Tempest 170 v Tsunami 140

I was going for the tempest, despite being much heavier (in plastic, which is what I can afford) and harder to store since it’s 17 feet v. 14.

I was going to go for the tempest because I, for some novice reason, assumed it was safer. handles swells, following seas, chop better.

Not so, kayak store guy says. Each boat will do those things as well, and anyway the real safety issue is paddler skill and judgement, not boat model. He even said the tsunami is harder to get up to speed, but once up to speed will go about as fast as the tempest.

the only plus of the tempest, he said, is being more nimble on edge turns (due to soft chines instead of the tsunami’s hard chines) and the extra cargo space. But you can certainly edge a tsunami, he said.

So, is this all true or not? The tsunami appeals to me as a beginner because its less twitchy, lighter, cheaper, and easier to store. Alas, not as cool, though (which doesn’t matter to me.) But I do want to keep up on group paddles with people tempests, chathams, and other performance boats. Thanks.

well now…
some of what he said rings true and some doesn’t.

your last sentence says it all. get the Tempest. you’ll be happier.


just not sure…
i’ll eve get used to that twitchy feeling in the Tempest, and feel as at ease as I would in a tsunami when I put down the paddle to snap a photo, for instance.

apples and oranges

– Last Updated: May-31-06 8:20 PM EST –

I haven't paddled a Tempest 170 but few similar boats, and i have paddled the Tsunami.
Your dealer is full of sh*t. He's just trying to make sure you end up in one of his boats and he ends up with your cash in his pocket.
Tsunami is fine for a novice but its a much slower boat. "takes longer to get up to speed but once up to speed its same as tempest" BS. doesnt work that way.
Tempest is narrower,lower deck and has better outfitting and a backband(compared to tsunami's rigid hinged back) so it'll be better for rolling and edging and what not, the tsunami...i dont have any doubts its doable but its a much more recreationally oriented boat. Stable,roomy, probably capable, but much more recreational. and has a rudder with the generic slider footpegs instead of solid footing in a skeg boat. Tsunami-totaly beginner friendly.
There's more kayak makers than just Wilderness systems you know.
Tsunami will probably always be a better picture taking platform but Tempest will be something you'll probably never grow out of if you wanna advance your skills and go on longer paddles and go in bigger open water.

you state “appeals to me as a beginner”

are you going to progress above ‘beginner’?

the twitchiness just may go away.

or buy a Tsunami.


wilderness systems…
boats just seem to fit me–its that seat they got that snubs up perfectly to teh thighs, knees, etc. necky boats, on teh otehr end–from the Chatham 17 on down into the rec boats just doesn’t seem to fit.

I hate, hate, hate that the tsunami comes with a rudder instead of a skeg, and doesn’t even have a skeg option.

he sells both, and would make less…
by talking me into a tsunami. so maybe he really believes he’s giving me teh best advice.

Tsunami vs Tempest
No doubt, your topic will bring multiple responses from people far more experienced than myself. But I would like to venture an opinion on your post/question. It just happens to apply to the paddle I had today. Several months back, I test paddled a Tsunami 120. Wow! It fit like a glove!! I loved the way I fit in the cockpit and the customizable Phase 3 seat. I thought there was plenty of storage and then I saw the Tsunami 140. Same feel in the cockpit, two feet longer, an easy to access day hatch. I was in heaven. Thought my only problem was deciding between poly and duralite.

Skip ahead to this afternoon. Much as I loved those Tsunamis, I couldn’t swing the price. So I waited a little while and found a used Tempest 165 at a decent price. Now, I have heard there are some handling differences between the 165 and the 170. I have not paddled the 170 so I can’t speak to those. But I’ve put some good mileage on my Tempest and I can’t tell you how happy I’ve been. Better still, she’s still surprising me. I’m still getting to know her. Still learning all the nuances of the skeg (how far to deploy under these conditions…etc), still amazed at how well she handles gear and still in love with how she sits in the water. I really enjoy the comments from boaters who say I’m (and I quote) “bookin’ it in that thang”.

So this afternoon I took a colleague out on the water for the first time. Long story, but I couldn’t get to where the Tempest is being stored today and I wanted my friend to have a full range of boats to choose from. So I took him to a great local shop and rented two boats, thinking he could have his pick of the lot and I’d try that sweet Tsunami again. Best of both worlds, right??

