Tsunami, Cape Horn or Tempest?

Been kayaking for 2 years and looking to buy my first boat. At the moment do most of my kayaking in protected bays and slow rivers here in NY and Long Island. I’m 5’10 190 lbs. Also looking for a kayak for my wife who is 5’4" and 120 lbs. I’ve

been told to get boats that are compatible to each other. Never tried any wilderness boats but have paddled perception’s carolinas. Sat in a tsunami 145 indoors and it felt more comfortable then the carolinas. Should I look at the cape horns and tempests?

Cape horn,tsunami,tempest
Cape Horns aren’t a bad boat but have one hull design flaw-the stupid keel that really takes away from manouverability of an otherwise very rockered hull. Cape horns also have a bunch of annoying little quirks that Wildy should’ve really fixed before putting boats into production, result-expect to seal a bunch of fasteners and stuff if you want it moderately watertight. Outfitting of a Cape Horn BLOWS,particularly the thigh/knee braces.

Having said that, i’d still take a Cape Horn 170 over a Tsunami 140/145. I owned a CH170, demoed a Tsunami 145-better outfitting but very slow boat.

Can’t speak for the tempest but they have very good outfitting and look like they don’t have most of the minor CH issues.

Did i say tempest? I meant tempest.


For Your Present (Maybe) Future Venue
Tempest would probably be the better option.

Match the vehicle to the track.


Try 'Em All
If you went with the Cape Horns you’d probably want ruddered.

I predict you’d like the Tempest 170 and your wife would like the 165. It might feel tippy to her at first.

I don’t know anything about Tsunamis but I own a Cape Horn 15 and Tempest 165. Used to own a Tempest 170.

I love my cape horn 15
6 ft. 2 in …190 lbs. …own it love it…have the rudder.

The boat is a ball in the surf. I use mine all the time in the chesapeake bay. All the “design flaws” people talk about …I have never found to be a problem. Any boat you take out and play with in the surf is going to take on a bit of water.

I personally don’t like the tempest…for starters I can’t even fit into the kayak…I have a diffrent view…I think the tempest is the poorer designed, of the two boats.

One quirk about the boat is, I find it to be boring on small lakes and rivers with out any chop. The kayak excels going against the wind and in big waves. With out any wind or chop to fight against, the boat is slow and boring.

Have any questions…please feel free to shoot an email.

I personally would not take a kayak out on the bay with out a rudder …aka using a skeg, no matter whet a paddlers skill level.

Good luck …find the one you like…not the one they want to sell you!

wrong question
>I think the tempest is the poorer designed, of the two boats<

for someone who doesn’t even fit into the boat, you do have a strong opinion about its design!

I personally don’t like the tempest<

One quirk about the boat (Cape Horn) is, I find it to be boring on small lakes and rivers with out any chop. <

That’s alright. I (5’4, 120lb) don’t like 90% of the boats on the market because they’re too big for me. But I wouldn’t call them “poor designs”. they’re just designed for different people, never mind different conditions. (the original question was for protected and rivers – boring for the Cape Horn)


I’ve gone out on the bay with people who’ve never self or assisted rescues in rough water. That’s ok too. But it’s not much of a basis to render an opinion about paddling in rough water with tracking/steering aids.

For example I went paddling with three friends and an acquaintance. I and the acquaintance had skegged kayaks. We paddled a mile and a half into the bay with a strong breeze, 15mph, and slight waves, 1’. The acquaintance capsized and ALL the ruddered kayak paddlers were closer than I was to her. I got to her before they did because they couldn’t turn their ruddered boats around and get to her before I could.

So what may seem like a dificulty for you,paddling in a straight line in waves, turns out to be an asset for the person being rescued, less time floating in the water before rescue.

If the numbers are correct, the Tsunamis are all fairly deep – 15" for the “shallow depth” 140 vs. 12.5" for the Tempest 165. Excess depth is no fun for shorter paddlers.

without paddling it you can make that conclusion?

so what makes the CH ‘slow’ when paddling w/o being in ‘conditions’, especially against said conditions?

just curious.


why would they turn around???
we can paddle backwards!!!i have gone in reverse to a rescue…works just as well…

Excess depth is no fun for anyone period unless it’s some big fat person that really needs it. Heck i’m 6’1 and my biggest peeve about Tsunami’s outfitting was how deep the cockit was.

