Looksha 17, TSUNAMI 175, or other??

Hey guys,

So I am looking for my first kayak. I was going to go with a sit on top but the local shop pretty much talked me into doing a sit in. They do offer a full array of classes that I will be taking but would like to learn in the boat that I will be using. I have been doing some paddle boarding and am fairly athletic. I am a big guy at 6’ 2" 260 lbs. So looking at the boats it seems that the 17’ boats give me a fairly good buffer to bring some gear. Also I am going to be spending most of my time in Mission Bay but also want to be able to to eventually take it out and paddle offshore.

I have pretty much narrowed it down to the Looksha 17 or the Tsunami 175. What do you guys think between these two? Is there anything that might be better suited for me? It seems that people like the Tempest a lot but just not sure if that’s a good option for a totally new paddler.


Tsunami 175
weighs about a million pounds.

They both are 68# in polymer. The composites are about 20# lighter but I want to get some time under my belt before I drop $3500 on a boat though. And that that time I may want a higher performance boat.

No reason to avoid the Tempest
Some would argue that it is a better learning platform than at least one of the others you mention. I am not going to wade into that one because it still comes down to how comfortable you feel in a boat.

But don’t take the Tempest off your list because you think it is too challenging. Try getting into one first. They come in plastic, so you can find a decent price point.

Tempest 170

– Last Updated: Jan-12-15 6:46 PM EST –

I really like the Tempest 170. Unfortunately Aqua Adventures on Mission Bay JUST sold their demo one a couple weeks ago so it's no longer there right now to test. They have tons of other boats though that you can test out there to see what you like. I think they have a Tempest 180 though.

think of it this way:
I agree with others about ‘challenging’. It depends on what you want to do and how willing you are to learn. My first boat lasted me two summers because I was ready to move on. My second boat had a much longer learning curve but was well worth climbing.

I don’t think either of those or the Tempest are too challenging for a beginner.

Tempest cont’d
By the way, talking about the Tempest being too much for a beginner, for my very first kayaking lesson they put me in a Tempest 170. I paddle a couple of different boats, but I really do like the Tempest. I don’t find it “challenging” at all!

I think that your first boat
will carry you for some time but if you stick with the sport no matter what you get now you will end up changing boats in the not too distant future because your you don’t yet know what you really want. So just get something and don’t sweat it.

Either one. The more you paddle with either one will probably take you to a choice other than the other one over time. Check out Tarpon 160.

If you ever consider building your own the Pygmy Boreal XL is very nice.

Tempest 170

– Last Updated: Jan-13-15 4:51 AM EST –

I am looking more at the Tempest 170. Looks great but I am concerned about the description on the site. It says "Mid-sized paddlers will relish the fusion of performance capabilities in this award-winning kayak."

I don't think I am midsized at 260. I'd probably do the 180 if I could get it in a poly hull. Any input on the Tempest 170 for a large guy? 6' 2" 260

Height and weight
At 6’1" you are maybe on the high end of mid-sized. My husband was 6’1" and he was a good fit for mid-sized boats. Not the fit issues of our two 6’4" and not-beanpole fellow paddlers.

Your weight is heavier, but is still within the margins for the Tempest 170 and well within the 180 according to their web site. 325 lb for the 170 and 400 for the 180. But we have seen some big people get into the 170 in terms of weight, and the boat mostly worked for them. One case failed, but that person was never able to get comfortable in any kayak. Kayaks just were not their boat.

Obviously the cockpit fit has to work, and the only way to be sure is to sit in a boat. New paddlers usually opt for too loose a fit, so you should get some advice on that. You find out you got the wrong boat when you go to a class and can’t make it behave because you are sliding around in it. But deck height on the 170 says it is 14" if I remember right - that is a lot of room to legs arranged.

Here’s the thing - if you are planning to go out and learn some skills this coming season, going smaller will make that easier. A smaller and better fitting boat - smaller in length and width - will more readily turn, edge etc. The Tempest 180 could feel like an awful lot of boat in terms of length if your weight doesn’t sink it to a good waterline, as could a boat that is shorter but overly wide for your needs.

If you are also planning on some major overnight camping, like a few nights and you pack heavy, the total load comes into consideration. But it doesn’t seem that this is in your plans. And, as said above, whatever you start out with is not going to be your final boat once you learn more what you are doing. If you get a well-suited one, it could be a use-sometimes boat long term. But it won’t be the final boat.

Tempest 170
I started kayaking a couple years ago with a Tsunami 125. After a year, and wanting a boat that could go just that bit faster, I bought a composite Tempest 170. I am 6’, 220lbs., with a somewhat short 32" inseam.

The Tsunami sold me on how WS outfits their boats. I also discovered, and the company supports, moving the seat back as necessary. i-2" is not a problem, and it helps avoiding hitting my shins getting in and out. I moved mine back i", and am about to move it back another inch.

I briefly considered a 180, but it struck me as quite a big boat. I felt lost in it. I love the 170.

I borrowed and paddled a Tempest 180
For several miles.I am 6’5" and 230. The boat felt loose in the cockpit but I am too big for a 170.My brother is 6’1" and fairly slender and the 170 is his boat.

Not fitting
When you say you didn’t fit in the 170 was it just because of height or overall?

I carry my weight fairly well.

I am 6’ 1" 260 lb, 48" chest, 40" waist, and 32" inseam.

You can see my body shape here:


New Paddler
I don’t think the Tempest is a bad option for the new paddler. Be sure and take out the hip pads before trying one.

Similar Size
I’m 6’2 275 with the same pants. I really like the T170 but had to be honest with myself that the cockpit was not a good fit for me. In stock form it was a sit on the back deck and go in feet first. I’d never hit a scramble on the water. Would re-drilling the seat back one hole help, maybe. I loved the way the boat paddled though, stable, quick, responsive to edging and a solid tracker. WS doesn’t list their hull volumes but I found the water line to be fine for a day boat. The 180 felt big and stable. plenty of room for gear. The 180 I rented was old though and didn’t have the amazing outfitting in it that gave that great connection like I had in the 170.

A couple of other boats I liked that come in plastic (I’ve only paddled the composite) are the Baffin and the Tahe Reval HV. The P3 has been around a while but the Reval HV I’ve only seen recently advertised as coming in PE (3 weeks after I bought a different boat). I’d like to get one once they are available. You might also want to check your waterline in a Zephyr 160 if you get a chance.

Tahe Reval
Great info!!! I’m interested in the Tahe but I can’t find it in poly. You think this would be good for a first boat?

Depends on you
If you are a fit guy I don’t see why most of these boats wouldn’t be fine for first boats. If you are asking about the Reval HV it was very stable but that was a composite model I tried. I’m hoping the plastic one will be the same dimensions. Who knows when that boat will be available though.


I’d really like to try the Reval but there aren’t ANY dealers in California. :frowning:

Looksha 17
I used to have the polymer Looksha 17 and loved it. The only reason I sold it is I wasn’t paddling it anymore but I would by another without a doubt.

As far as comparison between the two I have paddled the Tsunami 14.5 and liked it a lot. I would play in both and find out which one you like better. Either one is a great boat in my opinion. Although when it comes down to it I would take the Looksha because I like the way the hatches seal.