Does this kayak look like a safe buy?

Hi, I’m looking to purchase my first new-to-me kayak. I’ve narrowed it down to a WS Tsunami 140, and there’s one on Facebook Marketplace near me for $700. Comes with a rudder and looks to be in decent shape. I can’t tell how old it might be. It’s not one of the colors available for current new versions of the kayak. If need to get a new seat for it, will the new Airpro Freedom seats or backbands work? My back is kind of iffy at times, so I’m looking for comfort :slight_smile:

I’m so new at this and would greatly appreciate feedback on whether it looks like a good deal. I contacted the seller, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them.

Last two digits in serial number tells the year. Found on back of the hull.

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I think it looks great!

I’d want to know the weight because at times I load myself using the rug trick. (53 pounds is a little heavy for me but I’m lifting ~45)

Im a rudder fan. Check the cables and pedals?

Consider a custom foam seat if you have an iffy back.

That’s about what we paid for our older Current Designs in the PNW, eight years ago FWIW. I don’t like taking a bath on new gear, my husband is the opposite😙

The color is visible and looks great in pictures ;):+1:t3:

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Check availability of the seat back and seat bottom pad (with 4 push pins). Topkayaker is good source. I think I ordered two seat bottoms (with the 4 push pins) directly from Wilderness Systems for around $45? Expect to pay between $49 to $99 each, if you can find them in stock. Pre and post 2013 model year are different.

Pull on deck bungees to see whether they spring back or take a permanent set. The bungees on my pre-2010 model were still useable but needed to be replaced. That could be a clue to how it was stored.

I bought a used Tsunami SP with rudder, a 140 with rudder and a 145 with rudder, all looked great in photos, all had bungees that took a permanent set (I pulled them hard so the stretch was obvious to any future buyers - like new was just a blatant lie, and I wanted to make sure the lie was apparent to the seller). A visual clue is the elastic on the paddle stowage loop. It looks slack in the photo, to me. The hatch covers look like its an early model, maybe 2010ish.

In my opinion, rudders on a 12 ft or 14 ft Tsunami are unneccessry. My sister bought her 140 new in 2010 and has never deployed it. They add weight, make transportation cumbersome, complicate the foot pegs because they’ll float unless the rudder is stowed, and they’re prone to damage. I’m not a rudder snob. I do paddle in tidal waters during small craft advisories and feel that the 175 Tsunami needs a rudder under certain conditions; however, the shorter models are better without the rudder.

All three of the used boats had bent rudders because the owners dropped the boat on them. Standard foot peg rails cost about $35 to replace. The thigh pads on all three boats needed to be replaced (around $35 for a set). Lexel now costs $11.95 at Lowes if the bulheads leak. Check the hatch lids to see if they are flexible. Despite the photo appearance of all three of the used boats, they had been ridden hard and put away wet. All three boats needed mew seat pads. However, I bought them anyway because I calculated the cost of replacement parts and the work into the sale price. I did get a suprise with replacing the bulkhead - the price of neoprene doubled from when I last bought it.

The 140 Tsunami is a great boat and they look great in an advertisement photo, but look close at the areas I mention. The biggest hurdle is follow the advice in a previous post about identifying the model year, because you need to know that when replacing parts like the seat pads. Wilderness Systems seats are comfortable. I’ve been in the boat up to 7 1/2 hours without getting out, and I was still able to walk. $700 is a fair price if the hull is flexible and the cost of replacement parts are factored in.


Could you clarify what you mean by safe? On the basics I look for this boat has it - two bulkheads, full perimeter rigging. WS’s site says the 140 is faster than the other Tsunamis so it might be a bit narrower relative to its length. But from where I sit none of the Tsunami boats are a stability challenge. If the perimeter line looks too dry just replace it.

Looks to have been decently maintained.

That said, kayaks are somewhat sized. What is your height and weight? The deck height on this boat is 14" and the length of the cockpit is near 36". It is fitted for a medium paddler, not a smaller one like the average woman at 5’4". (me)

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Agree with @jyak that rudders on shorter boats are more trouble than they’re worth, but I also know others have different perspectives. In any case, check carefully for smooth cable operation and for any bend in the blade. Rudder issues are not uncommon in the used market, and even a slight bend really matters (not in a good way). Of course, such problems need not be a deal breaker as they can be fixed, but pricing should reflect necessary repairs.

