Recall of Wilderness Systems' Tarpons

I’ve been shopping around for a new kayak. I just rented a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160i for a month. On the first day I took it our for about 6 hours/16 miles. When I went to load it back onto my car, I noticed that there was a few gallons (maybe three of four) of water inside the bulkheads. I figured maybe the hatch covers weren’t on tight enough. The next day I took it out for about 90 minutes/5 miles, and again water was inside the bulkheads: about a gallon.

I went searching on the web to see if anyone has had similar problems and found this:


Does anyone know more about this? I don’t think I’d purchase this particular boat (maybe if it came in fiberglass, Trylon, Airalite , or some other thermoformed plastic), but this recall has me concerned about quality control at Confluence Watersports (Wilderness, Perception, Mad River, etc…). Has anyone else had this problem with leaking?

Does anyone know if all these defective boats are off the market? Has this issue been corrected? I tend to think not, because the shop I rented this from said he just received the Tarpons two weeks ago.

Also, I recently had a conversation with a dealer in Massachusetts (that I will not name here) who I called looking to demo the Tarpon 160i. He said that after 20 years of having a good business relationship with Wilderness Systems (Confluence Watersports), he had to sever that relationship last year. When I asked him why, he said, “poor build quality” and “even worse customer support” Wow! That was news to me. He said that they wouldn’t even return phone calls from his customers that were having trouble with their new kayaks. (He didn’t even mention the recall. I found out about that on my own.)

If anyone knows more about the recall or what is happening at Wilderness Systems (Did they get bought out of something?), I’d like to hear about it. I think anyone that is considering purchasing a Tarpon should at least be aware of last year’s recall.

Too bad. I really liked the design of the 160i as a SOT, and if they ever built one in fiberglass or something besides polyethylene, I’d seriously consider buying it.

Find hole, plug hole NM

happens to a lot of plastic sitontops…
that area of a sot is a notorious leak spot…seen ocean kayaks with it…wildy boats…a bunch of all types…happens…

now if you can find a heritage seadart in glass or kevlar you should jump on it! you would love it!!!

I have a 160i. No leaks in many
trips.Except for the constantly wet butt, it has been a great boat.

old news.

NEW tarpons for '09. complete re-design. check 'em out


So I can turn my old one in and get
a new one?

hey flatpic
whats NEW and Improved on them? looks the same to me? Are they ever going to ditch the Tank well and put the hatch back, like on the OLD T-160s. I am probbally going to get anuther T-160 for my Wife and or daughter soon. also you know what i am going to say next? when is the T-180 comming out? L

About Wildy…

– Last Updated: Aug-27-08 7:31 AM EST –

I'm not a Wildy apologist...but I think the dealer / quality issues are old news too. A few years back I was hearing the same things from some dealers and some boat owners. Fast forward to this year, and those same people are now saying that its all resolved. My experience in business is that events (such as a dealer bailing out...)are usually delayed reactions to something that's been going on for a while.

I think Wildy has gotten its act together based on what I'm now hearing. And its not just me...many others in my paddling cohort are now saying the same things about WS. (There are a lot of Tempest paddlers in there...)

Just my two-cents.

Hey String
maybe we should bug QCC and see if they will make a QCC-700 SOT L

Hey Flatpick - I like the tankwell.

Make it a composite and get some of the weight out.The Big T is a tank.

more freeboard
drier ride, bigger tankwell, different hatches (hinged) and… PHASE 3 seats!!!


Maybe someday.

The Phase 3 seats pinch me. i like the ability to pick a seat that works for me, however if you could make the pashe 3 slightly wider at the front, its a cool system other wise.

Wide load.

is it old news?
I don’t think a recall is ever old news, until all the recalled items have been fixed.

And - you’re not suggesting a 1 to 1 replacement of the old tarpon with the new tarpon is the condition of the recall, are you?

there’s a ‘fix’ for the recalled boats.


Those changes could kill what I loved…
… about the old T160.

Don’t care about the well, never had one. It’s bigger? OK, sounds good, as long as it doesn’t take longer for it to drain after a wave fills it.

Hinged hatches? More to break/leak/etc.

The seat and side changes I can’t see being real improvements based on my T160 miles. Marketing improvements to target more old flatwater drifters, maybe.

The old bare seatpan was great. Let you rotate. Add the low rounded sides and together they let you easily swivel to sit side saddle, and hop on and off (shallow and deep - big plus for remounts). In all, what made it so damn comfortable and versatile for me.

These were the two best design elements on the whole damn kayak IMO - and what set the Tarpon 160 apart on the water - so of course that gets changed.

I know, few use it like that (most thinking they need some sort of seat contraption) - or do much distance on an SOT - or venture offshore - and I’m not looking at this stuff like a typical retail floor shopper into gizmos and marketing BS like a “dry” ride on an SOT. I just think its a shame to see something so good (that it spawned a whole line for you - and set the bar for all competitors) get redesigned even more for the flatwater crowd (but you guys gotta follow the $).

I’ll check out out if I get a chance - and hopefully my gut’s wrong and it won’t impact anything negatively. Hope not, as I wouldn’t mind adding one back into the fleet at some point (if I ever regain the strength lost after going to much lighter kayaks).

i agree 100% with Greyack

Recalled Tarpons??
Having sold a few as/being a W.S. dealer, should’nt we have been notified of an existance of said ‘recall’?? No email, no letter, no mention from Customer service. What recall??