Wilderness Systems Tsunami

Just wanted to know users opinions about the Tsunami.

there is very little out there about this boat.

Enjoying my Tsunami for two months
It is a very stable and fast kayak. I got the 145, although I am on the small side. I got it because I kayak-camp. I came to the Tsunami from a Pungo 140 and find it easy to get into, faster, and as stable as the famously stable Pungos. It turns as well, and tracks as well, as the Pungo. A Virginia Beach dealer has one made of Duralite; the salesman said it is about ten pounds lighter than my Gen-2 Rotomolded. Mine is heavy, but it does not need the extra internal support structures of the thinner Duralite model. The Wildnerness System web site does not give the stats on the Duralite model, but if you need a light kayak you should look into it.

tsunami 145
Not necessarily looking for a ultra light kayak. Would be nice and I undersatand that the duralight is completely different than the airalite composition, but I want the most boat (in the water) not necessarily the best boat to carry.

How do you feel about it in 1000 yards off shore (ocean) or so? 3 or 4 foot swells? Do you have a rudder? I am confused about this as it seems as if I should have a skeg but don’t really want any moving parts to break.

I guess what AI am saying is that the twsunami that I demoed was extremely comfortable, seemed to be just the ticket, but I still want to be convinced that I don’t really need to go to a 16 or 17 foot boat.

Majority of use will be lakes and rivers but weekends absolutely on the ocean shoreline.


No rudder
I did not want a rudder or a skeg; don’t like them. (Hope this does not start a rudder/skeg war!) And I have not taken it into the ocean yet. I cannot think of why it should be a problem, although I have heard that hard chine kayaks are not the best in heavy sea action. I wanted a smaller cockpit than the Pungo because the choppy waters of the large lakes and bays in Maine threatened to implode my full skirt on the Pungo.

Tsunami 145
I just bought a Tsunami 145 Duralite. I hope I don’t regret it. I bought it from AlderCreek, a Portland kayaking store that Steve, one of the designers (and of the Tempest), used to own. I wanted a 14’ kayak that I could learn to roll in, that had perimeter deck lines and bulkhead/hatches, decent speed and enough toughness to weather my learning process.

I just bought a house so I could store a 14’ kayak, but I haven’t moved in yet so the kayak is waiting for me at the store. I took it in the water for the all-important test-drive and really enjoyed the way it felt and responded.

What bothers me about it is that WS makes such bug-ugly boring kayaks. Dagger has gorgeous exquisite marbled color combos and better lines and molding, plus paddle holder and lock ring. It’s hard to shell out hard-earned money for a kayak that’s so ugly. I’m hoping the new plastic adhering paints will work to mural my new kayak.

Also, the Duralite I bought has some warpage and oilcanning in the store, and so did the others I looked at. They’re Demo kayaks. I think this will occur from use anyway. I can still cancel and “return” my order – the boat’s just sitting on their rack in storage in their store.

But I really love kayaking and it felt good in the water. Around here some paddling clubs insist on at least a 14’ kayak to go on their trips. I can’t even get my knees in a Necky, so shallow.

Will post more when I pick up the kayak and hit the water. Too busy fixing up the house now.


No skeg or rudder
Last year when the Tsunami came out I tried one with a rudder. The foot pegs slipped and sloshed and were worthless. Bracing or using them at all was impossible. It felt awful. Plus, I’ve read oooooodles of posts about how much better it is to learn such solid skills from the get-go that one doesn’t need to rely on a skeg or rudder.

For now I just want simple lines, no dangling breakable parts, and a kayak that will take me through several years of classes, drilling, experimenting, learning, and wonderful paddling in Class I and II water. Not going out into open ocean with this kayak. Protected waters in Puget Sound yes, along the shore.

tsunami 145
I had heard that about the rudder from quite a few people. I tested the 140 in raleigh a couple of months back and really liked it. I just want to be able to go offshore on the ocean and intercoastal waterways on the weekends. when I say offshore I am probably talking half a mile at most off the coast of Naples or Ft. Lauderdale.

How does it track? how does it turn? I know it is multichined and am curious for more than a 25 minute demo riders experience. How is the secondary stability really?

Honestly I really don’t want the hassle of either a rudder or a skeg, I relize that this boat will probably not be as fast as a 16 footer, but I don’t plan to go three miles off shore. I do like to go fast though…

any other opinions about the Tsunami?

