Faster than WS Tempest?

-- Last Updated: Jun-10-15 1:47 PM EST --

I am curious about the WS Tempest. Good reviews, lots of use, supposedly good design for moving straight forward and covering lots of territory. But several reviewers state, "it is not that fast" etc. However they do not elaborate other than, "not the fastest in its class". So what is considered faster in this class?

I realize much depends on stroke, water, packing etc. But all things being equal what is considered generally faster than the WS Tempest in that class? Use would be mostly large lakes and large rivers with mostly calm water and minor chop coastal trips. I want to cover mileage so all things being equal what kayak will generally travel faster than the WS Tempest?

The Epic 16X is faster, but…
I have no idea if it’s in the same “class” as the Tempest.

Can’t quite answer
I can’t quite answer your question regarding all the boats that are faster, but I love my Tempest 170. It edges and rolls really well. I have a plastic version, so compared to the glass boats I’m sure it’s slow, but I keep up with everyone. Like you said a lot of it is the skill of the paddler. Unless you’re doing racing or paddling with elite folks that all have fast boats, it’s a perfectly great kayak.

it’s not the fastest sea kayak
It’s not designed to be the fastest sea kayak. IMO it’s a good “do everything” sea kayak with enough storage room to do a trip, but not a tank.

As Yanoer already inferred, the range is so broad it’s tough to put them into a class. Unless you’re talking racing, in which a QCC or other boat designed with speed as more of a priority would be faster. Generally, we’re describing plumb or near-plumb bows and sterns, and rudders.

Valley Aquanaut or Greenlander Pro
Are faster hulls in boats that are generally all-around use boats. Also models that are not current so they can be found used at a decently low price. There are also some faster boats in the older Seaward line… but some of them don’t turn well and some are also curious stability.

If speed is all you care about, as above you need to think about a different use.

Thank you
Speed is not the only consideration. Just a factor, and I was curious since so many reviews really liked the WS Tempest but consistently commented that there are “faster kayaks in the class”. So if I can get something that will serve the same general purpose and get me going to my top speed when wanted I would be interested. My local dealer has a used Valley Aquanaut, I will check it out.

another recommendation

– Last Updated: Jun-10-15 2:46 PM EST –

A person in a 3' rec kayak with excellent form can outpace a person in a sea kayak with not so good form.
Anyone who has paddled in a group has probably noticed and even been surprised at this. Work on your stroke, that'll help offset perceived lost speed.

Thank you
No racing, other than recreational fun. But sometimes I will want to move as fast as possible, get to my destination and smell the roses once there. Nice to hear your comment on edging, some reviews also knock the edging ability. But I have paddled other similar boats with no edging issues. I think it comes down to time, skill and expectations. I don’t need to u-turn in a creek…your input is much appreciated.

Yes, most of it is the person, that’s why I mentioned ‘all things being equal’…but I do agree.

Current Designs Nomad
I’ll throw one out there. The Current Designs Nomad is probably one of the faster that could be loosely considered in this class.

By in this class, I mean a hull that was designed with the stability profile and hull profile of a sea kayak over a racing kayak. Very solid secondary stability that you can really feel. And it’s never presented me with any difficulty in rolling, and feels incredibly easy to roll to me, loaded or unloaded, versus most others. I have a collection of kayaks, and I’ve always loved that one. If I want to paddle with my best form and go for my best time, and I’m going to see some rough water, and get to tackle some surf landings, it is my personal first choice. It was called the Extreme years ago, and they changed the name to the Nomad. With the Nomad, they started using composite bulkheads, and took some of the space out from between the back of the seat and the bulkhead. But other than that, the same hull - straight from a Current Designs representative a number of years ago.

She won’t turn as quickly as your Tempest, but turns reasonably well for most sea kayaking purposes. As a less important side note that people often wonder about(so much less important than hull performance to me, so I don’t think should be weighted very heavily), if you’ve never used those hatch covers, I honestly prefer them over all others I’ve used. I only bring it up because people always wonder about these things. Current Designs does a superior, waterproof design with these composite style covers from the others I’ve seen. And especially on those cold days, it’s just as easy to work with the buckles then as it is in the summer, where the rubber covers tend to become difficult.

