Necky Manitou 13 vs. WS Tsunami 125

Looking to upgrade from an Old Town Loon 11 foot kayak I bought to something sleeker and faster. Not sure if I want to make the jump to the 14 foot range. Seems like these two kayaks have great reviews on this site. Any suggestions?



I am the proud
owner of Tsunami 120. I love the boat! It is very comfortable, great ability to adjust the seat just right, and comfortably padded without being bulky. Dry hatches are great, hatch covers fit tight and securely, but are still easy enough to get on and off. Also has 2 dry bulkheads, nice feature. What I really love about the boat is how it handles, great tracking with the keel down, but this boat has killer secondary stability, put it up on edge and you can maneuver it something awesome. This provides great tracking and great turning ability. My 120 is faster them my friend’s Dirigo’s but they are barges compared to it so I’d expect that. Not sure how its speed compares to anything else yet. At 53lbs it is a bit heavy, however I am able to get it up and down of my Yakima hullraisers on my Ford Explorer by myself, and am also able to get it up and down from the rafters of my garage on my own. For a fit/size reference I am 5’10" 165lbs with an average athletic build and find the boat very comfortable and not restrictive. I can stretch out in it for relaxation or lock myself in tight for better performance.

I’ve test paddled a Necky Manitou Sport several times and almost bought one, but decided it was too wide, and too loose and open in the cockpit for what I wanted. The Manitou 13 however has a tighter cockpit and is a narrower boat. I’ve never paddled a 13. One thing I didn’t like about the Manitous at all are their hatches, the neoprenes spray skirt like cover is very hard to get on, and for me was impossible to get on from inside the boat.

Some observational comparisons…

  1. Manitou 13 only has one dry hatch and one bulkhead compared to the Tsunami’s 2. In a swamp you’ll have more water in the Necky to get out, and less dry storage space.
  2. It looks like the Mantiou does have some padded thigh brace area, but they aren’t adjustable. The Tsunami has very comfortable, well padded, and easily adjustable thigh braces.
  3. The cockpit on the Manitou is smaller then that on the Tsunami - this could be a positive or a negative really a matter of personal preference.
  4. The Manitou is only 45lbs, Tsunami 54 lbs.
  5. Manitou is slightly narrower the the Tsunami.
  6. I believe the Manitou is about $150-200 cheaper then the Tsunami.

    Best recommendation is to find a dealer and test paddle the heck out of both them, and see what feels better for you. They are both excellent boats by all accounts.

    Happy paddling…


The Tsunami hull design has quite a bit more rocker than the Manitou 13. In moving water, it may be more fun to play with. On flat water, it will not be as efficient as the Necky. The WS boat also has fore and aft dry storage compartments, whereas the Man 13 only has a rear bulkhead and a foam block up front. The WS has a rudder option, the Necky doesn’t.

The cockpit fits are also very different in the boats. The Necky skews toward the Rec end of the market, the Tsunami has more of a fitted design. If you wanted to roll them, the WS is easier because of the snugger fit in the knees and hips.

There’s a big price difference between the boats ($150 or so). If you’re primarily using the boat in smaller lakes and rivers and don’t need more of a touring boat fit, then the Necky is a very good buy. I have a 13 I bought as my kids’ boat, and they can keep up with me in my Tempest 170 pretty easily (unless I’m sprinting to taunt them a bit…). In winter, I use that Man 13 as my river paddling boat, and never feel like I’m driving a dog. If money’s an issue, and you don’t need the seaworthiness of the WS, get the Man and spend the savings on a good quality paddle.

Manitou 13
I like how it paddles

Another boat you may
want to consider is the new Cayuga 130 from Old Town. Seems to be a very similar design to the Tsunamis. At least one paddler here has purchased one and raves about it. You can check out all of its features at Old Town’s website.

I was leaning toward the Manitou 13 because price is somewhat of an issue. I found a store with one on clearence for $599 and the cheapest I can find the Tsnunami is $850 or so. They both sound like great boats, but for my needs maybe the Manitou would be best.

