Submitted: 03-03-2008 by Somawas
I paddled a Tsunami 160 today. It's a good boat, but it is not going to be my next boat.
I'm 6'3" tall, weigh 230, and 59 years old. I took up paddling a little over 6 months ago as recreation and sport to rehabilitate from a severe injury to my right leg. (I kind of twisted my leg in two. Three surgeries and a long time in bed, followed by therapy and rehab.) I usually paddle a Pungo 140. Before I bought the Pungo 140, I had tried out or demoed 6 or 7 boats. The Pungo worked for me because it's wide and stable, has a big cockpit opening, and is fairly easy to paddle. A good boat for me. But, of course, I've been looking at other boats.
The owner of the paddle shop and I had talked about the Tsunami and he suggested I give it a try. I did, and I enjoyed the trial. The Tsunami is 16' long and 23.5" wide. The cockpit opening is a lot smaller than the Pungo's. Yes, I know that at 57" the Pungo's is huge. But thanks to my stiff leg and mobility restrictions, getting into the Tsunami was challenging. Once I got into the boat, I found a lot to like, and some things to dislike. Today on our local lake we had about 15 to 20 mph winds, most of it on the nose. Wind was fluky, and I paddled into the wind more than across or away from it.
The boat moves easily and paddles fast. I've gotten my Pungo up to 4.8 mph, in a sprint, in flat water, paddling flat out. The Tsunami I got up to 5.5 mph in the chop without too much effort. I could have maintained something over 4 most of the time. The speed of the boat allowed it to slide pretty effortlessly through the chop. Chop was running close to a foot, but the boat just powered through. Tracks like its on rails, almost. The boat also has a tendency to weathercock; which is the opposite of my Pungo. The boat was very stable and steady. The narrower cockpit took a little getting used to. No cup holder for my water bottle, and very little room between my thighs to park it. The adjustable thigh pads help for comfort. Not sure how well that would work for a full day, but for the 2 1/2 hours I paddled the boat, it was comfortable.
The boat is difficult to turn. The weathercocking was strong enough that it was a bit easier to turn to weather than to leeward, but it still took a lot of strokes and space to turn the boat. In fact, I had to stroke on one side and backpaddle on the other to effect a couple of tight turns. At the end of the run, I had trouble getting out of the boat. Chop hitting on the side had soaked my rear, as others have commented. The boat could have used both a skirt for dryness and a rudder for turning.
Lot to like about the boat. My difficulty in getting into and out of it convince me that it is not the boat for me, but it has a number of pluses.