning the boat but it does not sound like they are going to be able to get me the boat I ordered and paid for at the fall discount price in which event I am going to be one unhappy camper after driving 4 hours round trip to pick this boat up. This is not looking real good.

Sounds like you’ve got a 155. I can’t imagine why EMS wouldn’t replace it with the boat you ordered, but if they don’t then I should think WS will. You ordered, paid for, and picked up what you were told was a 160, but is in fact a 155. Hang in there and make sure they do right by you.

(By the way, the fact that you’re well over the weight limit for the 155 probably explains why it feels tippy to you. The 160 is also 1/2 inch wider, so that will help with stability.)

Good luck.

This is a huge pia. I honestly don’t have time to be futzing around like this. Your right about the lack of stability. I am way way over the weight limit for the 155. I’m amazed I was able to fit in it at all. Truth is the cockpit really isn’t that bad for me. I have to be patient and wait for EMS to contact me tomorrow. But, I am pretty sure this was the last 160 in red - although it is possible they have a lot of them mis-marked like this and so their inventory sheets may be off. I don’t see this coming out well.

EMS gave you a complete refund on your Tsumani? That’s really remarkable. I would cut them a whole lot of slack if they mistakenly sold you a 155.

I’m sure they’ll make good on it or the WS rep will. Look on the positive side you got a free all day demo in the 155.

You’re pretty lucky.

bummer? maybe NOT.

– Last Updated: Oct-02-11 7:54 PM EST –

If your weight is dropping this boat will eventually be perfect, no? I'm a firm believer in paddling only as much boat as is necessary. Ever paddle too much boat on a very windy day? It's miserable.

Hey! You said you'd never fit in the smaller boat but, by golly...

I am a glass half full guy - but
I drove 4 hours to get this boat and I let others go. The boats I passed over in favor of this boat are now gone. I see only one z160 out there now with another retailer and it is being sold at full retail and its not my color preference.

I am expecting that tomorrow EMS will tell me they do not have the correct boat in stock. The return on the Tsunami was required under their satisfaction guaranty - part of the deal. I agree they did the right thing on that - but all they did was what they promised to do when I bought the boat.

My target weight is right in the middle of the Z 160 weight specs - the 160 is the correct boat for me. That is why I ordered a 160. This 155 is too small and it will be too small even when I hit my target weight.

It appears that I will be without a boat now until spring. I was hoping and planning to get quite a bit more paddling time in before freeze up.

If they make good on this and I get a red z 160 from someone at the fall sale price then I will be satisfied. I’ll know more tomorrow night.

I will say this - these Zephyr’s are very cool boats. I’m glad the folks here pointed me to this boat.