Hip Pads in Tempest 180

-- Last Updated: May-16-07 3:49 PM EST --

After renting quite a bit, I am buying my first kayak and have been doing A LOT of research and trying out boats. I am close to buying either the WS Tempest 180 or 170. I've paddled them both, but get a bit better overall stability from the T180. I also will be paddling the Capella 173 in a few days (from what I read on it, it may be my boat), and then I will make my decision. This question is about hip pads. If I get the T180, I think I would want to use the hip pads. I recently did a day's paddling in the T180 WITHOUT hip pads. This was in relatively calm waters with some mild/medium winds, small waves at times, and cross currents. I felt there was a bit too much cockpit room around my thighs, which, after a day's paddling, created some cramping for me in my right leg (did a lot of edging). Also, my edging was more tentative in the T180 than the tighter T170 (which I paddled for a while later in the day and liked), but I felt a better initial stability with the T180, which is why I may get that over the T170. Secondary was good in both models. However, a couple of advance paddlers I know strongly advise to never use the hip pads, because they hinder your hip movment in edging and rolling. My edging is pretty good, and I am very focused on becoming excellent at it, and eventually learn rolling. Will the hip pads hinder me in these efforts, help me, or does it not matter? Your assistance is very much appreciated. Thanks so much.

I Like Hip Pads

– Last Updated: May-16-07 4:51 PM EST –

I paddle a smaller boat. The 165.

If you don't like hip pads just take 'em out.

I also like lower volume. I'd suggest not buying any more boat than you need. When the wind picks up it's nice not having a lot of boat out of the water acting like a sail. And that thing for initial stability... as you progress that's not so important.

how big are you???
here on the board looks up: AquaMan…(dun dun dunnnnn)…he started in a t180…and is now down to a 170…

me-i went from a 165 to a 170…not from weight change though…

also look up Flatpick-he designed those boats…

i like a little hip pad…not much…does not take much with the meat around my thighs :wink:

yes-if the pads are agressive you will be locked into the seat (sometimes where you want to be)…but if the boat is low volume enough for you then you can do the advanced rolling and edging even locked in hard…kinda depends on where the cockpit coaming is hitting you: top of thigh/hip/floating rib…the deeper in the baot you are the more movement youa re going to need…

Gordon Brown put a nice bit about cockpit sizing in his new book…comparing a high volume boat vs a low volume boat with the same paddler to sho where the paddler sits…

most people out there are wishing to be tight in their cockpit…i know that if i am out in fun stuff (some call it conditions) then i WANT to have that boat respond instantly to my actions…but that is just me…



– Last Updated: May-24-07 7:43 AM EST –

If you kayak long enough you'll learn to love that answer.
Seriously, in my own non-professional opinion, the balance is to find enough hip (and thigh) contact that you can get to a nthigh brace fast for control purposes, but not so tight that you can't slide your sitz bones forward and back to help with rotation, or scoot a little to the side to weight an edge. I don't know how tight the 180 was on you - it's a pretty big boat - but getting that balance may be a matter of just slightly smaller or differently placed hip pads.

Answer to how big are you???
I should have mentioned that in my prior post. I am 6’ 1" 212-215 lbs. I am very well proportioned, but have broad shoulders, wide hip bones and strong thick thighs, so it narrows the playing field for me as to what kind of cockpit I can get into. The Tempest 170 is the smallest I can go and be comfortable. The Tempest 180 I can get into even easier, but I liked how the T170 hugged my thighs more allowing better hip action. I am just about ready to go for the T170. It’s just that it felt a littler tippier to me (1" less in the beam than the T180) on the initial stability, but that will probably go away with more usage and experience with that boat. I definitely can’t use hip pads in the T170. Way too tight then. So, in the T170 without hip pads, it is just snug enough. The other day, when paddling it, I purposely did a self rescue to see how easily I could get back into it, and I was able to. Definitely not quite as easily as the T180, but was able to. This Saturday, I will be out on an all day trip on the Sound with a rented T170, so I will know for sure then. I was just wondering about if hip pads on a larger boat, like the T180 will inhibit hip action for better edging and rolling. Thanks.

Hip Pads
I don’t like or dislike hip pads. Just what works for a particular boat. I don’t need them in the Tempest 170 and don’t want them in that boat, but if I want the better initial stability in the T180, then the hip pads could help. At this point, I will probably get the T170 and grow into it so the initial stability will not be an issue. Thanks.

Hip Action
I, and many others, WANT to inhibit hip action. When I roll or brace I don’t want my butt sliding around in the seat. The hips (and thighs) can’t control the boat if they aren’t connected to the boat.

Someone wiser than me
Namely Shawna at Body, Boat, Blade said you ideally want a boat to be a “sloppy” fit instead of a “tight” fit. That way you have room to move when you’re relaxed, but can still “flex” your body into the pads/bracing bars/deck (or what have you) when you need to edge, brace or roll.

I’m about the same size as you and, though about 10 pounds heavier, I have the same issues with wide upper torso, wide hips, and big legs. I have not paddled the 180, but I put it on the floor at REI last weekend and sat in it. It had the hip pads inserted and also the top thigh pads. The hip pads were not uncomfortable at all, but the thigh pads made me question whether or not the boat would be a good fit under real-world conditions, like when wearing multiple layers and/or a drysuit.

You can always take them out of you don’t like them or use some minicell foam to get the right width for your body. That’s what I would probably do with the thigh pads if I buy the boat.

You should be comfortable in the boat.Snug but not tight. Vaughn Fulton

In real world conditions
If you are about the same size as me and about 10 lbs heavier, you will be very comfortable in the T180, especially with hip pads. I paddled a whole day in it (about 7 hours, with 1 short break and a lunch break, wearing full gear, and there is plenty of room. I didn’t wear a dry suit, but I wore a farmer john wet suit with nylon long sleeve shirt under it, with gortex spray jacket (a semi-dry top) over it, with PFD and high neoprene boots. No problems getting in and out of it. Like I said, perhaps a bit too much room around my thighs (no pads) when paddling, perhaps straining my thighs too much when edging. Now I have to go out and try it WITH pads, which I will get a chance to do this Sunday. On Saturday, I’ll be out all day with the T170, so by the end of the weekend, my decision should be made. Thanks.

too much stability
can be a bad thing. I predict that you will feel plenty stable in the 170 after a couple of outings. As kayaks go, it’s a very stable one with a great solid edge.

I’m a couple inches taller and a bit lighter weight than you, but my hips are wide. I just fit in the Tempest seat, with the pads removed. I agree with the advice that you don’t need to be tight in the boat, but should be able to lock your tighs under the deck for rolling.

I have a ?
So with all this discussion of hip pads etc. I am wondering where to go for a seat/outitting primer. I have seen threads from time to time but no strong consensus. I have a T165 and once I put the hip pads in (thank you Brasilbrazil !!) it was like a new boat. But I do have some numbness issues that make me think I still have some adjusting to do.

Cyclists have their bikes adjusted when purchasing in this price range. Is it reasonable to want some seat help/suggestions from your local yak dealer? Any good articles on ideal fit and adjustment as opposed to manuals on minicell adhesion?

Thanks- Toddy

Stability in 170
Thanks for your feedback. I also have a strong feeling that in short order, the T170 will feel very stable for me. I will be out in it all day this Saturday on a day trip in Puget Sound, WA, where it definitely gets windy and rocky at times. After that, I will know for sure.

“very well proportioned…”
“and strong thick thighs…”

Hubba hubba! Be still my heart! If I weren’t married and weren’t straight …

On a serious note, check out one of the Chathams if you can (Ch17, Ch18). LOTS of leg/thigh room-to-boat ratio, and a dandy boat in the “brit boat” tradition.

three more boats to consider
• NDK Explorer HV (the high volume version)

• Impex Assateague

• Eddyline Nighthawk 17

All three your size

not certain about trusting the box store
where you can get a tempest…lots working there are kids-and/or have no clue (turst me i was a manger for a box store that sold wildy-we searched HARD to find people who had a clue)…

the nice thing about the wildy boats is the seat…pull up on the front of the seat to help relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve…lower the front if it is too high… (also you want to be MORE centered over the centerline of your boat and raise you center of gravity a little-pull the front up-i have learned that i have more control in my boat that way)…

these adjustments are able to be done from the seat too…that is nice…


T180/170 and hip pads

– Last Updated: May-17-07 3:34 PM EST –

As Corgimas mentioned, I've owned both the 180 and 170. I like a relatively tight boat. I just want about 3/8 inch of play on each side of the hips. No more. That's plenty of room to twist around, but not too much slop for rolling. You don't want the pads to actually press at all on your hips, or you may feel pain in the hips or legs after a while.

For me, the hip pads that come with the T have two problems. 1. They jut out at the top, and poke me in the hip. 2. If I just need a little padding, they're too thick. I much prefer just flat minicel foam, contact cemented to the side of the seat (AKA seat hanger), at whatever thickness is best for me.

I'm 6'2". Been losing 7 lb per month starting at 290. 225-230 now. (I know Bo, I said 225 last week. That was before Mother's Day and family get together for the weekend. It was more about being cordial, than self control ;-).) At 290, 48" waist, the T180 was perfect for me, no hip pads of course. Everything else was too tight, and too tippy. When I got down to about 265 lbs, I put a half inch of minicel at the hips and on the thigh braces. By 255 lbs, I was looking to trade down to the 170 and did. At about 230 lb, 40" waist, I'd say the 170 fits just right. YMMV though, big time. We're all different.

