Carolina 12

I’ve been kayaking about a year, mostly on rivers, lakes and the Georgia coastal marsh area. I’ve taken several sea kayaking classes on Tybee Island (Sea Kayak on Tybee is awesome).

I’ve been comparing the Carolina 12 and Tsunami 125. Any thoughts on the better choice? I’m male and 5’8" and 168.

I’ve also noticed most dealers have stopped carrying the Carolina in inventory. There are also few resales of the Carolina. Is something happening with this model?

I’m open to other suggestions for a transition kayak.

Thank you!

Tsunami 125

– Last Updated: Aug-29-10 10:32 PM EST –

is designed for larger paddlers. From your description the 120 would be a better choice for your size. You could sit in the Tsunami 120 and 125 and you will instantly see what I mean. You don't want to be wallowing in a cockpit that's too large for your size.

Others will comment on the Carolina.

Of the two, the Carolina does not have thigh hooks. The Tsunami 120 does have thigh hooks and also has a smaller cockpit opening which will be easier to seal with a sprayskirt. If your chocie is between these two 12’ Confluence boats, I would learn towards the Tsunami. Both can be rolled, but the Tsunami is easier because of your connection with the boat. You might find a bettter fit for your size if you can move up in length a bit. Still with a Confluence product, the Tsunami 135 or Perception Tribute 14 might fit you. My personal choice of a Confluence boat in this price and size range would be a Dagger Alchemy 14.0, either the S or L. This is more of a sporty sea kayak than transition kayak. It has all the features of a sea kayak, but is highly maneuverable. It will not restrict your skill development, would be great fun to surf at Sea Kayak Gerogia, and is short enough to explore coastal marshes.



Agree with Wetzool
You should look into a longer boat (14-15 ft). In my opinion, you will find the Carolina 12 or the Tsunami 125 to be too small for you - you are way too big for either one.

bad info…
He’s actually the ideal size for a Tsunami 120 and probably the Carolina 12 also. He might want to look at longer models for crossing open waters, but the 12’ Tsunami is the ideal river & marsh exploration boat.

Thank you for your comments
Does anyone know if the Carolina 12 is being phased out? I notice many of the retailers can now only get it by special order at full list price…

I don’t believe it is …
being phased out. It is a relatively new design, although the Carolina name has been used on several different models over the years. The new Carolina 14 paddles and handles well. It has been a pretty good seller at my local shop. The Carolina models made of Airalite and the Carolina 12 XS were discontinued in 2010. Rotomolded models still going strong.

depending where you’re at
you may want to take a trip to Appomattox River Co. in Farmville VA – they have the Carolina 12 at just $675 and the 14 at $775. The Tsunamis are $825-950 so that Carolina price is a steal.

Another good option would be a
Necky Manitou. They’re popular where I live.

If what you say is true…
I stand corrected that the Carolina 12 is ideal for someone of 180 Lbs. However, the Perception web site says of the Carolina 12, “It is a sleek and seaworthy [craft] for water rats up to 120 pounds.”

I like the suggestion of the Manitou 13. It is a kayak that is suitable for slow to medium-fast, twisty rivers, lakes, and even limited coastal paddling with supplemental foatation. I do not own one, but have paddled one many times under the above conditions. Several of my friends paddler theirs virtually everywhere.

More than one Carolina 12
Perception muddied the waters by giving the same name to two different kayaks. There is indeed a Carolina 12 with a 21.5 in width aimed specifically for kids, but there is also a Carolina 12 with a 26 inch beam for average sized people.

The Carolina name has been around for so long, with so many iterations, that it’s difficult to know exactly what boat someone is talking about.

Carolina caution
I have heard that the newer Carolina models lack performance in some ways. Perhaps this was done to satisfy the 1 hour pond paddler I don’t know. The one I paddled two years ago felt like a log. The Tsunami was more responsive and faster.

I would also consider the Necky Manitou. You will get a small version of a true sea kayak that will take longer to grow out of.


thigh braces
If you’re leaning towards the Carolina 12, Perception makes a thigh brace kit for the new Carolina series. Pretty simple installation and they make a big difference in fit and function.

I would agree with others that have suggested a longer, narrower boat if you are looking at taking more classes/trips with SKG on Tybee.

your suggestions
Great suggestions! This is why community boards are so great. Based on your suggestions I bought a Necky Zoar. One owner; great condition. $400 including the paddle and new flotation vest. Thank you!