How old is too old for buying a kayak, need some advice

Seth, the Tempest 170 is a beautiful boat. I owned a composite, which was my second boat. My first was a plastic Tsunami 125 and I was impressed with the seating system and the way Wilderness did the deck rigging, so going to the Tempest seemed like a natural transition.

And indeed once in the boat it handled wonderfully. Where I am going is the Tempest is known to have a relatively small (narrow) cockpit. Many owners end up moving the seat back 1-2", which helps entry and egress. I am pretty sure I am older than you, and the body parts don’t bend quite as well as in my youth, though it was never getting out of the boat after a dump. I was always surprised how easily that happened. But at the beach it was a bit of a struggle for me.

The Tempest is designed as a Fish Form kayak, with the widest part of the boat ahead of the midpoint. If I were to look for another sea kayak I might consider the Current Design’s Solstice GT, which is a Swede Form, with the widest part behind the maybe slightly larger cockpit. I was happy with the skeg feature of the Tempest rather than a rudder, but not sure that would be so important now.

@Jyak Dagger and Perception are owned by the same parent company as Wilderness Systems, and the boats are probably made in the same plant. So if you like WS, these boats may also be ones you like.

Dagger is the moving water brand. The sea kayaks in their line are made to handle advanced conditions.

Perception is the entry level line, so often has fewer add-ons or options (so may have things like less expensive seats, so maybe not as comfortable as a WS).

Pbenter, your post interests me. I would like to move my 145 Tsunami seat back by making a new hole one notch aft, about 2 inches. Getting hard to bend them legs. Would like to know your opinion on how it affected handling. It would be a delight to know it reduced the tendency to weather cock.

Jyak, I don’t think it changed the handling whatsoever. I ran into Steve Sherrer (sp?), the designer of the Tempest at a boat fest and asked him about it before I did it. He said no problem, many Tempest owners have done it. I think I went with the max 2" set back.

Ok well I have read everything here and added a older Dagger Megellan 16.5 feet w a rudder, price was to good to pass up, picked it up the other day and had it in the water for about 30 minutes, fairly calm Del bay day, I of course checked that the bulkhead would stay dry, that sounds much better than I took a swim after leaning a tad too much, I will have to replace a few of the deck cords but all in all It was in good shape.

“How old is too old for buying a kayak…?”

Well I know an 80 + year old that purchased a new kayak. Sue didn’t like it so she went back to the old faded one.


I had a vintage Magellan (mid 90’s?) for several years that I got as a “boyfriend” boat loaner but used myself sometimes-- excellent boat with snug bulkheads, good on the water habits and tough as nails. Also fit a wide range of paddlers including large guys with big feet. Though some of the friends to whom I often loaned it complained about the hard plastic seat and seat back it never bothered me, though I tend to paddle sitting up straight and don’t lounge as I noticed those folks tended to do.) Yours is probably younger than mine and has the nicer seat. The only reason I sold it eventually was the weight – lacking a garage at the time, having to schlep a nearly 62 pound boat out of my walk out basement and up a hill and flight of steps to hoist onto a roof rack became too much effort. The couple I sold it to (for the same $400 I bought it for 5 years earlier) absolutely loved it and have taken it from the Great Lakes to the Carolina coast last I heard from them.

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Thanks for the info, the seat seems ok to me, nowhere near as comfy as my feel free seat but 2 different intended use, the weight will not be an issue for me , ten feet and ten steps and I am in the bay. Do you remember if the foot pedals lock, on my maiden voyage they did not seem locked it but I was racing sunset so did not have time to look.

The foot pegs locked on mine, I think. But I really didn’t use the rudder so it may have been that I did not put enough pressure on them to test that.

Willowleaf. What kind of boat was it and did you manage to unlock them?

Thought about the moving seat issue. I realized that everyone was describing sailboat terminology. Center of Lateral Resistance is the fulcrum point of balance if you push the hull sideways. Center of Lateral Effort is the fulcrum point of wind pressure driving the upper hull sideways. Big deal! So if you move the weight balance, you change the depth front and rear moving the CLR. Easy. Mother Jyak told me, “You might be dumb, but you’re not smart.” (I think that was it). With that I ran out of fingers and toes. I need a Wizard or a sailboat designer (Gods) to explain this. How does moving the seat change CLE, since it moves CLE, unless your watermelon shape belly helps to shape air flow over your body, reducing the influence of wind pressure. No response means thst I’ll take the technical suggestion: Why don’t you move the seat and see what happens.

