Currituck vs Tempest 170 vs Chatham 16 vs?

I’m looking for fit advice. I know the adage of “try before you buy”, but I’m in the used market and most boats I’m interested seem to be ~3.5-4 hrs drive from me, and the “local” paddling place is still 2.5 hrs away and doesn’t have the same boats. So, I am trying to narrow down choices here before I drive, then will sit in & hopefully test before buying.
Im 6’, 34" inseam, ~165-170lbs and have started sea kayaking in the Great Lakes along with camper waters last August. I have both a Sirocco and a Tempest 165. The Sirocco doesn’t have the feel of “wearing the boat” for me. It’s not huge, but it feels a bit large. The Tempest 165 feels like I’m wearing it, but even though I’ve moved the seat back, it’s just too darn small: I struggle to maintain proper upright posture because my legs can’t bend much and when I slump a bit my leg goes dead. Also, there’s so little wiggle room for my size 11mens feet, I get ankle pain and foot cramps when in the boat all day. Edit to add: the coaming sits just below my hips, which means that getting my thighs under the thigh braces and even the coaming is a very tight squeeze too.

So what to look at next? I’d like enough of a rocker to be able to play in the Great Lakes surf sometimes. I like camping, but likely wouldn’t go for more than 4 -5 nights, and as I’m in Ontario, I don’t have to carry water. So the ones listed in the title are the kayaks I’ve narrowed it down to. I’ve seen both that the Tempest 170 has the same rocker as the 165 and is only a bit larger while at the same time reading that it has a much less playful feel than the 165. Can’t really sort that out, and the paddle shop I’m going to tomorrow to try things out doesn’t have a 170 to trial (but there are 3 on the used market right now).
Would the Currituck work for my sizing? Is the Chatham the same size as the 165? Any others I need to consider or watch for?
Thanks all!

The Currituck is a nice looking kayak. I’d be very tempted by that boat.

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The Chatham 16 is plenty playful. It may have a slightly taller deck than the Tempest 165, would have to ask people to measure. Both boats are pushing it for your height and leg length but the Chatham is fundamentally more round. That roundness may serve you.

The three Chatham boats lined up with three different personalities. 16 had more rocker/playful, the 17 was a general use expedition boat, the 18 was modeled on some racing criteria. First year 18 the marketing people got their paws in there and the cockpit was absurdly huge.

Tempest 170 is the most all around expedition one. And yeah, not as spritely as the 165.

But pain tends to be a disincentive to a good paddling experience. May want to give up some playful to have a more physically pleasant time on the water. If the Currituck gives you that…

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mogeton - I’m exactly the same size as you and have a Tempest 170. I also have that feeling of wearing the cockpit, but find that I can’t flex my legs very much if I want to just relax. Much like you described. I paddled 2 1/2 hours straight yesterday without feeling any need to get out and move around, but if I had room to bend my knees more I would have used it. The specs say the 165 and 170 have the same cockpit length and width, but the deck height of the 170 is one inch greater. I was just playing with moving my feet around yesterday and I’d estimate that my size 9 water shoes fit under the deck with about an inch of vertical room to spare. That’s with my feet angled at a natural, comfortable angle. I could splay my feet out a bit more to gain room for a little larger feet. That would not feel particularly “uncomfortable” but perhaps I’d be wishing I could move my feet after an hour or two.

I’ve only used the 170 on calm lakes so far, so I can’t comment much on handling. But my guess is that you’d find the cockpit fit feels a lot like your 165.

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Thanks @Celia for that rundown about the Chatham and 170. I’ve come to realize that I may not find the perfect boat for my size and have to compromise, so it’s good to hear that from more experienced paddlers!
Do you know it the Currituck is a playful boat?

Thanks @Wolf! Thanks for your rundown on the cockpit! Give that there’s only an inch or so of extra space for you, it might not do the trick for me. Hmm.

I am :slight_smile: just have to see if it fits!

If vertical foot space is a recurring problem, you can move your feet inward where there’s more room with a simple, DIY foot bar (these photos are not the Tempest)…




I owned a Chatham 16 for about two weeks, and quickly re-sold it. For me, the cockpit rim was too narrow, for my frame. I bought it in hopes of surfing the ocean. But the shape and size of the rim, limited my ability to edge properly. Never would have felt comfortable with it, in the surf. Sold it and bought my Avocet, a few weeks later. I was disappointed, the rest of the boat was built for surfing.

Here is a link showing the rim.

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Oh, I see what you mean. There looks to be quite a bit of deck between the side of the kayak and the rim of the cockpit. Interesting. Thanks for that perspective

That’s a neat solution @Wolf ! I may need to do this eventually. Did you strap that red bar to the pegs?

Yes, the white stuff is elastic shock cord that slips right over the pegs. It goes under the locking latch, so it doesn’t interfere with the ability to move the pegs (but limited by the length of the bar - to far forward and the bar is too long to fit in the hull, too far back and the bar is too short).

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Had a graphite/Kevlar Currituck, but ended up selling it favor of the Tempest 165 Pro. Former was a much better performing boat, and could move faster & out handle the former.

What sold me on the Tempest 165 Pro was its ability to behave in rough conditions. Test paddled it during a nor’easter, at the NJ shore. (And it was absolutely intentional.) Reading my old trip reports now, and it doesn’t matter how bad the conditions get, the Tempest 165 Pro shrugs them off.

All that said, the Currituck could be a better fit for a good paddler.

Thanks for those details @GraphitePaddle Do you recall if the Currituck had a larger cockpit than the Tempest 165 by chance? While I definitely love the Tempest165, I also definitely don’t fit.

I’m confused to GraphitePaddles post as to what boat was preferred. The Currituck or the Tempest? Can you please clarify. I have a 165 Pro but have not had much seat time in it. Thanks

Hi steevey,

Didn’t sell the Currituck, till after the November nor’easter test paddle of Tempest 165 Pro. During most of the time that I owned the former, was apprehensive about it flipping … which it did. BTW, the former didn’t track as well as the later: Don’t use the skeg as much w. the Tempest 165 Pro.

Bottom Line: Strongly prefer the fiberglass Tempest 165 Pro over lighter Currituck. Believing that a kayak will get me into trouble is far more important than performance.

Sorry Mogeton, the last time that I paddled the Currituck was in 2007, so don’t remember how much padding that I had added.

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I suspect you mean a kayak that will keep you out of trouble is preferred…?

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From my short experience paddling the Currituck; I didn’t like how it felt with me in it. I’m 130 lbs and with little kit in the boat; the boat felt “Corky”, it didn’t feel planted in the water, but sitting on top of and not in or part of the water , getting pushed around in chop. Just my observation. I have found the Tempest 165 does not feel Corky in those same conditions.

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The Currituck is not properly sized for a person weighing 130, the way the Tempest 165 is.

Yes I would agree 165 more suited to smaller/lighter paddler
Currituck more mid sized paddler

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