tsunami 14.5 or carolina 14.5?

Greetings all. I’m planning on upgrading from my 9.5 rec kayak to an intermediate crossover this year. I’m 6 ft, 200lbs. Narrowed it down to a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 14.5 or a Perception Carolina 14.5. Any advice on which is a better choice? I mosly paddle lakes and moderately choppy rivers. Thanks!

Can you demo
them? I can tell you my impressions, but it can’t beat you getting into them and find out for yourself. That said:

I have a friend who has a Carolina 14.5. When paddling with others he has to paddle pretty hard to keep up. It seems to be able to carry a lot of stuff, but he says himself that its a bit of a barge. I’ve demoed the Tsunamis in various sizes. They have incredible glide which tells me that they have very efficient hulls. They track very well, which also means that they’re not as maneuverable. Its not that they’re hard to turn, just not as maneuverable as some others. Of course you could use the rudder to help but that would effectively ban you from the “serious” paddlers club. If I was looking for a SINK I wouldn’t hesitate to get a Tsunami. Great boat.

On specs I would give the edge …
to the Tsunami. It has a day hatch and a smaller cockpit which will be easier to seal with a sprayskirt in rough weather.

In the real world, Redmond is correct. It is a matter of comfort and fit that is a personal choice you should make by paddling the two boats.

Check out the archives for information on Wildy’s Duralite material. My recollection is that there are mixed feelings about it.

From casual observation
We’ve had folks in after-work skills sessions in both of these boats - relative newbies. Granted that I recall mostly women in the Carolina, who tend to get swallowed up by that cockpit, but overall the people in the Tsunami seem to have an easier time getting basic strokes and rescues to be effective.

'Ware, not at all scientific. One question though - have you had a chance to sit in either of these noats? At your size you really should confirm things like if the footpegs go out as far as you need, that kind of thing.

I’ve demoed the Tsunami 145 in Duralite and really liked it. Like Redmond mentioned it tracks and glides really well. When I demoed it, it handled well but I was on a small lake with plenty of room to maneuver. I may have felt differently if I was on a creek or a small river dodging snags. You save a fair amount of weight with the Duralite option but there are lots of comments out there (check the reviews section) that say you give up too much hull rigidity to make it worth the extra $$$. The Carolina has a pretty good reputation as an all around good boat but I have no personal experience with it.

what they said…
and if you want a better Carolina to compare with the Tsunami try out the NEW 140 (14’) It is a very different boat than the 14.5. TOTAL redesign.


I paddle the 14.5 Carolina
Yep, it has issues when paddled next to swifter boats, but it never goes in the water without a full load of gear and outriggers…I increase the drag doing that… I’m an Flat water kayak camper, I paddle mostly alone so the speed issue is not that important…what IS important is the Stability and load capacity…ya need to be having a heart attack to turn it over to beginwith, and it has a 400 pound load limit that I’m pushing on a regular basis.

ditto on the demo idea, paddle both, or at least sit in the cockpit on both…the smaller cockpit on the Tsunami can be a pain to enter and exit for people with long legs…Redmond had issues with the cockpit size and he has shorter legs…

Just paddled a Tsunami 145 today…
with my little GPS sitting on the deck in front of the cockpit. I could work hard, and get her to go over 5 mph, but a very easy paddling stroke would get me between 4.0 and 4.3. She really slips through the water nicely, even though she’s a fatty by hard core standards.

I could see very easy 16 mile days, even loaded with camping gear.

I have had a Tsunami14.5 for about 3 months now as my first kayak. I am using it to train for 2 races this year, a 50 mile one day race and a 340 mile 4.5 day race both on rivers. I have had it on rivers and flatwater lakes and it is great. I am a very short heavy paddler and have gear packed as well and it it has no problems with it. Whichever you get, get a rudder as the wind will blow you around and a rudder will stop that with less wasted paddling effort. I paddled with a friend that had a Carolina 14.5. They seem to be equal in most respects from my observations of of them.

Thanks for the responses!
I really appreciate all your input. I have sat in both boats, though it was on a showroom floor. Would prefer the chance in the water. I did feel that the tsunami fit me like a glove. Felt very comfortable and connected to it. My only concern, as someone mentioned is getting in and out. The built in thigh braces make for a narrow front in which to slip into. Will definetely take some getting used to, after a few dunking sessions I’m sure! I am going to look for the new 140 as Steve mentioned, but am leaning towards the tsunami at the moment. Thanks again. Very helpful bunch and a nice forum to find!

Thigh Braces
I don’t recall how the thigh braces in the Tsunmi are alid in, but if they screw in and are adjustable you could have some flexibility there. It isn’t unusual for WW boats to be set up to accept different levels of thigh braces (can swap different braces in and out in both of our Inaziones), as well as both WS and someone else having gone to adjustable braces in at least one of their sea kayaks. So if the thigh braces are a little deep for you to handle layers of clothing in the Tsunami as is, you might be able to replace them with less curvy and deep ones.

The tsunami thighbraces
Are adjustable. If the fit seems to narrow just slid the braces back and you may be more comfortable.

As for preference, I have own both (my Tsunami is the 160) and I prefer the Tsunami hands down. I find it maneuvers great.

I have yet to paddle the new carolinas. As Steve said, it’s a new design.

visually the new carolina
has some attributes that make it cloaser to the tsunami…at least that is what appeared to my eyes…

the deck shape and hull shape are more reminescent of a tsunami as is the outfitting…

how much did you bring to the carolina Steve?


On 3rd season in the Tsunami…
My spouse and I have Tsunamis with rudders…now going into our 3rd season. Mine’s a 145. Here are my impressions:

  • Very seaworthy for a light touring kayak. Quite surprising how well it handles the swells and chop in our coastal Massachusetts area.

  • Pretty roomy. We can camp easily for several days and not have to skimp on things.

  • Stable and predictable. I’ve practiced a lot of wet-exits and entries…assisted and solo. A lot more reliable than the Carolina (although I haven’t tried the new ones…which I understand to be highly refined.)

  • Sort of slow…sorry. I have trouble keeping up with people in sleeker boats. I work pretty hard to do so. In some regards, the Tsunami seems like a barge to me.

  • That said, this is one comfortable boat.

    I’m looking to move up to a longer, faster boat now. But I’m definitely going to keep the Tsunami around for the fun of it.

REI Demo Days
If you live near an REI, they will be holding their annual demo’ day around April 18 (check local store schedule). If you contact the vendors ahead of time, you could probably ensure that they bring whatever you’d like to try out…

I got a Tsunami 145 Duralite and have used it in Class II rapids and shoals with confidence. I found that the skeg really helps with tracking (as expected) but can be frustrating for a weaker, smaller, lighter (5’9", 135 lbs) paddler like myself when you find yourself trying to maneuver between the rocks! The ugly, bulbous rise of the cockpit was useful for keeping water from pouring into the cockpit.

REI Demo days. Worth the wait.

Make sure
You get the crack pipe with either boat.

not sure where you were going with that last post.

From another post

well now…
quite a bit, actually. In the planning stage I work closely with Bob McDonough on what we want to get outta the design. As he draws up the idea we have worked out the logistics (size/shape/etc) but it’s his magic that puts the idea on the screen. We then do a prototype and testing is a combo of what each of us thinks about it and what we might change (or not). if it makes it this far we let a choice few others paddle it. Feedback, testing, tweaking, feedback…a huge part of what I do.

It’s FUN!


Just read the link
Ouch! Doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the work quality! Thanks for clearing that up. Seems like folks lean more towards the tsunami by the responses I’ve gotten - minus the crack pipe of course :wink: