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I'm 6' 5". Any kayak recommendations?

I'm 6'5" and 210 pounds. I'm deciding on a kayak model, but don't have the luxury of testing them out. There aren't dealers locally with the models I'm considering.

The issue is my legs (36" inseam). I've searched the web for advice and have narrowed it down to the Dagger Alchemy 14.0L or the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 or 125. I may consider the Wilderness Pungo 140 if it will fit me better than a touring kayak.

The kayak will be used on midwest lakes and rivers. Nothing too extreme.

Comments

  • definitely test
    Unless you are buying used, where you could resell a boat that doesn't fit well, definitely find a way to test. At the very least, find a way to sit in the boat on the floor. It is too easy for you to buy a boat that sounds like it would fit based on specs, but it doesn't. Once you take a boat off the showroom floor, you cut its resale value.

    A friend of mine is 6'7", but likely a few pounds lighter (and not sure of his inseam). He recently did a long trip (7 weeks) using a Current Designs Extreme. But the Extreme wasn't his first choice - he planned to use a Seda Glider. Drove the 8 hours to San Diego to get the boat, sat in it on the floor and found he didn't fit. Big costs in time and money for him to find out it didn't work.

    He paddles a Current Designs Scirocco as his regular ride. He does fit the Valley Etain and also the Valley Gemini SP composite (I think he uses the bulkhead as a foot rest for that one).

    I have a Alchemy L and I am 32" inseam. I fit with 3 clicks left on the foot pegs, but the foam support block in the center is almost in the way. I think you would definitely want to sit in the boat and see how it fits.
  • Options
    Finding a dealer
    I'll have to do some research to figure out who would stock the kayaks I'm interested in. I live in Des Moines, IA and every place I've looked don't carry the larger capacity kayaks in stock.
  • Options
    Dagger 14L is small.
    I paddle a WS Tsunami 140 and have tried a friend's Dagger Alchemy 14L. The 14L was a much tighter fit on my hips and under the deck. I'm 5'10" and 240, with 34" inseam. The 140 foot pegs could go further to accomodate your legs, I'm sure. The 145 is actually quite a bit larger than the 140... so, as the others said, I recommend finding somewhere you can atleast sit in the kayak before purchasing.
  • Same size as you
    I am about the same height, inseam, and shoe size, a few lb lighter. Very few reasonably proportioned kayaks fit us with low profile paddling shoes and pretty much none would with thick soled shoes.

    My first sit-in kayak was the Tsunami 145 and only the version without rudder was OK leg-length-wise (the reddened version was shorter and the sliding pedals system is bad). It is a nice wide, stable roomy, "transitional touring" design, and in the lighter construction plastic is reasonably light too.

    Surf skis present less of an issue, if you are interested in a sit on top style. Plenty to chose from, mainly from Stellar and the new versions of Epic, the rest seem to be a bit short on leg room and seat width in the general case.
  • My Tall Friend
    I have a buddy who is about your size. He enjoys paddling my smaller Alchemy but keep in mind I took all the stiffening hardware / foam column stuff out and moved the seat back. 210 pounds is not too much weight but you're going to have to modify to fit in it. I modified the boat because I thought wet exits were a little too slow and uhhh... frictiony. Turns out my modification made the boat friendly to paddlers way taller and heavier than me.
  • Eddyline Fathom
    I am amount your size and find the Eddyline Fathom a very high quality boat that fits me well.
    David
  • From my experience
    I have significant paddle time in both the Tsunami 145 and Alchemy 14L. I found the Tsunami to be not so much fun once my skills improved past beginner. I'm 6'4", 220 lbs and the Alchemy fits me fine once I removed the pillar and stiffener, moved the seat back two inches and installed Yakima foot rests in new holes drilled as far forward as possible. My Alchemy has a back band in place of the back rest.

    I use my Alchemy for rock gardening and in bony conditions where I don't want to take my composite kayak.
  • Size
    -- Last Updated: Mar-24-14 11:43 AM EST --

    I'm 6'2" with a 36" inseam and 210 lbs. I have three sea kayaks.

    In my stable is an Eddyline Fathom, great for guys like us who need the extra inseam length. Comfortable outfitting, but the deck height is extreme compared to similar boats. It does make for a comfortable height and plenty of room. I have size 10.5 shoes, so if you have larger feet, this is a good "volume" boat for you.

    I also have a poly Valley Nordkapp. Nice boat, love rock gardening, surfing and playing in this boat. Outfiting is pretty basic, but I'm still able to adjust the foot pegs for my leg length. actually the front bulkhead is too far forward and they could have moved it back a few inches. Nonetheless you'd have plenty of room or you could just pad out the bulkhead. I took out the worthless thigh grabs and installed 2.5"-3" of close cell foam under the combing for my knees. Slimmer fit on the hips for me, but I almost wear this boat like a ww boat. Good control.

    I also have a composite NDK greenlander pro. I'm probably at the very top of the weight for the boat, but I used it last year for 7 day outing and didn't sink the boat with me and my gear. For this boat even the longest foot peg position wasn't far enough, my toes were pointing back at me. I removed the foot pegs and padded out the front bulkhead with minicell foam and it's much more comfortable. It was still trial and error as I shaved off .5" at a time until the foam allowed me to push off and to relax when not fully engaged.

    Just a few more suggestions from a similar sized guy.

  • The Nordkapp RM
    The Nordkapp RM is what I had for s year (and still have, for sale in the classifieds, by the way). Big feet are tough in it. I can only fit in it barefoot AND after I moved the seat all the way back (and modified the back band's attachment points to make it "normal" for me (was way too forward relative to the seat). This brings you too close to the rear deck and so no layback is possible any more.

