Tsunami 140 vs Manitou 13

Hi All,

I’m buying my first (preowned) kayak, although I’ve had some experience paddling. Paddle mostly in the harbor and explore, up river, sometimes out the mouth of the harbor along the beaches, a little ocean but not way far out.

Anyway, I have the option of buying a Necky Manitou 13, practically new vs a Tsunami 140, a couple of years old but in great condition. I’m definitely leaning towards the Tsunami, but would love any input/suggestions.


I vote for tsunami
I’ve had a Manitou 13 for a few years now. River, lake, and some ocean tripping. A few overnighters up to six days and 300km. So clearly I pushed this boat beyond the usual uses of a “day touring” boat and it has worked very well.

I bought my boat on a whim, and without the benefit of any experience, but after all this time, I can’t say its shortcomings would be sufficient to justify buying a better boat for the sort of paddling I do. I sort of lust for something new and shiny, but, all in all, I’m pretty happy with the Manitou.

I tried my buddy’s Tsunami last year and liked it. It felt a bit odd (like new shoes feel odd). The Tsunami front deck seems higher than the Manitou’s. But I think, overall, the Tsunami is a better boat with better outfitting. If I had to choose again, I’d pick a Tsunami.

More points for your consideration:

If you doing any overnight tripping, you will definitely appreciate the front hatch. I have to ram things into the front of the cockpit and tie them in.

A longer boat will be better for ocean and lakes. A shorter boat (the Manitou) will turn better in swifter water and tight corners. Probably, though, the difference in length isn’t a deal breaker.

My hunch is that the most relevant factor is fit. If you have an opportunity to paddle both boats, that’s likely the best way to make the decison. You’ll spend a lot of time in that seat.

I don’t have the sophistication to compare and analyze factors such as edging or stability or the pros and cons of chines. I’m just not good enough to feel that stuff. (I can’t feel the difference between different skis, either.) Other posters may be more knowledgeable.

Good luck!

I believe it has both bulkheads and the Manitou has only one (IIRC).


I currently don’t do overnight trips, but it’s nice to have that option. I’m about 5’9" and 152 lbs, if that tells you anything. I do like the extra storage on the Tsunami, but don’t know if that’s enough of a pro. I’m more interested in performance, tracking, handling, speed and stability. Most of the time, I paddle for anywhere from a few hours to half a day, at least for now.

Better outfitting, faster because of less bow wake, faster because its longer, still short enough to turn flat, will turn even better when you learn edging.

front bulkhead is not just about storage
When you swamp your boat, you’ll have a lot less trouble pumping it out, or otherwise handling it, if you have the additional partitioned space.

Tsunami 120
Took a friend to Paddlesports to look at kayaks. She bought a Tsunami 120 and is a happy paddler even in the rain !


Tsunami 140
Tsunami 140 has stern and bow bulkheads with an additional 10" bow hatch. Definitely more storage and accessibility.

Hard chines on Tsunami
I’m also told the hard chines make for a much better on the secondary stability. I’m definitely thinking I’m getting the Tsunami 140. I appreciate all the input from everyone. I’ll keep reading if anyone has anything else to say. Thanks!

Spot on assessment
We have 2 kayaks and those happen to be the two. If you’re looking for something for touring… get the wilderness. It’s a great boat. The one hatch on the Manitou is small. You could get a tent, one drybag and a cookset in it. The rest will go on top.

My 140…



from a bells and whistles standpoint the Tsunami is obviously ahead of the game and if their prices are similar reflecting the age difference I could see the Tsunami winning hands down. What I’m wondering is if the handling and weight of the Manitou will better match your use. The Manitou is noticeably lighter, 15lbs is a huge difference. I’ve never paddled a Tsunami but I’ve paddled the Manitou13 and it’s a very good paddling kayak. The “day hatch” on the Tsunami is pure marketing hokum as it’s not seperated by another bulkhead.

marketing chines
putting edges into plastic molded hulls is a way to get some rigidity into them.

weight difference
Manitou 13 is 45 lbs, Tsunami 14ft is 55 lbs. Do you think the handling would be noticeably better with the Manitou over the Tsunami?

