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How Heavy Is Too Heavy?

Just out of curiousity, how heavy can a kayak be before it's too heavy? What I mean is that is there an upper limit of weight beyond which the boat cannot be controlled on the water? Supposedly the equations show that a boat's overall speed is not hugely affected by a change in weight, but what is the upper limit on water? On land it's a different story, I know that more than 50-60lbs a single person cannot handle, and 85-95 for a lot of tandems is well, a lot to carry but that's not what I am curious to know. Indeed the plastic tandems are just fine once you get them on the water, especially with another person paddling with you at that weight.

If I could build any paddle-craft I wanted from scratch, what would be the weight beyond which it would become very difficult if not impossible to control? From my own experience the nicest paddle-crafts I have ever handled are the lightest and stiffest so weight must count for at least something. Is weight that big a deal and where does it become one?

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Comments

  • edited August 31

    I've owned boats from 40# to 65# and frankly, the weight of the boat has very little to do with being able to control it. The design of the hull, the wind and the water conditions are the biggest issues. The rougher the water conditons, the less weight matters. A lighter boat will accelerate somewhat faster, but the difference is minor and a heavier boat actually maintains its speed better. Lighter boats are obviously easier to handle off the water, but that's really the only place that weight matters significantly.

    Given the choice between lighter and heavier versions of a boat I like, I would prefer the lighter boat, but I wouldn't choose an inferior or less suitable boat simply because it was lighter.

  • Weight comes with inertia, which affects how easily you can change speed and direction. If you only ever paddle on flat water and don't have to maneuver quickly, weight won't be an issue. If you want to navigate tricky river features, you want the boat to be as light as it can be, so you can maneuver it quickly.

  • Got it. Subjectively of all the boats I have tried the lightest and stiffest ones seemed the nicest to paddle, but with stiffness (and less weight) comes fragility. Plastic is the least fun and most durable. I tried a high pressure inflatable that felt stiffer and was easier to paddle than plastic but not quite composite (Grabner), but it weighed less than similar boats made of even carbon fiber! Fiberglass felt nicer, and kevlar/fiberglass a little nicer still. They seem to get going more easily, require less effort to paddle and maneuver better.

    Is 180lbs for a completely unloaded kayak (no person, no gear) too much?

  • While I realize this thread asks about weight in the context of kayaks, I believe the same principles apply as with open canoes. A lighter canoe of the same exact design will perform better than a heavier version. It will be more acceleratable, which is crucial in whitewater. The lighter swing weight of the ends allow it to be turned more snappily and to rise more buoyantly over waves. And, of course, the lighter the weight, the more easy on Sherpa portages, or even to carry from the Rolls Royce to the water.

    I also have three kayaks, and prefer the lightest one (in fairness, partially for design reasons): my 36 lb. Surge, the first kayak to use infusion technology.

  • edited August 31

    I know someone with a 180lb boat they built as a sort of hybrid boat/kayak and it doesn't feel nice at all to paddle. His point is that weight doesn't matter but over the years I've tried more than a few boats and while I am partial to plastic due to the rocky area where I live I know the other materials are a lot nicer. That said 180lbs feels like a beast, it's very hard to control be it on or off the water in a way that is more or less logical with how boats in the 24 to 95lb weight range I've tried (less always seems to feel the best).

  • Total weight for a boat to handle OK on the water is a function of hull design. Going to 300 pounds would be too heavy for my Vela to handle right, assuming you could find a way to get that much into it. A similar weight is nearing upper limits but not out of bounds for the NDK Explorer.

    Not quite sure why the boat itself matters extant from the design limits of the hull.

  • edited September 1

    @CA139 said:
    Got it. Subjectively of all the boats I have tried the lightest and stiffest ones seemed the nicest to paddle, but with stiffness (and less weight) comes fragility. Plastic is the least fun and most durable. I tried a high pressure inflatable that felt stiffer and was easier to paddle than plastic but not quite composite (Grabner), but it weighed less than similar boats made of even carbon fiber! Fiberglass felt nicer, and kevlar/fiberglass a little nicer still. They seem to get going more easily, require less effort to paddle and maneuver better.

    You are bundling together stiffness and weight in your comparison. What if all the good properties came from the high stiffness of those boats, and not from the low weight?

    I am not saying that it is so. I am just saying that you need to separate these two factors in your comparison.

    I can add that in a sea kayak, which is often paddled empty ( 20-25 kg), and sometimes paddled loaded for camping (50-60 kg), weight doesn't really matter for maneuverability in my experience. They respond more or less equally to edging, which I use a lot for direction control, and sometimes the loaded kayak even reacts better to this,

    I will assume that the loaded sea kayak does turn slower, but it is not really something I think about, since the problem with a sea kayak usually isn't the speed of the direction change, but rather that the sea kayak wants to go in another direction than the paddler does. So when I consider (lack of) maneuverability, I mostly think of the forces which are trying to prevent me from turning in the direction I want, rather than the inertia.

