Tsunami v. Tempest

I have been considering a tsunami 145 and posted a related question a couple days ago. Some of you recommended checking out the tempest as well and when I was at a local dealer last night they had a tempest 180 pro that is a year or two old but still brand new (it was comfortable and fit incredible well like the tsunami).

In checking out the reviews here I am scared to consider this model of tempest but thought that I would ask the question for some more direct feedback. Since they are trying to move this yak that has simply been talking up space for sometime the price is at or near cost on the tempest.

Thanks for your feedback…

take it out for a test paddle
If you like the way it paddle, there’s nothing to worry about.

Perhaps I should say…
the only thing that scared me was how pretty much every review here of this model sounded like construction and quality control nightmares that would require tons of extra work immediately to make sure the thing wasn’t cutting my flesh or taking on water due to thin spots, etc…

What’s Your Height and Weight?

– Last Updated: Jul-28-09 4:26 PM EST –

That's an "XXL" boat.

Check it over carefully. The dealer should take care of any quality problems if you encounter them.

depends on your plans
I’ve guessing you haven’t been kayaking much yet? If you plan to work up to 15, 20+ mile paddles and likely do some multiday camping along with that and if you expect to work on your stroke to get some good power then the Tempest 180 could work. If you plan shorter trips and/or slower speeds then the Tsunami is likely a better bet. A Tempest 180 also would favor a larger person (average to a fair bit above). I think you’d find the Tempest more demanding and a bit harder to turn (as a beginner), but many advocate such a boat if you are inclined to put in the miles and skill work to soon get the most of it.

Regardless try them out for fit, comfort and how they paddle.

I am…

252 lbs and dropping.

tsunami is a great starter’s boat, but…
i am a novice kayaker who got a tsunami 145 this spring. i am happy with it, it is a good boat that gets the job done, but i am already feeling like i am outgrowing it and wishing for something faster. I am not familiar with the Tempest, but the Tsunami is very stable and feels safe in choppy water and wakes. it works fine in shallow/rocky water and it turns very easily. it tracks okay, but as i get better and faster i am quickly becoming aware of it’s limitations.

it comes down to what features are more important to you and how you will be using it. if your on the clumsy side, in busy water with lots of wake, or just want something you can relax a little more in go with the Tsunami, but if your goal is 25 mile paddles and feeling like you are really moving fast, the Tempest is probably the way to go.

some of what they say and
some NOT.

The Tempest 180 is an excellent ‘sea’ kayak. The Tsunami 145 is a great touring yak. The difference is gear carrying capacity, rough sea performance and greater speed potential with the 180. The 145 is shorter and easier to paddle in confined areas BUT the 180 actually turns easier. The 180 has a skeg for added tracking /weather balance. The Tsunami you could add a rudder. overnighters and shorter trips- Tsunami. Cruiser seaboat- T180

Far as QC goes, there are a few boats that might have issues (NONE that will tear your skin!) that are fixable and covered by warranty. There are MANY WS boats out there that are as good as they get. Join the tempest owners forum at yahoogroups to learn more.

IMO there’s no comparison if a sea kayak is what you’re looking for.

Rex, the 180 is only an XL IMO. XXL would be the Necky Pinta!!!


I Dunno…

– Last Updated: Jul-28-09 6:25 PM EST –

I have a buddy at 200 pounds who enjoys paddling my 165.

I'd suggest RobPaterson pull out the hip pads of a 170 and take it for a spin.

200 with a overnight
load and he’s be squishin’ the backend down. I’m 175-180lbs and fully loaded with a ‘guide’s’ load the T-180 paddles like a dream. my guide’s load is BIG but I know alot of 220 and up guys who love the room/comfort of the 180.


