After making the transition from white water to sea paddling, the Tsunami 165 was my first sea boat. I bought it without demoing it which could have ended up being a big mistake.
Thankfully, the Tsunami does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It is broad and therefore has good primary stability but has surprisingly good secondary. Loads of space, making it a good multi-day boat and plenty of room for the larger paddlers.
What I didn't like: It doesn't have a skeg and unless you have a rudder fitted, behaves like a dog in a following sea. Because of the high volume it has a tendency to weathercock (a lot). For those that like a tight fit there is a lot of room in the cockpit. Quite a predictable paddle, not the most manouraveble boat out there.
Having said that, this is a decent boat for a beginner, it doesn't throw any surprises at you and has given me some excellent trips in the 3 years I owned one.I bought my Tsunami 165 kayak in the Spring of 2008. Took two kayak Safety classes using it, Basic Paddling as well as Self Rescue. Had it out maybe, 45 times last season, paddling in large and small lakes as well as the Detroit River.
Very stable boat, tacks beautifully even without the rudder down. And, with the rudder down it takes away the need to edge constantly to stay on track. Although I hardly ever use it, I'd rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, I've got the best of both worlds with this boat.
I would not mind if it was a few pounds lighter, however the 62 lbs. is not a big concern, as I am able to carry and or lift it without any problem. This is my first kayak, and I don't see having to purchase another for 10 years or so. This may be my one and only boat, very happy with this choice.I bought my Tsunami 165 after trying a lot of boats. All the others required KY to get into and a overhead crane to get out of (I am 5'10" 260 lbs. with 30" thighs). This boat really fit and the outfitting is stupid comfortable.
Most manufacturers think that big guys are too busy drinking beer, eatin chicken and killing deer to ever do anything like paddle, which is frustrating. Not all paddlers are 5'8" and a buck-fifty.
This boat fit me, and provided me with the right combo of load capacity, stability/maneuverability, and speed. I have a big engine and good paddling technique, and the thigh braces fit correctly, so a lot of people are surprised at how fast my "poly rec. boat" cruises, which is very satisfying. It wouldn't be a fast boat for the wrong paddler, though...
It also handles rough water and wind surprisingly well. If you are a big guy and have designs on taking a trip that requires packing some gear, the Tsunami is a good choice.
Now the bad: Rubber hatches are a pain to get to seat, and the day hatch is handy, but the lid is the stiffest and toughest of all to get closed. Lube may be required. No compass mount recess, (which is unusual for this type of boat, but I want one anyway.) Rudder is functional, but drags the boat down a lot more than other rudders I have tried. If you don't have to, do not completely deploy it. If you raise the seatback too high, forget about getting your sprayskirt on the coaming. Raise the seatback after seating the sprayskirt, but be aware if you snap it out of it's seat.This review is based on a 2 hour outing on flat and slow moving water, 90+ degree summer day with a 5'7" 215 lb male paddler of intermediate experience.
I picked up my new poly Tsunami 165 yesterday and had it on the water for the first time today. I bought this boat for multi-day trips on medium to large rivers and lakes. It is, as advertised, a very stable boat considering it is less than 24" wide. For a heavier (60+ lbs) poly boat it has good to above average speed. The tracking was near perfect, even going upriver against the current and with a moderate breeze coming in at about 2 o'clock (just off the bow to the right). For a longer boat, it maneuvered well requiring just the smallest bit of edging to swing into a hard turn. Smaller turns or slight course corrections were made with a subtle lean or a single wide stroke. The footpegs adjustments are right at your fingertips and move easily. The 3 way seat adjustment really dials in the comfort level...I even stayed seated while taking a snack/water break. The day hatch is just behind and to the right of the seat and was fairly easy to access while seated. It has it's own bulkhead so smaller handy items won't roll around or get mixed in with larger gear inside the big rear hatch. I can squeeze a small soft sided cooler into mine and still have room to spare. The larger fore and aft compartments look to easily hold all of my camping equipment and supplies for several days. Hatch covers went on and off with ease and seem to seal well. I have heard some complaints about Wilderness hatches in general but this is my third Wilderness boats with no hatch problems to report. There is plenty of deck rigging for strapping down large loads or to keep odds and ends (paddle float, pump, water bottle, maps, etc.) on deck and close at hand.
I'm going to give this boat a 9. It's not perfect but it's close for me.A really good choice for a novice or beginning paddler in the 200 pound range and with limited agility. The intial stability is outstanding. The multi-chined hull and wide beam make it easy for a newbie such as I to lean, feel the secondary stability, and hold it there with ease without rolling over in the process. I tried several others at the same time and had some issues with stability given my size, build (large shoulders and short legs, so a lot of 'me' above the waterline.) Prijoin Kodiak? Rolled it over doing a draw stroke. QCC 500X? Secondary stability very hard to 'locate.'
The Tsumani is fairly heavy and is slow to turn and to pick up speed, a trade off I suppose of the factors that make it so stable and its solid build. The plus there is that it should take a fair amount of abuse. Tracks very well, little need to use the rudder.