I’m looking into getting a wilderness systems Tarpon 10’ SOT kayak, but I want to make sure it’s big enough for me. The sales rep recommended that I should try and get a 12’ boat instead of a 10’, and I’m just looking for more experienced advice.
I am 6’4 and 215 pounds. I’ll be using the kayak to paddle in the bay here in San Diego.
The specs on the Tarpon 10’ kayak list a 350 load limit. I can’t imagine I’d ever carry more than 30-40 pounds of gear.
Would this boat be okay for me? Or will I struggle with it? Will it be significantly better if I go for the 12’ version?
The 10’ version just seems much easier to handle, easier to get on and off the car…and a little cheaper, too.
short 10’ kayak is not great for paddling any distance…short or long as there is little glide, lots of bow way (right/left with each stroke), and a fairly cramped deck. I really recommend you go minimum of 12’, preferably 13’-14’. The weight and cost is a bit more with longer yaks, but the payoff is a overall much better paddling experience with improved speed, handling in rougher water, glide, and more room. Check out my favs: Tarpon 12 or 14, Ocean Kayak Prowler or Trident in 13’, Malibu X-13 (my all time favorite), and some I have not paddled. Try before you buy!
if you try the ten you’ll be back in the store needing to by a longer one by the end of the first season.
I second both previous answers. In general, 10’ sit on tops are slugs. They really are too small to be enjoyable or safe in coastal conditions. You could have real difficulty making it back to shore in wind and currents in something that slow. The longer the kayak, the narrower it can be to support a specific maximum weight and the faster it will be due to a number of factors. There is a reason why sea touring kayaks are 15’ to 18’ long and it is not due to paddler weight. Ten footers are pond and stream craft, not ocean appropriate. At your size, you would probably be happier in at least a 14 foot boat if you actually want to cover any distance at all without killing yourself with effort.
I will be looking for a 12’ kayak after your recommendations.
Would the 10’ be big enough for my girlfriend? She is 5’3 and 120 lbs… Or will it still present her with the same problems?
We looked at tandem kayaks but honestly the 14’ body is just too big. I don’t know how we would transport that thing. So we thought that solo would be better - a 10’ for both of us - but now you guys have made me look for a 12’ boat, should she also get a 12’ boat?
go for an 8’
an 8 fits into PU beds n van cargos.
Poss stores in your living room behind the couch.
turns well. lighter than a 10.
use it as a table ?
wall hanging ?
Girlfriend needs a skinnier boat
Also lower volume than you. Otherwise she will have generally more trouble than you in all conditions than you and a hell of a bad day in wind.
Longer is still better for her for tracking, but the boat has to be tuned to a much smaller person. So that is one that is skinnier and designed for less volume.
I just checked Wilderness System's site. While there are SOT's that are skinnier as they get long enough (like 14') I can't tell if their volume is right for a 120 pound paddler. If they are correct for her weight, her having a slightly better tracking boat gives you a better chance of retaining a paddling partner longer term.
It might be easier to find a good fit for her in a sit-inside kayak, they will likely be skinnier. That could the ante on her on water rescue skills. But I assume since you say San Diego you are talking about paddling in an ocean bay. So both of you need to work on that regardless of what boat you are in/on.
for short hauls
San Diego Beginner SOTs
Are you talking paddling on San Diego Bay and Mission Bay? A 10 ft tarpon would be fine. Slow but fine. Your girlfriend would fit in a 10ft ocean kayak venus.
If you start to get into paddling more sooner or later you are going to want to paddle on the coast and unless you are surfing you will want a longer narrower kayak. That being said I paddle skinnier 9 ft kayaks on the coast all the time exploring caves, surfing, playing in the rocks.
One suggestion would be to go to aqua-adventures and sign up for their Thursday night paddles, I think it costs $15 a person. Do it three or four times and try out some longer sit on tops and sit inside kayaks and then you will have a better feel for what you want.
A boat for your girlfriend
I’m about the same size as your girlfriend, and I’m very happy with my Hurricane Skimmer 128.
Here's the thing. The weight capacity isn't a guide for how much you can fit on the kayak. It's a guide for how much the kayak can handle before it becomes difficult to manuver. the basic guidline is to keep all weight 25% below the maximum. For a kayak rated at 325# capacity, the best max weight of you and your gear would be around 245#. Especially in a larger body of water. The tarpon 100 isn't really made for a big guy. There are plenty of other kayaks that are more suited to a guy your size in the same price range.
The 10 ft boat should be fine for your girlfriend but what you have to think about is speed. Will you be paddling along and have to stop frequently for her to catch up? She would not be having fun playing catch up all the time. Talk to the pro's and make sure she gets a yak that's fast enough to keep up with yours.
is an excellent boat.
Spouse has one and loves it. Perfect size, paddles great for general rec use.
I find those pool toys either floating around by themselves, or washed up on the beach all the time.
Second the AA suggestion
Aqua Adventures is right on the water, have a wide range of boats to rent/demo, and you won’t find better advice than from the owner, Jen Kleck.
let me know next time you find one so you can give it to me
I’ll keep my eyes open,
An RTM Disco is perfect for your GF.
It is shaped like a touring kayak,not a fishing one. I wish they made one for people our size. If so, my Tarpon would be gone.
Just my opinion,but a 10’ Tarpon is a small river or lake boat.
I like to piddle and smell the flowers, but a 10’ boat the width of a Tarpon is either a barge or major handful.
Length is your friend.
PS: I paddled my 16’Tarpon 20 miles this weekend with some current and headwind. I was tired, but not exhausted.
Maybe you should be asking for advice on how to transport boats that better suit your wants.