Tsunami 14 vs Carolina 14

I’m struggling over this decision. I’ve paddled the Tsunami and it’s a great boat (easy to paddle, track and control) but I tend to feel a little claustrophobic in it. Maybe it’s the circumference of the cockpit? I’m 5’6 and about 225. The Carolina cockpit seems a bit roomier and easier to get in/out of but what I am sacrificing in performance? I have not had the opportunity to paddle the Carolina yet. I paddle area lakes and slow rivers and like to tour and sight see, but also want to be ale to pull over, get out and hike around a bit.

I’m a touch lighter than you and 6" taller. I cannot comment on the WS boat. I did own a Carolina 14.5 and found it uncomfortably twitchy. I can compare it to a CD Whistler which is much more solid feeling with better outfitting.

A Carolina is only twitchy on the butt of the beholder.

Have you thought about a Pungo 14 with it’s large cockpit? I owned a Carolina 14.5 and found it to be a bit slower than my Pungo. - 4.4 mph vs 4.2 mph for the Carolina when I pushed them and 3.9 vs 3.7 with my normal paddle cadence.
The Pungo paddles easy and tracks like on a rail but doesn’t turn very easy. If you paddle large lakes where conditions may necessitate a skirt a Carolina would be a better choice…

And this beholder found a large difference between 2 very comparable size and price boats. I sold the Carolina and kept what I felt was a clearly superior boat. Outfitting and construction of the CD was much better IMHO.
For a smaller/lighter user perhaps the Carolina works. This questioner was a similar weight so my thoughts were that it might prove to be less stable than a different kayak choice.

With Tsunamis pulling a skirt over the high seat back looks like a painful excersize.

I’m a touch lighter than you and 6" taller. I cannot comment on the WS boat. I did own a Carolina 14.5 and found it uncomfortably twitchy. I can compare it to a CD Whistler which is much more solid feeling with better outfitting.<<

I own both. I find the Carolina to be light to carry but thin plastic that oilcans easily.
The Whistler takes more punishment but is a pain to carry.
BUT, when I paddle with a (weaker) woman, she takes the lighter Carolina and I take the heavier Whistler and she has an easier time paddling a lighter boat.

That said, I would LOVE to own a Tsunami-14!!!

@SpaceSputnik said:
With Tsunamis pulling a skirt over the high seat back looks like a painful excersize.

It’s very simple job to swap the seat back out for a WS back band though…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJaFKlG-FzM

Thanks to all for the feedback. I think the best decision is for me to lose about 50 lbs and buy the Tsunami!!

And thanks for the Pungo suggestion. I have paddled the Pungo 14 and loved it too but found the Tsunami much more manuverable, as you noted. I do love that Pungo cock pit though. Perfect for lake cruising.

I’ve owned a Carolina since 1998 (was called the Carolina Expedition back then and is actually 15’ (the Expedition had hatches, the regular did not in 98). A friend owns a Tsunami and I have a WS Zephyr 160 Pro (fiberglass). Perhaps the Carolina is different now, but I can second the oilcanning. It always comes back, but it can be tough on a rack with saddles,.

I’ve found the Tsunami and Zephyr cockpits to be similar (though the seat back on the Zephyr is lower). In my experience, the Tsunami & Zephyr cockpits are longer but a bit narrower than the Carolina. The Carolina is a bit shorter but wider. I can use the same spray skirts for both boats however, so the difference is minor.

I find the Tsunami and Carolina similarly stable (but Carolina geometry may have changed in 20 years). They track about the same, though my Carolina weathercocks more (I have no rudder).

I’m 5’11" and ~230 lbs. For me, the longer, narrower cockpit is easier. I find myself struggling to get into and out of my Carolina while I can pull my knees out of the Zephyr or Tsunami easily. YMMV, but you probably can’t go wrong with either boat as long as you’re happy with the fit.

For lakes and river tsunami is an excellent kayak and insanely stable. But if you are having trouble why don’t you look for some sit-on-top kayak that can be the right fit for you as per your weight I am 6’3 and i have tried tsunami and had a wonderful experience. Also, you can try to practice getting in/out of the kayak. For wonderful sights you can search for places to kayak.