Wilderness System Tempest 165 vs Venture Easky 15 LV for a smaller paddler?

I’m pretty much a beginner at kayaking but I’m very comfortable in the water. I’m female, 5’6" 135 lbs. I’ve mostly paddled a Liquid Logic Sylva which is 14’ 1" long and 22,5" wide, and I like it and don’t find it at all tippy.

I have the chance now to purchase either of these two low-volume kayaks, used, for the same price, under $500, both with skegs. I can try them out, but the catch is I’ll have to decide on the Tempest before trying the Easky, since they’re in different locations along a route I’m traveling. So my general thought is that the Easky is more what I had in mind for size – a foot longer than the Sylva and the same width, and it has the bonus of being only 46 lbs, which would be great. The Tempest is 16.5 feet long, 21.5" wide, and 9 lbs heavier.

I’m interested to hear any perspectives on the general quality of these two boats, how well I can “grow into” each, and whether either might feel too challenging for me. Also whether the extra foot on the Tempest will just be cumbersome (obviously the extra weight is), or if I’ll be happy later to have a longer boat. I plan to paddle on lakes and rivers, and for now just day touring. Thanks!

I have no experience with the Easky, but the T165 I owned was a great sea kayak. At your size and weight, it will fit nicely, and I very much doubt it will feel tippy going down in width one inch. The extra length adds flotation/stability.

To turn any of those kayaks well, you will need to learn edging and other basic blocks of kayaking technique, if you have not already done so. Once you have that skill, handling a maneuverable 16-footer (like the T165) is easy, not cumbersome.

Try it out for sure. If the weight is a top factor, then obviously the choice depends heavily (pun intended) on whether you will be OK with loading 55 lbs vs 46 lbs. But paddling-wise, the Tempest will serve well.

$500 is a bargain, assuming the boat is in decent condition.

Thank you for the info. I know it’s a good price; probably I never would’ve considered a boat this length and weight otherwise. Actually I never consider buying anything unless it’s a really good price since I’m cheap :smiley: It’s in good condition but I forgot to ask how old it is, so will have to find that out. The seat looks different from the ones I’ve seen in pictures online – it looks less padded and comfy.

In either boat make sure the skeg works smoothly.

Thank you – Actually the seller of the Tempest told me the skeg was a bit rough since he said it needed to be taken apart and have some WD40 put on it. Is that an issue I should beware of?

I am certainly not a skeg expert, but WD40 does not sound like an optimal solution. If you do get a skeg boat, you’ll eventually need to understand the skeg mechanism well enough to repair it. If the ‘rough’ skeg needs repair, you would need to find the problem e.g. a kinked skeg wire or some other part that needs replacement. Any Tempest 165 owners out there who are familiar with this skeg?

If it’s a skeg cable it could be a PITA as the control slider is behind the seat hanger. At least it use to be.

If it’s this style, replacing the cable is not at all difficult. I did it in well under an hour.


I didn’t paddle the boat but I saw it briefly and the skeg is inside a cable cover of white plastic. Sorry, I don’t know the correct terminology. I don’t know how old the boat is but I suspect it’s 5-7 years old. Thoughts?

I expect that either boat would work for you, the one thing you will find is more people having experience with the Tempest just because they were everywhere. I would take cautions about having to do more than wd40 seriously, just because cable skegs that develop issues tend to keep them. But it is not a reason to avoid the Tempest if you like the boat, it is just maintenance. For either boat you may want to replace perimeter lines and bungies, unless the seller just did it. No big deal and you get to choose neat colors.

Thanks. I am definitely more drawn to the Easky because of the weight, but I guess I should just choose based on feel, since no one seems to be seriously advocating against either.

I’ve paddled an Easky 15LV for 7 years now, in fact just got back from kayak training camp up in Michigan where I used it for some sessions on a windy and somewhat rough day – I always love how well it handles choppy water, while being fun and fast on flat water. I’ve even taken it on a few moderate whitewater streams with open rapids (class 1 and 2). It’s an excellent boat for people our size (I am your height but about 20 pounds heavier). I’ve loaned the boats to numerous friends ranging from 5’ 2", 130# to 5’ 10", 190# and they’ve all really liked it compared to other kayaks that they’ve used. I think it’s a really sweet and versatile boat – it’s a shame Venture discontinued the LV.

