Thinking of going shorter

I currently have a Tempest 170, which is a great boat, but at times, I feel like it’s a bit too much boat for me. I’m noticing that I’m a little more sore than I’d be after paddling my other boats. On flat water without much wind, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but with decent winds and waves, I’m finding it can be tiring. Part of it is probably due to the fact that I’m around 155 lbs and 6’.

My other boat is a P&H Virgo MV, which feels like a better fit for me, but I have issues with comfort. My left foot and leg tend to get uncomfortable and go numb after a while. It seems like after a few hours, I finally start to feel halfway decent in the boat, but still not as comfy as the Tempest.

It’s tempting to just go back to what I had before, a Tsunami 145, but I feel like that’d be a real downgrade after getting used to these narrower boats. Any suggestions? The Dagger Stratos 14.5 S has been mentioned a lot, and it sounds pretty good. I’m a little nervous about trying it sight unseen, but might be worth a shot. Any other ideas?

I am about to give the Greenland paddle another go. Maybe that’ll give me the feel I’m looking for.

Based on your size, I have to agree the Tempest 170 is a whale swallowing you. I am 6’1" and weighted 210 when I owned and paddled the 170… it was too big for me. It probably would have been ok fully loaded with the weight of camping gear…but that is not normal paddling. I don’t have experience with or close friends who paddle a Virgo.

The Stratos 14.5S sounds like a winner for you. I have chose the Stratos 14.5L as my teaching kayak for introductory and intermediate lessons. They are super, do everything kayaks. At your weight, the S sounds like a better fit than the L. Agree with you about wanting to test paddle it.

You mentioned getting sore in the Tempest but did not say where? With the Virgo you mentioned foot to leg issues. And, you wrapped up talking about a Greenland paddle. I’m confused to see a correlation?

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He went from a 140 Tsunami thats 24 inches wide to a 170 Tempest and a P&H Virgo amd the best advice the forum has is to buy another boat rather than learn how to use a 94.5 sq inch paddle.

Most of my kayaks have been 17’+. This season I went to a shorter (15’ 8") and fatter (23") kayak. It is slower (as expected), but not incredibly slower. It is maneuverable and tracks well, with no weathercocking noticeable. Its main other virtue is its low weight (just under 40 pounds), so this old man in his eighties can manhandle the craft when it’s out of the water. To me, that’s a big deal.


@rsevenic same reason I paddle the 145 Tsunami @56 lbs instead of my 175 Tsunami @68 lbs. I couldn’t transport the 175 after 2017, when my S10 with the ladder rack was laid to rest - valiant service after 22 yrs. I sold it for $160. A guy revived it for his grandson, and its still on the road.

I put a ladder rack on my 2018 Colorado and the 175 will again come put to play. The 175 is faster and performs better in rough conditions, but I’m still learning how to control the 145. One boat at a time.

Unfortunately, my robustitude prevents my nesting fully in a 22 inch wide boat, otherwise I would own one. However, the 24 inch wide Tsunami is my proper weight class. Only the svelte are blessed to ride the thoroughbreds. I must make the best of my Clydesdales.

We must bend the boat to our needs. There was nothing wrong with the 140 Tsunami. It just isn’t a 170 Tempest.

I think the correct terminology is
robustical plentitudosity

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You are indeed a master of kayak platitudinals, with a keen awarness of rounditudinal mass. My brother biked me me and erroneously attributed my speed to the watermellonous form in my midsection. He likened it to the bulbous attachment afixed to the bow of bulk maritime carriers. How dare he liken me to a bulk carrier. I resemble that remark.

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What do you suspect is the source of the left leg discomfort in the Virgo MV? What have you tried to reduce that?

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@3meterswell That’s the million dollar question. I’m guessing it’s something to do with the seat. My only solution has been to stretch out my left leg after a while, and paddle with it straight or with my knee up for a few minutes. It’s just not a comfortable boat for me to sit in.

@kayakhank The soreness/numbness in the Virgo just happens from sitting in it. I guess it’s a seat issue. As far as paddling it, it’s overall easier to paddle (seems like less force required when cruising and accelerating).

It seems like the Tempest requires more force when paddling, even just cruising, and it’s tougher to maneuver. The conditions have been windy and rough lately, so paddling has not been easy. In general, I’ve noticed I’m a little sore in my arm muscles around my elbows, my shoulders and back muscles. This seems happen more after paddling the Tempest than the Virgo. OTOH, I have been paddling a lot lately, over 100 miles/mo. However, I do know my baseline, and I’ve been feeling more sore than normal. Maybe it’s due to the new boats, or maybe it’s due to the amount of “horsepower” required to drive the Tempest, and it’s putting undue strain on me. This is why I’m considering a shorter boat, or maybe just switching to the GP (easier on the body and joints).

I know in theory longer yaks should be easier to cruise along in, but my experience so far is that the 14-foot range seems to be a good sweet spot. Sometimes, when I’m in the Tempest, it feels like I’m paddling a freighter.

Here’s another question about the Stratos…I like this Cosmos color scheme, BUT I’m not sure having so much black on it is a good idea. Would it be a lot hotter??

As has been mentioned by others the Tempest 170 is a pretty large boat for a 155 pound paddler. I had a 170 Pro for many years and the feeling of paddling a freighter has a familiar ring to it. I weigh about 195 and the T easily carried another 130 pounds of gear for trips.

About the black color…I had a Progression with a black deck and it was warmer than other boats. Not a problem but it was noticeable on a sunny day.

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If you like the performance characteristics of the Virgo, have you considered modifying the cockpit to make it more comfortable? If you like the tempest seat, that could be your model…


What GregofDelaware said! Every cockpit can be customized pretty easily. I haven’t had a stock seat or padding in a boat for 14-15 years.

Agreed with what has been stated before. Length of boat doesn’t matter but volume does. The T170 is a huge (volume) boat for you. I’m 5’7" and paddle boats from 12’ to 19’; I almost always prefer the longer boats but they are also all (mostly) appropriately sized for me.

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From your description of aches and pains, it sounds like you are “arm” paddling. Take a lesson or get your stroke evaluated by an experienced kayak instructor to ensure you are paddling efficiently with good core rotation. It made a world of difference regarding arm/should soreness after paddling for me over 10 years ago.

@GregofDelaware I’d probably have to replace the entire seat, and possibly even the foot pegs. I think part of it is the position my feet are in. It’s cramped in that area, and I think the hull may be flatter than other boats I’ve had, which had more of a V shape where my feet rest. Maybe that was better for comfort. At any rate, I think my best bet is to just try to sell it, and put the money towards something else. To be totally honest, I’m not sure I’m even that impressed with how it paddles. With the skeg up, it’s very squirrely. I don’t like being forced to use a skeg.

Uncomfortable seating is a deal-breaker for me. Yes, you can make adjustments; maybe they’ll work and maybe they wont. But why mess with it when the market for good used kayaks like yours remains strong? I’d sell it and move on.


If you’re used to the Tsunami a narrower sea kayak will be much more responsive to paddler input and will track less well. The increased responsiveness is good for skills development but will take more effort from you to keep it going straight.