Differences between Wilderness Systems

My very first boat, I bought 2 seasons ago, is a tandem Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T. I really enjoy this boat and it works out great for the wife and I.

I am now looking at getting a second, single kayak for when I go out alone. The tandem handles ok with one person, but it is a little rough, and it ways around 75lbs.

My question is what is the difference between this boat and the Tsunami 145 product line. other than the costs? Is it just a difference in material, which gives better handling and speed?

I kayak in slow flatwater rivers and lakes.

Night and day.
We have both Pamlico 145T and Tsunami 135’s. 145T is like driving an old school bus, the Tsunami like a Shelby Cobra in comparison. Unless you are “fat” go with the 140. Even at 222 now, I don’t need the “extra” room in the 145.

My experience…
is based on my use of both the Tsunami145 and 125 during 2008. I own a 125 and paddled both extensively. You can get better technical info on materials from flatpick or others, but here goes.

The Pamlico series is more of a recreational boat suited to day paddling, as opposed to longer paddles with more gear. It has a flatter bottom and a lighter payload making it a poor choice for us larger humans, or those of us who are interested in camping, long daytrips, or forays into potentially rough water such as Long Island Sound. The Pamlico is an excellent recreational boat, as is the Pungo, but there are inherent limitations to the breed.

The Tsunami series provides a very stable platform for beginners and larger paddlers without suffering from the limitations of recreational boats. Weight is between 48 and 58 pounds. The cockpit size is a bit larger than other sea or touring boats, but far short of “recreational size”. Not sure if the Pamlico has the system 3 seating, but the Tsunami seating is excellent, among the best I’ve sat in. There is a bit more keel and centerline allowing for excellent straight ahead tracking and fast paddling. They are “high volume” boats, with a higher foredeck allowing for a little more leg room. This also makes them excellent boats for camping as they have a good payload rating and will swallow a lot of gear/supplies. Adjustable thigh braces allow for proper control of boat for edging, hard paddling, or more advanced skills like rolling. The back deck is low enough that weather cocking (I think that’s the right term) is lessened, although a strong tailwind will require some correction on your part. The excellent tracking and straight line stability also makes them a little less maneuverable. These boats are “transitional” touring boats, allowing reasonable performance in open water, and a boat that can get you from flatwater to more difficult or technical water without needing to switch to a “purpose built” sea kayak until you are ready. There is not much rocker,(bow and stern height) so traveling in rough open water will be a bit of a challenge. I find the Tsunami125 to be more fun to paddle than the 145, more maneuverable, faster, easier loading. I find the 145 is easier to paddle with more weight in it. Both sizes offer a rudder system that is retractable, and a good idea if you plan to use it on open water. I don’t love the rudder system in these boats but admittedly I don’t have a lot of experience with rudder systems. You can add them after purchase as boats are designed with them in mind.

Although I am looking for a composite sea kayak to do more travel in salt water where I live, I heartily recommend either boat as an excellent choice for someone new to paddling, or a larger paddler not concerned with high end performance, but rather a comfortable easy to paddle boat that you can utilize in nearly any paddling scenario (with the proper safety gear and skills, of course) without having to worry about a quick upgrade as your skills increase. I can self rescue in my 125, and have taken some pool sessions this winter to learn to roll, although I hope never to need to practice the skill. I’ve been in whitewater up to Class III although I won’t do it again, tidal rivers, large and small lakes and ponds, I’ve launched from the surf, and returned to the beach(not pretty, but serviceable), and carried lots of weight for an overnight camp. All this in the 125. I see it kind of like my pick-up truck…it may not be the best at everything, but I can and do take it everywhere, with confidence. I am actually looking forward to putting my new skills to use by trying to roll my Tsunami125, although I expect it will be a lot more difficult than my successful attempts with the Impex I used during the sessions.

Good luck on your upgrade.