Advice on choosing a kayak

Hi - new to this forum and have enjoyed reading the posts. I bought my first pair of kayaks three years ago - a pair of used Woodsmen 14’ers. They have been great and I have enjoyed them. I am looking to upgrade. I am 5’9" about 170lbs and kayak on Ohio lakes and streams (some very shallow streams). I will be doing day touring and fishing from the boat. I am interested in the Tsunami 145.

My questions are: 1.What do you think of this boat for what I want to do? 2. Suggestions for other boats to consider.



I think it’s a fine boat
for what you’re doing. Another boat to look at in the same class is the Necky Manitou.

Size matters (go smaller)…
For your stated height and weight, the Tsunami 145 would be too big a boat for you. Go with a lower volume Tsunami 140 instead, it’ll feel and paddle much nicer for you.


The 145 is a big boat
if you are camping out of it or if you just carry a lot of gear, then it might be okay for you, but it’s proabbly too large for you.

If paddling, covering distance, and speed are primary, something like a Tsunami 140 is ideal. If you are spending more time fishing than paddling, some of the Native SOTs or a Pungo might be more appropriate.



– Last Updated: Jan-06-10 6:22 PM EST –

I was concerned that the 145 might be too big. Outdoor Source here in Columbus, Oh has a leftover 2009 model for $999. I am going to stick with a sit-in and want something that I can comfortably paddle for a day.

Overall does Wilderness Systems make a quality boat?



Tsunami fan

– Last Updated: Jan-06-10 7:45 PM EST –

I have three of 'em, and several others in our paddling group. very versatile boat for many types of water and one of the best you can get under $1000 (when they're on sale). better stability and more comfortable than the Manitou in my experience.

I am the same dimensions as you and paddle a 140 Duralite but I also fit in my son's 135, so even the 140 is roomy. the 145 feels huge to me I had trouble making contact with the thigh hooks.

yeah, for what you are using it for a good recreational kayak is your best bet. As others have stated the WW Tsunami is a good boat, but my vote goes to the Necky Manitou. I’ve since moved on to several bigger faster touring boats, but comfort of the Manitou’s seat and the surprisingly good performance of such a small boat made me wish I had kept it as guest boat…

The Necky Looksha 14
is also worth a look. I just bought one for a gift to my daughter who will be 16 this month bringing my fleet of Looksha 14’s to a total of 3.

Tsunami Series
Excellent boats for beginning paddler or paddler who wants a boat with some versatility. Agree with above responses. I own a 125 and have paddled the 145 and 165. 145 would be way too big for you. I paddled the Manitou as well but prefer the Tsunami’s. Both are good boats for what they are. If you’re fishing mostly from this boat, you might also want to consider a Pungo 140. Plenty of cockpit room and available skirts.

Necky Manitou 14 vs. Looksha 14?
The Manitou 14 has a skeg. The Looksha 14 has a rudder. There are minor (and possibly only cosmetic) differences in hatch/deckline design.

But are there any real differences between these two boats? The dimensions seem very similar, so I’m having a difficult time trying to decide why Necky treats these as two separate lines.

The Looksha is 8 lb. heavier and costs $230 (MSRP) more. It’s difficult to believe that swapping in a rudder vcs. skeg is responsible for these differences. What am I missing?

To the OP: I can endorse the Necky Manitou 12, having paddled one for several years. But I’ve tested a Tsunami (135?) and found it very agreeable.

Fishing And Rudders
If you are fishing from your kayak I recommend getting a rudder. I drift fish and am able to easily control my direction using the rudder. On my local lake I’ll paddle into the wind to the southern section of the lake and then drift back north using the rudder to position me along the shore.

Going looking today

– Last Updated: Jan-09-10 8:48 AM EST –

I am going to a couple of local outfitters today (Outdoor Source and Sabo's Camping) to look at kayaks. I may hold off my purchase until it gets warm enough to test paddle, but at least I can sit in a few and see how they fit. I am especially interested in the Tsunami 140 and the Pungo 140.

Thanks for all the advice - being a relative newbie I look forward to continued advice!


Good choice …but
you might want to also consider the Tsunami 140 and Necky’s Manitou. I’m not a fisherman so that part is out of my expertise but I wonder what was your reasoning for suggesting the T-145? There must have been something that excited you about this kayak. Personally I would go with ‘gut feeling’ because it is usually right. Whichever kayak you choose you will be happy with. Just don’t let the selection process become tiring.

Why 145…
I was considering the tsunami 145 because a local outfitter has a new 2008 model for a good price. They also have a couple of 140’s with rudders - I am not convinced that I need a rudder.

Learn to paddle without the rudder, that boat handles well, doesn’t need a rudder.

Might also look at the newer longer model, it’s quite highly rated, around 16’ I think?

Bill H.

Go WITH the rudder
Sure you won’t need it in typical situations but when you are fishing it will allow you to point the boat in your desired direction while using your hands for fishing. I prefer having a rudder on my boat. I rarely use it but its nice when I do decide to use it. I wouldn’t want to not have it for fishing though.

Small Streams in Ohio
I’m in Ohio, too. Your current boats are probably great when you are paddling the lake or a fat river but not so great on those shallow, skinny streams. You may find that a 10’ rec boat is what you are looking for.

Suggest you get in touch with Steve at Paddle Power Boat Shop in Chillicothe for some good advice before you buy…

And, be sure you call ahead, because he’s often out on the river.