Eddyline Fathom vs. WS Tempest 170

-- Last Updated: May-14-08 8:26 PM EST --

I am thinking of trading-up to one of these two. Can someone who has paddled both summarize the main handling differenced b/w the two?

I am not so much interested in learning about build/material, as I am in finding out how they handle different water/weather, which is easier to edge, turn, faster, surfing waves, flat water use, etc.

From what I read, the Eddyline Fathom should be just about perfect for me but dealers are at least 2hr away so it may be a while before I get to see one. I've sat in the Tempest 170 and it also feels great and I also read many favorable comments about it.

I will hopefully have a chance to demo both so I will form my own conclusions, but being a relatively new paddler I am not sure if I will form the right conclusions based on a few minute demo...

So, anyone with direct experience with both? And specifically, I think I will be looking at a poly Tempest vs. a Carbonlite Fathom (I am reluctant to invest in the higher maintenance fiber or kevlar versions or either boat). The price difference b/w a poly Tempest and the carbonlite Fathom of about $1,000 (new) is not easy to ignore but that is not the main factor.

I've found a lot of information so far about build quality and weight differences (mostly in favor of the Fathom). But the price difference is significant and I read somewhat conflicting accounts on the Tempest 170 in poly (as being a "tank" for instance or even "slow"). I have the Tsunami 145 so the Tempest would feel right at home in terms of features and build with several small but important improvements for me and one drawback (10 lb or so more weight compared to Tsunami, may be 20 compared to Fathom) so there would not be many surprises there - I do not know how it handles though...

My stats - relatively active & high paddling style, 6'4", 190lb, size 15 shoe (the main deal breaker for smaller boats for me that otherwise fit). I will almost surely not do long trips, may be a day trip at most - prime use would be for 2-4 hour at a time paddling sessions on wide rivers, lakes, and the ocean.

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Both good boats
I am a bit surprised that you will fit those big feet comfortably into WS. I know that the 180 has lots of room, but didn’t realize that the 170 had so much.

You really need to demo both boats. As a beginner, you might find the WS a bit more stable. I am a big fan of Carbonlite material because a lot of repairs can be made and they seem to be holding up so well. Repairability can be a really big issue when you damage your boat, as you will.

The Eddyline would be a great boat if you find the stability suits you. At 6 feet 4 inches, you can’t assume that. The Eddyline has a V hull and hard chines, and it likes to be on one edge or the other. You might like that or might not. If you are not into edging that much, you would probably like the Tempest better.

Both these boats are for an aggressive and committed beginner, which it sounds like you are. If the Eddyline suits you, I think you would be happier in the long run with a Carbonlite boat. Maybe you could find a used composite WS?

My input is limited but
I’ll give it anyway. I haven’t paddled either boat, but I was checking the Fathom out last year. I did sit in it and it really fits like a glove. I am 6’ and about 215. It felt very comfortable, but if you need wiggle room then you probably won’t care much for the Fathom. It has a smallish cockpit and getting those 15’s into it may be interesting to watch. I only wear a 10, and I had planty of footroom, but like I mentioned getting in and out may be a challenge.

As far as materials go, if you don’t by the Carbonlite you will eventually wish you had. Not necessarily the Fathom, but maybe another Eddyline kayak. Invest once and get it over with, You’ll be much happier.

If you get a chance to paddle both boats make sure you post a report for us. I am still considering an upgrade to either an Eddyline or Current Designs


a boat that like to edge…

– Last Updated: May-14-08 6:59 PM EST –

funny you should mention that. i dont' know the fathom, so i can't comment really on the comparison. but i remember the merlin's had the same issue--sharp v'd hull meant they loved to flop over on edge. that was fun for maneuvering, not so good for going straight. but the fathom is, i've heard, a fast boat. the tempest wasn't built for any one thing, but as an all-arounder, according to flatpick. (going places/surf/play etc.) it would be interesting to know the design goals of the fathom, if any eddyline people are on here.

eddyline’s statement re: fathom
Manufacturer’s Statement: The Fathom is a new kayak from Eddyline that is sure to please the paddler looking for that extra edge of performance, regardless of your skill level. The Fathom’s highly efficient hull is fast and nearly effortless to accelerate to speed, yet carries a comfortable degree of initial stability.

I can’t state that for sure…

– Last Updated: May-16-08 2:37 PM EST –

... since I only had a chance to try the Tempest in the store and did not have my paddling boots with me. In a Tempest I get in one leg at a time but still fast, where in the Tsunami I can with caution get in with both legs at the same time if I go legs first (if I go butt first, then it's again one leg at a time to get them in after my posterior is in).

