tempest 170 (or 165) - center of gravity

Hey all,

I am looking to buy a WS Tempest. I am 5’10, 175lbs. Looking for a fast, fun manauverable boat - will do some overnight trips too. Looks like the Tempest is the answer, (maybe the 165).

Any case, I don’t have the option of actually testing kayaks due to my somewhat remote location.

Having said that, my only hesitation with the Tempest is that I heard the cockpit is situated high in the boat, making for a higher center of gravity.

Anyone out there test or own a Tempest? What can you tell me about the cockpit, are you deep in the boat? Or does it put you higher up?

Thanks a heap.

Some Experience

– Last Updated: Mar-30-05 9:09 PM EST –

I owned a 170 for a while and traded it for a 165. I'm 5'9" and about 165 pounds. I didn't find the seat particularly high in either boat. I read where the new Tempests have the seat a little lower than the older models.

What little height I have is in my legs so I had the seat moved back a couple inches in the 165.

I preferred the handling of the 165 over the 170... probably because I never carry a lot of stuff. All my trips have been day trips.

Tempest 17
Just bought a roto tempest 170 this winter and have around 30 ours in it so far. Unfortunately my background is in sit on tops, so I have little to compare it to. But, like you, I bought mine based on reviews and word of mouth, never even paddled it. I am not dissapointed at all. I love it. I am 6’ 1" tall, 185lbs, with a 32 waist. I have plenty of room to spare, and bet I could slide into a 165 easily enough. So, I think the 165 is probably the right boat for you. Best of luck. Cliff

Have a poly 170
Seat height is not a problem in my '03 Tempest. Very stable, also very comfortable!

Like my Tempest bro. Kudzu observed, if you will do mostly day-trips with little gear, the 165 will probably fit you better and will have a lower profile and better handling.

If you want more gear storage for longer trips, and a higher volume boat, go with the 170.

what they said…
the older models have a notch in the seat back and a piece of foam glued in. they are 3/8-1/2" higher, tho not a problem for most.

the best part about the new seat is the width. it’s wider for people with…hips.

hope this helps and good luck!!!



I own a Tempest 170 (fiberglass) and would not trade it for the world, it’s fantastic. I wouldn’t say that the CG is compromised by the cockpit and deck height. Everyone I know who has paddled one or owns one raves about the boat. If you get one, do it right and get it in glass or CF.


Oh, if I could only afford glass…

Well, it is encouraging to hear that the seat is not as I feared (too high).

I am leaning towards the 165. From what I gather, it should fit nicely.

I am an ex-whitewater boater, so I want something with more “play” in it. Though, I wonder how much the 6" difference will sacrifice in speed?

Thanks for the prompt feed back.

Nothing wrong with
plastic if that’s what the budget dictates.

I’m a skinny 6’2" so there’s a fair piece of me hangin’ out the top of my 165. No worries regarding stability, primary or secondary. The 165 is ridiculously stable for its beam. Much of this is due to its hull shape. The 165 is not a speedster because of this but it’s certainly not a slug.

What you get with the 165 is an extremely versatile boat with a lot of personality. It likes the rough stuff, handles well on the flat water, and rolls like a dream.

I’ve done extended trips with mine and its size does require backpacking-type gear and packing. Day trips are a joy.

If you fit this boat, and I think you will, your biggest problem will be getting it OFF the water.

The 165s don’t like to be put away…

Pleasant waters to ya.


Like I said before, I traded a 170 for a 165. I noticed no difference in speed. In fact my buddy bought the traded 170 and we paddle together (read that race one another). He is not faster than me. YES!

we worked very hard at making the whole family of tempests equal in speed.

Medium ~ 165

Large ~ 170

EXtra Large ~ 180

same characteristics/ different size

what you lose in length you also lose in beam, so net speed is close.

if you’re a ww paddler wanting snug fit and sporty, the 165 should work well. I paddle one and weigh 180 and carry pretty good sized kit.

steve (sunburned in TX)

entry on 165/170
I’m curious why the 165 has such a more rounded entry than the 170

not sure what you’re seeing there Lee.

the entry lines are quite similar. I just went out and looked at two roto T’s (165/170) that happen to be side by side on the truck rack (demo daze in TX) and couldn’t see what you afre talking about.


Also have a poly 170
I like it quite a bit but wish I could fit into the 165 for the added manoeverability. The 165 sounds like an excellent choice for you and I can’t imagine you will be disappointed, but if you can, try out a Valley Avocet. This boat also fits your profile very well and is made in both poly and composite.—Rich

Playful plastic
Among the playful plastic sea kayaks are the Valley Avocet, Nacky Chatham 16, and Necky Elaho. The orginal Elaho was 15’10" and skegged. It also has agressive positive thigh braces and the lowest decks of any of the boats mentioned. Coming from white water back ground, you might enjoy the original version of the Elaho.

None of these are particularly ‘fast’ boats. The amount of rocker that makes them very responsive (playful) reduces waterline and does slow them. I think you would find any of them fast compared to white water boats.

You might find used glass versions of these boats for around the same cost as new plastic. If you can consider used glass, you should add the NDK Romany to your list. It is very playful, easy to roll, and handles rough conditions at least as well as many and better than most.