Carolina 14, Manitou 14, or Tsunami 145

Can someone that has paddled these boats give me the pros and cons of each? I am eventually going to go with a 14+ kayak. Unfortunately, there is only one outfitter that I am aware of within 150 miles of me. Therefore, I cannot test paddle boats before I buy them. I have to make the purchase and hope I am pleased. I will be on lakes and calm rivers only. No open ocean yet. Thanks in advance!

Manitou is the nuts
I had experience with the Manitou 14 this summer leading kayak tours for a shop. You won’t go wrong with this boat. We had everyone from petite women to heavy stiff guys in these boats, and they worked well for everyone.

Beginners had no big problems getting the boat to go where they wanted, even in wind without using the skeg. Stability was not a problem, and the boat is reasonably fast - just an all-round good performer.

Other boats I was using for clients included Romany, Cappela, Skye, Avocet and Aquanaut, so we had quality choices. But the Manitou became the go-to model (I was taking out mostly beginners - on the Hudson with tide current, waves and boat wakes to contend with).


Bow bulkhead?
I noticed the Manitou 14 doesn’t have a hatch in the bow. Does it have bow and stern bulkheads? Thanks for you reply Alan!

I paddle the Carolina 14.5…you can paddle mine…

As for the others I don’t know…

by the way, there are several outfitters around here…try

Terrapin creek (piedmont)

Alabama Small Boats (Birmingham)

Hey again! That would be great. I forgot you had the Carolina. By the way, I bought a Seals splash deck at Dick’s SG rather than the full skirt. I figured I would be more relaxed this weekend with just the half skirt. Thanks for finding that for me.

No problem…
half skirt is good, to tell you the truth, I was worried about you going with a full skirt without having practiced a wet exit before…

Have fun this weekend!

Necky website
If you check the Necky website, you’ll find that the Manitou 14 has front and rear hatches and bulkheads. The Manitou 13 and Manitou Sport do not. I demoed the 14 a year ago. Great boat. It seemed to handle better than the Carolina 14, and the skeg was a nice feature. Can’t help you out with the Tsunami, though. My husband was the one who was looking for a boat, though, and he chose the Zoar Sport. Sure wish he had chosen the Manitou 14!

Bulkheads both ends
As someone already posted, the Manitou 14 has hatches and bulkheads both fore and aft - a real safety plus, allowing you to easily dump out water during rescues. That said, I have trouble handling the neoprene inner hatch covers that Necky uses - they are slippery suckers! I’m sure they work fine with a little practice.

Another thing - I like the skeg much better than the rudders on the other two boats you list. I always find rudders to be in the way when carrying a boat, and I hate being around a rudder boat on the water - the hardware on the stern is always trying to bite my glass (or skin) boat!


three very different boats
On the spectrum of Rec Touring boats, understanding that Rec is at one end, and Touring is at the other, what you’d find is that :

The Carolina 14 (the newest version - 2007 and up) is decidedly a Recreational boat. Large cockpit opening, flat bottom (a suggestion of a vee, but not much of one in reality), designed for comfort in flat water without much thought toward heavier duty use. Easy to use, but somewhat limited in terms of allowing a paddler to improve their skills.

The Manitou 14 is pretty much dead center. Upgraded hull design concept from the Perception, with a soft but discernible vee bottom, a relatively flat rocker line, two dry compartments, and a drop down skeg as standard equipment. Consistently one of the best values in its class. If your dealer has any of the 2008 Man 14s in already, they’ve added thigh braces as standard equipment (and are offering an upgraded plastic which is a bit stiffer).

And the Tsunami 145 is a short touring boat for BIGGER paddlers (if you’re under 190 pounds and/or shorter than 5’10", you’d probably be much better off in a 140 rather than a 145). More rocker than the Manitou, and a deep vee bottom, which produces a little more wetted surface and a little more drag. Of the three of these, the Tsunami is the most sensitive to ‘fit’ issues. Rudders are optional, and in my experience, next to totally unnecessary; the boat is very well balanced and the extended keel line keeps it pinned down in anything save for very high winds. Pricewise, a couple hundred more than the Manitou comparably equipped (keeping in mind that the Manitou 14 has a skeg as standard).

