Submitted: 04-17-2006 by Atollman
6'0, 185lbs, paddle mostly lakes and rivers in Central Texas, including some marathon canoe races.
I moved up from an Old Town Loon 138 to a Tsunami 145 in Duralite. I like the Tsunami, particularly the light weight of the Duralite. It is 13lbs less than the Loon, despite being a bit longer. There are a few reasons I'm giving it a 7 (so far).
1. I thought it would be faster. My first time out on an 11 mile flat water course , I matched my previous best time in the Loon. My second time out, I knocked 5min off. I was hoping to be 15-20min faster. Maybe my paddling style is still dialed in for the Loon, but after a few trips out, it is clear I'm not getting an automatic speed up over the wider, shorter, heavier Loon.
2. I thought it would be more comfortable. The phase 3 seat is really nice, but between the narrower cockpit of the Tsunami, and the 'traction' the phase 3 cushion has on my posterior, there is less opportunity to shift and change position. For anyone moving up from a Loon, Pungo, or equivalent rec kayak, it might not be as comfortable as you'd expect. I'm sure it is way more comfortable than the plastic bucket seats with no back rest of many touring kayaks.
3. I thought it would turn easier. The Tsunami tracks nicely, but it doesn't turn willingly. I test paddled one with a rudder, but decided I could live without it. I'll have to see what happens when I get on a river, but my impression from the lakes is the rudder might not have been a bad idea.
4. Ease of entry. This isn't a tippy boat, but the cockpit is small enough that if you're 6', you won't be able to just jump in and out. If you paddle in places with a lot of low water than requires walking the boat over a gravel bar or shoal, you'll need to practice your mount/dismount. Might not be the best choice if your primary use is fishing.
Positives: stability is good, even coming from a 30" wide Loon. Storage hatches are really nice. Good space behind the seat for water jugs, etc. Easy adjustment of the foot braces, seat back height, seat tilt, etc. Cockpit is small enough to keep out paddle drip and cut back on some of the sun, large enough to provide ventillation. I don't think I'll need a full or half skirt unless I start taking it out into the Gulf.
I'm going to use the Tsunami in the Texas Water Safari in June (260 miles, rivers, small lakes behind the dams, and a crossing of San Antonio Bay). Will add more comments after that.