Coming back to flatwater

It’s been a little while since I’ve been on these forums… However, I started out doing flatwater, got bit by the whitewater bug and spent all last year doing that. I’m still loving whitewater, but I’ve found I have this huge itch to just get out on some flatwater and enjoy the scenery again too. Whitewater helped upped my skill level a bit, as I learned to roll and paddle a bit better and I hope that some of these skills will translate over…

When I was doing flatwater, I had a WS Tsunami 120. I felt it was a pretty good boat. It fit me well. However, the outfitting started to get on my nerves. When I started taking it on some rivers and put on a spray skirt, that seat back got in my way a bit and made it difficult to put on the skirt. Secondly, the back would loosen up easily. It would never hug my back for a long period of time. Now that I’m used to whitewater boats and their bands, I’d prefer something like that.

For the next year or two, I plan on doing simply slow moving rivers, maybe a small-ish lake like Allatoona or the sort… I love going down the Chattahoochee, Chestatee and Etowah. I tend to go out on Little River in Woodstock for after work or quick 2-3 hour paddles. I do intend on doing an over nighter here and there. I would love to do maybe full weekend trips, but I’m not sure if I’m up to it quite yet.

The boats I have been considering are:

WS Tsunami 120 (yeah, I shouldn’t have sold it…)

WS Tsunami 140

Dagger Alchemy 14S

Liquid Logic Inuit 13.5

I can not find an Inuit or an Alchemy to test anywhere. I wasn’t overly excited with the Tsunami, but I have been considering that maybe the 140 might feel a little better after changing out that backseat for a back band and maybe some hip pads? I like that the Alchemy has some pretty nice outfitting already and has a skeg. I paddle a Liquid Logic Remix 69 for my whitewater stuff, so I’m guessing that the Inuit may be of similar quality, but I’m a bit iffy on it all still…

Any suggestions? I’m hoping to spend no more than $1,200, but if I fall in love with a boat, I’ve been known to break my ceiling a little bit…

check out the Easky’s
If you have a dealer that stocks them, you might want to check out the Venture Easky’s also (made by renowed British kayak maker P & H). They are sized and priced competitively with the Tsunami line, but I find them to be more enjoyable kayaks for the same price.

Model comparable to the Tsunami 120 is the Easky 13. The Easky 15 (and the 15LV if you are a small to medium person) are close to the Tsu 140. They are a little lighter, are nicely finished with some features the WS boats don’t have (like a molded in metal bar so you can lock them to a rack), and (in my opinion) are more fun to paddle. The adjustable thigh braces are great (something you will appreciate with your WW skills) and they have one of the most comfortable stock seats of any kayak I have bought to date. The back folds in half to be more of a backband while paddling, or you can unfold it to be a loungechair-like leaning support if you are just hanging out in the sun or fishing.

I’ve paddled Tsunami 120’s and 140’s on a number of occasions as rentals or swapping with friends that paddle them (I am always showing up with new kayaks so people like to trade boats with me during outings to check them out) so I know how they perform. I feel the Easky’s are more nimble, accelerate better and are terrific fun in waves. Worth a spin if you have access to one to test out.


– Last Updated: Feb-06-12 4:34 PM EST –

will be the most playful on that list, but has minimal storage space if you're thinking overnighters. The Tsunami has the volume to be a great camper and the backband is an easy switch (directions somewhere on WS's website). The Inuit is a nice quality boat, a little on the heavy side more so than the rest, but it was recently used on the source-to-sea trip on the Colorado.

In addition to Venture's Easky you might consider their new Islay (like a smaller P&H Delphin), as well as the Jackson Journey, if you're looking for something on the playful side coming from whitewater.

Another idea…
I read that you sold your Tsunami so I guess it’s too late, but, in the event you end up with another boat with a too-high seat back, and aren’t interested in rolling, Seals makes a mini-skirt that works nicely. It doesn’t seal you in tight, but it will keep most of the water from regular paddling off of you (and the sun too), and with the large opening you can easily access things inside your boat.

Are you familiar with the Georgia Canoe Association? We have trips of varying types just about every weekend, and quite frequently on the Chattahoochee.

14’ handling
So would a 14 footer be OK in smaller rivers, such as about 30 or so feet in width? Also, do they perform fairly decently in Class I and II sections? I don’t expect them to respond like my whitewater boat, of course. However, I do travel the Chattahoochee quite a bit and there are sections of Class I and II rapids at times. I wasn’t too sure how a 14 foot boat would do in sections like this…

I think I saw a building for it once…
Maybe it was just a sign. However, I went to paddle at Azalea Park and saw a building across the street with that name on it… Is that right?

the answer may depend more on the paddler than the boat! longer canoes are run on mild whitewater, so why not midsize touring kayaks. we take our Tsunamis on Class I-II rivers and twisty Piedmont creeks all the time. I’ve even taken my 16’ Capella down the ledgy and meandering Shenandoah. I favor the Tsunami 120 as a day-tripping river boat but also have a LL Coupe for more challenging ww. Newer designs like the Alchemy and Journey are made with more maneuverability in mind, no doubt with some whitewater design influence due to the nature of those manufacturers, so they should be well suited to such use.

The big thing to watch out for is that such kayaks don’t have a stiffening pillar so you don’t want to take them on more technical ww where pinning/wrapping is a likely hazard; and the more extended keels like to hang up on rocky ledges, so that’s something to examine when choosing a boat. Flowing rivers & streams with the occasional ripples, cobbles and straightforward rapids & waves are fine. I often like going this way instead of a dedicated ww hull because alot of rivers tend to have long stretches of quiet water or dam impoundments, or perhaps you want to explore upstream, where the light touring boat will excel.

Think about
a WS Zephyr. You can enjoy it in moving and rough water. Also does just fine in flat water as a day boat - or weekend boat.

I ended up ordering a…
Dagger Alchemy 14S from REI. They had a good deal on one for $200 off. Also, if I don’t like it, I can return it due to REI’s awesome return policy. :slight_smile:

I think if I don’t like it, I’m going to try for the Zephyr… It looks like a great boat too.

I’m not sure about Azalea Park…
is that part of the CRNRA? Sometimes when bigger get-togethers are planned the banner is hung up so that may be what you have seen. If you enjoy paddling the 'hooch, watch on the GCA’s website for the weekly river cleanup/skill building get togethers sponsored by Urban Currents. He does an awesome job, and every Wed around 5 pm all paddlers are welcome to meet at Paces Ferry take-out and shuttle to Powers Island to put-in and paddle back down to Paces Ferry. A different location is picked each week for the whole crew to stop and do a river cleanup for a little while then paddle on the rest of the way. Great way to meet many new people and check out boats from just about every manufacturer.

A maneuverable 14’ boat like the Alchemy(good choice!)should be fine on moderate rivers, especially with your skills. If you’re willing to lean and edge aggressively you can outturn many shorter boats. I’ve surprised many people in shorter rec kayaks with the way I could turn my 16’ Avocet on edge. But you will need a good sprayskirt…

You on the Atlanta Whitewater list?
I’ve seen the Wednesday cleanup paddles. I haven’t attended one yet. I need to. I also need to get a dry top… :slight_smile:

Finally got the boat delivered…
The cockpit is much smaller than I assumed. I’m thinking it is too small for me. If I had to wet exit out of this thing, I could easily get stuck. Trying to squeeze my legs out of the keyhole section of the boat causes them to get stuck unless I do one leg at a time. In my whitewater boat and even in my old Tsunami, I could easily bring my legs in and out of the boat. Also, the deck is extremely low. I feel very pressed into this boat. I was hoping I could adjust the seat back to gain a little more room, but it is not adjustable forwards or backwards.

I’m used to getting the smaller versions of boats because I’m only 5’9 and 170 lbs. However, I’m thinking I should have gotten the Large.

I may give this one to my wife and pick up an Alchemy L or maybe a Zephyr.

I’ll say it agin -
WS Zephyr.

Which size?
Problem is nobody has one around me so I’d have to order it. At 5’9, 170 lbs, which would be the right size? 155 or 160?

For reference, when I was looking at the Tsunami’s, I could have built a house inside of the Tsunami 125 where as the 120 fit me but was close to being a little tight.

I’m about your size plus a few more pounds, and paddle a Zephyr 155, Tsunami 140 & 120. I also fit in the 135 very snugly, which I imagine is akin to the fit of the Alchemy 14S.

The Z155 is simply a kickass boat, 'nuff said.

It looks like The Outside World in
Dawsonville has the Zephyr 155, in 3 colors

I called this morning and they have one. I’m going to pick it up in an hour.

I have a blue Zephyr 155. Won’t be getting on the water until I’ve kicked this nasty flu, but I’m close to being healthy again.

I bet

– Last Updated: Feb-19-12 9:41 AM EST –

you'll be having some fun soon. Let us know what you think.