I think I’m right, but know I am, or is is it I know I’m right and think . . .

Delete lmy comment on locked pedals. I misread that to mean jambed, and should have realized you could have figure out a jamb.

You left out CLR which would be the major affect of moving the seat. You are right it does also move CLE some because the weight you moved changed the above water lateral profile “slightly”. Trim is more about the waterline, and what’s below the water than about above water lateral profile. There is 2 parts to the equation, and both must be considered. Water is more dense than air and provides the LR. Wind provides the LE.

It is easier for the wind to move the lighter end of the boat (less resistance in the water).

If the “Center” of LR is in front of the “Center” of LE the boat will turn into the wind or weathercock.
If the CLE is in front of the CLR then the bow of the boat will be blown leeward (downwind).
If the two Centers are in the same spot the boat does neither.

CLE changes as the boat changes direction of travel relative to the wind. For instance when you face directly into the wind they line up for the most part, but veer to one side or the other and now the relationship of CLE to CLR can change. Then you can change the trim to offset that change.

I should add the skeg and rudder can change the CLR.

I have known some older paddlers. I think the upper limit is around 85 for buying a new boat.

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Too many words for me to keep straight, but you just said what I was trying to say. My eyes are getting tired reading this stuff on my phone. I need to cast to my 65 inch.

I looked at my post. I did mention use the spelling as well as abbreviations. Didn’t read it again, but I’m good with what you said and how you said it. Probably better than I did. Thanks.

Read yours again castoff. You got talent. Because I get it and you resolved the unanswered mystery about how the direction of travel changes the equation.

Jyak: It was a an early 1990’s Dagger Magellan. I truly don’t recall what brand of foot pegs it had. They adjusted on the tracks by pinching a ratchet-like spring clip to unlock, slide and relock. The pegs (more like small platforms) pivoted forward on an axle by the paddler flexing their foot forward on the preferred side. A stainless steel aircraft cable transmitted the horizontal position change to the rudder. As long as you kept steady foot pressure on your heels the pedals didn’t flex to affect the rudder position. Elevating or lowering the rudder was the usual separate hand operated cable alongside the cockpit.

I divested myself of any ruddered boats by 10 years ago (rarely dropped the few I owned in the water even when I had them since I didn’t encounter many situations that justified the drag they create,).

Recently acquired a used inflatable sit on top (Feathercraft Java) that has a formidable rudder (same rudder as the Feathercraft K-1 that I owned for a while) but have yet to paddle it. So I will reserve being wholly rudder avoidant until I see how this boat acts with and without.

My first rudder was the 175 Tsunami and my sister’s 140 came w/rudder. She regrets it. $200 option, now $314. She never uses it. It just adds weigh, slows speed by about 1/2 mph when down (a sales person told me a brand they have has a more efficient profile). Dunno? Only use the 175 when the water goblins throw curves until I say good grief, get through the worse and up it comes. That boat gets get skewed in big wind and current, that’s why I use the 145. Good slicing big wave head on. Got granddaughter a 140 Tsunsmi. Had a rudder, bought anyway so she could try it. New pegs are $34 for when it goes in the trash. That’s why I’m looking at a 15.5 Delta, but so far nobody has had comment up/down. I wonder how many people would sit in one spot for 5 to 7 hours with the sun beating down down and the only thing available was tepid water. Not sure why. Until you get out there. Rudder system in some WS pinch adjust, some have a strap, my rudgerless is gravity. Ridderless models are gravity latch. Roll and they might come unhook. Heh! Need a big hull though.

The need for a rudder or skeg depends on the boat and the conditions in which you paddle. My Arluk 1.9 has a rudder, but I can go a year without using it. With me in the boat it normally nether weathercocks or leecocks. It tends to turn broadside to the wind. However, when I’m in strong stern quartering winds on open water I’m damned glad I have the rudder. Adds at least 0.5 mph as opposed to using tiring corrective stroke over a long distance.

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