Pintail thoughts?

I’m thinking of shopping for a new used kayak, because I’ve very much outgrown my Necky Looksha. I’d like something more sporty, narrower, stiffer, no rudder. I’ve paddled a WS Tempest 165 pro a lot, and like that quite a bit, although something with a little more legroom might be good for longer paddles. Great to roll, fine tracking for my taste. However, the hatches are insanely bad, and the layup strikes me as a bit light. I’m not tempted to buy a WS boat after the issues I’ve had with flooded hatches on that boat.

I’ve also borrowed a Kajak Sport Millenium Artisan, and that’s a great boat, but much more of an expedition/straight-line boat than what I’m looking for right now.

All of my paddling is daytrips, and I’m getting more interested in surfing, playing around, tidal races, etc, so I figure it’s worth sacrificing a touch of speed to gain maneuverability and good handling in big water.

I’m looking at a Romany HV, and considering taking a drive to see a Pintail. The romany sounds like an obvious choice, although I worry that the HV might not be as snug as I’d like.

The pintail sounds like an intersting choice, and I’d like to hear from people who have paddled one - how extreme is it. Is it so jumpy that you’d be annoyed paddling it on a daytrip without any rock-gardening, surfing, etc?

Any other boats you’d like to recommend (although a lot depends on what I can find used or for a really good deal).

I’m 6’ and 180 pounds, size 12 feet.

Thanks, Nate

How old is that Tempest?

– Last Updated: Dec-04-08 6:35 PM EST –

My friends kevlar Tempest came with Kajack Sport hatches instead of the Wilderness ones. I believe that is the standard now.

Also Wilderness has switched to an infusion process for their hulls now. I am not sure how that affects what you are referring to as too light a layup. However it might be worth checking out used Tempests if they are new enough to have the Kajack Sport hatches and the infusion hulls. I believe both changes happened about the same time.

Never been in a Pintail so can not help on that one. Was going to buy a Tempest 165 but the 6 month to a year wait the dealer quoted me made me get the Force Cat3 he had in stock.

You might want to look at the Kajak Sport Viking. Much more like the Tempest 165 than the Artesian. It was on the short list after I did a bunch of demo's at the West Coast symposium in Port Townsend. Kajak Sport fit and finish is really good.

Good luck on your search.


Regular Romany

– Last Updated: Dec-04-08 7:22 PM EST –

I'm 6', 180+, size 11 feet. I love my Romany. It is a ball of fun. I think an HV would be too big for you. A Romany is probably a better all round boat for most than a Pintail. If you're a confident paddler a Nordkapp LV is fast and fun.

Mike Scarborough of Friendship Kayak uses a Pintail as his all round boat. We have the pleasure of paddling with him each year when we are in Friendship (Mid-Coast on Muscongus Bay.) You might try contacting him and getting his opinion - besides as you're in Maine, Mike is great fun as a paddling companion.

I’m a little bigger than you 6’1", 215lbs, size 12 feet. When I tried the Pintail I found it to be a really tight fit. It has a lot of rocker, making it highly maneuverable, but with that you lose good tracking. I liked the boat as a dayboat for it’s playfulness, but the cockpit was too tight of a fit for me.

Don’t overlook the Aquanaut or the Nordkapp, both great boats with the best hatch covers on the water.

HV too big…

– Last Updated: Dec-04-08 10:46 PM EST –

...for you, I think.

My husband has an old, rope skeg Pintail and loves it. It convinced him to get an Avocet and get rid of his Tempest165 because of the hatch issues (it's a 2004) and what he felt was too light lay up for his rock hopping and surfing purposes.

The Pintail is a fun, fun boat and a joy to roll, surf, rock hop in, and scull for support. While not the fastest 17-footer out of the gate nor a particular straight tracking one (isn't that what skegs are for?), it more than makes up for all that in how well it handles in conditions.

You also could not go wrong with a Romany. True, I'm prejudiced as I love my little LV, but Wilsoj2 is more than right about how it handles. It was made for surf and rocks and generally gnarly stuff.

Definitely take a look at that Pintail -- a number of our friends own them and love the boat (I've been trying to convince the husband I want my own Pintail, but it's not working...) -- and try out a Romany, too.

Pintail = FUN
My Pintail is the old version with a rope skeg, ocean cockpit and very flat rear deck. The seat is somewhat high, which doesn’t help stability, but makes it feel oh so responsive to leans. True, it doesn’t really ‘track’, but that’s what I like about it. Course corrections can be made mid stroke, which is a great feeling. It weather cocks like crazy, but the skeg trims it very well. There are plenty of boats out there that are faster, more stable or whatever you want, but I have not found one that I enjoy paddling as much as my beat, overweight old Pintail.