Unless there’s a compelling reason to buy one of the new Carolinas, spend a few extra bux on either of the other two, but try them both on in the store before you decide anything. Oh, and if they have a Current Designs Whistler or Breeze, add those on to your list of possibles - they fall into the range between the Tsunami and the Man 14.

A Necky Looksha Sport. Much better boat, but no longer produced. If you can find one, you’ll be very pleased!

I had a Manitou 14.
Very nice kayak. Tracks nicely. Very comfy seat. Always wished it had knee/thigh braces, but I hear they can be added. The neoprene covers do take some practice to get on the hatches. There’s several threads here on pnet dedicated to the techniques Manitou owners have come up with to get the things on. The cons for me, were simply that it was too big for short lil’ me. I wanted something that I could lock my legs into better. The skeg is a nice feature - I like it better than a rudder, but it cuts down on storage in the hatch - think lots of small bags rather than one large bag. I don’t use rudders/skegs much, but the skeg was nice sometimes on windy trips.

I’ve never tried a Carolina, but I demoed a Tsunami 145. My recall is that the cockpit was larger than the Manitou. A friend of mine (much taller and legier) has a 145 in duralite that she likes. We paddle easy rivers & lakes.


I’m noticing that about rudders,
and I wasn’t a fan of them in the first place. It gets in the way when I try to dump water out of the boat. It catches on things and bangs into stuff. It hits the top of our car if we don’t get it back far enough. I finally got a chance to try climbing back into the boat via the back deck and I was sure I was going to bump into it or get hung up - or slide down off the back and, well, I didn’t want to ponder the rest…Sometime I think I’d like to take the dang thing off!


Manitou 14 Notes, Possible Demo
I had my Manitou 14 out on the water this morning and was thinking about some of the comments from this post. Some of the things I like about mine are the weight (50 pounds, easy to load and portage), the narrow profile (seems to make it faster than my Tsunami) and the skeg (nice on breezy days like today). Some of the things I don’t like are the high seatback (makes re-entries difficult), the soft chines (it’s a little wobbly when entering and exiting the cockpit) and the 3 step process for opening and closing the hatches. I know the layers are supposed to make for a better seal but I’ve had the seals pop (and flood the rear compartment) on a lightly choppy bay during wet exit and re-entry practice. That’s not a major concern for me as I normally on paddle on smaller lakes and rivers but it’s something to consider.

By the way, depending on how soon you plan to purchase, I’d be glad to bring mine to Guntersville next month to let you try it out. Just let me know…

if I had to choose

– Last Updated: Oct-12-07 3:58 PM EST –

between the three, the Manitou 14 would be my first choice for reasons stated above. It is a very good kayak by a good smaller company.

But choosing a kayak is personal, and I found something that suited me better.

Depending on your weight, you might consider a Hurricane AquaSports Tampico 135S or 140S. All the things I like about the Manitou and improvement over some things I didn't, and, depending on the Tampico model, a much lighter weight of 41 or 43 lbs.

Not sure whether thigh braces are or are not standard w. the Manitou 140 - have gotten different responses from owners - but they ARE standard with the Tampico 135S or 140S - very comfortable and useful in learning edging, carving, bracing and rolling. The stern is low enough to lay back on and easy to get up on when doing rescues.

I avoid high seat backs because they interfere w. torso rotation and with rescues. The standard seat back on the Tampico135/140S does not rise above the cockpit coaming (which also makes it easier to attach a skirt).

I've never given a second thought to the hatch covers - they go on right, stay on tight. In 15 months of highway driving and water time one has never come close to coming off.

The Tampicos use neither skeg nor rudder. They are a very, very straight tracking kayak due to the lack of rocker up front and the asymmetrical
hull design. The decks are low enough that they don't catch wind and force you to battle to keep the kayak straight going into the wind. There is full perimeter decklining on the 140S and about 3/4 of that on the 135S.

Dual sealed bulkheads are standard on all Hurricanes.

The Tampicos are just plain easy and fun to paddle. You can read reviews of the Tampicos right here in I wrote one of them. I am not affiliated with the company nor do I work in the paddlesport industry.

Check out the company website.

or just contact me. Good luck in the search for your first kayak! Very likely won't be your last!