Narrowed down choices, one more question

Las month I wrote asking help to decide which boat to buy. At that time I was looking at a Necky, and many of you suggested I looked into Wilderness Systems.

My 2 choices are:

NDK Romany, Poly

Wilderness Systems Tempest 165, Poly

I like the Romany better, but the seat does not provide much support. I’m concerned about back pain…

Can you change the seat or add better back support? Should I get the Tempest?

Thank you so much for your patience with me as I decide.


Romany back band
Yes, you can add a back band to the performance seat – it’s an included item with the new boats - or you can add a foam support that slides behind the seat back, and even add more foam to the rear “lip” if you need just a bit more.

Where are you located – we can get you in the boat with different options to test them for yourself.

Both are good options to consider. Enjoy the decision and your ultimate choice!


Virginia Sea Kayak Center

Foam block on Romany
I have a RomanyLV and an ExplorerLV and find the foam block that Tom mentioned is the way to go. I’ve been paddling both these boats for three years and have never had any back pain or – and this is my own bete noir – sciatica.

Both my boats also have the NDK foam seat, too.

Hope this helps.

why bother…?
get the Tempest!



I hate to agree
as a NDK fan (I have 3) but the poly Romany is a dog. I paddled an early one and it was a mess, nothing like my fg Romany. Leaking bulkheads and cockpit rim, skeg problems, etc. Get the 165.

So if the Romany poly is not good
Would you get the Tempest 165 or go the extra mile and get the Romany FG?

asking me?
The 165 and R-16 are definitely different animals. YOU need to paddle 'em and see which one ‘speaks’ to ya.

I helped design the T and I had been paddling the R-16 as my ‘go to’ boat over 2 years before the design gig came up…so the R-16 was a test piece/ benchmark.


Poly Romany is big!
The poly Romany is based on the Romany S. Very different from a regular Romany or Tempest 165.

My own personal choice would first be a regular Romany, then a Tempest 165 (either poly or composite), then an Avocet, Chatham 16, etc… and not the poly Romany unless I was too big for any other good day boat.

Demo both a regular Romany and a Tempest 165.

Both are excellent boats.

BTW: I have a Romany

get the boat you really like
If YOU enjoyed paddling the Romany more, get the Romany.

It’s easy to change out the back band. Bomber Gear and Immersion Research make excellent aftermarket

backbands that are simple to install esp. on the British kayaks which separate the backband from the seat pan.

You can always glue a thin layer or 2 of minicell on the seat pan - but don’t go too thick, it’ll elevate you and change your center of gravity. The lower you sit in your kayak, the more stable you are apt to be.

The Phase3 seat on the Tempest is all of a piece

and not such a picnic to swap out if you get that boat and change your mind about the seat.

Choosing a kayak based on the seat is like choosing

a house based on the doorknobs.

You don’t need BACK support in a kayak
What you need is HIP support and back bands such as those in the Romany do a great job of supporting one’s hips. A higher back support restricts your ability to rotate your torso as you paddle and if you do use proper torso rotation, the high back will chafe. You don’t want anything that comes up higher than the top of your hip bones.

Tempest has backband - nm

Right. And has the OP demo’d both boats?
He didn’t mention demos at all.

Try both. And don’t let backbands or seats (or footpegs) be the determining factor, because both can be replaced.

I own a poly T165 and enjoyed renting a Romany LV (glass). You gotta try 'em for yourself!

Can’t demo a Romany in Poly…
There is only ONE plastic boat in town and they won’t take it to the demos.

I have learned that there are significant differences between this boat in FG and plastic. Same goes for the Necky Eliza.

Tom from Virginia, thank you for your kind offer but I’m in Minnesota.

Did you say Minnesota…
In the classifieds:

MN) NDK Romany. Bilge pump & compass. Built in 97 when the hulls were bombproof. Hull in great shape. Contact me for more info & pics.$1850 OBO – Submitted by: paddler76

more like
"Choosing a kayak based on the seat is like choosing

a house based on the doorknobs."

or better yet:

Choosing a kayak based on the seat is like choosing

a house based on the furniture!



here’s an idea
why don’t you try both the Romany and the Tempest 165 and buy the one you like the best after paddling both for half a day or more?

Back support
So true, bnystrom. If you are using your seat back for support much above the hips, you should invest in a forward stroke class instead of a new seat or new boat. Torso rotation is the key to comfortable, fast paddling with good endurance.