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Old 11-10-2015   #1
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1
Waka Tuna, bomber or not?

Is the Waka Tuna a solid boat? If you own one, what are your thoughts on the durability of the plastic, outfitting, etc? Other pros/cons?

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Old 11-11-2015   #2
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
I used one for four months during my Norway season this summer. I used it for 76 days of personal paddling + a bunch more work days (I keep a log, so that number isn't made up). I used it relatively hard but never swam out of it.

After all that use the boat still has a lot of life in it, so durability seems relatively sound. Of course any boat has a huge chance to break if you swim out of it.

It isn't *as* simple to paddle as a Stomper, old Nomad, etc. But it gives great sensations on the water and I'd never go back to those ultra forgiving designs. I paddled a ZET Raptor all of last year and I would never go back to that either. Considering the high level of performance I get from the Tuna, I think it is pretty dang easy to use. Outfitting is great except for the back band is a little bit uncomfortable for me.

The warrantee is a bit sketchy in the US because there aren't a lot of boats here.

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Old 11-12-2015   #3
Dwave's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 211
Waka did a lot of R&D this summer with plastics finally settling on a good choice. New boats will have better plastic than in previous years.

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To air is human, to get big air divine.
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Old 11-12-2015   #4
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
How does the Tuna run for fatties at or above 215lbs?
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Old 11-12-2015   #5
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
I think 185 (without gear on) would be pretty max for the Tuna's main performance range.
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Old 11-24-2015   #6
Worcestershire, Midlands, UK
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 52
The Waka seems like a great boat performance wise. Though even with the new plastic when I took a look at one at the Sickline this year after a friend of mine bought one, I found the plastic to be incredibly flexible. I could easily push the plastic on top of the boat, as well as on the bottom of the hull. Let's just say that I wouldn't want to be in a pin situation in one.

They are supposed to be made in the same factory and in the same way as the Zets, but my Veloc doesn't flex like the Tunas I had a play with. So I'm wondering if they are trying to cut down on weight. There were some race spec Tunas there that were even more wafer thin, but my friends was a normal version with the new plastic.
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Old 11-24-2015   #7
st2eelpot's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310

They've had some inconsistencies in their production runs, which has lead to various runs having more (or less) recalls. I believe there was one bad run specifically, though those boats were all in Europe. I forget what it was pertaining. Possibly the cooling process?

I know the cooling process is one of the big differences between the Blisstick production and Waka's. The roto mold is the same (as far as the hull anyway- major improvements are in places like the grab loops), though due to differences in cooling the rocker is a bit different. I find the Waka a far faster and less turny boat than the Blisstick, which I like (having also had the Blisstick).

They're still playing with more plastics. There are a few (okay, something like 8 or 14) grey Waka boats out there that are prototypes of a different plastic. There were conversations around the fire of going to blow molding. The grey boats are far stiffer, and a little heavier, so it handles a bit differently.

I've picked up a couple of Waka Tunas (one in the USA through Evan, and one in Norway). Quality appears to be similar. I found the one I bought in the USA seems to have worn a little more over far fewer paddling days. I did more rock slides by far in Norway, though I do wonder if I simply paddled more abusive runs/rock types in the USA? Uncertain.

Still, super solid boat. Front half and back half have different design characteristics regarding edging/chine, though it is definitely a boat that needs to be driven. It's awesome to lock onto a rail and feel like I'm paddling a slalom boat into an eddy at speed. The rails engage around where I'm sitting/under the seat. The front half the boat is a bit more forgiving. Adds another variable to how to paddle the boat.

I know the factory was shut down for a while as Sam had to get some stuff in order (back in August?). I haven't been following if they're back up and running. My guess is yes, since that was a while ago now.

Outfitting is alright, though I find the backband to be worthless. Basically, go look inside a Blisstick, and it's the same outfititng. A lot of the kiwi boys were throwing in a Zet backband and loved it. I've been trying to get one or two of those if anyone has a spare [Zet Backband] laying around... Also, elevating the seat " or so improves the handling a bit.

A large percentage of my paddling is multi-day stuff with a loaded boat. One of the things I love about the Waka Tuna is how consistent this boat is from when it's loaded to when it isn't loaded. In that regard, it's the best boat I've paddled. That being said, I've found other boats easier to physically load the stern in the morning. About average in that regard.

Due to the hull design, as David Spiegel stated above, it's not as forgiving of a boat as a completely rounded creeker. Because of this, and that the boat really needs to be driven, I wouldn't recommend it to newer paddlers.

I also paddled the Zet Raptor, and it didn't work for me, so my paddling preferences my simply be similar to Mr. Spiegel's.

One of the guys I paddled w/ in Norway was probably 200+ lbs, and he was too heavy for the Tuna. It did OK, though he felt out of control and was going to sell his when he got home to the UK.
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Old 11-24-2015   #8
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West of Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 643
I have a blue Bliss-stick Tuna that is basically brand new. A friend of mine bought and converted it to a C1 and never paddled it. I have all of the yak outfitting. If anyone is interested in buying it, you can send me a PM.

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