Necky vs Tsunami: Lake Tahoe

We are new to kayaking but now that we have moved will likely be doing it quite a bit. I am 5’11" 160 and my wife is 5’7" 135 and we are thinking about Necky vs Tsunami’s for Lake tahoe day-kayaking (we are 50 yrs old). One Necky Sport and one Manitou 13 (or maybe even 14) seem right for a blend of ‘getting started right’ and longer term enjoyment as we get better. But the Tsunami 120 and 125 seem like a good pair also. What do you think for Lake Tahoe Kayaking?

I have both…
I have both a Necky Manitou 14 and a WS Tsunami (165). Kind of apples to oranges for a direct comparison…different hulls, skeg vs rudder (or lack of rudder), high profile vs low profile. They are both good boats. Have you had the chance to demo both? I might lean toward the Necky for speed on open water with the lower profile and the skeg. For distance or camping applications, I’d lean toward the Tsunami. The skeg box in the rear of the Necky takes up a lot of storage space.

Go with a Tsunami 135
for your wife and you can pick up that $300 Sea Lion on Reno Craig’s List.

Tsunami available with rudder
either new or after the fact. I have a 125 and have paddled the 145 with and without rudder. Prefer w/o rudder. My 125 paddles straight and fast and carries a lot of stuff. Necky is a bit lower profile. I’d pick the Tsunami for stability. Both good boats. I went with Tsunami for room (6’1", 250) and I don’t care for skegs.

Tsunami is nice
We have a 120 and 125 for small lakes and rivers. They are great transitional boats and I’ve even used mine for fishing. They are stable and perform very well. I’m sure the Necky would be good too but the one I tried was like a barge (forget what size). I’d also look at Dagger in the same category.

Good luck,


which Sport
You say “Necky Sport”, but Necky has had a variety of boats with the Sport label.

Manitou Sport, Zoar Sport, Elaho Sport, Looksha Sport

Manitou Sport
actually to clarify I was thinking of 1 Necky Manitou Sport and 1 Manitou 13 Select, vs 1 Tsunami 120 and 1 Tsunami 125; sort of his/hers, smaller/larger combination of boats, that our kids or friends could also use if we decided to upgrade in a few years.

I didn’t appreciate that the Tsunami’s were that much higher profile, which obviously would keep you drier in waves. . .

thanks for the opinions!

While the Tsunami 120 is a decent choice
for you, the 125 is probably too wide. I am 68" and about 190 ibs and use my wife’s Tsunami120 and I use some padding to get a good fit. It will be a blast to surf when the waves get big on Big Blue. I would seriously consider a Tsunami135 for your wife over the 125. The 125 is designed for large paddlers and neither you or your wife are “larger” from your description.

Flip a coin

… if both are available. You can’t go wrong with either choice.

Or just sit in them long enough and one will call your name.

Paddlin’ on


also check the weight…

– Last Updated: Dec-13-08 10:51 PM EST –

The Manitou 13 & Sport are lighter than the Tsunami 120/125/135, something to consider for cartopping and portaging. It also feels faster to me and tracks quite nicely, whereas the Tsunami is slightly wider, has a higher deck, carries weight well and seems to have more rocker for turning. No forward hatch/bulkhead in the Manitou 13 though like the Tsunamis, but the Manitou 14 has. Both nice lines of boats, you really can't go wrong with either one. I like the Manitou for day trips, and you can stuff a sizable dry bag forward of the foot pegs for overnighters.

For your wife

– Last Updated: Dec-13-08 11:48 PM EST –

Definately get the boat for small paddlers/average sized women, like the Tsunami 135. Otherwise you'll be having a fine time and she'll be hauling like heck to keep up with you because she is pushing around a boat that is too big a volume for her. You'll both be much happier if you get her into a boat that makes it as easy for her to paddle as for you, with you having more upper body strength.

As above, you are not a large paddler. In fact there are a number of boats for smaller paddlers that would work for you if your leg length works. So something as recommended above in the Tsunami line may be a better pick for you as well.

I just looked at the cockpit specs - the cockpit size for the Tsunamis seem to run narrower. At your build, likely pretty slim, and for the purposes of waves etc, this should make for a better fit and, hopefully, easier ability for your to control it.