Ok, I’ll shoot…

– Last Updated: Jun-30-05 6:53 PM EST –

I have had my roto-molded Tsunami 140 w/ rudder for a little over a month now, and have had it on a tight creek, a slow-meandering river, and out in a bay that had mild chop. I use it for general exploring and nature watching, and my paddling skillset is minimal, so keep that in mind as you read the following.

Speed: I haven't really tested it against other boats, but on 2 of the above trips, people in shorter boats were able to keep up with me pretty easily. I was a little disappointed, I thought the Tsunami would be a bit faster, but to be fair, my expectations maybe a bit too high in this regard. It does seem to glide well.

Stability: Initial stability is great. Very solid feeling, even in 1-2' high chop and getting tossed by the wake of inconsiderate boaters. I feel I could stand up in it without too much problem, but then I seem to have a pretty decent sense of balance anyway. I haven't had it far enough over yet to test secondary stability.

Turning: In calm water it turns pretty good for a 14 foot boat without the rudder. I appreciated having the rudder in the choppy bay. The boat does seem to be overly influenced by fast currents though...my rudder came in handy a couple of times on the quicker portions of river bends. This might be something that would be better handled by improved paddling technique on my part, I'm not sure. Don't expect the Tsunami to turn on a dime. I would say overall it turns pretty good for a 14' boat.

Rigging: I like the layout and quality of the deck rigging. Very accessable from the cockpit. The cord is nice and taut without being unmanageable.

Seat: Phase 3 seating is wonderful! Room behind the seat to store small items. Nuff' said!

Rudder system: Probably not the best. I am still playing with the adjustment, but it doesn't fit me very well (I am 6' tall with long legs). To get the rudder to turn its entire arc of travel, my feet hit the forward bulkhead. So when using the rudder system my legs have to be splayed at a less than optimal angle, and I can't brace with the thigh pads as much as I'd like to.

Hatches: Seem very watertight so far and come off and on easy enough. Much better than the ones on my old Perception Prism. Plenty of room below to store a weeks worth of gear if you pack tight. I do wish the dayhatch had a separate bulkhead though.

I like the tsunami 140 quite a bit for what I do with it. If I was going to spend most of my time on open water though, I would probably opt for a longer / faster boat.


coastal exlploring
I tried the “I really don’t want this boat because…” approach with the Tsunami and I just can’t get enough reasons to not buy the boat. anyone want to give me a reality check?

  1. Most usage would be open lakes 2 to 3 miles wide and lots longer
  2. Coastal exploration where I would be pretty close to shore
  3. Day trips predominantly with an occasional overnight (going from some of the small keys in Florida).
  4. May occasionally fish from the boat but I am not a real big fisherman
  5. Will take digital cameras along. (Can modify the day hatch so it is a separate compartment?)
  6. Am not in the mindset that I can’t scratch this boat so plastic is just fine.
  7. Not trying to win any speed races but I do want a decent turn of speed out of it.
  8. Doubt I will be doing much if any surfing.

    I really wish it had a skeg but don’t plan on buying it with a rudder. Length with waterline should give me adequate tracking and should turn easily. (work on paddling skills)

    Anyone know what it won an award for in 2005?

    The Wilderness Systems website is not well kept up is it?


hey cascadians
did you have a chance to try it out yet?

too bizzzzy at the mo
Nope, so frustrating because weather has been kayaking glorious, big puffy dramatic clouds and cool breezes and warm sunshine.

My tsunami 145 is still socked up at Alder Creek. I have to go to Gray’s Harbor soon for a funeral and there’s so much awesome kayaking there but no time. Still trying to get lots done before the new carpet goes in my new house on Thursday. Ordered 3 more sets of Martin Creek kayak storage racks (really good) to rack our 4 kayaks in the garage we just finished instead of hoisting them from roof rafters – easier and less expensive to rack.

Will post as soon as I pick up my duralite tsunami and hit the water. Can’t wait! Will be at least another 2 weeks …

Hope tsunami riders post their experiences here!


Just an opinion
I bought my Tsunami knowing it would be a compromise for the type of paddling I would be doing…I didn’t want anything longer than 14’ because I knew I would be paddling tight creeks and rivers as well as open water. From your posts it doesn’t sound like you will be paddling many of these tighter water bodies. If I knew I would be predominantly paddling open water, I think I may have opted for one of the larger touring boats.

