I tried many kayaks before opting for the Tsunami 120. It is the perfect combination of maneuverability, tracking, and speed. It works well in both lakes and calmer rivers, and isn't designed too much for one to be great for the other. The cockpit size is relatively small/narrow, compared to other kayaks in the same size range, but is a great option for those of smaller stature or women.
Absolutely love this boat. I've had it for two years. I go kayak camping at least once a year and am able to fit everything I need in the dry hatches. Also, the seat is one of the most comfortable seats I've sat in. I am female 5'4 and 130 pounds this boat fits me well, snug but comfortable and I can really control the boat. Other than that, I do wish it had a cup holder or a better spot to put my water bottle, but that's my only complaint!
This is my 2nd kayak and what a surprise when I got in. It's a very comfortable kayak with tons of seat adjustments. You feel very safe in it and confident when navigating choppy waters. I use this kayak on rivers and streams as well out on the Great Lakes.
I purchased it with the rudder and happy I did so. On windy days the rudder helps to keep me on course and makes things easier and more enjoyable.
If you're looking to do long day trips or week long trips this kayak is perfect. I highly recommend purchasing the Tsunami 145 with a rudder.
-It's incredibly comfortable. The seat system is very adjustable and comfortable, and the foot peddles adjust easily even on-the-fly. The seat back can be moved up/down and forward/back to accommodate many PFD styles (more on this in the "cons" section below), and the seat tilt can be adjusted for thigh support (which really helps with the lower back). The thigh pads can also be adjusted, though this needs to be done with a screwdriver and therefore is something you want to do before launching.
-It's maneuverable. I wouldn't call it "nimble," but it turns well without being prone to tipping. Which leads me to...
-It's stable without being slow.
-The holds are great. This model has two holds, one for and one aft, that are well-sealed and pretty roomy.
-The deck cleats have recessed bolts, which is a huge bonus. It seems like a small thing, but not chipping up your paddle or catching debris on them is actually a pretty great feature.
-Unsurprisingly, it's slower than a full-on, longer sea kayak. So, when paddling in open-water with my (tall) significant other and his 14' sea kayak, he does have to slow down or wait up a bit. The line of the hull isn't as "V" shaped as some kayaks, and is really stable on rollers and smaller swells without being so flat that you can't maneuver (currently, I've not paddled in anything over 2').
-The seat doesn't go quite low enough/is too tall for some smaller paddlers with a full-back PFD. I've discovered I either need a half-back so I can keep the seat back all the way down, or I need to keep the seat all the way up and add something behind me for lumbar support with my fuller-backed PFDs.
All around, it's a great seat system and I wouldn't give it up, but the PFD issue doesn't really become obvious until you go on a longer trip (or, at least, it didn't for me).
All around, it's a great kayak for a smaller paddler, and the Pros far outweigh the cons
The Tsunami 120 has nice lines, excellent initial and secondary stability. It is light enough for a smaller person to carry by themselves. It has two bulkheads so if you were to flip (never happened to us except on purpose) water can't fill the entire boat. The two dry hatches are small so a solo camping trip would be more like backpacking, at least when it comes to room.
The biggest surprise came when I paddled this boat while a taller friend paddled my larger 140. Not only did it track like a dream but I had no problem keeping up with the longer boat. Note that I am 5' 9" and 200 lbs and I was not cramped. The only real drawback was that my size 11 1/2 shoes were a little snug inside the cockpit.
Why the 10 rating and perfect boat suggestion? We paddle mainly around north Georgia, TN, Alabama mountains on class 1 rivers and creeks as well as lakes. The size is perfect to negotiating obstacles but the tracking is great in open water. We usually have to compromise to get both types of paddling on single trip. The Tsumani 120 is not a compromise, just a near perfect kayak.
Equipped with a spray suit and spray cover I routinely paddle the boat in 2-4 foot breaking waves and sometimes higher, in winds of 25-35 kts with higher gusts. The boat is amazingly stable in these conditions, sometimes with waves breaking over head level, and surfs like a charm. For simplicity I do not have a rudder. A peculiar advantage of this small boat is that my cruising speed matches well my wife's when she is out on her faster lightweight Tsunami 140 with rudder (which she loves).
My only problem thus far is that the raised seat creates a lot of wear on the inside of the spray covers. In heavy conditions I use a neoprene one, but the seat stripped the interior waterproof coating off my nylon cover after only a few trips.
That being said, if you want to get into weekend touring/occasional bay to island hopping, I would suggest a longer boat. If you're getting into light touring, and have a good feeling you'll be spending more than a day on the water, than look for a longer boat. The only real downfall to this boat (and the same as my wife's Pungo) is the forward design. Having a very keel-like front end makes the boat track wonderfully, but as soon as the placid water gets rough, you'd better have a skirt or you WILL get wet!
All in all it was a great first "over nighter" kayak for me, but I have out grown it quickly. I just wish I'd picked up the 145 rather than the 125!
It tracks almost perfectly and after the initial trial few times out, it is very stable. Great boat if you are ready to move to the next level. I had been paddling an Otter, which is still a nice little boat, but this is the next step. Took a little bit to get used to at first, but now I am very confident that this boat will serve me well for many years to come. Highly recommend this boat.
This Kayak moves like a dream - I could go for hours - and it is very comfortable. I let my 11 yr old daughter give it a try, and she too was able to control it and move it well through the water. A great kayak!
This boat is just plain fun! And it's a great looking boat, too (mango). I am 6', 185 lbs., size 11 shoes, and fit in it very well. People over 6' and 200 lbs. will want the extra room of the 125. Overall, a great value.
I've used this boat on rivers, lakes, and the bays and lagoons in New Jersey and Delaware. The tracking is superb even in stiff 8 - 10 knot winds crossing the bay. on flat water or even small waves or a heavy chop the boat just glides with each stroke. On my vacation, I spent 5-6 hours a day for 5 days paddling the Tsunami without fatigue.
The footbraces and the seat are easy to adjust while you're in the boat. for me it was worth getting the duralite for the 10 pound weight advantage. I'm 5' 7" 170 lbs and I can get the boat on top of my Subaru Tribeca fairly easily. with kayaks i think lighter is better in most cases.
In Delaware, I was able to launch myself from 2 1/2 ft above the water line at low tide without the boat plowing under water. the bow never went under the water. the stability is excellent. Due to the v-shaped hull the boat will not sit flat on your lawn or the beach but once in the water it feels solid as a rock and inspires confidence. my wife, who was never in a kayak before tried it and was tracking straight from the first stroke.
If you want a rec/tour boat that you won't outgrow in one season, this is the one. Also the duralite in my opinion is quite durable. I've hit rocks at slow speed and beached my self on rocks and sand at high speed with only minor surface scratches on the hull. I bought the boat to use - not to keep pretty so the little scratches and scrapes are to be expected. If you're over 200 lbs, you might want to consider the Tsunami 125; I think the 120 might be a little tight. these are just my opinions but I have absolutely no complaints. And I LOVE to complain!!!