Wilderness Systems Tarpon quality

Well I’m new to kayaking, and also fishing. I decided on the Tarpon 160i, thinking that would fit the bill the best for me. Also there’s a local dealer of WS here who is really helpfull.

Well after I got my T160 and started using it I noticed a little bit of water was getting into it everytime I went out. Didn’t know if this was normal or not, but after like a gallon of water getting in from 3hrs in calm condition figured it couldn’t be. Finally by filling the kayak with water I found the two front scupper holes had like a hairline crack where the water was leaking.

I called the shop and they ended up getting a replacement from WS a couple weeks later. Finally got this new T160i and it’s worse than the first one. There is a small circular punch about the size of a straw in the same front scupper hole. And to top it off the right leg foot peg is installed backwards facing forward instead of toward the paddler.

I’m really thinking of giving up on Wilderness Sytems after this. Even though it seems like the perfect kayak, it’s not doing any good if they have all these quality control issues. I will say they’re tyring to do a good job by replacing them. But the inconvenience of not having a kayak for several days on more than one occasion is frustrating.

Has anybody else here had similair problems with W.S. or is my case rare? I’m going to ask to see if they’ll let me go with a Ocean Kayak instead, even though I doubt they would.

Most of the SOT’s have the same
problem from time to time. OK had a run of it a couple of years ago. Leaking at the scuppers is not unusual, its one of the weaknesses in the mold process used. On the other hand, its something that usually shows up early and most dealers and kayak companies are more than willing to replace or repair the kayak, assuming repairs can easily be performed. For what it is good at, you’ve one of the better SOT fishing kayaks out there, pretty good for just paddling too.

No problems
with our 2 Tsunami 140’s.

Two things to do
1. Seal and reinforce around the scupper holes.

2. Slide the foot peg off, flip it over, and put it back on! WS still uses Keepers on tehse, right?)

#2 is really a non issue. #1 may still be something to work on with the dealer - but being impatient, a DIY type, and preferring to get my satisfaction from my water time than at a retailer I’d probably figure a way to seal 'er up myself. Most likely I’d weld in more poly (not very hard), but you might get by with some sealant with or without a patch/liner in the leaky areas. Can’t really say without seeing.

Once you get past this, it’s a great boat.

No scupper holes.

i have one of the old tarpons with twin hatches, It still doesnt leak… I have had to reglue the hatch gaskets on, but heck the boat is about 7 years old now and its been road hard and put away wet several times. Maybe its a problem with the new style ones? I also used to have a WS Ride, never had a problem with it, i just sold it becouse the T-160 made it obsolete. T-160s are good boats. however any boat sucks when it leaks! One of my QCCs leaked from the skeg box when i first got it. (Anuther reason i dislike skegs BTW) but i digress…

have seen a tarpon that had simply a very thin walled scupper hole and I was told that it was sold as a factory second, if yours is completely perforated I would definately bring it back!AGAIN!

3 WS Boats
I’ve had 3 different WS boats over the last few years: a SOT, a tandem SINK and a light touring boat. No problems with any of them although I have heard of the problem you mentioned with the SOT scuppers from some other folks, including a 160i owner.

I wondered about new/old…
… differences too. Mine was also the older 2 hatch model.

I had the old T160 and now have a 160i.
I bought both used and have had no problem with either. make the dealer get you a good one. It is a great paddling boat.

Or look at Hurricane’s Phoenix 160- a very nice SOT.

OK, well the W.S. rep told the dealer that instead of giving me another kayak out of storage they are going to build a new boat. I did notice that both kayaks were built on dates very close together, so maybe there was a bad run or something.

I realize if I really wanted to I could probly patch and seal that hole, but that’s not the point. If I’m paying for a new kayak, they should be able to give me one that’s properly built.

As far as just sliding off the foot peg and flipping it around, that wouldn’t work. The whole rail is installed backwards, so there’s a tab that’ll keep the peg from sliding off the front, and then it can’t slide off the back because there is no room against the end of the footwell. As far as flipping the rail around, I’m not sure how, because I can’t get a hand to reach the inside of the front screw to grab the washer and nut.

Leaked like a basket through a pin hole in a recessed fitting in the day hatch.

the dealed sent a ring for the day hatch cover but when they fornd out it was a bubble inthe hull that was allowing water to be funneled in there the manufacturer did nothing.

If I had built that boat i would have had a new hull on its way to me and fast.

WS seams to be treating you well amd i have no idea what a Tsunami WS 16 is worth but I am damned sure I know what the NDK Costs.

Oh, the NDK Explorer is a great design, the Canadian Tire epoxy I had to fix the leaky hole with is fine as well.

The dealer in Corner Brook Newfoundland apparently tried the best they could, it was an NDK issue.


Oh that boat is now quite old and banged around. She is a great boat, service is a joke though.

patching polyethelene
they should replace it. You shouldn’t have to patch a new boat. Leaky scupper holes appears to be a weak link in rototmolded sit ons. Ocean Kayaks had a problem with it a few years back. WS can’t affort to have problems in QC anymore.

Tarpon Recall-
About leaking SOT kayaks-


Personally, I have never experienced any problems with my WS pamlico 140.

wow keep that quite here in australia
very interesting thanks for that info


By all means, get a replacement.
WS has moved their production lines and start-ups are rough. They owe you a good boat.

where are they now??
Google Earth shows WS in North Carolina. My kayak is a 2005, so that may expailn why its a factory 1st.

Easley, South Carolina
Its in Northwest SC near Greenville, SC.

I live 20 minutes from the factory.
Tell them to give you a good boat or the p.net mafia will pay them a visit.