Kayaking on the Hudson

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kayak Review: Tsunami 140 by Wilderness Systems

This is one of the most versatile kayaks ever made.  If you are looking for one kayak to do everything, you should try this boat.  The Tsunami line includes many different sized kayaks from 12ft. to 16ft. so there is a size to fit just about any paddler.  I’ve paddled several but I own a 140 (14 ft.) so I’ll talk about that size in particular.

This was the first Tsunami made and it was intended to be a do-it-all kayak.  At 24” wide, it is stable enough for a beginner, but nimble enough for an advanced paddler to put the kayak on edge and carve a turn.  It has very little rocker, so it has a long water line.  This makes it very fast for a 14’ kayak.  It has almost as much water line as my 16’ sea kayak.  It has a sharp keel in front and back, so it slices through oncoming waves and tracks very well- better than most other 14’ kayaks.

The outfitting is top notch.  There is a day hatch (although no 3rd bulkhead), deck lines, and tons of bungees on deck.  The seat is super comfortable (serious sea kayakers may not like the high seat back) and the foot pedals and thigh bracing are easy to adjust-accommodating a variety of paddlers.
I’ve paddled down the Delaware River (class II rapids) and out on the ocean in this kayak.  It is responsive, comfortable and just plain fun.  The downside- it’s 55 lbs, which is pretty heavy for a 14’ kayak and the plastic is a bit thin and prone to denting.  Also, because this kayak is so popular, it’s hard to find used ones and they go for more $$ when you do.

When I am not using my Romany, I use the Tsunami to guide on trips.  I also lend this kayak out to friends who have never paddled before.  It’s just so versatile.  Along with my Romany and my Merlin LT, this is one of 3 kayaks that have attained “permanent” status in my fleet.

Larger paddlers can try the Tsunami 145, smaller paddler the 135 and those who want a smaller kayak can try the 120.

See you on the water,
Don Urmston