    Small feet are great in that boat, size 15 on 36"+ inseam create all sorts of problems, not known to the "regularly sized" folks.

    Great boat though and paddles very well with around 200lb payload, give or take a few lbs...
  • Feet
    Yeah, I could see where size 15's would have trouble in the Nordkapp. I have normal sized human feet and deck height usually isn't an issue. One time I had the chance to see shoe used by Bill Lambier (former Detroit Piston), I could have floated down a river in his size 22's.
  • Deck height and width
    It is a combination of deck height and width that is important for BIG FOOT :)

    Wide and low boats might be OK (in a frog-legged position, not ideal for forward paddling, but OK for playing). The RM is both low and narrow - my heels touch barefooted with toes out and forward a bit. To fit in it with shoes I would need to step on the bulkhead with toes pointing painfully forward in an unnatural position....

    More square boats, like the Tempest 170 fit me fine with shoes, as long as the seat is moved a bit back and the foot rails a bit forward from the factory settings (easily doable with s new set of holes)
  • Options
    Yup
    There's a big difference between the Tsunami 140 & 145.
    I demo'd both yesterday at Monterey Bay Kayaks in Moss Landing, & even though one is only 6" shorter than the other, the cockpit space is massively different.

    I'm 6"4"/245lbs with a 34" inseam & size 13 shoes, & while the cockpit in the Tsunami 140 was snug, I rattled around inside the 145. The distance from the seat to the pegs, and forward bulkhead, was the same, though. It's the deck height & width of the boat that makes the difference.

    In the 140, if I took my feet off the pegs & out from under the thigh braces, I could just reach the bulkhead if I pointed my toes. Plenty of space (for me) to stretch my legs & move them around a bit to improve circulation.

    Personally I liked the snugness of the 140 because I want the ability (when I gain the ability) to roll the boat should I capsize.

    As others have said, though, you definitely want to try one out first & not just take my experience as proof.
    Everything I read about the Tsunami 140 said it was built for small-to-medium sized paddlers.
    By "small" they must have meant *small-around*, because it felt like a good fit to me & my 40" waist/34" inseam.
  • Alchemy 14L
    -- Last Updated: Apr-20-14 3:07 PM EST --

    I've paddled the Alchemy L, at 6'2", 230, 33 inseam and size 12, and found it difficult to find room for my feet. With modifications, as has been mentioned, it might work, but stock it will be a tight fit.

    Check out the Jackson Journey, well built, comfortable and roomy kayak.

  • kruger
    kruger dream cathcher
    biggest boat and will fit a 7 foot person.
    design holds more world record paddling records and longest expeditions... 43,000 km and 31,000.
    email me if you want more info
  • No doubt a great boat, but....
    at close to 6K that seems a little much for the OP's use,"The kayak will be used on midwest lakes and rivers. Nothing too extreme."
  • Jackson Journey
    I had a chance to see one of the first generation Jackson Journeys after an extended period of use and the kayak was bending in half right under the knees. Pushing on the footpegs and up on the thigh supports were causing the kayak to "bend" in the middle and there was a very noticable arch forming in the hull of the boat. It still went "straight" but I think they needed to beef up their mold or keelline to prevent this bend.
  • yeah pricy BUT
    That is the same conditions the Kruger was designed for.
    YEah pricy but you wont be upgrading every 5 years.... ($2000 x's 4 upgrades in your life= $8000+.
    I sold all my sea kayaks after getting one. just sayin.
  • Options
    Agree
    I got a 150lb newfie dog and 4 weeks of food on a trip with a Kruger. Never cramped in it.
  • That surprises me
    Granted, I paddled a relatively new Journey, but the stiffness of the hull gave no indication that it would do what you describe. Additionally, Jackson kayaks have a good reputation for quality.
  • i'm 6'7 and 215
    Boats I fit in:
    Tiderace Xplore L or XL
    Sterling Grand Illusion, Reflection- my current boat
    Epic 18x, V10,v10 sport
    Valley Gemini - though too heavy for the volume.
    Wilderness Systems Tempest 17 or 18
    Wilderness systems Zephyr
    NDK Romany Surf or high volume version
    NDK Explorer high volume version
    Valley Nordkapp high volume version

    The tiderace and nordkapp are the two most comfortable boats I've been in. I've spent 5-6 hours at a time paddling the tiderace with no break and done 90 nm over a weekend.
    I found 12.5-13" of space from deck peak to hull at the front of the cockpit is a good measurement. Foot room is always a problem. Low volume whitewater booties improve your foot room.
    I find the bath tub wide cockpits of pungos and other rec boats are unsafe and uncomfortable. Good for the fishing from the local duck pond but they are not for touring any distance what so ever. If you plan to be on anything more challenging than your local pond, a boat needs to contact at the hips, knees, thighs and feet.
  • I'd love to try one, but....
    I don't know that I'd ever use its full capabilities.

    Not to mention, I kind of like trying out and buying new boats, if I dropped 6k on one, I think my wife would want that habit to end.

    Anyway, the OP will have to decide if he wants to drop that much coin and if it would be worth it for his expected usage.

  • kayak
    Pygmy boats makes kit boats to fit all sizes of paddlers.
  • Tsunami 125
    Sounds like you have received some great options... I'm 6'4, 215lbs with a size 13 shoe and paddled the Tsunami 125 for about 3 years.

    It met my expectations and I fit in there quite comfortably. I used it primarily for Ozark streams and it was a good boat but I just got tired of a kayak and went to a canoe. I too didn't have many options when looking to buy and grabbed it without a test paddle. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and testing different boats for me just wasn't in the cards. I would say I made a good decision for it's intended use and would imagine you would think the same.

    Good luck, at least you have many options to choose from-
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