Thanks for all the earlier feedback on this boat. This is the boat that keeps rising to the top when I get feedback. I plan to test drive the 125 before I make a final decision. If anyone has any last minute input or recomendations about this or any other boat in this category that should be considered, I would greatly appreciate the feedback. <br />
Please keep in mind that I am a pretty athletic 6' 220lbs and paddle mostly slow rivers and class I & II's.
hard to turn in Class I-II
I owned a TS125 Duralite for a while and liked it a lot but it's not the best choice for Class I-II because it doesn't like to turn and the rather deep shallow vee bottom hangs up on rocks easily. The high seat back makes it difficult to enter and exit from the back deck. Its all but impossible to hoist yourself up over the high seat back to exit. However the cockpit is large enough to swing your legs over the side of the boat and stand up to get out. Pluses are that it tracks remarkably well for a short boat, it's comfortable as a living room chair, rolls and wet exits are easy and it doesn't weigh a ton like the Poly boats do. The hatches are tight, non-leak bulkheads, easily adjustable pegs and thigh braces. Typical Wilderness Systems fit and finish is much better IMHO than other boats in the category.
run my Tsunami 120 through any Class I or II water I can’t speak to its handling in those conditions, but overall I find the boat VERY maneuverable, even given its hard keel. Once you put it up on edge and hold it on the chines it turns easily, not like an 8’ WW boat, but better then most rec or rec/touring hybrids. If you plan on spending most of your time in Class I or II water certainly a WW boat would be more appropriate, but if you want a boat that will spend most of its time in milder water, but can handle I or II water safely then the Tsunami should fit the bill.
Also, I tend to keep the seat back in its lowest position or only slightly raised and have no problems entering and exiting the boat over the seat back from the aft deck.
Just a perfect example of how some boats fit different people in different ways. Allsky7, go try one out and see how it fits you, that’s the best way to tell.
Go for a “Red” one
Two weeks ago I paddled a rotomolded mango WS Tsunami 125. It was great and responded exceptionally well through rocks and shoals much faster turning than my Kestrel. You can lean the damn thing over and almost kiss the water. The 125 was really a great and beautiful kayak although I would use the Pungo 120 if I was going to rent kayaks. It may be a little tipsy for a newbie. If you buy the Tsunami 125 you may keep it forever...if you buy a Pungo 120 you'll end up with a Tsunami 125. I wish I would have had a skirt to roll it. The only thing that I don't like is the thigh braces. I will cut the molded flaps off and remove the pads. I hope to get with WS and go up and watch them make one and then buy it. Sadly CD quit making the Kestrel 120HV in red and the Tsunami 125 is my next choice. If I get to watch them make the boat I will ask them not to put the pads in. I take a lot of people on the river and need to exit quickly for rescues and never used pads to roll. Besides it will give me more room on a long trip. Planning on a 500 mile break in trip.
I just wish the stern was pointed. I like the bow dry storage...hope my tent fits...if not I will go with out the tent and take smaller bottles of water. Nice seat, the seat back isn't important to me, I never use it (strong back...weak mind). The easy adjustable foot pegs are OK but not necessary. I never move mine.
Have fun with it and please post your comments.
120 is Mango, and it definitely turns better the the red one did that I test paddled
apples to apples
I paddle rotomolded. I haven’t paddled a Tusnami 120 but would expect it to outmaneuver the 125.
My friend just sold his Pungo 120 and bought the Tsunami 125.
Racing a Pungo 120 against a Tsunami 125 time wise through a course assuming the water is deep enough for both boats I believe my time would be faster in the Tsunami. Key word “believe” and probably faster if the Pungo is mango and the Tsunami is “red”
If you can get in & out of it
let us know what color you buy. I was so busy clowning about a red one that I forgot you were 6’ 200#s and athletic. The 125 may be a tight squeeze. Do me the favor and let me know how the demo goes. I like this kayak, paddle it for several miles and recommend it a lot. I’ll probably retire my 12’ kayak soon.
I am hoping to test drive tomorrow.I have a request in at my local dealer. I made the request last week. If I have not heard back by lunchtime today, I am going to call them and give them grief. This will be my 4th boat from them and also may be buying another for my GF in the near future. They need to tighten up!! Will give a full report ASAP.
My Tarpon 160 is mango and why do
ya’ll keep dinking around with stubby boats?
This is my dilema
Today is the day I am headed over to take a look at the TSU 125. Don’t mean to be so OCD on this but what I am struggling with is that I float often on the upper James River where most of the floats have quite a bit of slow moving water with stretches of I’s & II’s mixed in. All the research and feedback have told me the TSU is a great boat but I’m worried about the keel. The James is a very rocky river. I know these are different class boats but I wonder if a boat like the Pamlico 120 might not be a better fit for the type of floating I do most of the time. Isn’t the Pam a more flat bottomed boat and perhaps a little more versatile? Again, sorry for the OCD, just don’t want to spend $850 on a TSU and end up with the wrong boat.
a 120 because many of the smaller waterways I paddle in the Jersey Pine Barrens get VERY narrow, in some places even less then 6-8’. A 16’ boat just wouldn’t work well in these places. A 120 is the right size boat for me and the paddling I do.