The Tsunami will definetly work for what you want it for…but there may be boats that work better. I would test paddle some of the 16-17’ touring boats before you limit yourself to the Tsunami.


Paddle the Tempest…
Then go back and paddle the Tsunami… Thoes 2-3 mile lakes can become open water. If you hook up with other seakayaks you be be working hard on those overnites to the islands…

very good points
Which one would you recommend?

which ever one fits you the best…

hmmm. interesting reading

this is why I have a hard time accepting what seems to be the norm…go longer…why can’t a 14 or 15 foot boat do just as well? won’t your skills actually improve with a smaller boat initially?

They are teaching…

– Last Updated: Jul-04-05 3:04 PM EST –

"Quiet Water Kayaking"..
Read the home page... What you stated are your intended uses were more toward open water.. Offshore, islands, camping.

Most people here that have long boats have started with short boats. That's OK too, you will have a quest boat should you decide to go larger.

I started with a short boat because space was an issue. I soon found out that it limited me in going where and with whom I wanted.

Chances are that you will not find your perfect boat on the first try, it might take three or four tries. So I wouldn't agonize over your first decision... just go paddling.

not stressed out…
but I am trying to learn everything i can. I have a rec boat and go out every day for at least an hour and a half…hard paddling for exercise and practice carving and turning…want my next purchase to be a real jump in performance but not to the point of diminishing returns…read the following…makes you think anyway.

this comes from the kayakacademy.com website…


Length, Waterline, Tracking & Maneuverability

“In my opinion, long sea kayaks are over rated. The longer a sea kayak is, the less efficient it will be at typical touring speeds (say 3 to 4 knots). Some long time paddlers will need to read that again. There is a common half-truth in the world of sea kayaking that longer boats are faster, and this is so deeply ingrained in the heads of many sea kayakers that they can’t understand why they have a hard time keeping up with friends in shorter kayaks. Some of these misguided folks have even gone and bought kayaks that are longer than their last one, only to find they have even more trouble keeping up. The problem is people tend to assume that a kayak with a faster hull speed (top end potential) will also go faster at half throttle, however, the opposite is generally the case (when comparing boats from 14 to 19 feet long). A monster truck with a big engine may be able to go faster than an economy car, but which could go farther on a given amount of fuel? And if it were possible to measure the rate of fuel burn when both vehicles were cruising at 70 mph, the big truck would be the less efficient one (working harder to go the same speed). If you rationed the big truck to the same amount of fuel per hour that the economy car was using, then the truck would end up being slower even though it has a higher potential top end speed. In the case of boats, the longer a boat’s waterline length (the length from where the bow meets the water to where the stern exits the water), the more surface area is in contact with the water (wetted surface area). And at the speeds most sea kayakers tour at, most of the resistance holding you back from going faster and making you work to maintain your pace is the friction of water sliding along the wetted surface area of the hull. The more wetted surface area your hull has, the more friction you have to overcome. So if someone barely has enough power to keep up to their friends who are just cruising at an all day pace, putting this person in a longer kayak (with its greater wetted surface area) will just slow them down even more. Conversely, it often helps the group go faster if they swap boats so as to give the weaker person a shorter kayak (provided the shorter kayak isn’t also wider or poorer handling etc.). From here on please interpret “length” to mean the waterline length, as comparisons of length overall are meaningless (except when it comes to fitting a kayak in your garage)…”

and also:

“So if a longer kayak won’t necessarily make you go faster, what about the other “advantages” to long boats? Another common misconception is that long kayaks track (go straight) better than short ones. While there may again be a some truth to this (though maybe in this case it is more like a tenth-truth than half-truth), the more significant factor is the shape of the hull rather than it’s length. Some hull shapes track poorly no matter how long the boat is, while some short kayaks track just fine. Anyhow tracking by itself isn’t always a good thing. You want a kayak that makes it easy to keep heading the direction you want it to go, and that requires a balance between tracking and maneuverability. If a wave, breeze, or current sets your kayak off course, the stiffer it tracks the harder you have to work to get it headed back on course. So you want a kayak that tracks well when it is on course, but maneuvers easily when it is off course.”

gotta admit it kinda pokes a few holes in what seems to be established thinking…


Just try a bunch of boats…
and buy the one you like…