-- Last Updated: Jul-17-10 12:54 PM EST --

my T170 roto is quite old 6 years and one of the early ones here in norway. it seems to be different.
this boat has what i would call considerable rocker which i think is great.its super manuvrable with the comination of rocker and large flat area around the cockpit. this one has more rocker than the T165 i bought last year. i read somewhere thaT OLD t165s had more rocker than recent ones. the t165 has deeper v hull that my 170, which is very shallow V.
..There seems to be a constant refinements to these kayaks. i had a roto zephyr 160 red with kayaksport rearhatch..it seems slightly different in hull shape than the brand new Z155 i picked up yesterday...
someone should write a historical thing on these boats.
A true american classic in my view..and very pretty too.
i was also very impressed by the looks of the new tempest comosites..

That Wilderness Systems boat seems
to have gotten positive attention. Not sure why pnetters haven’t commented yet.

Z- History
If you look in the archives you will find a couple of pretty good threads on the development of the Zephyr. Look back about two years.

There is an article that Steve posted about the development of the Tempest on the Tempest Owners Yahoo Group site.


Tempest Story
Here is the article on the Tempest:

In Steve’s words,

The Tempest project started a little over a year ago when Bob McDonough, the head of R&D at Confluence came to me and asked for help designing a serious sea kayak. Bob, as some of you may know, is a top-notch whitewater paddler and was a whitewater rodeo star in the early ‘90’s. He has designed 30+ boats including quite a number of boats for Perception, Savage and Wilderness Systems. Some of the vessels with his name on them include the Pirouette, Piro S, Whip-it, Whiplash, Overflow, Arc, Sparc, Shadow, Torrent, Acadia, Caspia, Skreem, Beast and Maniac (nice names!) Pungo, Tarpon. Adventurer canoe, to name a few. Bob had spent a summer working at my shop, Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, and we developed quite a friendship and mutual respect for each other.

Who am I? My name is Steve Scherrer and I started paddling a canoe at age 9, moved on to whitewater canoeing and kayaking, squirtboating, creekin’, big water class 5, waterfall jumping, sea kayaking, Grand Canyon cat boatin’ and I presently own 2 sailboats, one which I plan on sailing around the world. In 1986 we (my wife, a partner and I ) started Alder Creek. It is a full service paddlesports shop in Portland OR and we have a shop in Bend, OR as well. Retail, trips, tours, instruction. I manage the education and trips. I am an ACA Instructor Trainer Educator in whitewater kayak and coastal, an IT in swiftwater rescue and BCU 4 Star Sea, Coach 2. Been a professional paddler for almost 17 years.

So Bob and I went out paddling. A bunch. We took many different boats. We went to the sea, we paddled in flatwater, we paddled in the wind. I showed him what I liked and what I didn’t like. We talked about shapes and speed and edge and other nautical things. We looked at every boat in my shop. With this beta he went back to North Carolina and drew up the Tempest. Wilderness Systems made a plug, a mold and a proto-type. I flew out to NC and we took it for a ride. It took me 3 minutes in the boat to realize we had hit on something pretty sweet. Bob took it for a spin. It took him 4 minutes. We put a 220lb. beginner (as in 3rd time in a yak) in it. It took him 45 minutes to learn carves and tilted turns. He could go straight and turn on a dime. He wouldn’t get out of the boat. We knew we had a winner.

We flew the boat home and I began seriously testing her. Columbia River Gorge, east wind @ 45 knots following seas to 6’, 25 NM in 4 hours. Oh yeah, this boat works. Oregon Coast, as in Pacific Ocean. Technical rock gardens and surf to 10’, swells and clapotis galore. It ate it up. Deception Pass, Washington at 8+ knots, eddy fences to 3’, whirlpools that can swallow a 17’ kayak. Oh my! Neah Bay, WA to La Push- The Olympic Peninsula, 5 days, 40 nautical miles, fog, BIG load, 9’ surf, whales, puffins. I was in love. And all the while, on every trip, I paddled next to another top-notch sea kayak. And every time I was out it was testing her performance side by side with these other vessels. Switch Captains and try again. And again and again. Remember I own a kayak shop and have access to many boats and I live in a community with many top-notch paddlers who love to go on these test drives. It’s my job so I work a lot!

We built another hull with some changes in the rocker profile, nope. We used the original hull and fine-tuned the deck. The deck layout lends itself to safety and security. Secure deck bungies for spare split paddle forward where it’s suppose to be. Won’t get blown off in surf, and if you don’t like them, they come right off. Toggles that retract so you don’t have to listen to them rattle when you’re screaming down the face of a wave. Cockpit outfitting with contoured coaming, adjustable thigh hooks, hip pads, leg lifters and seat pad. (comfortable seat/ sea kayak/ go figure). US made rubber hatches so we don’t have to depend on overseas product and can fine-tune their design. Custom bulkhead length, footpumps, compass, oh yeah.

We introduced the boat at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake in August to great reviews. Many of my friends in the industry complimented and congratulated Bob and I for our work. A few designers came over and accused us of robbing lines off of their boats, as if. The Tempest is a unique boat. At the OR demo day the boats were out constantly, with rave reviews right and left. Wind was up to 20 knots and quite a few boats weren’t even going out! Except for the fact that the boats weren’t going to be available for a month or three, all comments were positive. Bob and I were happy. On to the west Coast Sea Kayak Symposium in September. The real test, the consumer. Though I had tested the boat on quite a number of client and customers at Alder Creek, I still was excited to see the results of the boat’s introduction at the sympo. We had two plastic and two kevlar models and the prototype 165 (sized for smaller paddlers). They were absolute hits. Bob got a kick out of watching me put rank novices in the boat, giving them a 2 minute instruction spiel and pushing them off. 100% of the time the paddler would come back with a huge smile. Symposiums draw a large variety of paddlers so the advanced and experts were out in full force as well. Guess what? Same smiles on their return. Even one of the famous sea kayak designers from our area, who likes to gather data on kayaks, gave us a great review. He thought it was one of the nicest paddling boats on the beach. Cool, I can live with that. After the sympo we came to the conclusion that this concept could come in sizes. We already had the 170 (Medium) and 165 (Small) but see the need for a XS and XL. Stay tuned.