  • edited September 1

    180 pounds unloaded?! Is that a typo? When I said that the weight of a boat doesn't matter much, I was referring to the typical ~25# weight range for composite and plastic kayaks, not something that weighs 3 times as much. Of course that ridiculous amount of weight is going to make a difference in your ability to accelerate and turn. What kind of "kayak" weighs that much?

  • edited September 1

    Two topics then:
    First, am I bundling weight and stiffness together? Yes and no. I have found that lighter and stiffer boats tend to be nicer to paddle. I think they can be more or less bundled together because stiffer materials don't have to be as thick, thus they don't weight as much so it's not a 1:1 or 100% correlation, but lighter tends to usually mean stiffer and vice versa. Of course, lighter and stiffer always means more expensive to buy, more fragile and needing more expensive repairs!

    Second I am not talking about a loaded boat in terms of weight. I am talking unloaded or weight as built without paddler or gear.

    @bnystrom said:
    180 pounds unloaded?! Is that a typo? When I said that the weight of a boat doesn't matter much, I was referring to the typical ~25# weight range for composite and plastic kayaks, not something that weighs 3 times as much. Of course that ridiculous amount of weight is going to make a difference in your ability to accelerate and turn. What kind of "kayak" weighs that much?

    Someone I know who had some training in building larger boats ended up trying to design a kayak that blurred the lines.
    It was explained and shown to me the equation where extra weight doesn't affect speed much but nowhere did I see anything about moment of inertia. It's almost as if his point of view was that it would be almost impossible for the boat to be too heavy to control but I felt otherwise.

  • A 180 pound kayak will be more sluggish to turn than an identical normal weight kayak because of the higher moment of inertia as you suspect. If you add about 3 inches of water to a canoe it handles more sluggishly.

  • @CA139 said:
    Second I am not talking about a loaded boat in terms of weight. I am talking unloaded or weight as built without paddler or gear.

    No, I am - to prove a point, which apparently was lost:
    If the weight of unloaded vs. loaded doesn't change the handling much, why should the weight of the boat itself.

    So I am pretty sure that the difference is in the stiffness rather than in the weight.

  • edited September 1

    It's true that the difference in straight-line acceleration of a 40# vs 80# kayak is not going to be huge. Assuming a paddler weight of 180#, then the total weight goes from 220# to 260#, an increase of 18%. Meanwhile, the skin friction and wave-making resistance of the hull will not change much assuming a minimal increase in draft. So the overall increase in paddling effort to accelerate the hull might change by 10% or so, and the effort to paddle at constant speed will be the same. The increase in inertia, meanwhile, will give the hull increased glide so in some respects the hull may feel faster once it's up to speed. Much of this is mentioned above.

    EDITED TO REFLECT CORRECTIONS (in italics) MENTIONED BY ALLAN IN POST BELOW:

    With respect to maneuverability, the rotational inertia of a long thin body is dominated by weight at the ends (see mass moment of inertia, proportional to mass times distance from center of rotation squared). The weight of the paddler contributes almost nothing since it is located near the center of rotation. Doubling the weight of the boat, then, effectively doubles the mass moment of inertia making the boat more resistant to turning. This is why heavy boats are more difficult to handle on land. In water, the effect is mitigated somewhat because the hydrodynamic resistance to turning (due to the shape of the hull and skin friction) remains the same. But I have to guess that the difference may be large, not sure by how much.

    A 180# paddler in a (ridiculous) 180# kayak, would have 1.6 times the linear inertia and 4 times the rotational inertia vs a 45# kayak. Again, the aggregate increase in paddling effort would be reduced by the unchanging magnitude of fluid resistance in each case, but still...

    None of this says anything about stiffness, which is undoubtedly a factor, but is not really part of the weight question that was asked.

  • @carldelo said:
    Doubling the weight of the boat, then, effectively quadruples the mass moment of inertia

    Mass moment of inertia has a linear relationship with mass, and a quadratic relationship with distance from C.O.G. But we aren't changing any distances here.

    If the mass distribution of the boat along the length of the boat is equal, and the boats are equally long, the boat with the double mass will have double the mass moment of inertia.

    Anyway, I will still claim that when turning a kayak, the effort used to overcome inertia means next to nothing compared to the effort used to overcome opposing forces from wind and water, which try to either prevent you from turning or even in a lot of cases try to turn you in the opposite direction of what you want. If overcoming inertia was such a huge part of turning, then we would have to use a lot of effort to stop the turn when we have reached the direction we want.

  • I will throw another aspect in: super-light skin on frame boats like those that I usually paddle (both the "rigid" type and foldable craft) tend to be faster and more stable in rough confused waters than similar sized stiffer boats of any weight because they flex somewhat to absorb and ride over the force of waves rather than being buffeted and knocked around by them.

