Tarpon 100 or 120

Hi all

I’m new to kayaking and have a few questions first

I am 6’-1" 235lbs

Most of my intended use will be flat water in lakes and rivers and the occasional bay or or inlet side of OC Maryland and Assateague

I have bin looking at the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 and 120 I know the 120 would probably be better for someone my size but I am considering the 100 for 2 reasons. 1 the cost nearly $200 cheaper and 2 storage.

So my Question As a beginner How much / what exactly i giving up by going with the 100 over the 120.

will I regret getting the 100

Should I save and wait till next year when I can afford the 120?

You need a 140 IMHO and I have

– Last Updated: Jul-19-12 10:33 PM EST –

paddled Tarpons a long time. At your weight , which is the same as mine, you will find a 10' boat to be a real dog.I paddled a 10' SOT once and it was a miserable experience.
We are approaching the time of year (September) when outfitters sell their rental boats at considerable discounts.Or look for a used one.
To answer your question, you give up speed and tracking (ability to go straight) every time you go down in length.

Both will be slugs
Given those boats’ dimensions, especially well-loaded as they would be, comparing hull speeds will tell you a lot. The 10-footer will max out at about 4.8 mph, while the 12-footer will max out at about 5.3 mph. In actual fact, you won’t get either boat up to its “maximum” speed for more than a few seconds at a time, but the “practical maximum cruising speeds” will differ by roughly the same amount. Also, short boats move very easily at first, then bog down abruptly as you start to push them faster, and you’ll notice this with both of them, but the problem will be worse with the 10-footer. Given the extreme ease of going slow, I bet you end up pushing your speed into the range where your extra effort is much too high for the increase in speed that results. It may take you a while to figure out what is happening, but once you do, you’ll likely be frustrated. I’d relegate either of these boats to very small lakes where the distance to travel is never great in the first place, but if it HAS to be one of these, go with the bigger one.

Regarding the cost difference and how important that is to you, that sounds like a really good reason to shop for a used boat. You could get any number of different kinds of 14-foot boats on the used market for less than the price of either of these new, and you’d be happier with their cruising ability.


– Last Updated: Jul-20-12 12:04 AM EST –

forget the 10'..too small and pretty poky to paddle and tracking is slim to none. The 12' is ok. but the 14' is a great all around SOT..especially for your size. I really suggest you paddle every one you can in lengths of 12-14' as you will find each to have their own characteristics and comfort. I've owned a Prowler 13 and 15 (both good kayaks), a Tarpon 16 which is a great cruiser, but not good on fast rivers with snags/debris, and a Perception Search 15 which I loved, but got tired of lifting 82 lbs on my car rack. I currently paddle a Necky Vector 13 and love this kayak as it performs very well in calm or fast choppy water. Happy hunting!

The main difference is that
you will be likely be disappointed with both of them in the long run. For your height and weight, you probably actually can paddle either one, but you won’t like either one very much after you understand their limitations. As a newer paddler, speed is probably not as much of a concern for you as stability and ultimate ease and enjoyment of using the boat on the water.

I think the suggestion of a Tarpon 140 should be considered. It is faster, which translates into ‘easier to paddle with less effort even if you don’t want to go fast all the time’ and will feel more stable for you. If you aren’t sold on a SOT then check into something like a WS Tsunami 145 or a Necky Manitou 14. I have seen both on local craigslist from time to time for under $850 in practically new condition. Oddly enough, it seems more difficult to find good deals on a used T-140 because kayak fishermen snag them up, and those that do use them to fish from seldom seem ready to part with them.

In defense of the Tarpon 100,
I paddle one regularly as a volunteer at a state park, and it is a great little boat. It isn’t fast, but it is comfortable and tracks well and performs very well for our purposes (assisting visitors, rental canoeists, picking up litter in the river.)

But—I am almost a foot shorter and about 115 lbs lighter than you.

You definitely need a bigger boat.

Listen to String. He’s a big guy and knows all about Tarpons.

Right now
I see lots of WS dealers have a 20% off sale going.But you can get the older version Tarpon now being made/sold by Perception Sport Pescador for less.IMO the better way to go.

The Pescador is a great suggestion
and can be had at Academy for $500.

Perception sport 13
Better hatches than the leaking hinged junk on the current Tarpons, better for your weight, faster than the shorter sizes, and lower costs.

Or get any 14 foot used boat.

But do do what ever you can to get on the water as soon as possible. You can always upgrade later but you cannot ever get this summer back.