Has one of the best kayaks available just got better?
I have been extremely lucky to have been given the new Waka Tuna 2.0 to test here in our kayak school in Arlberg, Austria. I’ve been looking forward to seeing just how good the new design is and of course comparing it to the other kayaks I tested earlier in the spring in Slovenia.
Firstly, what are the differences to the previous wake model?
- It has been evenly moulded, meaning all the edges and design lines on the top of the boat have disappeared.
- The 2.0 is slightly longer and around the knees it is slightly narrower.
- The centre of gravity for the boat has been moved slightly back and is now around where your hips are.
- The thigh braces are now moulded within the shell thus making it lighter.
- The only holes in the 2.0 are for the foot-brace and the drain plug.
- The lip around the cockpit has also disappeared.
Since the Tuna 2.0 has been with us here in Austria, we have had a serious amount of rain and so I have only been able to test it so far on BIG water. My first run was down the Sanna at 270cm (high water is 245cm), I have been using it on our recent courses from Class II upwards and I really put it to the test on the Landeck Gorge at a staggering 720m3/s!
It is certainly a fast kayak that is for sure, but it holds its line extremely well and I had no problems turning and manoeuvring the boat to where I wanted to be on the river. It is a modern kayak and so you need to be pro-active to get the most out of it – think of it as a Ferrari, you do not want to be stuck in 1st gear with a bunch of boy racers blowing their horns behind you, instead you want to be driving the Ferrari and putting it to its limits and letting the boy racers dream of one day owning such a vehicle. The same can be said with the new Tuna 2.0, you need to put the effort in to get the most out of it!
Nailing your line
Carving in and out of eddies has not been a problem, it is super stable which gives you an amazing opportunity to be confident enough to nail your line no matter what the grade of whitewater! Though it is slightly longer than the previous version you do not get the feel that you are in a ‘big boat.’
I really like the new thigh braces that are part of the boat mould. This feature alone has taken off just over 1kg in weight. I am 186cm (6’2”) tall and have plenty of room in the boat and do not feel I would have trouble making a wet exit. You can always easily trim the thigh braces with a sharp knife if you think you would have difficulty getting out.
The seat is fixed in place with no holes being made into the plastic shell, the hip pads keep you in place, the pad on the seat keeps your bum warm and the back band can be adjusted by the ratchets close to the moulded thigh braces. It is a very comfortable kayak to sit in, as I have been using it all day coaching with no problems whatsoever. The bulkhead is also easily adjustable.
I have tested quite a few kayaks this year and the new Waka Tuna 2.0 is right up there, in-fact only one other kayak had such a positive effect on me and that is also in our kayak school for our clients to use.
So has the Waka Tuna 2.0 improved on its predecessor? You bet it has, lighter, faster, more manoeuvrable and with a feeling that it will take you kayaking to the next level!
Though do not just take my word for it, go and try one yourself…