duralite vs polyethelene tsunami 145

-- Last Updated: May-11-07 1:55 AM EST --

I am a new paddler - only been out once at a "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" kayaking workshop. I am looking at getting a Tsunami 145 but don't know if I should go with the duralite (about 11 lbs lighter) or the polyethelene. I am nearly 50, in lousy shape and overweight. Haven't been out yet to try one on and kinda need some good advice. Any help would be appreciated!

Sure you want the 145?
Welcome to the world of kayaking! It is a wonderful place to be. And I love my Tsunami. But I have to advise this. You really have to try out a kayak before you buy it. Why the 145? The 140 and the 145 are quite different.

Duralite is a weak, thin-skinned version of the “normal” plastic version, requiring extra care and special support structures. How will you store your kayak? Roto molded kayaks are vulnerable to deformation. The thin version can become more easily deformed by improper storage than the “normal” version. Weight is not the only factor to consider.

I design and sell the stuff but someone really has to value the loss of the weight to justify the duralite, IMHO. There are internal supports that compensate for the thinner plastic so footroom is less.

The 145 IS a pretty big yak. try the 140 on fer size.


duralite vs polyethelene tsunami 145

– Last Updated: May-14-07 2:22 AM EST –

Wow! Thank you all for all the great posts! I was at a bowling tournament this weekend in Portland so wasn't able to get to that Alder Creek boat demo - wish I would have done that instead of bowl! Richland WA is one of the places we go to shop so I will try to get up there soon. Yes, I live in John Day OR. We have this wonderful little river right on our doorstep (practically...) but I will need lots of training before I tackle that trip!
I will research the 120 also and see if maybe that would be better. I do want to go try them on for size first.

i agree the 145 is a big yak.
i recently demo’d a bunch of wilderness yaks;

tsunami 140, 145, 160, 165

tempest 165 and 170

also demo’d necky elaho

i’m 6’1" 190 and i felt the tsunami 145 and 165 were too roomy and deep. for me just making paddling more difficult.

the tsunami 140 and 160 fit better, but i ended up liking the elaho and tempest 170 because shallowed cockpit and sleeker yak.

just get out there and demo as many as you can.

as for the duralite versus poly, well weight will make a difference if you have to load it on top of a car without help, but poly can take more bumps and bruises.

i hope that helps you out. good luck.


Tsunami choices
We’ve got a pair of Tsunamis in Gen2 poly. My 145 is extremely stable, rugged, and remarkably seaworthy. It’s also a real tank to carry around…but no more so than other boats in its class.

Here’s my impression: at 5’10’ 175 pounds, I kind of float around in the cockpit. As you’ve probably read, the seating is quite adjustable…so I’ve been able to customize my yak for a pretty decent fit.

The 145 also has enormous storage. I can easily camp for a week with its cargo capacity.

Bottom line: I’d lean toward the 140 if I were you. You don’t lose that much space with the 140, and given your size, I think you would enjoy it more.

They are really fun,versatile kayaks. I’m looking to move up to something like the Tempest for major ocean outings, but I’m definitely keeping my Tsunami for camping and all round versatility.

Try the 140…

nice goals!
To be safe, be sure to get lots of instruction, too. Is that John Day, as in John Day OR? Alder Creek has a shop somewhere in the gorge. Another Oregonian lost close to 90 lbs paddling this year!!! (your and my results my vary…)

Tsunami 140…
I agree with the other posts here that the 145 would probably be too big for you. My wife and I both have Tsunami 140s, and are very happy with them. We use them primarily for protected water coastal touring (bays, etc.). Probably not their ideal use, but so far they have been fine (the conditions in the Gulf of Mexico never get to rough anyways). At 6’ and 170, I fit fine in the 140, actually wish it was a little smaller. I think the 145 would be too big. Due to the type of paddling we most often do, we will be upgrading to longer boats in the near future, but the Tsunamis have served us well as our first boats and as an introduction to the sport.


John Day?

I have spent many days on the JD over the years and couldn’t think of a better self container camping boat for that river! I once did Clarno to Cottonwood in 8 days in SEPT (300cfs) in a whitewater boat! man I was crazy.

good luck and let us know how the demo goes.

aldercreek in bend or PDX has boats to try.they closed the Hood river store.


I have paddled the Tsunami in just about the gnarliest of conditions I paddle in (big wind, swell, rock gardens) here on the PNW coast.

you don’t necessarily grow out of the Tsunami… sleeker, faster, longer…yes but far as handling ‘conditions’? it does fine.


In the kayak world, it seems that most manufacturers think an “average” paddler is a 5’9", 180-pound male. Boats marketed for larger paddlers tend to be for folks who are much larger than that. If your goal is to develop paddling skills, you don’t want to be floating around in the cockpit.

Women tend to have a lower center of gravity than men, and so will be more stable in the same kayak than a typical male would be.

There are no industry standards for how dimensions and capacities are measured, so specifications on paper are a rough guide at best. You need to at least go sit in a few boats to start narrowing the field.

140 vs 145
Are you sure you want the 145?

My wife and I both have the 140.

I am 5’ 9", 190 lbs.

My wife is 5’ 7", 145 lbs.

One of the managers at a local Sporting gods store, also has a Tsunami 140, he is over 6’ tall.

145 is for really large, generous folks.