However, they had a Tsunami 145 on the floor as well (which I have been paddling for a couple of months now) and I know how it fits. So I compared the two for foot room several times. The Tsunami 145 is both wider & taller than the Tempest where my feet are. The Tempest has a nasty fastener protruding near my toes that would be uncomfortable barefoot, but I think it will not be a problem with footwear.

Getting in or out I think is relatively similar in both boats, the Tempest's cockpit being may be 2" shorter and narrower but not much to matter in practice for entering or exiting, since the Tsunami is probably wider & longer than the minimum I can live with. In the 170 the hip braces may need to be trimmed down a notch, if I'm dressed-up more, where the Tsunami may need just a little more paddling if I'm not dressed-up. Flip a coin IMO. The second thing I noticed is that the thigh braces seem to be a little closer together than in the Tsunami, which I think is a good thing for me. In the Tsunami I have no problem paddling for up to 1-1/2 or 2 hours but over 2 hours and my right knee needs a couple of minutes to get back to normal once I get out of the boat (not uncomfortable at all while inside though). I think the narrower brace position will help with this, but even in the Tsunami I think it will improve with practice and may be some padding on the outside of my thighs. Of course, the back support on the Tempest is very different, but I can get that in the Tsunami as well for about $40 (REI sells the back-band).

I felt the Tsunami was tippy the first time I got into it. As others have found, this tippiness disappears in one or two paddles. Now I think it may actually be too stable, requiring too much lean to even begin to edge it (I'm still learning this, so may be it's me, but it seems it is in a way too stable). So, I think a little tippier boat should not be a problem, as long as it is not too twitchy. I've been windsurfing for a while, and am quite familiar with how a narrow fast "play" board behaves compared to a longer/wider "touring" or less advanced board.

And in the interest of full disclosure, may be 15 years ago I actually unsuccessfully trained for competition rowing (don't know the name of the boat in english, the ones where the seat slides back & forth) in doubles and fours and these can be tippier than a 22" kayak (long story, but mainly I decided that competition sports of this kind are not what I'm going to pursue with all the "pills" that they started giving out early on...)

you can’t fit a keg of beer
under the deck of a Tempest

According to N.T.
the Fathom is a “rec kayak”.


Who or what is N.T.?
Don’t know. But the Fathom is definitely not a rec boat. It comes standard with a back band, skeg, day hatch, bulkheads, v hull, hard chines. IMO it demands a confident paddler, especially if you are 6’4".

Size 15 shoes will work easily. My son was 6’2" and has 14’s and he had room to spare. He found the boat a bit too advanced (one too many swims) and went to a Capella 173. Not as fast, but friendlier and more predictable - more like the Tempest.

The cockpit in the Fathom is quite large and most will need considerable foam to fit. It is a great boat, but IMO needs to be managed more aggressively with the edge than the WS Tempest, which is also a popular boat with our club.

I’m the owner of a Fathom. I upgraded from a well used perception eclipse. I’m 6’2", 210 lbs, size 10.5 shoe.

Carbonlite: First, I shaved almost 20 lbs in weight from my older model eclipse to the carbonlite eddyline product. I’ve abused the carbonlite on rocks and beaches and it’s held up well. The boat is an easy solo carry. The material sold me because I believed I was getting Fiberglass-like performace with rotomolded-like durability, at a price point I wanted to pay.

Fit and Finish: The Fathom is a well built boat, not a bad seam, screw or piece of outfitting on the entire boat. I love the retractable grab handles and the day hatch. All of the hatches are connected internally with a tie-down and are pretty much water tight, only a bit of leakage after an afternoon of rolls and rescues. The 22" beam fits my hips like a glove with no extra padding and the seadog foot pegs are rock solid and easy to use. Your size 13’s will have no problem fitting this boat. The pearl red color just glows on a bright sunny day, highly recomend.

Handling: For larger water I prefer the chined Fathom to my perception. I can use hip control and paddle placement to set my direction. The larger forward volume comes in handy on the Great Lakes and surfing. The V shaped hull and chines are a bit grippy on moving rivers and I prefer my old boat with the round hull for eddy hopping and ferrying. The skeg is rock solid for the few times you’ll need it. The Fathom does a pretty good job of locking in and heading where you want it without the skeg. I don’t have any trouble with the boat flopping on edge. It’s a well balanced boat.