I’ve had an Extreme for probably over 10 years now. So I’ve likely experienced a good amount of all the good and the bad from every angle you can think of with this kayak. Maybe one way to put it, if you’re trying to make your best time, you have good, strong form, and you want to feel secure enough to keep your good, strong form in rough water, you might find this one pretty rewarding. I would describe it as not designed with a racing pedigree in mind. It was designed to be a fast sea kayak, with sea kayaking keeping a pretty clear priority over more racing specific details. An example of this would be that fish-form, no matter how narrow the boat, will always seem unnecessarily wide in front of a racer. The designer obviously set this fact aside going for a feel and performance that took priority over this racing detail. You could argue whether this was necessary or good or whatever to no end, or you could paddle the kayak in conditions and see if it agrees with you. As we all know - all things equal doesn’t exist, so you can’t make it swede form without changing the feel and performance for better or worse - which usually means both. Current Designs actually designed a kayak at about the same time with more racing detail emphasized - the Stratus. It didn’t really take as a sea kayak, and today is offered modified as the Freedom.

As always, all this is meaningless without good fit. You have to have a little room to move to incorporate your legs and hips.

But if you get the opportunity to try a few out, I’d certainly recommend trying this one out to see if it agrees with you.

generally speaking
The Greenland/Brit boats are slower than the west coast, QCC and Epic type boats. IMO that’s at the expense of rough-water handling.

Much thanks
Wow Capefear- Thank you for the thought and thorough explanation. My local dealer has CD as their primary stock. As you said, fit and actual use is what counts. I am trying to glean as much information from this community and then I will have a direction for what to try for the fit and feel portion of the decision.

Think Composite
A composite hull will not flex or deform over time both of which will slow you down. Rarely the same boat in poly and composite will have identical hulls.


Waterline will give you speed IF you have the motor.

I’ve seen a smaller motor go faster in a shorter boat.

A narrow beam will give you efficiency… easier to paddle at any speed.

If you want to go fast work on the motor first.

the only relevant suggestion
I think that grayhawk has given the only suggestion that makes sense.

A faster kayak (higher hull speed) will only be fast if one can paddle it fast (motor) otherwise it will be harder to paddle at not max hull speed.

I see it too often: a mediocre paddlers in a shorter kayak (with lower hull speed than a long kayak) that “upgrades” to the “faster” (longer) kayak to end up going slower than before.

How come?

Think of it as a car: a heavy car (longer kayak) will go faster IF the engine is powerful. Put a small engine in a big car and it will go slower than that engine in a smaller/lighter car.

While the analogy is far from perfect most of us understand cars.

If one does not paddle fast a “faster” kayak will not make the long miles easier. More can be said on the subject but in essence the shorter (slower) kayak can be easier to move if the paddlers is not strong/has good forward stroke technique.

my CLC Chesapeake 18 is faster

– Last Updated: Jun-10-15 11:40 PM EST –

than a Tempest 170 pro. It is approximately the same weight slightly wider and has an extra foot of waterline length. She sure won't turn like a Tempest though!

Thank you Grayhawk
I totally agree with the motor point. I am not so young (52)but I am a former national level bodybuilder and still train hard daily. I truly love my training, its the closest thing to a sanctuary that I have. Like most with my body type, I am extremely strong, lots of fast twitch explosion, but I will never be a great endurance guy. No matter how much training I may do, that’s just my genetics. I have a gym at my house and still train collegiate level athletes of all walks. I can still out train them all. So my motor is as good as it’s ever going to get. My recreational time is on the water. I like taking short trips and I like to sprint when I feel like it. So I would just like to sprint in a kayak that will maximize my efforts. Yours and everyone’s input is much appreciated.

Very nice
Those are beautiful boats, maybe someday…

They are not hard to build
It took me a couple of years to build mine but I am a perfectionist. If you really want something that will eat up the miles build a CLC Pax 20.

The inverse of that person with the motor to move a shorter boat swiftly is the person with a “fast boat” who can’t take advantage of it.

With a motor like that…

– Last Updated: Jun-11-15 12:10 AM EST –

I would be looking at surfskis. Just blast around and zone out..

Check out Epic's V7, V8