I briefly paddled a demo Tempest 165 in an open water class on Lake Erie last year – I have to admit it felt somewhat similar in performance but I preferred the fit and feel of my Easky (of course, that could just be familiarity). The weight of the Easky is awfully nice – I can solo load it. My principle is that if two boats feel roughly similar, the lighter weight one wins out.

Thank you - nice to hear from someone who has paddled both boats. I am definitely with you regarding the weight issue. Not getting any younger and the 49-lb Sylva seems heavy enough to me!

I’ve had an Easky 15LV for about a year, but have not used it extensively since I got a rack much afterwards and got injured mid summer. I spent 45 minutes of a demo day futzing around with a Tempest 165 in a lake with 12 mph winds. I’d say that the Tempest has more initial stability, but both are fine boats. I too like the lighter weight of the Easky. Since it is such a commitment, perhaps it would be better to try both before deciding. I’d say that the Tempests come up much more often than Venture kayak models. Do let us know what you choose.

Update: so, the Tempest was sold and I did not get the chance to try it out. Bummer.

But I did try out the Easky, and I bought it. BUT not for me! It’s a very nice boat, it’s in great condition, and the price was very attractive. I liked it at first sight but it looked kind of big to me compared to the Sylva. Hoping for the best we took it down to the water and I tried it out.

I did not find it even a tiny bit tippy or unstable feeling. Guess I’m used to the Sylva which is definitely tippier. It tracks great, and felt very nice overall - but it was too big for me. The cockpit is very deep and also it felt quite a bit wider to me around the hips than the Sylva. Also it’s wider in front of the cockpit, and I had a slight tendency to bang the sides a little bit at the start of my stroke. So I’m out there in it thinking, “Rats, this is a really nice boat and I wish it were a little bit smaller!” Then it hit me: my husband (5’8" 155) totally needs a new kayak. He’s been paddling a Tsunami 145 which is way, way too big for him, since we bought it when we first decided we wanted to kayak and were not very clued in.

I get back ashore and tell him to get in and give it a spin. He liked it and immediately agreed we should buy it and sell the Tsunami. Until I get a new one I’ll paddle it and he’ll paddle the barge, so we can get out on the water together!

So, any suggestion for an even smaller boat? Honestly the Sylva is a great size for me and I would but one if I could find it, but it seems very uncommon. Too bad there isn’t an Easky ELV (extra low volume)!!!

Thanks for all the advice.

Congrats on getting the Easky for your husband. What color is it? Mine is orange and Willowleaf’s a pretty green.

When I paddled the Tempest 165, I felt that it was tighter in the cockpit than the Easky LV so perhaps you’d want to keep looking for one to try or buy. I don’t know where you live, but I saw on facebook that a kayak outfitter in North Central PA was having a demo/ sale of kayaks this weekend. They had WS listed as a brand they carry and maybe you could try one. And If you’re close to an LL Bean, you could take their $25 kayak discovery class and request to do it in a Tempest 165 so to “demo” it. Have fun with your search in any case.

Thank you! I want to do one of those LL Bean classes, I didn’t know one could request a certain kayak - good idea!

Probably the Tempest won’t be my first choice if I can find a lighter one. I saw a cheap one on Craigslist and that made me consider it despite the 55 lb weight (I’d previously decided 50 lbs would be the limit.) The Easky is great in terms of weight and I’d love for its eventual smaller sister to be just as light.

The Easky is yellow with a little orange mottling. It reads as a nice rich sunshine color from any distance. Quite pretty and will replace a red Tsunami. (I don’t like the red too much personally so that’s another plus.)

I’m in the northeast with family in various parts of New England, so there should be plenty of kayaks to try in my future.

Celia (who offered advice earlier on) is a seasoned paddler around your size who is also in your neck of the woods (near Albany, NY) . She has more experience than me with many models of quality kayaks with the characteristics you seek.

Celia is a great resource. And, you are fairly close to Marshall Seddon’s shop The River Connection in Hyde Park NY just north of Poughkeepsie. They have upcoming demo days, and Marshall is very helpful and knowledgeable. http://www.the-river-connection.com/demoprograms

Thanks, I was just on the River Connection website last night. They also have classes. The good thing is, I’ve got the Easky to paddle for now, so I can take my time and learn more before deciding.