03-21-2013Submitted by: bigfisch
Reviews for Tarpon 130T Kayak by Wilderness Systems
Based On: 17 Reviews
- Rating: 9 of 10 We really love our WS Tarpon 130T. We bought it used for a great price and I take my two kids out with me. They are 12 and 10. I put the 10 year old in front of me with the 12 year old in front, it's a little tight but doable. Went on a 4 hour trip with them in the Tarpon and really no problems. It is extremely stable and no problems with the three of us in there. Even easier with just two of us but I enjoy going out with all three of us. We mostly do creeks but also the sometimes bumpy Indian River Lagoon (east central Florida) with no problem.
This is a great overall tandem kayak that can fit three. Seats are really not a problem without pads and I really don't have much natural padding back there either. Seat backing is great with no pain after long trips.
08-27-2010Submitted by: Casey Monroe
This one is a keeper.
- Rating: 10 of 10 I purchased a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130T at the recommendation of Efren at SPI Kayaks. I had it narrowed down to this model and Malibu Kayaks Pro 2 Tandem. As the Wilderness was immediately available, I went with it. Efren was right when he directed me toward this model when I asked what would be a stable, fishable two or one person Kayak!
I have paddled this kayak double many times and even more as a Solo fishing Limo! From the middle position, I clip on a standard seat and have more room for gear than other single Kayaks by far! I can have my fishing crate, bait bucket, cooler, cast-net, drift net, anchor and room to move to different fishing positions!
It is very stable (dumped only once in post hurricane waves when I reached out too far to insert stake in pole - my error -- tie all gear down - lost $140 fishing rod and reel!) I have installed several flush Scotty Mounts to increase my flexibility fishing. I have fished in the dead of night in the wavy Bay solo with complete confidence of this stable fishing platform.
The weight is manageable as I load and unload it solo on the top of my 97' LandCruiser.
Regarding the stock seats, some reviewers have been critical. You can add a four dollar foam sport seat (sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors) and be comfortable all day (no numb butt). I have also removed the stock backrests and simply install standard kayak seats (as I switch from solo - middle position and tandem often).
I highly recommend this model for either dedicated tandem or a solo when you may have the need to be able to go tandem once in awhile. If in South Texas, I recommend contacting Efren at SPI Kayaks (10111 W US Expressway 83 La Feria, TX) as he is AWESOME with customer service and knowledge of the sport!
10/10 in comfort, stability, flexibility (double or single), tracking and speed.
06-02-2010Submitted by: M.Ellis
- Rating: 9 of 10 Simply Awesome. kids love it we have loads of fun with it. Who cares about the seats? It's a water sport hobby not a living room armchair...
09-11-2009Submitted by: Mr. Doody
- Rating: 10 of 10 I spent the summer fishing this kayak off of La Jolla CA and in the San Diego bays. Wow, just wow. This yak does everything well. Great tandem platform and with the middle seat a very adept single. Super stable yet, very trackable and fast for it's size. The only bad part I can think of are the crappy seats but they are easy enough to take off and replace with better ones. It's a little heavy but I can hoist it up on my Jeep no problem. I've fished/paddled Cobras and a FeelFree and this thing is hands down the best. Not a damn thing wrong with it.
12-30-2008Submitted by: sa
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased the Tarpon 130T in March 2008 and have had it out on calm water lakes and rivers about 20 times. I needed a tandem yak so that I could take one of the kids with me while fishing and paddling, ages 6 thru 12. So far its worked out great and have been very pleased with it. I added an external 360 view white light on a post and a battery mounted on a tray in the hull so that we can stay out after dark.
The only complaint I have is that the stock seats are inadequate. I removed them and bought some better after market seats which attach to the fastening points that are already on the hull. Not only are the stock seats uncomfortable but they prevent you from putting the yak on your car upside down. WS should have left the seats off this boat, reduced the price, and let you get your own seat.
This is a big yak, but not so big you can't manage it. It's ok paddling solo, but a single yak would obviously be better. At 65lbs, it's a grunt to get it up on top of our SUV and strap down upside down on the luggage rack by myself. Possible, but a pain. I eventually bought a pickup truck to make it easier to haul. I can easily get it up in the back of my truck by myself. If you're looking for a yak that you can take one or two kids out on, and sometimes go solo, the 130T is a good choice.
08-01-2008Submitted by: Dale
- Rating: 10 of 10 Have had my WS Tarpon 130T tandem for over a year now, so I guess itís time I comment on it.
Bottom line, the Ďonlyí time I donít like it is when I need to move it by myself. As others have said, if I need to lug it any distance, 1st Iíll try not to, but if so, I use a simple DIY T-build cart to get it from my parking area to the ramp or put-in.
As a tandem this boat excels! It handles well and carries lots of gear, less the limitation of the small access ports. Using dry bags it works out great. I even took a std milkcrate and cut one-side of it down so it is now tapered and matches the tapered well in the stern. This kayak is a blast for paddling or fishing for 2 people. Sheís pretty quick and responsive for such a big girl and I believe itís a great blend of performance and stability.