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I am no fan of rudders except on surf skis.

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Thank you all so much for your replies! To answer a few questions/comments…

Regarding rudders - I’m not sold on a rudder, this kayak just happened to have one. It’s very interesting to hear the feedback on those! I thought they could be useful if you ended up dealing with a current or winds to help you go straight.

Regarding what I meant by safe buy - would I be getting ripped off? I’m 5’ 5" and 170lbs. Do you think I’m too short for a tsunami 140? @Celia

Thank you for the tips on what to look for when I see a kayak in person! @Jyak

The 140 looks to be 53 pounds. I ordered the Malone SeaWing rack with the stinger extension to help with boat loading, so I’m hoping that will do the trick to help me get it on the car! @MohaveFlyer

I found a new 140 still in the shrink wrap that looks to be a 2017 model based on the serial number shown on the tags (thanks for that tip about serial numbers @PaddleDog52!) . More expensive at $1050 but might be worth it.

There’s also a like-new 145 on FB Marketplace for $1200 that looks like one of the more recent models (I think?) based on color (Eclipse) and it looks to have the mesh deck storage bags. And only two hatches. I’m a little nervous going above 14 feet since a) I’m new at this and b) I want to do smaller waterways as well as lakes/coastal. Would I lose too much maneuverability? UPDATE: looks these are designed for taller people and I’d be swimming in it.

Oh, there are also a couple of Tsunami 135s on the marketplace. Are those worth considering or should I stick with the 140?

I’m picking up a 4 year old hardly used Werner Camano paddle today - it seems like that’s a good paddle to get, would you all agree?

I have places near me where I can do day long training sessions. Excited about doing that!

Thanks all!


You could bring in the pedals and make it work for you. And you are heavier than me so between that and the inch taller l expect you could reach evrrything fine.

You probably could also fit into the 135, but as a new paddler you might find it too tight for comfort.

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I’ve had two Camano paddles with FG blades (one straight shaft and one bent) for 15 years. Other paddles have come and gone over the years, but these remain. I liked them then as a relatively inexperienced kayaker, and I still like them today as a somewhat less inexperienced kayaker. In fact, I used the bent paddle version just this morning for a relaxing 7-mile sunrise loop around a local lake.

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IMO, the Tsunami 145 is kind of barge-like. We owned one. Others may disagree and that’s fine. The 140 looks like a better bet for your size (on paper) but I’ve never paddled one.

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@kestrel24 I bought a SP, 140 and 145 for specific people. I didn’t want rudders, but they had rudders. Rudders and skegs depend on the boat, the personsl skills and where you use the boat.

The Tsunami line is a rec sea kayak. Great stability, comfort and volume, but that would be a negative for someone looking for performance. 145 to 170 lbs is a perfect size for the 140 Tsunami; the upper limit is probably about 190 lbs The price of the new could easily compensate for repairs. The 2017 is still the old width of 24 inches, vs 25.5 for the new 140. The 135 Tsunami would be a nice find, but don’t remember the dimensions deck, width, max capacity. The 145 is too cavernous for you. My 15 yrsr old grand daughter handles the 140 easily and has never used the rudder. I take my 145 up little salt marsh feeder streams.

The Werner Camano is a very good paddle. I prefer the premium line like the Kallliste and Ikelos, but it’s outside the budget of most kayakers. The Camano was my third upgrade before the Kalliste. Many paddlers like the Aqua Bound Manta Ray, Sting Ray and Eagle Ray for entry level paddles. They’re good paddles for the price.

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Thanks @Jyak! I got in touch with the owner of the new 2017 boat, and I think I will go with that. Will the narrower width of the 2017 model make a big difference in how it handles?

I googled it and found this: “The width of a kayak mainly impacts its speed and its stability on the water. The wider the kayak, the slower it is—but the more stable it is”

So it sounds like this kayak might be a little faster but a little less stable. Fast sounds good. Hopefully, it’s still fairly stable!

