Tempest 180 / Impex Assateague

This is my second year paddling with a SOT Cobra Tourer. Last season I also had the opportunity to do some extended testing of POLY SINKs, including Prijon Kodiak, CD Sirroco, T-170, Eclipse 17, and some older models, I forget. . None totally satisfied, but Sirroco and T170 came close.

The Sirroco almost did it for me, until I tried the T-170, which was faster and more “cadillac” like, which I liked. Only problem was my size 12 feet didn’t fit right. I would’ve bought it otherwise.

As I am paddling the dickens out of my Tourer this year, I realize as good as it is for lurking about salt marshes and frightening Herons and turtles, I really miss the full engagement with the water I experienced with Sea Kayaks. I am in some seriously delicate quid-pro-quo negotiations with my wife right now, that if sucessful could see me in a nice new glass kayak (fingers crossed)!

That said, the subject of the post will reflect my current state of mind. I unfortunately have not test-paddled either of these boats, but hope to find some local souls that might be able to help in the South Jersey Shore area.

I am 6"1’, 240, 32 inseam, size 12. I will be largely day paddling around Great Bay / Little Egg Harbor / Mullica River, gradually working up to more challenging water and extended trips.

I would greatly appreciate any perspective on these two boats that can be offered in terms of quality of build/layup, fit/finish, hatches, skeg, seating, footbrace etc. I have seen very little on these boats from owners, beyond the little I’ve found in review/archives here at P-net and Wes Boyd’s.

It would also be nice to hear some owner feedback on performance and how each of these boats may handle the approach to “Big Guy” kayaking. I seem to be just past the Medium-Large category. . . a “little” Big Guy maybe? :slight_smile: (with rose-colored shades!).

As an aside, I am mildly interested in the QCC Q700, but concerned about my size 12 feet and the deck height. Also, although I love speed, I want a little bit of playfulness/performance. Not sure how 700 would compare to the others.

Thanks -

If you really liked the Sirocco
then try the CD Gulfstream as well. You’ll probably like it better.

I havent seen the Tempesst 180, but the 170 is a sweet boat.

I don’t think you could go wrong with either of these or the Impex boat either. Get what feels best.

give 'em both a try
and you’ll find they handle similarly. balanced both in terms of YAW and stability.

The Assateauge is a bit smaller than the 180 both in fit and capacity. The 180 wins on comfort.

I’m sure Wade will chime in, as he was on the fence for a while.

Impex has come a long ways in recent years and is producing some very nicely finished boats. Their customer service is outstanding, being a smaller company and having a direct relationship with their dealers.

It’s kinda like Ford vs Dodge in the 1-ton duelly, diesel, 4X4. :wink:


Yup! I will chime in
Flatpick is right, the subject header of this message certainly caught my eye.

You and I are about the same size/build. You have me by one inch in height.

Like you I did a bunch of research, reviews and unlike you, I was able to find and paddle these and other boats for paddlers our size.

You said you had visited Wes Boyd’s site, so I’ll assume you read the reviews I posted on the Tempest 180. If not, a great amount of detail is contained in that review. (www.kayakplace.com)

Couple years ago I bought a NDK Poseidon for use as a “day boat”. It’s small and manueverable but not a good cruiser for trips and such. In my mind I was going to add an Assateague(sp) to my fleet when I could afford it.

About a year later Wilderness System introduced the Tempest 180 and I paddled it (a prototype)for about three days and didn’t want to give it back. As Flatpick said, it is a bit bigger than Assateague but not by much. It is the most comfortable boat I’ve ever paddled. The seat comfort is amazing (they put a lazy-boy chair in there, I swear).

I like the outfitting of the Tempest a bit better.

Both are great boats and I’d be happy to own either one of them.

I’ve paddled many miles in the Tempest and love it.

You really do need to find a local shop and get both boats wet. Then decide on the one that fits best.

Oh and in my Tempest 180, I have AMPLE room for my size 11 feet. It’s been a while since I’ve paddled the Assateague but I don’t remember how much volume the boat has under the deck, sorry.


Thanks Guys!
I appreciate the perspective! I’m going to call Jersey Paddler and see if they have demos of either.

Test Paddled both today!
I want to underscore the importance of “Try before you buy”!! There’s nothing like getting in a boat on the water to shatter your preconceptions about it! . . . and yourself!

From everything I read, I thought the Assateague would be a perfect fit for me, and that the T-180 would be slightly large. I skinned my shins getting in and out of the Impex, and my big ol’ size 12’ers didn’t fit right, (heels pushing together uncomfortably, and not enough deck height). I think this boat would be great for a paddler on the large side of medium, but no larger than size 11 feet.

