Carolina vs. Tsunami 12 footers

Having a hard time deciding here, looking for opinions from fellow paddlers.

I’ve been looking for a cheap (under $1000) short boat (12 ft) for dorking around in the local swamps, creeks, other tame flat water. Short trips only, nothing more than a day. Nothing too fancy, and definitely poly.

I’ve narrowed it down to the Perception Carolina 12 and the WS Tsunami 120. Both are the right size and the right price. I’ve paddled both and liked them both.

I think I’d be happy with either one, but besides flipping a coin I can’t really come to a decision. Anyone have any extra info that would sway me either way? Especially good or bad experiences with either boat? Many thanks.

new or used?

– Last Updated: Feb-16-13 9:56 AM EST –

some older Carolinas have a very basic seat, whereas the Tsunami always had the nicer and very comfortable & adjustable Phase3. The Tsunami also has real thigh hooks, and a smaller cockpit opening (size 1.7 vs 2.2 for the Carolina) which will work better with a skirt. Similar hull shapes, but the Tsunami has a little more rocker and a better chine design which helps with edging. If price is not that different, the Tsunami gives you a bit more bang for the buck; but for casual rec paddling some might prefer the wider cockpit of the Carolina.

Post titles - Man, you got me!
I was afraid a 12’ Tsunami was going to wipe clean the outer banks! Thought maybe it had something to do with FE and joisey-defense schemes over on the discussions forum.

Sorry, I have nothing to add here, except be careful with those post titles. You never know how they’ll be read!


you might also consider
an 11-12’ SOT – for sleepy creeks, gunkholing and swamp hopping, a sit-on-top is often easier and more fun, especially if you take a fishing rod and small cooler along. I bought two Jackson Riviera’s for this purpose and even take them on easy whitewater.


– Last Updated: Feb-15-13 1:42 PM EST –

Yeah, this* was exactly my line of thought. I'm looking at new boats, so the price difference is about $130. Trying to decide if that's worth it. (I'm leaning towards yes.)


*In reply to your first post.

if you find one on winter sale
then definitely worth it – you can get alot of mileage out of a 12’ Tsunami, and it’s more versatile than typical “rec boats”. great platform for poking around in some places that longer sea kayaks can’t go. I only reluctantly sold mine!

I like wilderness systems outfitting
I think it is more comfortable and more adjustable, But if I was doing swamps I’d get the Pungo.

1 Like

I’d get the Tsunami
I llke the seat and it is a decent hull and the cockpit is a good size.

Tsunami or Alchemy
Hey Fred!

We had the Tsunami 125 and 120. Both are very nice for small waterways and just goofing around. I have since replaced them with the Dagger Alchemy 14s. It’s a hard chine with rounded bottom panels and skeg. Very playful and good for lazy rivers and surf. Forget the Carolina. It’s sluggish and too beamy in comparison.

Call me or shoot me an email if you have any more questions.

Gary G.