Go for the Tempest nm

Tsunami 145 is great
I started out with a Tsunami 145 and love it. I eventually switched to canoes and only use the Tsunami in rougher ocean conditions these days. I’m sure that a Tempest is faster and sleeker, but I can fit all of my camping gear in the Tsunami and it is super solid in chop and boat wakes. Only complaint about the Tsunami is that the hatch covers seem like they could come off easy but It’s never given me a problem except during surf landings.

I think you owe it to yourself to try a couple other boats before you jump in. At the very least try a T170. Might be a better fit, and you wouldn’t realize the 180 was too big if you hadn’t tried something better.

new ones
have bomber hatches. 2009 models


try some

– Last Updated: Jul-29-09 7:00 PM EST –

models other than the Wilderness Systems... bec. there are different design philosophies (flatpick is the WS designer Steve Scherrer)and different performance out there in both seakayaks and transitional touring kayaks....
and it's good to get perspective before you open your wallet.

There can be that great urgency born of enthusiasm - happy time - but don't get locked in too soon. It is always too bad when someone buys a boat and has buyer's remorse before the season ends.

There are 3-4 very good paddleshops on the western side of our state that carry (what I can think of now) Impex, P&H, Nigel Foster Kayaks, Venture,Seaward,Hurricane Aquasports, Eddyline, Current Designs, not to mention a really good one in Wyandotte MI - a long drive for you, but the biggest demo fleet in the state. They also carry Valley and Nigel Dennis/NDK seakayaks.

A good number of these kayak makers offer both seakayaks and the day tourers so you can stay open to that as well.

Between the two
There is no question you should go for the Tempest. Steve knows what he is talking about and since both are WS boats he does not have a company bias. Think about it. You can get a better boat that will serve you well into the future at nearly the same price as a more limited boat. Duh! Are there other boats out there that are competitors? Of course. But do they cost the same as the 180? NO! So get the Tempest. If you hate it after paddling it for a reasonable time, sell it. You can probably get close to what you paid for it.

demo other boats
of course there is a question about going for the Tempest. It may be entirely too big for him, asmentioned, or he just may not like the boat. He IS allowed to do that, right, even if it’s offered at a low,low blue light special price?

Steve can be biased about both boats Sheesh, the man works for Confluence.He designed the Tempest and had a role in designing the Tsunami series. It is always difficult to critique one’s own creations. I understand that and am not slamming the man. I’m just saying recognize a natural bias for what it is.

Lastly, the idea here is not that the OP venture into horsetrading kayaks to make a profit or a near wash selling off a dud. It’s to find a nice boat he can enjoy now and in the future.

If it’s a Tempest or Tsunami, fine. If it’s neither - fine too. HE can better conclude which after he demos some other boats, and he is living in one of the best Midwestern states to do that in terms of dealers and variety.

To carry the point to its logical extension, if price is on top of the altar, why not tell the OP to look at used boats. There are certainly, for example, a lot of Tsunamis (roto and Durolite) and Tempests (roto and glass) going for cheap…along w. a pile of other boats. And the WS warranty is touted as lifetime, so it doesn’t matter if the buyer is the first or the third.

In Michigan’s Great Recession there are plenty of fine boats of all makes in an incredibly soft, very buyer-friendly market. In fact, unless someone wants something very specific or unusual, or an experienced paddler who craves a custom “last boat”, there’s no economic sense to buying new…This has been said over and over again in various posts. Duh indeed my good doctor.

re: "the only thing that scares me"
you really aren’t going by how the boats fit your needs except price and what the dealer has available.

If you HAD to have an answer I’d say get the 180 but that’s irrespective of whether either boat is preferable.

Only met 1 who didn’t like the Tempest
Literally all of the Tempest owners I’ve talked to like their boats. I’ve only heard one guy say he had tried one and did NOT like it.

There are specific things that WS could have done better (and in some cases they have changed them as model years rolled by), but overall it is a fine sea kayak. I own a plastic T165 (2005) that has given me no trouble at all.

Any problems should be covered by warranty, same as for all new boats.

Get the Tempest
If you don’t like it, I’ll buy it from you.