As a solo I find it fun too, less lugging it around Ö but I already mentioned that. Sometimes after putting it on the roof rack by myself, I often dream about getting a lighter 1-person SOT for fishing. But then Iíll use the 130T for two and I just love it all over again! There is plenty of space for customizing it for casual touring and fishing, as Iíve rigged an anchor trolley, fishfinder, and fish rod holders. To top it all off, I paid < $600 brand new! For sure, this is one kayak Iíll never get rid of!
02-25-2008Submitted by: Rob
- Rating: 9 of 10 For the money you won't find a better tandem. The biggest problem is finding one. I also have the ride 135 and love the durability of WS.
08-17-2007Submitted by: yakityyak
- Rating: 8 of 10 I bought the 130T to take the family swimming, fishing, snorkeling, etc. I also use the boat for water testing at the nearby salt pond. I think as a workboat or playboat the 130T is a pretty good kayak. The boat is so stable that I can stand on it while I fish and the kids were standing and diving off of it this weekend in the salt pond. You can also fish sitting on the edge with your feet in the water. I've taken it out solo and it's much easier to paddle with the second person (it's sluggish for a single). For $850 it's a great deal. I wouldn't want to take it out in the Atlantic to go surfing with though. You might get knocked out if hit in the head with this boat. For a working platform, it's a good boat.
06-20-2007Submitted by: charles
- Rating: 9 of 10 Got this primarily for my kids to use, while mom or I are in the "good" kayak. All three can fit in it or I'll take 2, with the youngest in the center. Very stable and surprisingly easy to paddle, with very good tracking. Two 13 year olds smoked me in a race paddling it. The seats are comfortable enough without butt padding. We mostly use it in creeks and marshes, it's rugged and can handle scraping against oyster beds. I'd give it a 10 except for the weight. It's a struggle for the kids to carry, a cart is on order. Definitely needs 2 adults to get it on the roof rack.
For our use - recreational, fun in the water, and Grandparent/kid friendly - it's ideal.
09-29-2006Submitted by: Mdb1974
- Rating: 9 of 10 I purchased my first 130t about 14 months ago and took it out about 50 times before the plastic around the rear seat began to warp and crack. I was concerned that this was simple do to my size (240 pds). WS assured me this was not the case and replaced the boat hassle free.
I now have another boat I use for solo trips and the primary use for my 130T is when I take my two six year old kids out. I paddle from the middle seat and they are in the front and rear seats. The width of the boat in the middle seat is not ideal and you may be forced to modify your stroke to avoid the front passenger. None the less it is manageable for three people (providing at least one is a child).
The boat handles well and is extremely stable. The high level of buoyancy makes it a blast in the surf, especially with two people.
Overall I have been very happy with the boat. Other SOT manufactures don't offer a tandem with the versatility or ergonomics of the WS. It would be nice if they offered a 140T or 160T but for now the 130T seems to be the best SOT Tandem available.
Two friends, having paddled ours, have purchased their own and a third is considering it.
07-27-2006Submitted by: LC
- Rating: 10 of 10 I shopped carefully and bought the 130T after selling two other kayaks (one solo SOT and a very large tandem sit-in with rudder. It is a pretty dry riding SOT- the scupper holes don't really need plugs- if you are that phobic of the water why are you kayaking in the first place? Compared to my old tandem and two i rented in the past, i would say the 130T is the most compact in size and shape, yet delivers the fastest glide. Also, a SOT tandem is much easier for passengers to get into and out of than a sit-in simply because of the large open space. And large SOTs are much easier to carry on and off the cartop than a large sit-in. My wife and I love the comfort level of the seats. I bought a seat band for the middle seat depression (does not come with a seatback) so I can ride solo in the middle position. I haven't had it long enough to comment much on solo riding in it, but I can sense it will perform well--- so well that I won't find the need to keep 2 kayaks around like i used to. An SOT is versatile enough for calm or surf- I recommend this boat.
07-17-2006Submitted by: tarponman
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've owned this boat now for one year. I have taken it to small bayous, large lakes, brackish dune lakes, and some pretty rough surf. It has performed well and exceeded my expectations. I bought it to be an all-around versatile yak that I could load on the SUV by myself.
My wife and I have taken our two young boys with us almost every time, and while their patience runs out after an hour or two, we love it. My seven year-old sits in the rear tank well and fishes, while the three year old hangs out in the front footwells. I found that, with all four of us, scupper water will tend to marinate the boys' bottoms. That's OK - problem solved - I bought two bags of foam practice golf balls (the ugly yellow ones at W-mart), and stuff 'em in the scupper holes. Eight of these will do the trick, and for a lot cheaper than the mftr's scupper plugs. You won't lose 'em - they float.
Anyway, this boat does exceedingly well under all conditions - no whitewater yet. It does turn a bit slow, but that's because it tracks great going in a straight line. Not a bad trade-off. I'll probably buy another one when the boys are too big to fit in there with us.
One complaint: the hooks keep coming off the bungee cords that hold the seats in an upright position. I think this is an issue that WS could fix very easily by making the cords longer. This way, there wouldn't be as much tension on the cords.
