Submitted: 08-08-2011 by Serafin
Everybody loves the kayak they chose. That makes sense.
I have a Cayuga 13, which I chose over the Necky Manitou 13 and Wilderness Systems Tsunami 120. I tried all three. One can't go wrong with any of those boats, it probably gets down to personal preference.
I chose the Cayuga because it was more comfortable for me and because it had a front hatch (the Necky does not, and the Tsunami 120's is teeny). For me, the Cayuga is more comfortable to sit in all day because it doesn't have the molded thigh pads so I can move my legs a bit more. And I need the front hatch for the flexibility of infrequent overnights. [Small Necky complaint — good luck getting that rear hatch sealed].
You might have different needs. The thigh braces in the Necky translate into paddling efficiency. And they are necessary for stability in rougher water. So there is a tradeoff in choosing the Cayuga. I probably would have chosen the Necky ten years ago, but as I got older and less flexible I need to be able to change the position of my legs a little bit during the day. And because the Cayuga doesn't have the molded thigh braces (you can order an optional thigh brace kit) it is a spot easier to get into and out of. (Note, the Necky and Old Town have the same seat, so that isn't an issue re: comfort). I'm probably a little more tired at the end of the day from the lack of thigh braces — it's a tradeoff.
And the Tsunami 120 is a little more maneuverable because of the shape of the hull and shorter length. When I am on some rivers I miss that shorter, more maneuverable boat. It was hard to not choose the Tsunami 120 — it is an excellent multi-purpose boat. For some reason, my feet never felt quite right in it. I don't know if that was a real or imagined issue. The end of the cockpit felt a little narrower and I didn't like the angle of my feet when they were on the pegs (the Tsunami has the easiest to adjust foot pegs — I know because I was adjusting those things frequently trying to get my feet in a right spot).
It sounds terribly un-technical. The Necky and Tsunami are really nice kayaks, and in ways they are better than the Cayuga. I chose the Cayuga because it was the one I found the most comfortable at the beginning of the day and the end of the day.