The Tempest 180. . . Ahhhh. It was everything I liked about the Tempest-170, except it fit me great! No shin scraping getting in or out. The thighbraces fit nicely, and looked to be highly adjustable for tweaking the fit. There were happily no issues with my feet and there was plenty of room and deck height to stretch my legs and point my feet both forward and straight up.

The seat was fine, but the backband was a bit low for my liking. I suspect that’s either adjustable or replacable, so I won’t consider it an issue. All in all, contact with the boat was great, and I felt like I didnt’ have to strain or over-extend to connect.

No I just need to go to my Director and make the case for the Return on Investment.

what do you wear on your feet?

Today I was wearing . .
Saloman Amphibians, which add about 3/4 inch to foot size. I don’t want to have to wear neo booties just to squeeze in.

On the other hand. . .
I was helping the yard guy load the Tempest onto the trailer and I noticed the rear hatch was off. Neither of us could secure it after of many minutes of trying. I find that troublesome. I have heard of issues with Wildy hatches before, and am not sure how to rekon that in my decision making process.

You went the same route as me…
I had Impex on my short list until I tried the T180. I ordered my Tempest just days after my test paddles. It’s a great boat!

Good luck with the “director”


they’re fixed…
The hatches and covers were a problem in the past. The new design has resolved those problems. My Tempest just arrived and looked good. The Tempest I’ve been paddling while awaiting my own, had solid hatches.

Our closest paddling friends both paddle his & her Tempests and both are 100% watertight.

I paddle with many friends in Tempests (example: http://www.pdxseakayaker.net/Photos/WadePhotos/P2014759.jpg ), and nobody’s having hatch problems now.

I wouldn’t allow the hatches of the past deter you from buying a Tempest.

My 2 cents worth…


ps: my wife has a Tempest on order now too. (sold her Romany)

Hoping there will be a Tempest 180 at
the GOMSKS this weekend. I’ve been dreaming about the one you put me into at the Jersey Paddler Show - can’t wait to try it on the water. Any chance you’ll be at the symposium?


Bulkhead failure
Maybe the hatches are now fine, but the front bulkhead failed on a composite Tempest 17 at the Gulf of Maine Sea Kayak Symposium on Saturday.

For the remainder of the day that Tempest was known as “the defective boat.”

Tempest - Bulkhead Failure
I was sitting in the water next to what happened with the bulkhead failure on the Tempest at GOMSKS. First part was that the boat flipped, don’t know whay but that didn’t seem to be a problem in itself.

Then another paddler tried to practice an assisted rescue where they pull the boat over their own and empty out the water in the cockpit, but grabbed the boat from the stern instead of the bow. A cockpit full of water hit the front bulkhead and next thing I saw was the boat attempting to point to China.

It still shouldn’t have failed - that front bulhead has to be able to take some abuse if you are fully loaded. I would suggest that, whatever boat you get, you make sure that you can order a fiberglassed bulkhead or a very heavy duty foam one that is well in there and can take some load. WS is not the only manufacturer out there using these foolish plastic bulkheads in their boats.


Flotation Bags
Yup, those plastic glued-in bulkheads just don’t seem up to serious use. A swamped cockpit in lumpy seas could easily replicate the situation that occurred during the rescue practice. So, do consider the construction of any kayak you are looking at.

Regardless of the construction, however, it’s a really good idea to put flotation bags in both bow and stern compartments of the boat. Bulkheads can fail, hatch covers can fail or accidently come off the boat. With the bags, the boat will still float pretty well and make rescue easier (or even possible)

Well Let me tell you as I’m the rep that was at the GOMSK deal a few weeks ago. THE BULKHEAD DIDNOT FAIL IT WAS NEVER INSTALLED!!! as I made clear to very person paddling the boat. I pick that boat up from dealer on my way to the SYMPO as it was a special order that was damanged in shipping the bulk head was left uninstalled to be customed install to the desired lenght to double as wall and foot rest.

If I recall the woman that was paddling the boat at the time was very new to paddling and felt very comfortable in The T165 and was learning edge control and leaning which she was not doing in any other boats there for consumer demo.

If the GOMSK gig is to suceed for the long term it will be with manufacture particapation hearing this talk of a defective boat and the like will not do anything too encourage other Rep/vendor to particapate. As who needs this smack talking with out getting the facts.

Bye the way the Bulkheads in the Tempest are COMPOSITE!! WS does not use plastic for bulkheads Ceila.


Thanks for clarifying the issue. That was a troubling story, and I’m glad it wasn’t a manufacturing issue after all.

I had a feeling
that sumthin’ weird was up with that one.

If the b/h was NOT installed then why YES it may have a tendency to allow water into the front compartment! =:-0)

we order most of our T’s w/o b/hs and then install to the wishes of the customer, many with footpumps and such. cool idea, tho a ‘unfinished’ boat until ‘install’.


QCC info
I have size 12 feet and they fit fine in my 700, i am 6’3" 240…