On primary stability, I was the king of tippy. A 21.5" wide boat used to scare the bajeepers out of me. I loved the stability of the 180 when I tried it. The 170 was still a little tippy 5 months later when I switched to it. Now after 10 months of regular paddling, a 21 inch boat like the Nordkapp is fine. Both the paddling time and weight loss are factors.

Sounds like you're leaning toward the 170 for 180 vs 170, but I'll reinforce the point. I wouldn't get the 180 based on it being a bit more stable, if you really mean it when you say "a bit." If the 170 were to scare the heck out of you, then ok, go 180. But if the 170 is just a little less stable, and you intend to be a serious enthusiast, learning rolling and bracing, and the 170 fits better overall, go with the 170. The 180 IMO would be for people who either really need it for their body size (in which case it's a great boat), or who want it for expeditions for the extra weight and volume capacity.

One of the reasons I switched to the 170 was that as my weight decreased, and for day trips which is what I do so far, the 180 bobbed more in chop and weathercocked more in wind. Both were considerably reduced in the 170, and I'm sure they're reduced again in the 165 for those who are lighter. Going down in weight like I have, I've gotten the opportunity to feel how different a single boat feels as my body weight decreases.

Another thing to think about if you want to learn to roll, is whether you can lay all the way back on the rear deck, with your head actually touching, or at least almost touching, the rear deck. OK to lift your butt out of the seat to do that, if you have to. I can do it in the 180 (as long as I don't have extra thigh padding, so that I can still lift my butt enough out of the seat), but better in the 170 as it's about an inch lower rear deck. In Greenland rolling, this is absolutely critical. In Euro rolling, arguably it's still a big help in the beginning. (See E.J's Rolling and Bracing video, or Jay's First Roll video.)

By the way, I think all the 21.5" boats will feel tippier than the 170. In 3-6 months, though, the 21.5" boats will probably feel fine in that regard.

Enjoy the boat shopping.

Paul S.

T180 vs. 170
Paul, Great feedback. Very specific to me and very helpful. You said:

“Sounds like you’re leaning toward the 170 for 180 vs 170, but I’ll reinforce the point. I wouldn’t get the 180 based on it being a bit more stable, if you really mean it when you say “a bit.” If the 170 were to scare the heck out of you, then ok, go 180. But if the 170 is just a little less stable, and you intend to be a serious enthusiast, learning rolling and bracing, and the 170 fits better overall, go with the 170. The 180 IMO would be for people who either really need it for their body size (in which case it’s a great boat), or who want it for expeditions for the extra weight and volume capacity.”

Yes, the 170 was a ‘bit’ less stable - Did NOT scare the hell out of me, I was just somewhat more tentative in it in primary than the 180. I will have the 170 out all day this coming Saturday on a day trip with varying current and wind conditions on Puget Sound, and that will be the deciding factor. On Sunday, I am test driving the Capella 173, which I have read a lot about and that sounds like it may be perfect for me as well. Surely, by the end of this weekend, my decision will be made. Hey, big congrats on all that weight loss. Feels good doesn’t it? Thanks again.


Three more boats
I did try the Explorer HV. With a 21" beam, pretty tippy in primary, but edged beautifully. Not thrilled with the thigh braces. Very nice boat. Overall design did not please me as much as the Tempest. I will be test driving the Capella 173 this Sunday. I know about the Eddyline Nighthawk 17 and 17.5. Want to try them. A local place has them as rentals, and I will try them. However, I’ve been told the 17.5 is a pretty high volume boat and may be more than what I want. Have not heard of or tried the Impex. Thanks.

Thanks for the reply. I guess I should have phrased the question differently. I am aware of the features of the Phase 3 seat and have been fairly pleased with them. I think, like many other Tempest owners, that I will ditch the foot pegs for a foam insert.

I guess what I was trying to ask is what is the ideal configuration? How should hips and pelvis and knees and such be aligned? What, if any, is the consensus on ideal position for comfort, contact with the boat, etc. Paddling has been a DIY thing for me as my husband goes out with me once in a blue moon and I’m not strongly associated with any groups, etc. What I was looking for was if there was any kind of body positioning I should be aiming for. Hopefully that makes a little more sense.

As far as the big box stores, I actually didn’t buy my boat there. But my first paddling outing involved a rental from REI (and don’t get me wrong, they rock) but the guy who set up our rental wasn’t especially conscientious that it was our first paddle. We rented boats that we all wrong for both us and the water and the REI rep neglected to give us the bilge pumps included in the rental. Excitedly, we got on the water, I flipped on a small rapid and spent a good part of the trip in a very waterlogged boat until we could reach a bank and flip the boat. That was years ago, and I know much better know. I also know of a local shop that hires folks with a little more practical knowledge.

Just trying to get there, little by little. I’ve come along way from that first paddle but know I’m still just scratching the surface.