tarpon 160 v. necky dolphin

Any opinions? I am 5’10" 225lbs.

I have paddled the tarpon. I know how some of you feel about it and yes, I will paddle the necky before I make a decision but not for a couple of weeks since the closest demo I can find is about 120 miles away. I also want to paddle the cobra expedition but haven’t found a place yet.

thanks in advance.

I have not paddled the WS, but my wife has a Necky Dolphin and she loves it. I am not a big fan of SOT kayaks, but I have paddled hers before. Overall impression was that it is quite heavy and slow, but that is something you will find with a lot of SOTs in this range. The boat is super-stable, tracks okay, and handles moderate waves pretty well. I recommend buying one with the rudder if you paddle in any kind of wind. The hatches seem to be fairly water tight, but not completely. There are scupper holes in the seat, so you will always be sitting in the water unless you find some way to plug them. Build quality is good, and the seating position is quite comfy. Good luck…

Read all of the following thread

Then buy the Dolphin.

Try this link
http://www.kayakfishingstuff.com/review/fishing_kayak_review.php? They review SOT’s great site for this type of yak. FishHawk

Huh?? paddle first, and you will see!!

– Last Updated: Dec-01-04 7:06 AM EST –

A repast of the earlier post-I have owned a Dolphin and NOW own a T-160..Why I hate the Dolphin: First I am 6'3" 245. The Dolphin is cramped cockpit wise, even though it’s a SOT!! The foot wells don’t accommodate a size 12 Teva.., they also don’t go out far enough, so I have to paddle with my Legs at an uncomfortable angle. The boat feels to me like you are sitting on top of a round log, with ZERO secondary stability. You have to be “On” all the time. No relaxing and drifting with your Eyes closed on this boat. It turns ok, the Scupper holes let water in not out, you will be paddling in a puddle even with foam golf balls stuck in the scupper holes. In slight surf its ok, but no better then my 16’ tarpon. On the other hand in any wind the boat wants to weather cock as the bow rids up much higher then the stern. Like I said compared with the T-160, it’s no contest. The T-160 Glides much longer between strokes is way easier to push to higher cruising speeds. And tracks like a train, something the Dolphin doesn’t do very well. I think the problem is in the design, as to me the Dolphin seems like it was originally a regular Kayak that they made into a sot by lowering the deck and molding in a seat. The T-160 seems more like a SOT from the ground up. Just my opinion. As for tippy ness, like I mentioned I don’t find my 21 inch QCC tippy at all. I think my CG is just way to high in the Dolphin, or that I am exceeding its hull capability or something. Its like trying to sit on a beach ball under water!!! I owned the Dolphin for about 1.5 years. I’ve owned the T-160 for about 3 or 4. The longest trip on my T-160 in a day was over 40 miles. Yes the Dolphin “LOOKS” cool, but for me its not, I also think the Cobra Tour “looks” cool and cant wait to paddle one of those to see for my self. Now if QCC would make a sot that would be cool!!! BTW I have also tried the old Futura Ski the one that looks like a shark, it was fun fast and tippy, but not really and expedition boat!! BTW I would expect that boat to be a little tippy!! Not a 28” sot!!!

thank you
Thanks for the input. I should have checked the archives 1st. Although it seems that taller paddlers seem to dislike this boat more, the weight factor concerned me.

As we all know the decsion shouldn’t and won’t be made until I try the boat. thanks again

What will you do with it?
If you want to play sit 'n spin in smallish waves - get the Dolphin.

If you want to get anywhere with any efficiency or comfort - T160.

For weight, my feeling is that the Dolphin is popular with lighter paddlers who don’t paddle very far. Short trips, mild surf, near shore fishing…

T160 is pretty versatile, can do all the above and more. Easily keeps up with SINKs touring speeds. Handles very well. Predictable. Could probably nap on one. I used to sit side saddle and rest/eat/etc. Unless you expect to be in open waters with high winds - you can skip the rudder. Like Swedge, I’ve put in some long days on one. A couple 30 milers, and many 15-20 mile paddles. No way would I want to do that on a Dolphin.

Dolphin was one of the first SOTs I demoed (probably weighed about 210 then), along with T160 and several others. Dolphin feels way to lively for it’s wide beam. Maybe and asset in surf, but mostly it just makes it feel unstable and slow for general paddling. It turned easily, but needed to much attention in general.

At first test, I didn’t like the T160. Seemed heavy and hard to turn (I’d been paddling a short inflatable prior - so go figure). Tried a few others and went back to it - and it was a different story. Best of all tried - by a considerable margin.

As for Cobra Expedition. It’s much tippier (I paddle a 21" SINK and still didn’t like how it felt), very wet, very heavy, very hard to turn, absolutely needs a rudder - and best kept to flat water. T160 will beat it in even small waves. Granted I only had a limited trial - and was comparing after MANY miles on a T160 - but it was no where near what I’d been expecting/hoping based on the specs. Lost all interest after that brief paddle.

pretty much…
as I expected. Like you the cobra interests me becaues of its specs but based on feedback I am not expecting to be blown away. It was to be paddled for fitness on the icw. That being said, if fitness was the only criteria…why worry about how much distance i cover? Sounds like the dolphin might be a bit loose (playful) for the type of paddling I do most. Tarpon seems to fit best right now although I still plan on eventually trying the dolphin.

thanks again to all respondents.

Depends on Conditions
Some boats are just designed with specific regions in mind. The Dolphin is a west coast boat.

I really like the Dolphin for NORCAL conditions, but I don’t think it is well suited for Florida. I lived there for many years, and I know conditions there well. There are reasons the Tarpon is so popular on the east coast, but not so much out here.

I did most of my T160 miles on ICW
the rest offshore along the coast, rivers, and some side canals.

Of 1400 miles, most was ICW or similar waters. Tarpon is great for that. Even in higher speed areas with big boats, inlets, etc.

It will make you a stronger paddler. I’ve gotten weaker since going to more efficient hulls.

If you get one, try it with no seat pad and the plastic seat back for a while (a couple months). I found it worked well like that. Lets you rotate freely and that means better form and less stiffness, etc. Avoid going to an add on padded high back seat if at all possible. Locks you in too much and complicates remounts. OK for fishing, not for fitness.

The Perception Bimini also it might suprise you.

have a dolphin but I also have a spike
and suprizingly like my spike better. the major complaint I have about necky’s are the little tiny hatches. you have a hard time stowing "stuff"for my forays . that problem doesn’t exist with the 160. take a look at the tarpon 140 before making any decision though, it’s my current fave. not as fast but a great and versitale boat!

New 160
WS will soon be releasing a TW version of the 160 simmilar to the 140.A much improved seat and easier to rig for fishing.This may well be the best of the longer SOT’s when available.Good luck!