Looking to upgrade

I could really use some expert opinions on which kayak would best suit me. Im 5’10", 165 lb and would probably rate myself at an intermediate skill level I am looking to get a boat that challenges me and one that I wont outgrow for a while. I mostly paddle through large lakes and rivers spending a weekend at the most, and occasionally go to the beach. I know that no forum is gonna help me make my mind up like actually testing the boats out for myself, but the only place that does that around here is a couple hours away so I’m trying to narrow the search down a little bit. I was looking at the hurricane tampico and the ws tsunami 140. Any other suggestions around this price range would be greatly appreciated.

maybe longer
Mostly paddling lakes I find that I tend to want the fastest boat. You may out grow a 14ft. boat simply because you will want to go faster, or camp longer. Maybe the tsunami16.5 maybe 16 I can’t remember. It doesn’t really cost much more. The 17 foot versions feel too big for someone your size. The hurricane tracer is a cool boat. It is light for a 16.5ft boat because of the thermoform layup. It would allow you to further your skills as well. Just some thoughts.

Ryan L.

Depends on “challenge”

– Last Updated: Jan-16-11 10:45 PM EST –

Do you mean a boat that you can take into waves, like on a beach, or one that is narrower, or...? One to learn skills in like rolling?

If you could better define what you are looking for in the way of a challenge, that may improve the answers.

Whatever Tempest fits .My bro is your
size and loves his 16’.

I second the hurricane Tracer
I have one and love it. It is quick and light. Plus, I cost about the same as a rotomolded boat.

If you can test one do so. However, the first Tracers made had no skeg and alot of rocker that made it a poor tracking boat. They redesigned it with a skeg and less rocker and it is now a great. DO NOT GET ONE IF IT DOES NOT HAVE A SKEG . . . It is an older model and is hard to handle.

Good luck with you quest.

If you want to improve your paddling skills, and challenge yourself in the future, I’d skip the Tsunami series. Good boats, but too much cockpit volume and primary stability to allow for nimble handling or rolling. Get a boat that edges more easily with your relatively light body-weight. Wilderness Systems Tempest 165 would certainly be worth a try, if that’s the brand you have available. Sometimes the hatch covers on these plastic Tempests fit very poorly, so make sure you don’t buy one without testing the back hatch in particular for leaks.

If you have other brands available around you, I’m sure there are other models that would work for you as well. (Valley Avocet?)

QCC 400X
It’s a nice all around boat that will exceed your needs while not being to big.

in waves is not my primary concern, but i would like that to be an option. I guess I’m looking to be able to learn to roll and have a boat with good secondary stability. I think that I’m leaning more and more towards the tracer.

I’m Your Size
Try out the Tempest 165 and the smaller Zephyr.

100 mile test paddle
Within 100 miles of you what brands at outfitters that have demo programs are there. It’ll reduce the scattershot results which are going to come from your brand/model open ended question.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc

Hyde Park, NY


another option
I’ve paddled the Tsunami 140 (one of my paddle buddies has one) and am about your size. In comparision, I greatly prefer my own kayak in the same size and price range, the Venture Easky 15LV. Lighter (only 46 lbs) and better handling. Makes the Tsumani feel like a slug. Somewhat similar to the Tracer in profile and width but about 40% cheaper (and, again, lighter.) Might be one to add to your demo list. Nicely outfitted, versatile size and fun to paddle. Quick, tracks straight, turns well, surfs boat wakes or plows straight through them. Have not felt the need for a rudder but mine came with all the hardware needed to pop one on if I decide I do.


I’m wondering if the gist of your message isn’t that you want a boat that will challenge you, but rather, you want a boat that will help you better meet the challenge of increasing your own skills?

It’s hard to offer any specific recommendations because you haven’t provided much information to go on, other than that you want to to learn to roll and you want a boat with good secondary stability. So, rubbing my magic 8-ball, I have deduced that you probably aren’t looking for a boat with a specific purposes in mind (e.g. “I really want a boat that surfs well” or “I just wanna go fast”). If my powers of prognostication are as keen as I like to think they are, a good all-rounder would probably be your best bet.

There are a lot of fine boats that I’d put in this category – stuff like the Tempest, Explorer, etc. I like Marshall’s suggestion to figure out what you can paddle locally and take it from there.

Oh, and you should probably pass on the Tsunami at least (I don’t know anything about Hurricane kayaks). They are fine boats for tooling around if you’re primarily concerned about comfort and stability, but you’re almost certainly going to end up wanting something “sexier” if you develop your skills further, and frankly, there are plenty of designs out there that offer good performance and still take care of you.

great all-around boat
Check out the time proven Nigel Dennis Romany. At 16’ it has about everything one could ask for at your size, including dry hatches, storage and stability.

Yeah the romany looks like a really nice boat. Its a little outta my price range right now though.