The Good: Large Volume, Roomy Cockpit, adjustable Thigh Braces, and of course the Phase Three Seating, primary and Secondary Stability.
The Bad: The rudder control to prevent weather-cocking, tie down attachment points.
The Boat has long sleek lines, and travels deceptively fast, and on flat water you can do 4-5 Knots all day without effort, but try to go beyond that and the "V" hull will require power input from you on a logarithmic scale. Though it is possible to push the boat to 7 Knots you'll tire quickly. But again without a GPS it'll give you no indication of how fast you are going.
To give you an Idea of the boat speed I recently paddled around the entire navigable edge of marsh creek lake, going up every stream until I could not paddle it any further. the Total time was 2 hours and 30 minutes, this also includes unloading and loading the boat. Roughly 48,000Ft of paddling or 9.09 Mi (Average 3.6 mph.) on my leisurely paddle. As my goal was to see how long I could continuously paddle without getting tired Also testing out a brand new paddle too. Usually by this point in any other boat I am ready to be done, but in this instance I could have easily done another 2 hours or more at this pace. Suffice it to say you can easily and without tiring, overtake any of the Pungo's you might meet on the water.
Best uses for this boat, Long Distance Touring, or Kayak Camping. (Or both.)
Stability, both the primary and secondary stability are excellent, I've been in a few touring boats that due to their narrow hulls, feel tippy in their primary stability, and some that even with 40 some years of paddling experience, felt like they wanted to dump you in their secondary stability. Not so with this boat, primary stability is like sitting on the ground so getting in and out doesn't leave you with the feeling of "am I going in the drink this time." And secondary stability is also fantastic and lets you know where you are on edge. An inexperienced paddler might feel wary, and you can edged it almost to the cockpit rim.
The cockpit is well appointed and fits my 6'3" 250Lb frame rather well, in fact this boat and the Jackson Journey were the only boats I could get in and out easily. Most of the issue on other boats stemmed from the 33" inseam i have so doing the human origami was not required on either of these boats like it was on other boat models.
Storage, this boat has it all... Three water tight compartments. The bow compartment a Midships compartment and a huge Aft compartment. To give you an Idea of the size of the aft compartment I can easily stow my C-Tug Kayak cart in the Aft compartment. The Midships compartment is also quite large, I keep my gloves, spray skirts, and other miscellaneous items in here, and yes if you still have some flexibility you can easily reach it while out on the water. Additionally the Hatches are all attached to the boat (Via Cord) so losing them should you need to get into a compartment while on the water just isn't going to happen. Finally all three compartments are bulk-headed and water tight, so should you get dumped out, the boat will not sink, though practice your cowboy re-entries, but the large cockpit opening will make this a breeze.
So onto the rudder, It does what it is supposed to do, though the tactile feel of where the rudder is pointed is rather difficult to achieve. it sort of requires a bit of fiddling to get it right and the the boat tracking where you want it to go. Here the Jackson has a better system as it only requires pointing your toes as opposed to pushing with you whole leg. However once you get the boat aimed, it stays on course. Mind you though the rudder is only really necessary in high wind conditions as the boat seems to track completely straight up to about a 15-20 Mph wind. I chalk this up to the Deep "V" design and the Hard chines of the hull. Turning is about on par with any boat this long, so don't expect it to pirouette like a whitewater play boat, but he hard chines do provide excellent secondary stability, so Rudder and edging will get you turned about quickly. A complete U-turn can be accomplished in about 2 to 3 lengths of the boat. You can also pivot the boat but it'll take a bit of doing.
I feel that at-least for me control wise a skeg would have been a better option however since this boat was for touring and camping I really didn't want anything eating into my cargo space.
Tying it down can be a bit of a challenge, but I found little snap hooks that just fit the safety line, that allowed me to make tie down eyes on either side of the safety line attachment points. This is not a issue if Using "J" hooks on your roof rack but if you are using "V" pads on your crossbars, you'll need to either put in pad-Eyes or make something like I did. so your tie downs cant slide.
I bought this boat to run the Delaware River from the water-gap, to the ocean, and to do some camping out on some of the River Islands. With 400Lbs of carrying capacity, it has plenty of storage weight and room to hold all my necessary gear (150 LBS of it to be clear + my fat butt.) Tent, Sleeping Bag, cooking apparel, R/O filter, and food, Plus my Kayak cart, for any portages I may encounter. There are also fore and aft bungee points for additional storage should you need it if you are taking everything and the kitchen sink on a trip.
So if you are looking for a specialized long haul boat, or a boat with tons of cargo capacity for extended camping where you need to paddle in that won't tire you out getting there (And remember I'm a Fat out of shape old man.) I would highly recommend looking at the Tsunami 175.
If 17 foot is more boat than you can handle the Tsunami Line comes in 12ft, 14 ft 16 ft and of course 17 ft. with carrying capacities from 300Lb to 400Lb all with similar high speed lines, and in the under 16 ft they're more general purposed as a great all around boat for day tripping or whatever you want to do.
I was paddling a Tsunami 175 for two weeks in Yukon river. Incredible storage capacity, stable and very, very comfortable, I ordered one when I returned to home!
The boat is enormous. I am 5' 10" and 220 now. It is easy to enter and exit for me. My size 10s have no problem in the braces or stretched out. There is enough room in this kayak for an unsupported journey of at least 5 days in comfort. I could do 10+ days if I didn't have to carry water. It has been all over the everglades and east coast of Florida over the last 5 years.
I got mine as a seconds. Couldn't find the blemish. Only problem was it didn't have a rudder. In stiff winds (15+ mph) it definitely westhercocks. I hated fighting that boat during bad weather. Droping a leg didn't help at all. Nor did leaning. Good news is I got a rudder and solved that problem.
Initial and secondary stability are rock solid. I have been hit by quartering waves over my head and never felt in danger due to the boat.
Not flashy, heavy, but it will haul your whole garage for many miles.
I highly recommend this for everything from recreational pond paddling to week long expeditions.
I must say... it looks awful funny sitting atop my tiny Honda Fit...
I would recommend this boat for anyone who wants to take a long haul. Plenty of storage space for several nights.
Great Job; Love this Kayak
I give this kayak a 9 only because I give all of my favorite kayaks a 9 in hopes that I can find the one and only 10!!!
The boat has plenty of space for long trips and generally performs well. I bought the plastic version of the Tsunami 175 and am happy with the tracking, stability, ability to edge, and overall speed. The extra weight (compared to the composite version) doesn't seem to matter much once its in the water.
The Tsunami is not the most maneuverable boat but it's the best that I've paddled for it's size. I have paddled the composite version and it does seem to handle better in choppy conditions but otherwise the plastic and composite were similar.
I spent a little extra to put the recreational seat from the Tsunami 145 in and was really comfortable afterwards, the default is a backband seat, which promotes better posture but does not give you much support. I can roll this boat empty but have not tried with a load.
Overall great boat
The real reason I chose this as my first sea kayak was it can haul as much gear as a barge. The boat has great initial and secondary stability! You can role it but its a little slow to role. I did teach a teen that never set in a kayak how to role it in 5 minutes!
The true test I put this kayak through was the MR 340! This is a 340 mile non-stop unlimited ultra in the world from KC to St. Charles, MO on the Missouri river! The Tsunami performed great without problem even when I was wore out. The Wilderness System seat is one of the best. The Tsunami was able to finish the 340 mile race in 13th place out of 76 men's solo paddlers! Not bad for what call the boats only draw back. The draw back is that it is a heavy boat at 66 lbs!
Overall this is a great boat and I would advise any one to try one out! Great job Wilderness Systems!