WS - quality control issues

I live in Australia and am going to have a poly Tempest 165 ordered in through the only importer of Wilderness Systems products over here.

There’s been comments lately about leaky bulkheads and other QC issues with WS kayaks.

Is this a bad time to order a poly Tempest? (the importer needs prepayment as this is a one off order - they are located on the other side of the country).

Thanks, Tony

we have worked thru some QC issues in manufacturing and the boats coming outta the factory are good to go.


who works directly with QA (Quality Assurance)

Confluence Watersports

That’s funny …(pointing to Flatpick’s answer)…what else would you expect to hear from a guy EMPLOYED by Confluence/ Wilderness Systems?

Fact is that their quality all through the 2006 season was very substandard. Alot…not all…but alot of their boats were pretty poorly built.

Orddering one over in australia? There is a DECENT chance that you MIGHT get a really good…but are you going to risk it?

You’d be much, much much better off going with a British built boat if you can get them…A Valley or P&H…

The Tempest design is okay…just cannot trust the quality from therm.

Good luck…and choose wisely!

Thanks for the input
This forum has provided me many ideas on what people from other parts of the world are doing and saying regarding kayaks and paddling.

I’ll consider all views and hope to make the right decsion. The poly Tempest 165 is more in my budget right now - pay about twice as much for a Brit boat here. We don’t have alot of choise regarding skeg boats in Australia with there being plently of ruddered options avaiable.

I am also a big fan of the skegged boats. Are the Necky kayaks available in your area? They paddle well…the Chathams I’m referring to of course. Seem to have a better handle on quality than does Wilderness Systems.

Pretty risky buying a kayak sight unseen like that…I like the Tempest design but would not order one of their kayaks without first seeing it and going over it inside and out.

Cheers…Joe O’

Got a tempest this summer
I got a Temptest 170, fiberglass this summer. I had to order it.

When it came in, it was perfect. Not close to perfect…the boat was pristine!

Here’s the other thing. Folks can go ahead and question flatpick’s objectivity, but at least Steve is out here among us makin’ himself available. If you have any issues with your boat, you’ve got a connection to help you out. As long as Steve’s around, I’d have no reservation about buying another tempest.

The thing that really got me with the Tempest was when I first slid myself into the cockpit. Oh my god, it felt…just like…


like a WHAT???
do tell!!!


thanks for the kudos! The powers of being @ CWS do REALLY want to kick out good product. It IS our # 1 concern. granted there are a few boats out there from us (and others!) which are sub- standard. and guess what? take it thru the right channel and you will get a new boat or repair satisfaction.


Have generally been well built, no problem with those.

The kayak in question though is the poly…and that is where they’ve been having huge problems.

Another local paddler
…is also interested in the poly T 165 and wants to go in on a double order (did not mention that before). My reseach on a good boat for day paddlin/surf led to the poly T. The Chatham is over here and should be put on the shotlist.

The distributer in Perth, Westren Australia may be able to give futher info about the poly Tempest situation as they already get in the 170.

This is probably a better time
than 6-12 months ago.

Steve, are the hatch covers going to Kajak on the poly boats too?

If so, waiting till the 07 boats come out, March?, might be worth it, if you can wait.

Paul S.

As far as I know, only the composite Tempests are getting the good hatches. The poly ones are stuck with the old ones still…

Let’s put it this way…
My Tempest is named Susan. And she was a Tempest in her own right!!!

PS - Flatpick, I don’t have any problems with my hatches (the old ones) so far. But given all this talk about “new” hatches, should I be expected some sort of unusual wearing out of the ones I currently have? My hatches are bone dry so far. Thanks for any info.


two part rubber/plastic?
are they the same ones as a few years ago? I saw two year old Tempest in a rental fleet where the hatch kind of curled up and could be lifted off with your pinky finger.

my gut feeling
is that a rm Tempest will be good, most of the qc problems I saw were in the rec boats and their rigging. If you’re looking at hard use and expect to be far from hatch replacments with much sun exposure I’d be tempted to fabricate a hard cover for the rubber hatches to extend their life and provide fail safe security.

Same ones…terrible hatch covers in my oppinion. Not ALL of them are that bad…but more than enough that it is a major problem.

The other problems aside, that alone would steer me away from them. They need to address that situation but it seems like they have no intention…

While gathering info
on the poly T’s this issue of owners having problems with the hatch system did come up a fair bit - varing degree’s of leakage.

I guess, put it into the mix and weigh in the pro’s and con’s of performance/safety/kayaking needs.

Great to hear from paddlers to assit in the next buy - thanks Tony

We Can Talk
I’ve paddled a rm 165 for several years now. It was built in the old plant, not the new one, so I can’t speak to qc issues that arose there. I have no bulkhead leakage but my day hatch will take on quite a bit of water when I roll repeatedly. I just bought a couple of small dry bags so my stuff stays dry.

What javabop says is right on target. The 165 is COMFORTABLE. Right out of the box. No ripping out seats. No shaping or gluing foam blocks. No nuthin’.

The closest boat I’ve paddled to my 165 regarding handling is the Anas Acuta, but it was about as comfortable as sitting on a slab of concrete. If I were to buy one I’d have to spend a lot of time and money and might still fail to get as comfortable as I am in the 165.

In short, I’d accept the wet day hatch in exchange for all the other advantages of the 165.

Sounds good
The outfitting to provide a comfy fit is a big plus and altogether the T 165 looks to be a real good, fun boat. I’ll talk to the distributer and go from there.

I’m @ 70kg (155lbs) 182cm (5 11?) Paddle tidal river flows, surf play on river mouth sand bar, out on to the bays and headlands of Noosa natioal park.

We have 3 Sequels (Challenger kayaks - New Zealand made) 2 Pengiuns (Q Kayaks - also New Zealand made) in the local paddle group. Time for some new blood.

Good Size For That Boat
I’m 160 - 165 pounds and 5’9" Mostly paddle the local lakes and the sounds behind the North Carolina (USA) outer banks.

you’ll be the talk of the town!