Submitted: 05-02-2012 by beaullieu
I recently bought a "very used" Tsunami SP that needed lots of work to make it usable. The prior owner had cut out the molded in seat, removed the footpegs and thigh braces and attempted to install 4" thick minicell foam to create a center divider much like some whitewater boats have. The bulkheads were sealed with white bathroom calk. It was a wreck and I walked away with it for $30.
I pulled out the minicell foam "console", footpeg mounting rails and bulkheads and gave it a complete cleaning. The hull was sound. I removed all the bathroom calk from the bulkheads, lightly sanded them and reinstalled with proper marine sealer. I purchased new thigh braces from Wilderness Systems ($35) and a preformed minicell seat blank from Joe Greenley at Redfish Kayaks. I shaped the seat blank to fit the Tsunami SP, made a back rest & hip braces and installed. I replaced all the deck bungee and added a paddle rest. Total cost in the boat less than $150 and a couple of days work.
So, how did it perform?
This salvaged boat was launched at Crooked River State Park during Spring Break 2012 and my 11 yr old son (75lbs who is a fairly seasoned paddler) paddled with me to Cumberland Island and back with no problems. He found the boat to be very stable, easy to turn and fast enough to easily keep up with a group of adults paddling at a moderate pace. The boat's size provided my son a good fit and he was able to control the boat, not the other way around as would be the case with a larger boat. Although the seat was a custom foam seat and not the factory original, it fit the boat well and my son found it to be very comfortable.
I am very pleased with how the Tsunami SP performed for my 11 yr old. I had been in the market for a good used one and would have paid a fair price for it. But when this "salvage" boat showed up, I decided to see if I could make it seaworthy. Now that it is seaworthy again and my son is using it, I would wholeheartedly recommend this boat for a youngster. It is a "real" kayak sized for a kid and it performs much better than a short & wide adult boat.