I’m not familiar
with the water you will be paddling so it is hard for me to say for sure if one boat is better suited then the other. I know you are looking to upgrade from your current rec style boats, correct? A Pam is another rec style boat, very open cockpit, less outfitting, no thigh hooks, etc. If you want something that is less rec boat then the Pam probably isn’t it.
If it is maneuverability you are concerned about, I can tell you even with the keel fore and aft the Tsunami is very maneuverable, as long as you edge and are comfortable doing so. However you’ll definitely need a skirt, if I didn’t have one I’d get very wet edging my Tsunami.
If your concern is depth of water and the keel getting hung up on rocks and other obstacles, then that’s a different story. I can tell you that I have taken my Tsunami through very very shallow places in the Pine Barrens, and over many obstacles such as submerged trees, stumps, etc without hanging up the front keel, it is the center where my weight is that always gets hung up.
The crux of the thing is that neither the Pam or the Tsunami are WW boats, and neither one is necessarily designed to excel through WW. People have told me that the Tsunami handles ok in lighter class I&II WW though I’ve never tried myself yet, but hope to. I’d think that with as open as the Pam cockpit is you’ll get pretty wet through WW with it. Unfortunately it is the age old problem of one thing not being able to excel in two different areas.
What have you seen other people run through these sections of WW on the James? Have you gotten any recommendations from anyone else who frequents this waterway? What is it about your current boats that makes you want to replace them? How do they handle this water?
The Verdict Is In
Well folks, again I appreciate all the feedback on this. I ended up purchasing an Old Town Loon 120. Guess I am just a rec boat guy. The Tsunami 125 just isn’t big enough so I didn’t even demo it. I have no doubt it is a great boat but I just don’t think I am ready for it at this point. K, I trust your input on the TSU but that keel looks mighty big. The Pamlico 120 just didn’t fit right. I looked huge in the cockpit. I must have considered a dozen boats today. The Loon 120 is long enough to track fairly well, has a relatively flat bottom to get me through those shallow rapids on the James, has an adequate cockpit but not too big, has a comfy seat, and has a @#*$^&% drink holder for Pete’s sake. LOL.
My biggest gripe is so many boats have cheap seats in them. I eliminated several today based on that alone that were otherwise nice boats. That is a deal breaker for me. I know they are doing that to hit a certain price point so they can be competative. Anyway, I will report back once I get this bad boy out on the James. One thing I know for sure is that at next years demo days, I will test drive 30 boats in many sizes and shapes instead of the 7 or 8 I did this year. Even if I am not buying, I want to see what is out there. Maybe one day I can take the leap to a higher grade boat.
BTW…I got the sunrise color. It is an orange and yellow mix.
Sounds like you
did some looking and consideration and chose a boat that fits you well! Like I said in an earlier post, every boat fits differently for every person. Loon’s are popular boats, I’m sure it will serve you well. I did the same thing as you, I was 99% certain I was going to purchase a Manitou Sport, I was convinced it as the only boat that came close to having all the features I’d wanted. Then on my last day of demoing I gave the Tsunami a shot, and instantly changed my mind.
Glad you made a decision you are confident and happy with. Now get out there and get that pretty new boat wet, dirty, and scratched up. Don’t forget to report on how the day’s fishing goes!
What color is it…???
Been sitting here all day waiting on you to post that you bought a red Tsunami 125. Oh well
It is kind of a tight fit.
Congratulations of the OT Loon. We all wish we could build what we imagine would be the perfect kayak and in our color choice but we can't. Give a little here---get a little there.
After 10 minutes on the water you won't think about the other boats and pretty soon it will be the best kayak on the water.
BTW...The first kayak I paddled had a cup holder built into the cockpit opening. I never used it for a cup holder and even laughed at it but it can in handy. Wish my Kestrel had one. The ones in the seat do look ????
Took the Loon 120
out for a spin on a 36 acre watershed lake near my house this AM just as it was starting to get light. Put in at 5:30 (didn’t have time to go to the James River) Awesome!! It was a cool 54 degrees and the mist was rising off of the water with Mount Pleasant in the background. Saw geese, baby ducks, and a beaver. The fish weren’t biting but who cares.
Oh yeah…almost forgot about the boat. Very pleased with how it paddled. At times I was in water that couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 inches deep and didn’t drag one time. Even with my 220# rear end in the cockpit. We shall see how she does on the rapids of the James. My first impression is this is a solid all around boat that should serve me well. At least until I get another itch. LOL