Which kayak?

I’m looking for a day-touring/recreational kayak in the 12-13 foot range. I’m 5’6", 190#. I want to paddle flatwater rivers, lakes, etc. I’m looking at the following: CD Kestral 120, Catalyst 12.8 or 13, Hurricane Expedition 128, Necky Manitou 13 and Looksha 12, Riot Enduro 12 or 13, Edge 12.5, Tsunami 120 or 125. Disregarding price, which would you pick? I’m leaning towards the Tsunami 120.

one angle - skeg/rudder
Jut one angle on it:

Personally I much prefer a skeg to a rudder (my necky manitou vs. my GF’s tsunami)-- it just feels like I’m working with the boat and the water more, and I have found a skeg to be enough to go where I want. However, if you are meandering down rivers with current and don’t need to paddle for propulsion and just want to kick back and have a beer (or knit), a rudder can be a chill way to steer. I’m sure others have opinions on the rudder/skeg thing, but as I said, that’s just one of the considerations. I don’t know all the boats you listed, but skinnier/wider may be a relevant variable: do you want wide and stable (24 - 25") or a little narrower for some quickness and responsiveness but perhaps a twitchy feeling (at least at first)? Best to try before you buy – but I don’t always follow that advice myself!

a couple more
you may want to look at… Native Inuit 12.5 (probably the most comfy seat of the bunch), Venture Easky 13

the Tsu 120 is a fine choice though and has some rocker to it for maneuverability. The Mannie 13 is lighter and very straight tracking but doesn’t offer the bulkhead/hatch up front.

rudders and floating downstream
If you’re just floating down a river with current, and don’t need to paddle, then a rudder will do nothing but exercise your toe-muscles. Rudders only steer the boat if the boat is being moved through the water by a paddle, or the wind, or something. If the boat is just moving with the current, there is no flow over the rudder, and moving it left or right will not turn the boat.

Which kayak?
I was in the same situation and finally decided between two boats, the Tsunami 125 and the Inuit 125. I’ll be picking up my new Tsunami 125 this weekend. The Inuit does have a very comfortable seat and it turned a little easier. The Tsunami felt quicker, tracked better and had better secondary stability. It also has a very comfortable seat.

I guess I could be wrong
but I thought I remembered doing that some of time(steering in current with rudder) the first time I was in a touring kayak – it was on a guided trip on the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon (Utah). If the physics make it impossible, I can’t argue with science! I haven’t paddled a ruddered kayak since, so maybe my memory is faulty – maybe we were paddling a bit at those moments. Sorry if I gave bad info.

Tsunami 120
Thanks guys!! I have test paddled a Tsunami 120 & 135, Manitou 14, Expedition 128, Vision 130. I actually liked them all, but am leaning to the Tsunami 120; it tracks well, is comfortable, has two sealed compartments. I wish I could find a used one. Keep the comments coming.

Eddyline Equinox
If there is an Eddyline dealer near you, you really should look at an Equinox. At 14" it is a bit longer but being thermoformed it only weights 45 lbs. No need for rudders or skegs, this boat tracks like a bullet. Two hatches, put on a spray skirt and it will function as a fairly respectable touring boat.


Tsunami120 is an excellent choice
The Tsunami125 will be a bit big for you. Agree with others. Rudder or skeg for rivers is kind of a waste of money in touring boats. Better to maneuver with your body and paddle. If you go to open water, that’s a different story, and if you like open water, a different boat eventually.