My Tempest 165 Pro Has Been Great
Hatches stay bone dry. That said, I’d be interested in trying the Zephyr out in some wind and waves. But it’s so new you won’t find used ones yet

Try a Dragorossi Pintail XL.
Kinda slow down the coast, but will surf real good.

pintail = whirling dervish

I would have thought the pintail kind of small for you. I may be very wrong, you are about the same weight as me.

She is a nice boat.

Pintail vs Romany

– Last Updated: Dec-05-08 8:17 AM EST –

I paddle an older Pintail (ocean cockpit) quite a bit since my brother has one. It's probably the most rockered / maneuverable kayak made. The romany has much more stability since it has a very flat bottom and it's a bit more sluggish than the pintail. The pintail has plenty of stability but not as much as the Romany. If you loose your skeg on a windy day or in a following sea in the Pintail, you may want to call for a Coast Guard helicopter pick up. It can be almost uncontrollable without the skeg in certain conditions. But you can turn on a dime in rock gardens etc. that's the trade. With the skeg dropped a tiny bit, it will track fine.

Hi Nate,

I have a 2000 kevlar Pintail with a Henderson foot pump that was my teaching and play boat for years. We’re about the same size and it is a great fit w/o needing a lot of foam. The only downside to the Pintail is that it hits its hull speed at 4.5 knots, so you wouldn’t want to race it, but for playing in surf, rock gardens, working on boat control strokes, poking around in tight spaces, and rolling it’s a blast. Weekend trips are fine if you pack light. I’m paddling less these days and mostly use a BBK Aral, so I’ll make you a very very good deal if you’re interested. The Pintail is in excellent condition. Email me offline. Shipping would be easy with KAS.


A Nigel Foster Legend will satisfy all your needs. The slab side shallow arch hull provides precise control in the impact zone. You and I are about the same size. I have bought and sold more sea kayaks than I care to admit and I still have my Legend. You will not get a better surf than in a Legend.

I have a OC / rope skeg Pintail… I love the boat but it is not my only one… my usual is a Nordkapp LV. I like the Pintail for fun and it is a blast to play in but I don’t tink I could have it as my only boat. at 6’ 1", 175 size 9.5 shoe it is a bit tight for me, might be too small for you. But… go try it out you never know. I also have an Anas Acuta that feels great to paddle and when I first looked at one of those I would have bet that I would not even fit in it. Hope this helps in your decision.

Deb, right?
Yeah, I remember you, assuming I’ve interpreted the clues correctly. Your husband’s name was Bob, right? Was Bob paddling the Avocet at the Downeast symposium this fall? I forget what he was in.

I’m sure you’re right about the fit of the HV. It’s hard not to get tempted by a good deal, but as I like a fairly tight fit, the big cockpit of the Romany HV would probably be a mistake.

Selling Pintails
When someone posts about Pintails you always get lots of opinions as it’s a popular boat.I’ve noticed that used Pintails sell well but they are easy to buy too.

I think a lot of people buy them and then don’t care for the squirrely,playful behaviour of the boat and trade it for something that tracks a little better or whatever.

If I could only have one boat it wouldn’t be the Pintail as I like multiday camping trips but when I’m in the mood for just going out and playing it’s my boat of choice. It’s also good for working with students simply because it’s easy to maneuver around the other boats.


Well put
You’re lucky that you’ve got one of the old-style Pintails, as they’re highly prized by Pintail aficionados. Nate should fit in a Pintail just fine, as I’m pretty close to his size and found it to be pretty roomy, at least until I padded it to fit.

Undoubtedly a good boat
But at $3500 or more, is it worth it?

My pintail reminds me of the Triumph TR7 I used to drive. This is the boat you want for rock gardening, or for any other sort of seakayak acrobatics. Mine is 12 years old, is in great shape. This is one sturdy, well-made, beautiful boat. It will handle big seas, it is especially good going into the wind and waves. It is not for novices, especially with the ocean cockpit or for someone as big as you (make sure you fit in the seat, at 180 lbs you might not).

Since I do a lot of long-distance paddling, the pintail is too slow to be my only boat. I have a more efficient boat for my non-acrobatic days.

English sports car__yeah!
I was going to make that reference myself because it really fits the boat. Not that fast, perhaps outdated, but so what?