Tarpon 140 vs. Tarpon 160

Hey all,

Newbie here. I’m a big guy (6’-2" & 300#), and from reading these posts, I think I settled on a Tarpon. The problem is, I went to test them out (and some others, but I think I like the Tarpon the best) and the sales guy kept pushing the Wilderness Ride. It seems a more stable boat, but I won’t be fishing, just touring and trying to get into shape. Also, he kept telling me that I don’t need the 160, that the 140 (or even the 120) would be more stable.

I want a combination of comfort, balance, and speed, and from reading the reviews here (and taking the 12’ out for a test) the 160 seemed to be an answer. Now, I’m a bit confused. What do you all think? 140 or 160?


160. you will be paddling the boat not the salesman.

160… NM

I’m your height, a few pounds less, and have paddled all 3 of those. I found the 160 to be the best SOT tour boat. It performed far better than the other 2 in larger stuff on the ocean and is much faster.

is a bit of a barge, but the most stable of the ones mentioned. In our N. California kayak fishing club (google it), the big 3 are Tarpon 140, 160, and OK Prowler 15’s and Trident 15’s. With your weight, do yourself a big favor and paddle all and since you are favoring the 160, definitely paddle it. Some of the bigger guys have gone from the 160 to the Hobie or a wider yak because of the stability issue and maneuverability. Tarpons were changed in 2009 and many don’t like the deck layout or reduced speed according to those who have paddled both.Keep in mind that 160 weighs in the 75 lb. range. If speed is your goal, the 160 is only very slightly faster (gps tested) than the other 15’s. Good luck.


– Last Updated: Aug-24-09 6:37 PM EST –

for your size and use go 160. don't go Ride unless you want a wide, stable (read- slow) platform. It's great for stable, just not a mover.

The 160
The 14 footer will be a bathtub for you.


I weigh 240 and when I paddle my wife’s 140 there is about an inch of water in the footwell. At your weight, I would think the 140 would be a squirt boat.

160i - take your cooler. great boat.
6’5" ; 240.

I’m sure the sales guy he means well, as he’s offering lower priced options too, but listen to the owners/paddlers on this one, not the sales guy.

I have to wonder how many miles he has paddling these types of kayaks, and which ones specifically, and what he weighs.

I had around 3000 miles on my 160 when I lost count. Add that to the others commenting and it’s bound to be a heckuva lot more than the salesman.

160 is one of the only plastic SOT worth a damn for pure paddling/touring. Others are fine for mixed use/fishing, etc. - though hard to beat Tarpon 160 there either, particularly for bigger guys.

If someone needs a more stable kayak, what they really need is another sport. The other models have their place, but not for the use/user you describe.

Will you be
paddling rivers (wide or narrow?) or lakes?

140 v. 160
I’ll mostly be in open waters on Long Island, bays and such.

I want to thank everyone for their responses. Everyone who has responded has been great, and it seems like everybody wants others to enjoy the sport as much as they do. Very much appreciated.

I am definitely leaning towards the 160.

I have had my 160 out in 3-4’
“washing machine” waves in a 25 knot wind. The boat handled it beautifully;absolutely kicked my butt. I will not do that again intentionally.Thigh straps make a really good SOT even better.

BTW, ‘Flatpick’ who answered above works for Wilderness Systems and helps design boats.

Some of us are still waiting for a T180 with a little less beam.