Speed: I feel like the Fathom as speed to burn. I’ve placed well in a couple of races and even hold a circumnavigation record in the Fathom. In my opinion speed is part paddler conditioning, part technique and having a well designed kayak like the Fathom.

If you are looking for a day boat and something you won’t be camping in, the Eddyline Nighthawk may interest you? The Fathom does offer good hauling capasity and is larger than the Nighthawk. The full sized fathom is a larger paddlers boat and if I were to list the couple of negatives for the boat, it would be the high front and back decks. The hull is angled well for a high angle paddler, but there is still a lot of volume up front. The back deck is also higher, I don’t have a problem with my layback rolls, but shorter paddlers will.

Overall I’ve been happy with my upgrade and look forward to many more miles in my Fathom. Hope this helps.

Sat in the Fathom today and …

– Last Updated: May-16-08 9:53 AM EST –

.. a few more boats as well.

First off, this is a *very* well built boat, strong & light. I did not get to paddle it, but plan to do it in the near future, if I decide to go with it seriously.

The posterior under my 36" waist fits snugly in the boat without undue side compression or other protrusions from the boat or the seat. Length is good, and getting in and out is very easy for me. The front deck does not feel too tall for me - seems manageable, but hard to tell for sure without paddling it for a few hours. It appears the foot room is adequate but not perfect for me - I can't put my feet parallel in pretty much any configuration (where I can do that in the Tsunami or the Tempest if I wear soft thin water shoes). The back support is nice, similar to what's in the Tempest 170. The seat is very comfortable as well.

What I want to do is demo the Tempest 170 if I can this weekend and paddle it. Then make-up my mind if I want to spend the extra $1500 or so on the Fathom (saw a Tempest 165 new for $999 at LLBean Outlet store, expect to find a 170 at a similar cost or slightly used for less). If I do not fit in the Tempest well, then it will be an easier choice - the Fathom is better built, lighter, stronger, more durable, and seems to fit OK ... But if the two fit similarly, I'm going to have harder time because of the price difference.

I sat in several other boats: Nighthawk and Falcon. The Falcon 18 at 21" is narrow for me (seat is too tight, may be too unstable for my height also), foot room not as good. The Nighthawk 17.5 is too wide and loose, also with my knees too much spread-out for long paddle comfort (almost like a WW boat!).

The only other suspect fit in the Fathom is the shape and position of the thigh support, due to the angle of my legs being too low for it. Might cause some pain over long paddles (or may not, but I feel it put pressure while seated, so I expect it will be uncomfortable over few hours). A shorter person would fit well in it as their legs would be more bent in the knee and make contact with the thigh support at a different angle. I got long legs so they are more stretched and low angle than on a shorter person. Some paddling on the outside of the thigh support should take care of this, it appears.

I also sat in a Current Design Gulfstream (I think) and a Chatham 17 - both too low deck for my feet.

So my next step is to paddle the Tempest 170, may be some other boats over the weekend at the REI demo, paddle my Tsunami again, then if nothing impresses me enough, rent the Fathom for 2-3 hours and make-up my mind.

Footroom compared to the Tsunami 145

– Last Updated: May-15-08 8:37 PM EST –

I got back home and sat in my Tsunami 145 again, with the same shoes and clothes I used in the Eddyline Fathom. The Tsunami actually feels very similarly sized! The hull is a little wider but the seat is only a smidgen wider giving the illusion of a similar fit. The foot room in the Tsunami is definitely a little better than the Fathom both for leg length and foot size. The thigh braces also fit me better (plus they are adjustable if needed). The only negative in terms of fit in the Tsunami for me is the "extra" room it has on the outside of my thighs it seems - will be adding some padding to improve on this.

Sorry to bother you with these details, but I hope they may be useful to someone else with my "problem" feet. If I had a couple of sizes smaller feet, the Fathom would have been a great fit and folks considering something like it should try to check it out.

I also spent some time on the Eddyline web site to check-out the history of the company: the "movie" is worth a look at to understand where they are coming from and their philosophy -;)

NT is a person
who posts here on p-net. He did refer to the Fathom LV as a nice looking rec kayak. Not sure what made him think that. Seems like a touring / sea kayak to me.

you can’t fit a dowry chest
under the deck of a Tempest 170

Fathom and Nighthawk 175 are both great
You might also consider a Nighthawk 175 (NOT the NH 16 which is a low-volume kayak).

The NH 175 is definitely a big person’s kayak and is a bit more stable than the Fathom. And because it’s longer and has soft chines, it s/b faster, too.

