Tahe Marine’s swift success in the north American market was as dramatic as it was sudden, probably thanks to its uniquely traditional, yet modern and functional models. The Tahe Marine Wind 535 sit-in sea touring kayak is a tough and durable boat that is constructed from fiberglass composite material. Marketed as the FIT 149, it was designed as a versatile family boat, built with features that emphasize stability and ease of use.
According to the manufacturer, this kayak “…is the logical step after our SOTs, making it possible for us to shift to a more physical kind of kayaking without difficulty.”
The cockpit is quite roomy and provides generous leg room and easy in and out transitioning. The seat is not well padded, but it makes up for its unyielding fiberglass construction and the fact that is is neither vertically or horizontally adjustable with room. It is fitted with back bands and a padded sleeve is fitted over the back band for extra comfort. The cockpit also features thigh braces outfitted on the hull to give you better control of the canoe while paddling.
Storage is in the form of three hatches; a fore dry storage hatch, one in the rear and a glove compartment in the cockpit to keep snacks and other items handy. Moreover, the stern is fitted with bungee cords for when you need to bring more gear.
Speed and Maneuverability
This is a visually striking kayak, thanks to its high angled deck and stylized artwork. At 17’7” long and 21.3” wide, this touring kayak has a slender profile. Compared to others this sea kayak was also designed with a shallow V shape for faster acceleration and easier maneuverability, which qualifies as a fast and sleek cruise. The kayak is also shipped with a retractable skeg and rudder.
The rudder retracts to a more aerial position instead of the traditional on-deck position. This was designed to leave room for the spacious storage hatches. To control the rudder, two foot braces are set high along the side of the hull. However, the high set foot braces may be a problem for taller paddlers as they risk rubbing their feet against the top of the deck making it harder to use the rudder system than it needs to be.
The Tahe Wind 535 kayak’s primary stability is impressive. It also offers predictable transitioning into secondary stability and provides enough freedom to perform lean turns. While this sea kayak is very stable, it is not as agile and thus resists playfulness while paddling (something the manufacturer is known for).
If you weigh less than 80 kilograms or are looking for a skill development kayak that will allow you to last through day long trips, then this boat isn’t a bad choice for you. The shallow V-shaped hull facilitates speed and fast acceleration, and strikes nice balance between tracking and maneuverability. Its secondary stability make it one of the most maneuverable boats on the market.