When we are looking at bringing something new into our range we feel it is only right that we take it for a thorough testing. That way we can give an honest and unbiased report to our customers, and also be sure that we don’t recommend something that won’t do the job it’s supposed to....
So when the invitation arose from Mark (AKA Snapper) to take the RTM Tempo sit on top kayak out for a spin off the Norfolk coast we jumped at the chance.
The Tempo is designed as a fast fishing and touring kayak capable of handling more challenging conditions. We felt the best way to review this boat was to take it out on a rough day and see how it handled some winter surf.
So it was off to Gorleston for CSG’s own Chris (SWYaker) and Norfolk Canoes Manager Steve (Broadsman) to meet up with Mark and also James (SeaBreeze) who was kindly lending us his own Tempo to try out as well.
The venue is appropriately named the ‘Cauldron’, due to the confused sate the sea gets into, with rebounding waves from a sea-wall colliding with incoming swell to cause a ‘clapotis’ effect.
So we suited up in our drysuits and carried the boats down to the waters-edge for a closer look at the conditions.
We had two RTM Tempo Limited Edition Black lined up against an Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro. We brought the Scupper Pro along as this had recently been discontinued and had previously set the bench mark of a rough water angler.
When you put the Tempo and Scupper next to each other there really are a lot of similarities. You have that same sleek line and low seating position that makes you feel more like your paddling as Sit In kayak.
Long bow out in front of you with enough bow rocker to punch out through surf, and make the take off on a steep wave more forgiving.
Most of the volume is situated towards the front of the boat (similar to a fish-form Sea Kayak); which is specifically designed to handle a following sea.
In terms of features; it is fair to say that the deck lay-out is quite minimalistic.
To be honest; we quite like this, as it reduces weight and helps give the sleek appeal.
The RTM Tempo Angler comes packed with features:
- Spacious front hatch with simple, wide straps and catches
- Large rear tank with bungees
- Flush rod holders with caps
- Bow, stern and side carry handles
- bottle holder recess with bungees between your knees
- moulded foot rests
- clip-in points for seat and thigh braces
- plenty of deck area for mounting further accessories such as rod tubes and fishfinder
- at 24kg it is easily manageable for one person to car top
And so to the water. Launching into this kind of Sea was never going to be easy but the Tempo certainly deals with the breakers well enough riding high over the foam with plenty of buoyancy. It feels a little tippy at slower speeds as you get started but once you’re moving and through the frothy stuff the boat settles down and you can start to enjoy it.
The Scupper Pro never came with a seat, just a moulded seat area. The RTM Tempo is the same, but for some reason it immediately feels more comfortable and supportive than the Scupper did. The moulded foot rests are fairly well spaced and the foot / lower leg area is so narrow that you can actually brace with your calves and help the boat to turn.
Add some of the optional thigh braces into the mix and you’ll really have control.
The Tempo paddles nicely out in open sea, cruising along with little effort and tracking well in a straight line. Even with the strange mixture of wave directions, chop and currents generated by this area of coast, the Tempo never feels like it’s out of its depth. You get a confidence from it the more familiar you are with how it behaves.
I am beginning to understand to growing popularity of this boat, especially along coastlines where kayak anglers have to deal with faster currents and choppy conditions. Should you start your day in the flat calm as many of us have only to paddle back against stronger winds and find that there’s a good surf now at your launch point, the Tempo has the ability to deal with those changes and get you back to the shore. Speaking of which, now we come onto the surfability of the Tempo.
The Tempo will happily pick up a wave and bring you quickly back to shore. It has the ability to play in the waves with good control, plenty of edge and much of the responsiveness we used to enjoy from the Scupper. We headed back out into the surf a number of times just to make sure.
Overall the RTM Tempo does a very good job of providing a performance fishing platform or a sit on top kayak that you can paddle just about anywhere and enjoy a versatile tourer. Check out our video to see it in action:
For the money involved the Tempo really is a good option and with it being made from HDPE (High Density polyethylene) it is that high standard of materials that should last the test of time and the kind of abuse we threw at it.
In summary; we feel it is a suitable replacement of the Scupper Pro; and in our opinion is probably the best rough water plastic angling kayak on today’s market.
Normally boats of this length are heavy; but the simplistic deck layout, and simple hull shape (4 scupper holes and no tracking channels), makes a noticeable saving on weight.
Hard to find much difference between the Tempo and Scupper Pro. The only thing we noticed is that the Tempo has a little less rocker and longer water-line length. This will help with straight-line tracking. The Scupper will manoeuvre slightly quicker when spinning around to catch a wave. This also goes against the Scupper when sat at Anchor as the boat yaws noticeably more than the Tempo.
Overall, very impressed with the rough water angler.
Chris For The Canoe Shops Group Ltd.
Take a look at this in-depth off the water review and walk-through by Liam: