Identify this kayak? Tempest?

This kayak turned up on my local FB marketplace. Been trying to find an affordable replacement for my paddling buddy’s ruined Riot Edge 15 and I suspect this may be a WS Tempest 166 or 170, which would fit her pretty well (she is tall and Amazon strong and likes distance workouts, also practices self rescues and rolling).

Owner clearly has no clue what the boat it and its only $400. I may check with the outfitter in the San Juan Islands who is id’ed on the bow decal (their stock rental boats are Tempests which is why I think this must be – the rigging looks right) to assure it was not stolen from them.

I messaged the seller to see if they could find a serial number for me and am waiting to hear back. It’s about 90 minutes away, but a rather pleasant drive through the mountains (I commuted to a power plant job near there for 2 years so I know the route.)

Hatch covers wrong for a Tempest 166 or 170. Those boats had first the ovals and rounds that WS made themselves which were notorious for popping in rescue work. Then subsequently hatch covers made by someone whose covers stayed on. Plus Tempests are skegged.

The cover plus straps put it into an era before 2000 IMO. Solidly rigged and looks to be in great shape though.

Just looked up Sea Quest. They are still in operation in the PNW and indeed do advertise that they use Tempests for solo rentals now. Good chance this boat predates that.

Just heard back from the seller. He will call me tonight with the serial number – he is not a paddler but appears very eager to sell it and has had no calls in 2 weeks (told me it has “foot pedal thingies”, but says he recalls seeing the number along the side.) He also reports that it is 17’ 7" long so it might be a Tempest 180. Guessing it may have been a fleet retirement sale when Sea Quest Tours shifted to RM Tempests.

If it is a 180 it might be a bit large for my friend (she is about 5’ 8" and 190 pounds.) But the fact that it appears to be composite is a plus since she ruined her RM kayak because she had to keep it stored on her roof rack through the season due to not having easily accessible storage off the car. Fiberglass would be preferable for her circumstances. I have rarely seen as warped of a hull as was inflicted on hers before I was able to warn her not to use ratchet straps. She loves to paddle often, far and fast as a stress-buster and I’d really like to get her in a boat that doesn’t try to go in circles. I had intended to give her the composite Avatar 16 I snagged from the barn picker last summer for $300 and re-outfitted, but it would have been too small for her (and now I am in love with that boat myself.)

I should know by tonight what the model is so maybe my initial question is moot. Though if anyone knows what a 17’ 7" Tempest (or similar WS model) might be and has experience with them, feedback would be welcome. But I figure any boat would be an improvement for her over a Riot Edge 15 that is twisted several inches off center.

Hmm, just saw your post (as I was posting my follow up). I trust your knowledge so we can rule it out as a Tempest. S/N ought to clear up the mystery.

Figure whatever it is I have little to lose by getting it for $400 if it is in good shape – can always sell it on consignment at 3ROC .

May offer it to the friend as a “loaner”. She is a single mom with kids in college who works her butt off and would likely be too proud to accept a gift. That way I can then can store it for her over the winter in my boat garage. We can see if it works for her and she won’t feel pressured to pay for something she can ill afford. I do enjoy paddling with her and would like for her to have a good boat under her – she is my most reliable local kayak buddy for “drop of the hat” trips on nice days.


It looks like a good boat for lots of people, a great one for someone who is trying to live with a scratch and dent kayak. Literally. Your friend would be lucky.


Yeah, I think I will buy it unless there is something seriously wrong with it after seeing it. After some trips down the internet rabbit hole I am thinking it could also be a turn of the century Boreal – they made a bunch of composite 17 footers and they used those clunky protruding clamshell hatches for a while back then.

Maybe just phone Sea Quest, send the person(s) who can answer your question a photo or two…voila!

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As luck would have it, I just bought this 2004 Tempest 170 Pro (Kevlar) minutes ago. You can see all of the details that Celia mentioned that are different from the kayak you’re looking at.

FYI, the hatch covers are loose - that’s why they stick up so much.

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That looks to me like a Northwest Kayaks setup.
The raked bow and stern shape check out with a few models, as do the hatch cover setups.
It looks to be in good shape. At $400, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.

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Long long time since l have seen a Northwest kayak. But yup, it fits the era of the outfitting.
Solid boats, good grab for the money.

You are correct: Northwest Kayaks. Serial number is NWRYC98E313. Looking at the most recent on line specs for their models (does not look like they are currently active) this appears to be a Pursuit, which is a low volume Greenland style 17’ 6" x 22". Could also be their Synergy model but those appear to have color matched hatches rather than the black strap-ons.

My first sea kayaking mentor, John H. Jensen, paddled a Northwest, a deeper hulled cruiser. That’s him in the pic below about to ram me in it during a trip on Long Island Sound (19 years ago this month). He was a licensed marine captain/pilot and fishing/hunting guide who had been the director of the famous offshore sailing school on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Kayak was stolen from his deck in Fairfield CT a few years after this. I recall it was a very nice kayak.

Probably gonna go snag this boat tomorrow.


I believe they may have had connections to Mariner kayaks when they started out. Not positive but seem to remember something along those lines.

400 hard to go wrong. Just needs new bungee’s. Ten bucks and a few knots and you’re done.

I figured as much. Just picked up a big hank of fresh bungee to redo the flaccid lines on last year’s Craigslist find, the composite Avatar 16, and should have enough for both.

I think you are right, Castoff. I vaguely recall John discussing that Mariner connection with the owner of the Small Boat Shop in Norwalk, where he bought that Northwest out of their consignment stock. I do recall him saying that the boat John bought was similar to a Mariner II. Slightly better photo of part of his boat below.

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Just copy the pattern of the lines the way they are now if they look original and properly done. Or you probably know anyway :wink:


I have gotten in trouble enough times taking things apart (including electrical and plumbing) without recalling how they should be reassembled that I now use the cell phone to document EVERYTHING before i begin to work.

Planning to add some toggles to the deck lines too. So handy on my SOF and now I have a target harpoon as well as paddle spares and hand pump to slide under the deck lines. Toggles make sliding stuff under easier and prevent lateral shifting. Lacking walrus ivory or elk horn, I will use chunks of dense black high-carbon rubber that are scraps from some source I’ve long forgotten about (but I knew those chunks would come in handy for something someday…)


picking the kayak up this afternoon. I’ll report back once I have it parked in my rapidly filling boat annex in the new garage.


The obvious next step is to move yourself to the garage and the boats to the more spacious house. The house may need a new door.


Already way beyond that. The boats used to all be stored in the walk out basement at my current house which is built into a steep hill where it is impossible to have a driveway, let alone a garage. Got sick of hauling them out and having to carry them up hill and a flight if steps to my car parked on the street.

Four years ago I bought a house 3 blocks away mainly because it had a large level yard (a scarce luxury in my aptly named town of Forest Hills.) Rented out the house and built a 32’ x 20’ steel clearspan garage behind it and a parking pad for the camper, and reserved my access to those in the tenant lease.

I do plan to sell the house I am in now and move over there eventually, maybe next year. Not as nice of a house, but being a landlord was a nightmare and the other house is more practical and has more updates. Evicted the grifter tenants and am keeping that place furnished but un-tenanted as a guest house for the time being.

By the end of today I will have 10 kayaks (4 hardshells and 6 folders) and 1 canoe stashed in that garage. Only one plastic boat in the lot.

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