Patrick’s new Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120…and pics of our boats.

14 05 2009

We’re research people….maybe a little too web-savvy and a little too researchy for our own good. When Patrick decided he was going to go for it, and invest a kayak of his own — he did weeks of research. We also stopped by the UNH Paddlesports show, an annual event in the Fieldhouse at UNH. After getting over the shock of seeing our alma mater all shiny and updated since our days there in the ’90s – we found it a useful trip. Patrick was able to sit in some kayaks, talk to sales people and think more about what he really wanted. They have good discounts there – but it’s a semi-big purchase, so he wanted to think about it some more, and ended up finding a comparable price later. However – the show was great – being able to experience the boats on dry land made the process easier. Wherever you go, don’t be shy about getting the boat on the floor and getting a feel for it.

Why Patrick picked the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Sit On Top Kayak:

  • Sit on tops are great for coastal kayaking. They don’t swamp, they’re stable and your legs aren’t restricted…great for leg tans, people with “leg claustrophobia,” etc. If you fall off, you can pretty much climb back on ok. And as we’ve learned, sometimes it’s helpful to be able to quickly get in and out of your boat (as in when you need to drag it over sandbars at low tide.)
  • Stability. Sit on tops are also GREAT for stability…which is one reason why so many fisherman use them. This boat can be had in a fishing model, with all kinds of widgets to help out fisherman. Patrick does not fish (yet.) And, since he is newer to kayaking, and we’d knew we’d be in choppy ocean water, stability was really important for him.
  • Size. It was a good size, about 12 – 13 feet, manageable for putting on the car, long enough to track well, easily maneuverable, but ok for coastal trips.
  • Cargo capacity and space. This has a big space in the back, probably for your tackle box…but Patrick has visions of putting a cooler…and/or a grill (I’m not kidding) on his kayak. We might start a grilled sandwich business on a sand bar. Watch for it.
  • Decent price for a sea-worthy kayak. You can get a cheaper kayak, but our understanding is that the less expensive ones are generally shorter and not ideal for coastal adventures. Patrick got this baby during a 20% off sale at EMS (about $680). Had to drive to HQ in Peterborough to score the Sunburst Mango color he decided on…but so worth it.

He scored a used rack on Craigslist ($225), then with the paddle ($100) and “PDF” ($75) as he calls it (ok, a PFD, but who’s keeping track?) — the whole thing came in about $1,000. Not bad at all. Patrick loves his new kayak. We’ve been showing it off and touting the benefits everywhere we go. Hint, hint, Wilderness Systems.

Patrick picks up his Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 in Sunburst Mango. Doesn't it look awesome on his "rave green" VW GTI?

Patrick picks up his Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 in Sunburst Mango. Doesn't it look awesome on his "rave green" VW GTI?

For the record, Hannah also has a Wilderness Systems Sit On Top – a “Freedom 15” purchased around 2000 at Kittery Trading Post for many similar reasons to why Patrick picked his. Hannah’s is 15 feet long, yellow and designed for “coastal play”…it’s surprisingly fast and very durable…has lasted many a summer in the NH seacoast, kicking around Mom’s house and sitting in yards during non kayaking life periods. We sometimes call it “Hannah’s Banana.” Haha.

Hannah's kayak, on top of her "awkardly cute" Subaru Forester (a new to Hannah car purchased earlier this year). Hey Subaru - need brochure photos?!

Hannah's kayak, on top of her "awkardly cute" Subaru Forester (a new to Hannah car purchased earlier this year). Hey Subaru - need brochure photos?!

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