Kayak opinions...

I am just starting out and I’d like to get some opinions on kayaks that I am considering. I am 6’3", about 170# and am looking at something of a light touring kayak. I’ve been in my friend’s boat a few times but I’d be darned if I can remember what it was…

I have taken a look at the Carolina 14, Tsunami 14, Cayuga 146, Manitou 14 and end up going in circles trying to keep them straight! I am going to be renting all of them in the next little while but would also like to get an opinion on what everyone thinks of them?


my .02
I have only paddled the Carolina, Tsunami, and Manitou. Of those three it would be between the Tsunami and Manitou. I like both a lot, if you want a rudder or a skeg then the decision is made for you.

Light touring you could do in the Manitou, but the Tsunami has more capacity. From a purely touring stand point I would go with the Tsunami.

I think your technique needs a lot of work. maybe take some lessons.

All four
I did get to paddle all of the boats mentioned at a demo last weekend and put them through the drills I put my own kayak through. They all tracked well without using the rudder or skeg. Good technique’ll make a big difference. For me, the Cayuga balanced on edge easier and had the best thigh braces. The Tsunami had the best seat. Pretty much a toss up. Try 'em on, see what shoes fit best.

If you are going to have a chance
to paddle them all, then what you learn during those demos will be worth more than any opinions we offer you. All are roughly in the same class.

keep em straight
just to clarify… keeping them straight in my head, not on the water :slight_smile:

I’ve paddled all but
the Cayuga (which looks interesting). I like the tiny hatch up front for keys, etc. I like that the hatches have straps on top. And I like Old Towns in general, although I’ve never paddled a Cayuga.

They’re all okay, but you wanted opinions (as opposed to objective fact) so here goes:

Manitou: very nice boat, handles well, nice looking, but cheap ill-fitting hatch covers are a PITA to get on.

Carolina: Another good boat, nothing wrong with it, just a tad “vanilla” for my liking.

Tsunami: More great features for the dollars (thigh braces, nice hatches, etc.) I especially liked the Duralite.

I’d go with the Tsunami. That’s my opinion, worth what you paid for it.

Good luck in the search. That’s half the fun anyway.

Muddy it up - Test Paddle
Not sure where Upstate you are but in Hyde Park, NY there’s Sat. Night Demo Nights.

There’s more models out there to boot.

See you on the water,



Make notes after each demo.