Ultimately what I want
Again, ultimately I’m more interested in performance, tracking, handling, speed and stability. Mostly doing day paddling. Tsunami seems like a better boat. I tend to keep things for a long time. I’m wondering if I’ll “outgrow” the Manitou faster as I get more experienced.

feel of a kayak

Since both boats are day touring and are pretty equal all and all.

You can talk numbers, sizes, outfitting and length till the end of time.

The one most important part of kayaking is how does the boat feel to you?

Tsunami Wins

– Last Updated: May-15-10 10:49 AM EST –

Except for price, the Tsunami wins hands down...but you get what pay for. It is 1 ft longer for easier paddling and more speed (yes, 1 ft makes a difference), has two bulkheads, two cargo hatches and a day hatch (day hatches are great for keys, camera, wallet etc and definitely not hype). Rudder can be mounted. It weighs 10lbs more but the place you notice this is when lifting on a car top...tall SUVs are way more difficult than the height of a subcompact.

The Manitou has one rear hatch, no day hatch, not rudder compatible...you get less and it costs less.

Some background
I think Pete you are focusing on “bling” Vs performance. The Manitou 13 was designed by Gary Seaman, a world renowned shaper who designed the first wind surfer and holds three world record windsurfer hulls to his credit. Thousands of surf boards, boats, kayaks, knee boards etc. Also Spike Gladwin, champion surf paddler, English Nationa Team, Canada Olympic Slalom Coach, etc had a lot of input.

The Manitou 13 is superb in big seas and fun in rock gardening etc. In fact some expert paddlers have outfitted them with whitewater thigh braces etc, added bow flotation, and use them in ocean rock gardens beacause of this. Similar to a Mariner Coaster in many ways.

As for the “edges” I’s ask you to paddle boat kayaks and place them on edge and do some sweeps, etc. You’ll begin to understand that stability and handling have about zero to do with those hard edges! You may also note that edges add drag, plain and simple, which is why we do not see them on race hulls. Now, they aint a big deal, look cool to some, and have a traditional look, so if that is to your liking fine.

Hatches that leak aren’t so good. Check those on the Tsunami?? The Manitou hatch will not pop off in surf, rescues etc.

Marketing and REALITY are two different things. For me, the Manitou hands down, but the Wildy is also a fine little boat, so buy what you “like”. My guess is your mind is made up and it’s juat a matter of confirming your decision via a kayaking web site, but paddle both with an open mind, do some tests, see how fast they turn on edge, surf waves, track with a beam wind etc. Then talk to us…

I’ve got a Manitou 13. It’s a great beginner kayak but I found it limiting after one year of paddling. Although it is a fast for a 13’ kayak and handles well, the lack of a front bulkhead and storage compartment limits its use for camping, touring, rough water use.

However, if you only intend to paddle day trips and don’t plan to paddle in rough water a lot, the Manitou would be great. If would be fine for rough water (and actually handles great in it) if you added a front bulkhead or flotation device.

what about the Manitou 14
try the Manitou 14… everything the Tsunami’s got in the way of outfitting, hatches/bulkheads, etc. and IME better fit and handling.

For starters, the Manitou compared to the Tsunami is not so tall in the bow. Easier to handle in wind. Then a snugger more shallow cockpit for better contact and performance. Third, yes, the hatch covers on the Manitous go on and stay on in waves and during rescues.

Both are fine designs. Manitou 14 is closer on the continuum to seakayaks. It has some of the heritage of the Mariner Coaster, a notable boat.

Tsunamis are great daytourer series but deeper and higher than the Manitous. If your body shape necessitates deeper and higher that’s one thing, if not… try the Manitou 14, see what you think.

14 is excellent as well