I definitely looked at the Kalliste, but they go for over $300 even used so that upgrade might have to wait a while…

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There’s more to stability than hull width (or beam); WS knew what they were doing back in '17 just as they do now.
You have a good boat and a good paddle. Make sure you also have a good PFD, then get out on the water and have some fun!
Good luck.


Agree. Start with a good paddle and upgraadewhen you find you want a diffent length, weigh, blade surface area.

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I have a Tsunami 125, it’s a quick and stable boat. The 140 is quicker and just as stable.

Have not used the rudder since the week I bought it. No need, the built in keel keeps you straight. and you’re carrying a stick that’s flat on both ends and is all the rudder you should need, IMHO,

Happy paddling.


24" kayaks are very stable.


Get the rudder! It will be handy in tight turns & it’s nice to use to steer the yak when just flowing with the current. All my yaks 13.5-14-17 have them & I would not trade them. You dont have to use it but if you dont have it u cant! 135 vs 140 you wont know the diff.
As for paddle. I use only Aqua-Bound Manta Ray paddles. Best paddle money can buy. More horse power per stroke & moves more water. IMO I cant see why all the hype ovr a werner paddle. I’ve used one & other brands & I stay with A-B.
I feel $700 is a bit high for a non composite yak. Dont buy new. Later on if you really get into this then maybe. I have 7 yaks. I got them all used. Good deals & great yaks.


That is actually about the going price for a well maintained Tsunami. They are a very popular line, that is a size that suits a good range of people and therefor they are easy to sell for not much less than you paid if you eventually want something different. And it’s red! Can’t lose with that.

I personally find the Tsunamis a competent wellp-built boat and great for beginners but they are heavy and I prefer sleeker and faster boats (though that makes them feel less “stable” for newbies.) I am not a rudder fan – don’t like the extra weight, and the fact that they catch the wind when folded up onto the deck . Depends on where you plan to paddle most of the time. The only time I have needed one was for coastal ocean and large windy lake use and I do have one kayak that has a rudder for that use. My other boats are fine without one (one has a drop down skeg which serves the same purpose.)

Rudders can be removed and then put back on so you can eventually decide if you need it. I disagree with the prior comment that you should use if for steering – that is really not the purpose of a rudder, it is for tracking in strong crosscurrents and wind. You turn the kayak with your paddling technique and your body position, which you will learn in your classes.

The Werner Camano is an excellent paddle – can’t go wrong with it as long as it is the right length for you. There are tips and links on this site for determining what size would work best for you, but often you only dial that in over time as you develop skills. I started out with a 240 cm paddle which in retrospect was way too long for my short upper body and arms and now use a 213 cm to 220 cm paddles. And, like the Tsunami, even if you eventually decide it is not optimal for you, it should be easy to sell and recover most of what you paid for it. Another popular model, like the kayak.

I would also mention that large bladed paddles do not guarantee better paddling. Some people prefer them (and they are useful for some conditions like needing to make quick turns in surf or whitewater, or to propel heavy wide sit on tops and fishing kayaks) but In fact they can increase effort and can be more likely to cause fatigue and injury if you don’t have proper technique with them. They are a pain in the butt in windy conditions.

I have found I can paddle longer and with more ease with decent speed with a Greenland style paddle that is only 3 1/2" wide. I do have conventional blade paddles but they all have fairly narrow tapered blades too. Big spoon like paddles I find clunky and tiring to use. I don’t have to work hard for speed with narrow light paddles. In fact I have beaten other kayakers in amateur race events when I was using a skinny GP and they had large bladed conventional paddles. Of course I had a naturally faster boat (longer and narrower and lighter) than my competitors) but the faster cadence and less effort technique with the GP is surprisingly good for distance and medium sprints.


I have a Tsunami 140 with rudder and it’s by far the favorite kayak in my fleet, which includes a Tarpon 140 (sit on top) and Hobie Mirage (also sit on top). I’m 5’9" 170 pounds and the 140 is comfortably snug. The thigh braces on the 140 fit me perfectly. The thigh braces on a Tsunami 145 are higher, for bigger people.

Both the Tarpon 140 and Tsunami 140 track great without a rudder, but I love having a rudder personally.

I’m not familiar with the Tsunami 135. It’s out of production but it was apparently designed for small-framed paddlers. Might be worth looking into.