So the long winded story of the Tempest and how it came that a boat designed by Americans and made in the United States can compete with the other sea kayaks of the world. And how two old school paddlers discovered the Balance of Science and Magic.

Here is an early Zephyr thread: http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=advice&tid=718781#718894

Wildy Steve
I was at Alder Creek today trying a WS Tarpon 130T vs Pamlico 135T, never tried a SOT before, have a huge growing Newfoundland dog, gotta find a kayak that fits both of us.

Alder Creek is now in a different building on Hayden Island and the stairs going down to the water are steeeeeep, with this big drop-off gap before the dock because the water level is low.

As usual I drooled over the Tempests and Tsunamis. The manager helped us … mentioned Steve as I was oooogling the Tempest … and she had never heard of him.

So, Steve, write your memoirs now, time is flying and these young 'uns don’t even know what it used to be like, don’t know history, don’t know how great we have it because of you.

the current building
was a blimp hanger in WWII. Well okay, maybe not really, but it sure feels that way. Cavernous. A number of people – Sean, Paul – started out under Steve, but I think they cleaned house after the whole BCU/NDK debate. I grew up going out to the sailing club, and the steep ramp is just mother nature. It’s fate is tied to the level of the river, like the stock market, it’s up and down. The only thing I miss is that restaurant next door, the Island Cafe. Good to see 'em growing. They must be doing well. Do they have a place to change?


New Alder Creek Building
There’s a bathroom right in the first room, nice, instead of outside like the other building. Didn’t ask about changing or if there’s a shower. I’m an old fat woman but was able to crawl around the ramps / steeeeeeep stairs (no handrails), however needed to demo the kayaks with my dog. Eventually we carted to the old blue ramp at the yacht place.

It’s big, I like it, able to look at lots of different types of kayaks canoes and hybrids, staff friendly, just felt very surreal for the manager to have never heard of Steve. Kayaking is my dream desire, haven’t been able to do much lately, but was lucky enough to hang around when Steve and his wife were there a lot, with a fabulous enthusiastic crew. Consequently saw kayak design and choices improve tremendously.

They must work on the put-in. Far too rugged and dangerous right now. There was a bold cute family of raccoons digging clams right under the brush there, came right to water’s edge.

a few roto T-165s made it out to the public with tooo much rocker. IMO this was a very fun boat BUT not within the design specs. sounds like you got one. keep it, they’re a hoot.

far as the new kiddies @ AC…I guess ol’ classics sumtimes get fergot…oilwell. back in the day…


tempest story…

– Last Updated: Jul-22-10 6:53 PM EST –

thanks a lot folks!! yeah steve..make a book!!
i have been 5 days paddling in some of the roughest places on the south east norvegian coast, with south wast swells and fetch over to england...since it was a long trip i brought the big old 170. I also felt that it was a wise choice due to its faboulus roughwater handlig
and it was. it got rough..very rough and high winds..i paddled the tempest at night in stormy weather in a semisheltered place...I missed the 165 since its so precise and exteremely good in wind. the 170 with no load is very sweet and manuvreble but with my weight 70 kg 174 cm it gets a bit too loose in high wind
so i had to fine tune it with sand bags.
leak hatches ? my 170 has never had a skeg...
i bought it without the skeg, since it was the only one, but it would have been nice to have in some of the huge folloing seas we encountered,,
leak hatches?
i found a very nice way to tighten a rope around them. I actually like the hatches on the tempests a lot.. tthey are soft and very easy to get on and off. for whitewater rock n roll its easy to make them real tight with ropes..i prefer that to hatches that recuire use of tools to fasten them correctly..(valley)
i tried the little yellow Z155 on my lake today, in quite strong wind(35kns)lake..its super nice! very good poking its nose int0 the wind..a great compliment to the T,s
one question. i want to do some serious paddling trips.
and the T170 has to be the boat.i love the plastic version, but perhaps i should get a new composite..?
is there differences betwwen the hulls of the T170Roto and COMP..or the 165 Roto / composite?
is it faster, harder chines etc.?..
well i love these boats dearly....its like finding a great instrument..the more i paddle and contemplate them the more i like them...i really connected with the Z155 today....great!
one more...how old can i expect the old 170 to be before getting a new one...i have to trust my gear..

Since you mentioned connecting with the Z-15.5 I gotta tell a quick story. Look, I own a T-170 and love it but I really, really love my little Z. It does really neat stuff.

So a couple of weeks ago I was coming back to the take out and there was some activity there so I just hung out, practiced strokes, edging, etc. and waited my turn. Never gets old in this boat. Anyway when I came in there were a couple of folks there with rental kayaks and the woman in the Chatham 16 said that it looked like my boat really edged well. She mentioned that she was shopping for a new boat. I asked her what she was thinking about and she rattled off a few Brit boats that made me feel that she had a clue so I asked her if she would like to try my Zephyr. She was interested, adjusted the footpegs and took off.

She totally wrung it out. She was clearly a much better paddler than me and was making my Z do stuff that I had been trying to make it do. Holy Crap! Yeah, she is good but so is that Zephyr.

She came back with this HUGE grin on her face and said that the boat was great. It was telepathic. All she had to do was think about doing something and the boat had already done it for her.

Made me realize that I had to think bigger…