As for “any boat will take on water in chop” it’s BS. Cape horns have a bunch of leaky spots ( where the perimeter line and front toggle run through,hatch strap bolts,seat mounting bolts)

My Elaho remained bone dry after numerous rolls.

I thought my CH170 felt slow ish on flat water but i think it was more of clearly seeing of how much distance you have to cover, not actual speed.

Cape horn better designed than a tempest?! Ok i haven’t paddled the Tempest but from sitting in it and closely checking out all the little details on land,it’s a much better designed boat than the CH. just because you don’t fit in it doesn’t mean jack. 6’1 and 180, i thought the Tempest 170 fits me perfect vs my cape horn that seemed to be built for a 250 lb person.

backwards works
not sure how many people can steer their ruddered kayak while paddling backwards. Either way the rudder prevents fast pivoting movements to the capsized paddler.

Try them all
They’re all WS kayaks, so hopefully your local dealers have all those models for you and your wife to demo, or at the very least, sit in.

I paddle a Tempest 165. It is the favorite boat I have owned, demo’ed, or rented. I doubt I’ll ever get bored with this one, and I look forward to paddling it in many more places and conditions.

The Tempests, while not requiring a beanpole paddler, are not what I’d consider high volume boats. I’ve seen, uh, large people fit in many models of sea kayaks with huge foredecks and cockpits, giant seat pans, etc etc. The 165 and 170 aren’t one of these. But barring unusual anatomy, your wife will fit the 165 and I bet you’ll fit the 170. The outfitting is great, and it’s easily adjustable.

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How far do you want to skills to go?
If you want a boat you will never outgrow, then by all means go with the Tempest. It’s a strong performance boat, but at the same time, it is a newbie friendly craft.


‘newbie friendly craft’
man I love that sound bite! i’m going to use it!!!

I’m sure you don’t mind???



I’ve just been down this road…
tempest or tsunami? I’m a new kayaker, and at first loved the tsunami for its stability. I felt safe in this comfortable 24 inch beam boat. But than all the people here on the board gave me some advice–take a few lessons in a tempest. They warned me I’d get board quick with the tsunami. They were right.

At first, the tempest was a big tippy and I didn’t feel so safe. Now, with a month of classes behind me, where I learned how to brace, scull, self-rescue, rescue other peopel, and perform other essential kayak skills, I feel so safe in a tempest I actually seek out the chop and big waves (well, two or three feet) because they’re fun.

So, tempest gets my vote. A lot of other people’s vote to, if you read reviews in the kayak mags. It is as comfortable as tsunami, and much more of a real sea-going machine. If you are interested in advancing as a kayaker–which is probably half the fun of kayaking–the tsunami will soon bore and frustrate you. Also, if you want to go fast, play in waves, and pack gear, go with the tempest. Be sure though, that if you try out any WS boat, pull up on all the straps on either side of teh thighs–they will snug the seat up to you to give an amazing custom fit.

and be sure to read the two strings here on the board if your are debating the tsunami/tempest question.

I don’t know about the cape horn, but several people have said not to bother with it–its an old outdated design, whatever that means.

to tell the truth, now I’m wandering if I’ll outgrow the tempest and wind up in one of those 18 inch beam skin on frame greenland jobs!

Some More Thoughts

– Last Updated: Jul-02-06 5:35 AM EST –

There was a recent thread on whether or not people should start out with a 'beginner boat' or not. Personally, I think some folks need the progression and some folks don't. The Cape Horn is a beginner boat in my opinion.

You say:
"I've been told to get boats that are compatible to each other."

I don't agree with that thinking. I think you should get a boat you're comfortable with and your wife should too. No reason for them to be similar.

welcome to my world :slight_smile:

tempest 170 RM

Outer Island 18 ft fiberglass

19 foot Skin on Frame (19 inch beam)

it is over Tacoma…you are in the spiral downward…downward…


5 boats hanging in garage…

You know why I have five boats in my garage? My wife won’t let me have six (smirk).

While I agree with you, the TEMPEST is incredible, one boat just won’t be enough. Although the Tempest is as close as you’ll ever get to a “one boat does everything”.

Who among us wouldn’t want a different boat for each of the following:

Sea Treks

Day Trips

White Water


Rock Gardening




There is no harm in owning more than one boat. I have lots of friends paddling different crafts, but for all purpose sea kayaking, you can’t beat Tempest.


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