07-25-2005Submitted by: kkduda
- Rating: 9 of 10 I've used the 130T about a dozen times so far. I got a blue factory second model. It was about $50 cheaper, but I couldn't even find why it was a second. Here are my two cents:
For two person use, itís perfect. My wife and I can paddle completely out of phase and not strike paddles most of the time. Paddling in phase moves us much better though. There's plenty of room. We even seat our toddler in front of the rear seat. There's even a good amount of storage space between the hatches and tank wells. Not enough for week long trips, but great for day trips.
As a solo craft, its a little harder to move, and the front of the boat sits higher up in the water making it a little harder to go straight. This gives you loads of room though if you want to carry lots of gear.
At first I had difficulty loading the 65 lb yak on the top of my relatively high minivan. I've since managed a good way to grasp, pickup, and load it up there. The large weight and size are a disadvantage, but that's what you get when you have a large boat that can carry two or three people.
The seats are a nice touch and are pretty comfortable. I also like the rod/paddle holders. Both of these are nice features that you don't have to pay extra for.
In general itís a good kayak to do lots of things.
07-11-2005Submitted by: Ben
- Rating: 8 of 10 I already have a solo sit on top, but wanted a tandem to take other less proficient paddlers along for a ride from time to time. I also thought this was good boat because it can also be paddled by a solo paddler. I tested both this boat and the Ocean Kayak Agean. Even though the Tarpon is a bit wider, I felt it cut through the water better than the Agean. With the extra width, it is also more stable and more room.
This boat does very well with two paddlers. However, I am actually rethinking my purchase of the boat. I have used the boat much more as a solo paddler boat than a tandem. Even though the boat does fine as a solo, its deficiencies are seen when paddled next to my Tarpon 140, which is an excellent boat by the way. Soon after I purchased the boat I took it on a two day, 20 mile paddle. On this paddle I encountered 20+ mph winds and 3 foot seas. I'm a pretty strong paddler, and I could only manage a half mph, according to my GPS, for around 3 miles. It was miserable! The boat sits high out of the water, so wind has a big impact. Another down side to the boat if you intend to take it on trips is its lack of dry storage. You better have a lot of dry bags, because you can't fit much in the two tiny day hatches.
This is an excellent boat for what it is intended to do...be a tandem. However, if you're thinking you may use this boat as a solo paddler routinely on trips over five miles, I'd consider a boat made for a solo paddler.
05-04-2005Submitted by: AvidKayaker
- Rating: 8 of 10 I've owned several kayaks over the past 10 years and this is my first sit on top. I have to admit that this is a great kayak. It tracks great with one or two people on board, is very stable and pretty fast overall. The only two draw backs that I can see with it is that it turns like the large boat it is. It's also pretty heavy if you have to lug it around by yourself. Overall I think this is a great yak and I look forward to many happy years of paddling with it.
04-06-2005Submitted by: ---
- Rating: 9 of 10 I wasn't sure at first buy/try. But this Tandem (if you are looking for one) is one to take a close look at. While the internal storage is limited to 2 six inch hatches. It is amazing what you can get inside this thing with proper packing. That is the only reason it gets a 9. I rigged this Yak for fishing. There is plenty of topside room for whatever you might want to put on it. I have space for 6 rods two front and four rear. a crate rear and a cooler front. An added anchor trolley is a sweet addition. My wife was a non fisherman until she saw a 30 lb Cuda hit my Chubby grub about 10 ft from the boat and proceed to nearly jump right over the yak. Well it now fishes two very well. Casting is no problem with two people. Even with my fly rod. It's stable enough for anyone.
Tracks well even solo. It's a bit tough in 20+ knot winds solo on Biscayne Bay. But hey if you don't want a workout buy a motorboat. Anything less than 10 knots is an easy ride solo. Two people can make it go absolutely anywhere you want to go with relative ease in any seas you aren't terrified to encounter. The boat can take more than you can unless you are really hardcore. Me...give me a nice sand flat in the Keys and a couple hundred bonefish to pick from and well. If heaven doesn't have flats I'm gonna be PO'd. I have made it to within 20 feet of bonefish schools unnoticed. Right on top of a few tarpon. And directly on top of a 2000 lb Manatee that surfaced right under us. The yak slid right off his back talk about stability. That would have been one for a Wilderness Systems commercial right there.
Who ever gave the tandem Kayak the "divorce boat" title was wayyyyyy wrong. At least here, 20 years of marriage and now my wife asks me when are we going fishing.. Where is heaven? Guess. Now I just need more days off. Way to go wilderness. Tandems may not be for everyone But don't miss out on something good. Test drive one before you judge it. I nearly bought 2 120's. I still may buy one. But the Tandem is a keeper.
02-03-2005Submitted by: ZH
- Rating: 10 of 10 This is a 13' tandem kayak. I'm really happy with it. I can take two people if I want and I can fish from it alone. This kayak is very stable. I can stand on it (a little shaky but it can be done.) I'm also only 5'9" and 175. This kayak is a dry ride and has a good amount of storage (not a lot of dry storage though). The only drawback is it is heavy and takes some space to store, but if this isn't an issue this is a great kayak.
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