I have owned a NH 17.5 and you will
likely find it to be too large for you. I am 6’3" and 240 lbs and recently sold my NH and bought a P&H Cetus and a Valley Aquanaut LV. I use the Valley as a play boat and roller as it is too small for me to use over any distance. I believe that as your skills progress you will find your boat gets bigger and bigger. When I bought the Cetus I removed all kinds of factory parts to generate more room. I am now slowly adding all of it back. The same was true for the NH 17.5, at first it seemd like it was the only boat I fit in, eventually it was just too big for the Greenland techniques I was trying to learn. The Eddyline is an excellent boat, I think it does more things better than any other brand or construction type. The Fathom is a boat I intend to own at some point, but as previously mentioned here it has a high back deck and this is not what I can tolerate at this time. I remove the foot braces and tracks from all of my boats and build the bulkheads up with foam, thicker to the sides to be used for bracing and thinner in the middle to stretch out. 2" minicell traced out to the shape of the bulkhead is a good starting point. You should fit well in the Fathom and probably the NH 16 as well. Paddle any boat you buy first and not just a quick out and back, you need time and conditions for any boat to present some of it less desirable characteristics. The NH17.5 because of its size is somewhat skeg dependant, strangely, the Cetus is even worse. You might want to look at the Valley Rotomolded Aquanaut LV. It is in my opinion the best rotomolded boat I have seen or paddled. You should be able to pick one up for around $1300-$1500. Good Luck.

Fathon and Tempast
I have messed around in both and paddle with both regularly.

Tempest is a UK / Greenland boat that handles beautifully, rolls and edges well. Nice boat for rock hopping and club type paddles.

It has good volume and handles well.

I Like it.

Fathom: Beautifully made with great fit and finish, fast (VERY FAST) not as easy to roll or turn but she is high volume. This boat is what I would want if were out for a long trip.

I own and paddle an NDK explorer, A Capella An Orion and a Makkovic from Eastern Island Kayaks. I gravitate to the Greenland variations that are much slower than the Fathom.

Good luck, you will be pleased wit either boat.

I tried the …
Falcon 18 - too narrow for me in the seat - I could fit but it would be uncomfortable in all but the lightest attire. The foor room (deck height) was also not enough.

Nighthawk 17.5 - too wide a seat, way too spread-out thigh support. Good foot/leg room.

Fathom - best fit of the three at the seat and thigh support areas. Decent foot room, but not as good as I’d like to have, especially with colder weather boots - I was more or less stuck in one position for my feet in a comfortable V shape and it was not possible to put my feet parallel and still use the foot pegs & thigh support at the same time (I can stretch out b/w the foot pegs no problem though).

In contrast, in the Tsunami I can put my feet parallel to each other on the foot pegs and still use the thigh support. Or I can pull the foot pegs back a notch or two and put my feet in a V shape and still be comfortable. This ability to change positions without sacrificing contact with the boat seems to me is a good thing.

Have not experimented in the Tempest enough to tell for sure how it does on foot room.

Question on fit

– Last Updated: May-16-08 2:48 PM EST –

At lunch break today I again sat in the 165 & 170 Tempest at the store today, while my memory from sitting in the Tsunami & Fathom is still fresh.

The 165 is out of the question for me - my behind's too wide and the feet too long. I can fit in it, but would not be happy for more than half an hour.

The 170 is a tight but a very comfortable fit.

So here's my question, since you've paddled both abd they are somewhat different in size/fit: what's a good fit? Would an initially comfortable but very snug fit be bad over 2-3 hours of paddling? Or is a snug fit very desireable for rougher waters? How snug is too snug? Should I be looking for something a little more loose (and paddable if desired), such as the Fathom or the Tsunami (in terms of fit at least) instead of something that fits like a glove but has no room to be looser?

There is less foot room in the Temoest 170 than in the Fathom with my feet pretty much placed in a single comfortable position on the pegs and everything else just lining-up perfectly. Pretty much no wiggle room though nothing puts undue pressure anywhere either. Not sure how this will translate into a long paddle (2-3 hours) comfort as the only way to change foot positions would be to just stretch my feet b/w the pegs.

Also about rolling. Is it a big trouble to roll the Fathom? To me rolling would not be an exersise in its own (as it is for some folks). So as long as the kayak is rollable relatively easy to get me out of the occasional trouble, I should be fine. In the Tempest, lying on my back at the rear deck (as if rolling) feels very comfy - I whish I had tried this in the Fathom yesterday to compare, but the deck on the Fathom is higher...

you need to paddle each
People love the tempest 170 but it just doesn’t do it for me. I haven’t been in a fathom.