WS Tsunami 145 - 2 questions

-- Last Updated: Apr-16-08 8:20 AM EST --


Just got this boat as my first recreational kayak. Will be using it for short paddles of two-three hours each on the slow Potomac river and once or twice a year on the ocean, again for just short paddles. Not planning to go out in groups on long paddles (so it being relatively slow as it seems should not matter, at least for now).

I got that since it was pretty much the only boat that would reasonably accomodate my size 15 feet! I am tall but not exessively heavy at 6'4" /190 lb and the size of the cockpit seems to fit me well - I fit snugly enough to not slide about, yet it is not too restrictive and I can change leg/foot positions relatively easy.

However, I want to learn to roll it. So, whomever has experience with this boat, can you tell me if this is supposed to work in this boat at all? I'll be taking a class some time later in the year when the water warms-up and will probably find the answer there - just curious now..

Second question is about paddle. I have two paddles - one is a fairly large area paddle and the other is a kind of more narrow and elongated. I seem to prefer using the wide paddle as I feel the narrow paddle just does not offer enough resistance in the water. Being a new paddler, I do not know how to interpret this. And sice both are fairly heavy paddles I will be getting a new lighter one but want to research what type and what size.

I am tall and seem to like to go for more "vertical" strokes from above as opposed to wide and low strokes (again, subject to change as I learn more). The narrow paddle also feels a bit too long for close to the boat storke, going a bit too deep in the water....

Lastly, should I go for a straight handle or an "ergonomic" bent handle for this kayak? I also plan to get a river/creek boat to go up the rapids on the Potomac under the Great Falls - would the same paddle work for both the touring and the river/creek boat?


my thoughts
yes you can Roll the Tsunami 145. Since you haven’t rolled a kayak before it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ or ‘easy’ it is to roll compared to other kayaks. Just know that you can roll it.

It sounds like you prefer a ‘high’ angle paddle stroke (more vertical). A shorter paddle with a larger blade works and feels better with a high angle style stroke. You will hear arguments both ways with lots of pros and cons. Basically it comes down to what feels best for you and your personal style.

One paddle won’t work well for both whitewater and flatwater. You will either have a very short touring paddle or a very long whitewater paddle. It certainly can be done, but it isn’t the best set up.

Rolling Tsunami…and other thoughts.
I’ve got a 145…and have come to the conclusion that its a tad too big for me - 173lbs, 5’10’, size 9 feet. I probably should have gotten a 140 (a 160 would be nice too but it wasn’t available at the time.)

However, its a genuinely great kayak for its purposes, and I think you are probably a better fit for it.

I’ve tried some rolls, with just a few marginal “successes”, but it was pretty apparent that it was my lack of skill and not the boat that was holding me back. It’s rollable…but I wouldn’t say that its designed for the kind of kayaking where rolling is an important part of the skill set. That said, its always good to know how to roll – as a safety and confidence measure.

I’m in the process of getting a true “touring” kayak, but I’m planning to keep the Tsunami for general fun and camping.

I WILL learn to roll this season…and you should too. (Stepping off the soap box now.)

Even though its hardly a rolling machine, the Tsunami 145 is an excellent boat for learning good paddling skills and technique. I find it remarkably responsive to leans, sweeps, bow rudders, and all sorts of bracing. (I’m very much in the learning stage with all of them…but it gives me a lot of confidence when I’m practicing.)

It’s also remarkably seaworthy; I can go out there with all of my buddies in the sleeker 17 and 18 foot tourers and handle the same conditions as they can. In fact, I’ve been pretty steady in rougher conditions while a few of the other guys have been dumped in quartering seas and steep chop. The major drawback is touring speed…the Tsunami just doesn’t have the speed characteristics of a full tourer, so I’m always working hard just to stay at the back of the pack.

I love the boat, and it’s a real freighter for camping. So get used to rolling it a few times…and have fun with it.

more thoughts
change out the backrest for a backstrap. an EZ swap in the tsunami and it makes for a more ‘athletic’ fit and in the long run will be better for rolling, rescues and just plain ol’ paddling. Not as good as a backrest if you’re watching a movie in your kayak tho.

one aspect of the smaller blades is RPM speed. I personally use a smaller blade (AT Exception) and find the higher cadence can make up for a bigger blade. Think spinning.

yes, IMO go bent shaft. try a AT if you can. they have a double bend (patented) and provide a true ‘neutral wrist position’ and 2 blade sizes (one bigger one smaller).

good luck


You want something like a rock-whacking plastic blade for WW, and will ultimately want a more delicate paddle, like foam core, for ocean or river cruising. The length you want on a WW is usually shorter as well, but the significant diff is the material of the blade.

Good feedback so far!

– Last Updated: Apr-16-08 11:02 AM EST –

Thanks for the replies. To sum-up and correct me if wrong:

- On the paddles:

-- Width. The skinnier paddle would work better for fast strokes (makes sense). I tend to do slow, longer strokes, so I think I'll stick with a wider paddle.

-- Handle. Look for a bent-handle/ergonomic design with heavier/stronger paddles for WW and a lighter paddle for touring. Makes sense.

-- Length. I could not figure out the length suggestions though - seems there were two contradicting answers. So shorter paddle for WW compared to touring or the other way around? Also, any specific guideline for the length to look for? Seems that my current wider paddle that is about 220cm fits me better than the approximately 230cm skinnier paddle but I have not tried others. Also it does not seem to matter that it is a "symmetrical" blade - I do not feel it trying to rotate on me...


paddle length
there are actually three size considerations…


-low angle touring

-high angle touring

You have already eliminated the low angle touring because of your paddling style.

At your height I would look at a 199cm whitewater paddle (possibly a 197cm if you have long arms).

For touring you could start with a 215 cm for anything except AT Paddles. AT Paddles are designed for a slightly lower style (Flatpick will probably correct me on this one). If you go the AT route you will probably want a 220cm. AT paddles can adjust in length by 5cm so if you get a 220cm you can go to 225cm. I have a 215-220 AT paddle I have use at 218cm or above, otherwise my hands are too close together.

no correction
I use a 215 or 220 and vary my style from low to high and usually end up somewhere in-between.

IMO there is sooooo much hype on paddle style it confuses many. Get something that is short enough to move around comfortbly and use different sty;les till you hit on your ‘own’ style.


I was sweating that one for a sec…
nothing worse than wondering if you have just put your foot in your mouth.

I am stoked about the straight shaft AT paddles to use with classes/tours. Are you going to have any at ECCKF?

we should
the new $100 straight shaft is the cat’s meow for band/buck.