More similar to Manitou than a Tsunami

Go for it!
I think we all agree that the Manitou 13 is a good boat and will serve you very well. And for $599 that is a STEAL! Run don’t walk to the store. Spend the money you save on gas to get you to the put in! Since you are replacing you’re current Loon then you’ve already got your paddle, pfd, and other accessories. Enjoy your new kayak once you get it.

Happy Paddling…


rough recollections
is that the Manitou hull is paddling designed and the Tsunami is bells and whistles designed.

I’d have to
disagree slightly. While the Tsunami has more features, they are all functional, not just bells n whistles. Owning one I can tell you it was definitely designed for paddling, but its hull is multi chined as opposed to the more rounded hull of the Manitous. It was designed for some more agressive paddling and handling in my experience then the Manitous. Mobrien’s comparison was very good, stating that the Manitou design was more rec boat, the Tsunami closer to a touring boat performance oriented design.

Not gonna comment on the Tsunami, which is a cool product. Just will say that the Manitou was designed by a world class shaper who holds several world record holding designs. It is a superbly capable little boat!

No argument
there! The Manitou is definitely an AWESOME and well designed boat. I darn near bought one myself before deciding on the Tsunami. My point is simply that the Manitou was designed for a different paddler and in a different way then the Tsunami. I personally don’t think anyone can make a value judgment as to which boat is “better”.

Both good
The Manitou actually reminds me of the venerable Mariner Coaster. The boat may be classified as sport rec, due to the larger cockpit and rec seat, but when outfitted with thigh hooks and backband etc., it is a superb rough sea capable boat.

My kids love theirs
After years of telling the kids I would get them kayaks when they got old enough, they got old enough. So I went out last christmas and bought them each a manitou 13. Now all they want to do is go paddling. Paid $630 each. It was hard parting with the cash but I am very happy with the way the kids have become attached to the boats. I am glad I didn’t buy something else for them.

I keep hearing people talk about how much fun they are in rough water and I might just borrow one from the kids and find out for myself.

I agree . . .
That they are both great boats. Think thats why the decision is a hard one. Now I’ve also looked at the OT Cayuga 13. Seems like another great boat in that length range. Think the manitous price, sleek design and weight may force me in that direction though.

Test paddle
Have you had an oppurtunity to test paddle any of them yet? For sure you are looking at some great boats, and all very capable. I have no doubt any one of them will server you very well. Your decision at this point should be influenced by what boat is most comfortable and fits you best. Best advice any of us can give is test paddle, test paddle, test paddle. It took me 6 months of deliberation and test paddling about 10 different boats, test paddling 3 different boats extensively, before I settled on one boat.

Probably why so many people here end up with multiple boats, because every boat is better suited for certain situations. And some poeple just like more then one boat!

Good luck!

Test Paddle
My problem is I live in South Dakota. There only seems to be three or four places in the state that sell kayaks. I’ve never heard of any one within a hundred miles offering test paddling. I’ll have to check around though. That would be help a lot.

Manitou & Coaster
I once owned a Coaster and have been looking for a suitable substitute and at a better price. The Manitou looks like it might a good short boat for paddling winding salt marsh creeks, playing in light surf and taking on trips when I don’t want to car top an 18 foot boat. I need to demo this boat. Does anyone know who designed it? John

Gary Seaman
who also designed the first wind surfer and three world record holding windsurfers. Shaped over 10,000 surf boards, helped Barton develop his forst foam filled wing paddle. Shaped many great kayaks as well.

That’s a tough
situation and makes the decision making process harder. Be sure to inquireat the places that do sell kayaks if there is anyway you could test paddle 1 or 2 boats before buying.

My most “local” shop charges a $15 fee to paddle 3 boats for 45 min. If after testing paddling, or within 30 days of the test paddle you purchase a boat, then $15 is credited to your purchase.

Someplace out there may be willing to let you test out for a small fee.

If you can’t test paddle prior to purchase then make the best decision you can based on what’s comfortable for you to sit in at the shop, and what fits your budget best. I don’t think any of the 3 boats you are now considering would be a bad choice.