P.S. Being our first kayak, and last Touring for a long while. I did a lot of research before purchasing, and we are both very, very pleased with the Tsunami 140’s.

We have the plastic, I see a lot of opinions, mine is not to invest so much.

Question Flatpick…
I read in a recent post of yours that you outfitted a Tsunami 140 with a backband kit (perhaps the Tempest backband?). Does Wilderness Systems (Confluence) offer a backband conversion kit for the Tsunami, or would I get any aftermarket backband? Is the conversion difficult?

Thanks for the advice,


use any type of backband
IR makes some great ones to retro fit into a touring boat…the Reggie has two straps with big bulbous ends to lock inside the cheek plate…probably about 10 minute install…

Will any aftermarket backband kit work with the Tsunami considering it has one of those high-back seats, as opposed to a back band? Since I would not be going from backband to backband, rather high seat back to backband, is the conversion process still similar?

my thoughts.

I just purchased a 145 over the winter, and have been out in it many times over the past few weeks. I love it. I am not an entirely experienced paddler, having done some trips and many day paddles with borrowed or rented boats, but I do love the boat. I think that this boat will be too large for you. I am 6’ 4" and 235lbs and it fits me very well. I got into the 140 and it was too small for me. More so down near the foot area. I couldn’t get my feel comfortable on the pedals, even in just Teva’s. The rest of the space felt fine for me, so with your height, I think that the cockpit will be fine in the 140.

What about the 120? Was there specificially a reason you wanted the 145’s length? I am just thinking that they are not the easiest to manuever out of the water. I am able to get mine up and down from a Pathfinder no problem, but my wife who has a 120 can’t even come close.

Good Luck with your choice.

yep…any of them will work
the companies that make after market backbands expect them to be put in other boats so their installation instructions is generally quite good…

http://www.immersionresearch.com/service/backbands.html here is info straight from IR’s page…the installation into a touring boat is not all that different than a ww boat…

http://www.bombergear.com/5110.html# the Bombergear back band is a popular one BUT BG is out of biz now…the bands pop up on ebay sometimes…they install the same as the wavesport backbands into a touring boat…if you zoom into the picture you will see a strap on either side that terminates in a triangle of metal with a hole in it…easy for tempest/tsunamis…that piece of metal gets sandwiched inside the boat between the screw (there are two-pick one) that it is just outside of the cockpit coaming and the top of the seats cheek plate…and then i would jsut attacha piece of bungee from the back of the cokpit coaming to the back of the backband to hold it up so you do not sit on it…

not that bad…


as stated any backstrap kit will work fairly easily. CWS sells a Tempest BS kit with instructions on taking out the Phase 3 backrest and replacing with the T backSTRAP.

HUGE difference in cockpit performance will be felt, I’m sure!


Can’t really give much advice,
but I can tell you our experiences with our boats.

My husband has a duralite tsunami 120. It is lighter, which is nice, but it does feel a little flimsier. I’ve lifted his boat and mine, and his is much easier to lift. We just bought it last summer, so can’t say if it will hold up in the long run. It has a center console and divider, so has much less leg space. He didn’t want a longer boat, as he wanted a little more maneuverability. We float slow rivers and lakes at the moment.

As for size … I have a manitou 14. I wanted something a little longer, and the cockpit didn’t feel as “clausterphobic” as the tsunmani 120. Now less than a year later, I find the cockpit on the Manitou way too big, and wish I had something with a tighter fit. Last summer I demoed a Tsunami 145, and found it much bigger in the cockpit than the 120. For reference I’m 5.2 / 160 lbs - this information does not go beyond this board! :slight_smile: I want to learn to edge, and someday maybe roll, so I wish I had a better fitting boat. I demoed a tempest 165 the other day at Alder Creeks demo days - loved the fit! loved the boat! I also demoed a Necky Eliza - also a nice fit.

One of our friends has a Tsunami 145 duralite. She is thin, but quite tall, and seems happy with it. She has to load her yak onto a SUV by herself at times, hince, lighter is better in her case. Another friend has the 125 - she specifically wanted the larger cockpit area. Near as I can tell the 120/140 are similar in the cockpit and the 125/145 are similar, and little larger.

One of the couples we paddle with do the John Day R. every year - fishing/floating rather than kayaking. Not sure which area, but they say it’s a wonderful trip.

If you’re any where near Richland Washington this weekend (May 12), Alder Creek is having a boat demo there. Check out their events. www.aldercreek.com/

We took a basic skills class from these folks and had a great time!

Before last summer, I hadn’t done any kind of water sports for a good 20 years (I’m afraid of the water) Started renting yaks because some of our friends were getting into paddling, and just fell in love with it. Road bikes in garage gathering dust…

Best of luck on your kayak shopping & have fun!

Other thoughts…

– Last Updated: May-11-07 3:28 PM EST –

- I've got to get myself one of those replacement backbands. Trying to roll the Tsunami 145 with its wide beam is hard enough...but trying to do so with the high back is a fools errand. Lots of laughs for anyone watching, though.

- Has anyone tried the new -- longer, sleeker - incarnations of the Tsunami? I can't imagine trying to single hand a 175 onto my car rack. The 165 and 175 look like really nice touring boats for anyone who doesn't want the full-on, big water capabilities of boats like the Tempest.