Which WS Tsunami for me?

I’m in the market for a poly touring kayak in the 15-17 foot range, to use on extended river trips. I’ve got a Tsunami 125, and have done 5 day solo trips fairly easily. I am 6’ 165#, the Tsunami 125 is plenty big if not maybe a little too roomy in the cockpit. None-the-less, the 125 has been a very good boat, and I’m interested in staying in the Tsunami family as I go to a greater length. It appears the half-sizes (155,165,175) are more accommodating to larger paddlers. I guess I’m curious if anyone has an opinion to which Tsunami might be my best choice? would I fit better in a 160 or 170?

can you test paddle them?
Can you test paddle them? To me, this is always the best option.

if you feel that the 125 is
a bit too roomy, I think you oughta go with the 0 models not the 5 models.

I’m a bit bigger than you and thought the 145 was too big in the cockpit for me even as a first kayak.

Sorry, I don’t know about the longer ones.

As mentioned, you really should try them out.

You might say more about the river, too.

If are open to other boats,
and since you are paddling mostly on moving water, you might give some thought to a boat designed to turn a bit more easily. Maybe a Tempest, or a Zephyr. I have owned both a Tsunami and a Zephyr and I find that that fit and comfort is similar but they perform quite differently as far as turning goes. Just a thought. But, as far as fit goes, the half sizes are bigger in the cockpit and so you might find that the whole sizes are a better fit for you. Only one way to tell for sure.

zero versions
Recently sold my tsunami 140 RM which I had 1/2 inch of extra padding in it and was still quite loose in it. Iam 5’8" 165lbs. So I would think since we weigh the same but your taller you would be way too loose in a 145 or 165. Get the 140 or 160 or do they make a 170? Although storage will be higher in a xx5 model but if a 125 was big enough then a 140 or 160 will easily be big enough. I assume you have the or want a rudder? I hate those sliding foot pegs. Mine didn’t have a rudder.

I would look into another kayak if I were you but if you like the tsunami line then stick with them. My 140 had bulkheads that didn’t leak at all but was told by many who had several different tsunamis I was lucky. They don’t seal those foam bulkheads very well from what many others have told me. I know one guy who has a fleet of kayaks and either has now or has used over a dozen of them in various sizes and all leaked at foam bulkheads. Easy enough to reseal though.

A test paddle
Would be ideal. I live in central iowa, there doesnt seem to be a lot of demo days around here. Also, dealers dont really keep a supply of longer touring boats on inventory. They have told me they i can request a specific boat for them to put into their annual spring order. The large storage capacity of the tsunami appeals to me. My longer trips have been on the des moines and iowa rivers. I also paddle on a few lakes and reservoirs. Im looking at longer boats because i may have the opportunity (between jobs) to make an attempt at the Mississippi this summer. Its all i can think about lately. I like the idea of a longer tsunami with a rudder for storage, stability and comfort. I’m open to other boat suggestions too. Thanks for the replies.

Are there any local paddle clubs that
might have a member that owns the boat you want to try? I know it can be a long shot, but maybe try an ad on Craigslist and offer up a “gratuity” for a test paddle. Just trying to think outside the box so you can get some water time, which is the best way to gauge how a boat will feel.

another WS river cruiser option
Dave Cornthwaite paddled the length of Australia’s Murray River in a WS Tempest 170. He gives his review of the experience in the video below.


I plan to move up from my Tsunami 125 to a Tempest 170 Pro this coming spring.

I switched from Tsunami to Zephyr
and love the differences in vastly better maneuverability, and better speed, and lighter weight. The Zephyr does not hold as much gear due to the skeg box for larger bulky items (camp stove) but it does the job.

If you want to keep a boat that will haul a ton of stuff and need an SUV kayak the Tsunami 170 is a great boat. If you do not camp on most trips the Zephyr is an excellent, but similar change in boats with nearly the exact outfitting as the Tsunami.

If you can arrange it, I would try a back to back paddle of the Tsunami, Zephyr and possibly a Tempest. All 3 good boats, just different arrows.

Upon reflection, hell, in my opinion get 2.

alot less gear
I recently did a week-long river trip and had hoped to paddle the Zephyr, but just couldn’t fit enough stuff in it, especially with the added cargo of cold-weather clothing. Took the Tsunami 140 instead. A summer trip for a few days and less gear load would be doable in the Z.

Besides the Tempest I’d also suggest looking at the Capella, good all-around RM kayak with decent cargo room and more maneuverable and a bit lighter than the Tsunamis.