Need suggestions for rec touring kayak

I’m looking for a new plastic recreational touring kayak around 14’ to 17’. I plan on paddling calm, protected waters. The main things I’m looking for are 1) Excellent tracking without use of rudder, 2) Good initial and secondary stability, 3) Good speed. I’m 5’-10" and 180 lbs.

I’ve owned 2 kayaks in the past, a 13’ Wilderness Systems Manteo and an 18’ QCC 700, both bought used. I’ve been without a kayak for 2 years now and am looking to get back into it. I’d like something in between the 2 previous kayaks I’ve owned. I like plastic for the low cost and not having to worry about scratching it.

My favorite kayak I’ve demo’d (in the past) was the Current Designs Solstice GTS. I loved the excellent tracking even on windy days and the speed and it fit me really well. Even though it’s not plastic, if I could find a used one at a decent price, I’d probably go with this kayak. I’d like to find something in plastic that has the same characteristics, or something similar. The CD Storm would be the obvious choice, but some of the reviews I’ve read indicate that tracking isn’t that good (I know that opinions are very subjective, however).

I plan to demo several kayaks in the upcoming months and would like some suggestions on kayaks I should try. These are the ones I plan to demo first:

CD Storm

WS Tsunami 140 and 160

Is there anything in plastic that comes close to the excellent tracking of the Solstice GTS?


CD Squamish is another plastic
candidate to consider. I owned a CD Solstice SS for several years. I presently paddle a Squamish and have been very happy with it. It has a drop down skeg that I have yet to deploy since I mostly paddle the Squamish on rivers.

Get you started…
From Current Designs?



Wilderness Systems






There are many, many boats
that would fit the bill. In 14’ range one I would look at is the Necky Manitou 14. In 15’ range take a look at Venture (P&H) Easky 15.


Point 65N
Check out the Crunch Rocker from Point 65N. Good tracking, great poly construction and easy on the budget. Of course you should definitely paddle several different boats, particularly since the tracking is so important to you.

My .02 worth :-). Note, I’m biased since I represent a Point 65N dealer.


Virginia Sea Kayak Center

WS Tsunami
are great boats. Go demo one and how it fits you and how you feel in it. I think for what you are looking for it is a boat you will be very happy with.

I don’t have time to post a ton of feedback on it, but if you want more info on my experience with it email me or search the archives here for Tsunami and you’ll get tons of user feedback on them.

I’m 5’10" 180lbs also, and I like my Seayak. However, I also have Kodiak though. Both boats have served me well.

My husband and I both started with OT Loons (boxy, but good) and moved up to the Tsunami 140…I wish we could have just started with the Tsunami…except they weren’t even made when we started paddling!

The Tsunami is great for what we do…rivers, lakes, and estuaries.

Good stability…comfortable and adjustable seat…hatches (although the day hatch is a joke…it opens right into the larger hatch)…and some great colors to choose from (we both have MANGO because we didn’t want to be “speed bumps”)…overall, it is a nice kayak for the casual paddler.


Easky 15 - Skeg



See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Yes, another good choice …
in the 16’ range.

Hi Tom - we’re heading to FL Saturday.


One Nice Thing About That Dayhatch:
A friend of mine bought a Tsunami 14.5 late this summer, and the cool thing about having a compartment with a regular and a day hatch is that you can string a cable through those two hatch openings and lock the boat to a tree while you shuttle your vehicle. Usually, locking up a kayak in any way that can’t be “undone” in a minute or two with a couple of hand tools isn’t possible.

Dayhatch correction
In the 140 and 145 the day hatch connects to the main stern hatch. However once you step up to the 160 and above the two are separated by a bulkhead.

a hard to turn ruddered plastic kayak

– Last Updated: Feb-12-08 10:35 AM EST –

that is stable.

I can't think of one.

You might consider a Necky Manitou 14. A very comfortable hull shape, efficient, straight tracking and moreso with a skeg For the paddling you've described that's the kayak I'd get.

If you are willing to suspend the necessity for plastic you might find an early production composite model on sale.

If you haven't paddled one don't dismiss it. Your criteria is rec. paddling. The Manitous are excellent rec. boats suited for paddling. All you'll get with a big plastic sea kayak is more weight.

which begs the question,why?
marketing. So a rec. kayak looks like a “sea kayak”

“I like plastic for the low cost and not having to worry about scratching it”

Well, plastic is cheaper. But as has been discussed on here before, you should worry about scratching plastic and not worry about scratching fiberglass. Fiberglass can be easily repaired essentially forever and gel coat is easily replaced. Repairing plastic is more difficult, and for some plastics not possible. Not worrying about scratching plastic is one of the strange persistent myths of boating.

I think it’s the sound
people don’t like the sound it scraping

Having an extra bulkhead is nice and a good idea but it isn’t necessary.

One reason the extra bulkhead isn’t there in a shorter boat is because it would make the two compartments less flexible to load.

While one could make an argument that the day hatch should not be installed in a short boat, a bulkhead does not a sea kayak make.

calling the Tsunami a rec kayak. Flatpick may send FatElmo to give you some cement shoes.

I know WS calls it a “transitional touring” but it isn’t really transitioning from rec to touring, more transitioning from day touring to true touring. Also depends on the size you choose. The 120 is surely not as much a touring boat as the the 160 or 165. I have a 120 and love it. Look at its features, I know some call them fluff, but they are features not generally found on any rec boats, but rather found on touring boats or sea kayaks - adjustable seat, adjustable thigh braces, smaller cockpit opening that takes a neoprene skirt, fore and aft bulkheads, lots of deck rigging and perimeter lines, multi chined hull with superb secondary stability. The hull is very capable in all kinds of water.

Why did WS not put that 3rd bulkhead in the 140 and 145? I’ve got no idea…doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. You’d have to ask them. But I think it has very little to do with marketing.

annapolis canoe and kayak might have a composite Manitou14 on sale (I don’t work there)