I’m searching for advice regarding the “best” choice between purchasing the Tsunami 120 vs. 135. (I don’t want anything longer). I am 5’08" and 160 lbs. Live in Michigan and plan to paddle various size lakes. Want to “play” in rough waters, i.e. wind and waves. Will be paddling solo and taking only day trips of between 2-6 hours, mostly for exercise and the enjoyment of nature. Want something that handles rough conditions well with good tracking. Also the ability to maneuver the kayak is a consideration. Please cite the pros and cons of each. I thank all in advance who respond. Paddling.Net is truly a wonderful resource!
Where in MI?
Inland lakes or Great Lakes?
A 120 would be fine but a 135 may be better.
If you want to get into tighter creeks and stay on inland lakes a 120 will be more appropriate.
However, if you really emphasize the rough play in weather and venture out on larger lakes or the Great lakes a 135 will be more helpful. Better tracking and speed, etc.
If you are in, or get to, SE MI check out Riverside Kayak:
Their first demo day is not until May 3rd. However they are pretty good about letting you demo their boats. I have a friend from Holland, MI who drove across state to demo and purchase from them. Very accommodating shop.
Also, here is a link to their message board:
Unless you are talking about a northern equivalent of mangrove swamps or moving water (like the white stuff), you shouldn't be in anything where a 14' or less boat will be difficult to maneuver. But it is highly likely that after a short time in a 12 ft boat you'll find that you want a little more length for glide - this is real common.
Also, the 135 has a day hatch but the 120 doesn't. For your use, I suspect you'll find this very handy. Between the two, the 135 would be the boat least likely to cause buyer's regret after several weeks of paddling.
what they said
the 120 is a bit more ‘recreational’ it’s wider and shorter (d’uh)
The 135 is more ‘sea kayakish’ with day hatch, snug fit, etc.
I’d change out the backrest for a Tempest style backstrap for a more athletic fit.