Only I couldn’t have been more wrong. Wow! That Tsunami today was sluggish. No. She did not edge extremely well. I missed my skeg when the tide changed. The rear hatch leaked. And that strip in the cockpit (so convenient for holding water bottles, etc) kept rubbing my heels the wrong way if I tried to move my feet. The 140 seemed a little faster but not much to speak of and the handling just isn’t the same after the Tempest. I really, truly looked forward to the Tsunami today but only came home let down. The paddle itself was great. Got a newbie in the water and he didn’t even freak when he capsized. Saw some large pelicans fishing with expert style but that’s about it. The Tsunami’s tracked, but nothing like the Tempest. They have storage but the leaking is an issue if you actually want your sleeping bag dry.

The best thing I can say about the Tempest- that you’ll take a long time getting to know her and build a solid relationship - is exactly the opposite for the Tsunami. You’ll outgrow the Tsunami. There’s nothing “wrong” with the Tsunami, there’s just so much more right with the Tempest.

Three years ago I went from a 28" wide WS Tarpon SOT to a 21" beam sea kayak. Back then I though it was bit too twitchy to take pictures from, except maybe on dead calm water. After a year or so, plenty stable, and after learning to roll it feels as stable as a dock. Now, I could take pictures from my 18 7/8" wide Greenland qajaq (but not my surf ski yet).

Buy the boat you want to be in next year, and that will let you continue to develop - unless you are OK with the limits of a “friendlier” type kayak made for basic skills and protected waters (the vast majority of paddlers are).

The “tippier” kayak will just remove any initial false sense of security and get you learning recovery skills right off as you should - not later or someday like many. With solid self rescue skills you’ll really begin to appreciate the extra performance potential.

great post lira–but a q
how much did you kayak before getting your tempest?

Yesterday, the tempest felt so twitchy compared to teh tsunami. I couldn’t imagine myself feeling comfortable enough to put down the paddle and take a pic, even in glass water. I had to pay so much attention to what the boat was doing.

did you ever feel this way? does it pass–so that your body isn’t doing a low grade panic when ever you feel a twitch?

the tsunami seems liek a boat you could ignore more, and still not go for a swim.

lol–now that’s an upgrade! thnx

don’t hate
actually the Tsunami is better with a rudder than a skeg. My $.02 is to not buy ANYTHING until you can answer these questions from your own experience and not have to find fault/inconsitancy with the dealer.

attention to what the boat was doing
Yeah, paying attention to paddling. Good idea for a beginner. Worry about the camera later.

Small learning curve now - big payoff not too much later. No leaning curve now - where’s the fun in that?

Reading your posts it seems pretty clear you want the Tempest. Justifying the Tsunami won’t get you one. I’m sure that shop guy believes what he’s telling you - but what he believes has little to do with the reality of your paddling.

In case you can’t see this, that kayak store guy is trying to sell you BOTH kayaks. The Tsunami now, the Tempest later.

What’s Your Height? Weight?
It helps with steering you toward the right boat.

This too, shall pass
The twitch goes away very quickly. I’ve been paddling sea kayaks for three years now. I had my Tempest 170 out on Monday with my kids. The kids were in sit-on-tops and bragging about getting a good tan on their legs. So, I just popped the sprayskirt, slid down in the seat and stuck my legs out on top of the boat.

You should get the Tempest so you can learn to roll. Nothing will be as twitchy after that. (Tempest 170 has a HARD chine btw)

haven’t paddled the tsunami 140, but last summer I went for a day paddle with some one that is a stronger paddler than I am and he tookout a 140 tsunami. I was in a plastic capehorn 170 and another guy was in a capehorn 170 pro .The 140 had a hard time keeping up with us at a comfortable touring speed and could not keep up when we steped up our pace a bit(6mph est).I am not saying the capehorn is fast (think the tempest is faster) just that the 140 hits the wall to soon to keep up with a real sea-touring kayak ,It isn’t any fun to have to work twice as hard to go the same distance as every one else.My two cents - don’t buy the tsunami you’ll out grow it after your first time out with the other people you say you will paddle with.

Bingo!! n/m

how about
a Manitou now and a used glass boat later?

He’s selling Both Boats
And it’s good sales strategy, too, as long as the service ensures a loyal customer. If the Tempest is only tippy for you on the water, and fits you perfectly (or at least as near-perfectly as a kayak can fit without making your own seat) while you’re sitting in it, then it looks to me like your decision is made.

If you don’t intend to move past the “beginner” skill level, and want to take pictures right away, then the Tsunami will do what you want it to do, but if you have any desire to progress as a paddler, the Tempest is probably one of the better boats I know to do it in (very stable once you’re comfortable, cost-effective, plenty of storage space, responsive, and you can get it up to a good clip).

As far as getting the Tsunami up to speed… next time you’re at the outfitter, ask the sales guy if he’s spent any time in either of the boats, and if so, where he took them. I’d be pretty surprised if even a moderately experienced paddler couldn’t tell any difference in speed after two minutes in those boats.