  • Well, a hull that weighs more than the water it displaces is too heavy. All the rest gets the question, "Too heavy for what? "

  • @Allan Olesen said:

    @carldelo said:
    Doubling the weight of the boat, then, effectively quadruples the mass moment of inertia

    Mass moment of inertia has a linear relationship with mass, and a quadratic relationship with distance from C.O.G. But we aren't changing any distances here.

    If the mass distribution of the boat along the length of the boat is equal, and the boats are equally long, the boat with the double mass will have double the mass moment of inertia.

    Anyway, I will still claim that when turning a kayak, the effort used to overcome inertia means next to nothing compared to the effort used to overcome opposing forces from wind and water, which try to either prevent you from turning or even in a lot of cases try to turn you in the opposite direction of what you want. If overcoming inertia was such a huge part of turning, then we would have to use a lot of effort to stop the turn when we have reached the direction we want.

    Allan - you're right, you caught my careless mistake. My internet access has been down but I will edit the original post now if I can.

    You make a good point about the relative magnitude of inertial vs fluid effects while turning. I don't have a good estimate of that. The estimate of a 50/50 split between inertial vs fluid effects in straight line acceleration seems about right.

  • @Overstreet said:
    Well, a hull that weighs more than the water it displaces is too heavy.

    Unless it has wheels...

  • edited September 1

    @CA139 said:
    I have found that lighter and stiffer boats tend to be nicer to paddle. I think they can be more or less bundled together because stiffer materials don't have to be as thick, thus they don't weight as much so it's not a 1:1 or 100% correlation, but lighter tends to usually mean stiffer and vice versa.

    A little confused by what you are saying here.

    If two Sairy Gamp's are made of the same material -- say S glass -- and one is made of two layers while the second is made of three layers, the second will be both heavier and stiffer.

    On the other hand, if you are talking about two Sairy Gamps being made of completely different materials -- say one made of polyplastic while the second is a lamination of S glass and Kevlar -- then the second could be both lighter and stiffer. Most sophisticated paddlers would probably prefer the on-water performance of the SK Sairy Gamp. People who are less concerned about subtle on-water performance differences, but are more concerned about durability for bashing on rocks and dragging along parking lots, may prefer the poly Sairy Gamp.

    As to Willow's claim that skin-on-frame boats are faster in rough waters, I doubt that even though I have never paddled a SOF boat. No racer in any paddling discipline I'm aware of -- marathon canoe racing, whitewater slalom and downriver canoe and kayak racing, outrigger and surf ski ocean racing, or Olympic sprint racing -- uses a SOF craft.

  • @Allan Olesen said:

    @Overstreet said:
    Well, a hull that weighs more than the water it displaces is too heavy.

    Unless it has wheels...

    Yes. It's going to need to roll along the bottom.

  • I've built 3 Greenland-style SOF kayaks and have never noticed any difference in speed compared to composite or molded boats. That said, I really don't care that much about speed and don't monitor it, either. I also own a Pintail, which really hits a wall when you push it, due to its short waterline and resulting low max hull speed. My SOFs have all been faster, but it's a pretty low bar to beat. I've owned several longer, faster boats and the SOFs seemed to be comparable in performance. The frames are relatively rigid, but probably more flexible than any of the composite boats I've owned. What flexes most on an SOF is the skin,, which assumes a somewhat concave shape between the keelson and the stringers. I haven't seen any studies of how this affects the speed of an SOF kayak, but it does affect the tracking.

    Regarding flexibility, some Aleut Baidarkas are designed to flex in order to handle rough water better. These designs also tend to have long waterlines, which makes them faster. Whether the flex contributes to speed or not is questionable, but if it keeps more of the hull in the water, there's at least the potential for higher speeds. Again, I haven't seen any definitive studies on the subject.

  • I don't think studies are necessary. Just look at the empirical results in all serious paddlesport races. They are won by lightweight composite boats in every category I can think of. If racers thought a SOF boat would win their race, they would definitely use them. They don't.

    Personally, I'm not a racer and never cared much about maximum hull speed with any canoes or kayaks even when I was young, strong and fit. During my 20 years as a serious whitewater open canoeist, I did value acceleratability. Very often and continuously in hard rapids you have to accelerate very quickly to make some move or to avoid something. You have maybe two or three or four strokes to do it. Hulls that could leap quickly forward were important. In other words, slalom hulls.

    I'd like to offer a definitive answer to the title question -- one that made sense to me and stood me in good stead from about age 40 to 70: Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy. Spend the extra money to get a lightweight composite boat, learn how to paddle it, take care of it, and it will treat you, your muscles and your ligaments well.

    At age 70 I revised the upper weight limit to 35 pounds, but unfortunately by then my wallet had become too light.

  • First off, why would you (GMacG) disdain a statement on the performance of skin on frame boats in the same breath where you admit you've never paddled one?? Second, of course nobody would use a skin on frame or folding kayak preferentially in most of those racing events you list because the relative speed and handling advantage over rigid boats exists in confused very open rough water, not in other conditions that would be more common in a racing situation.

  • edited September 2

    @willowleaf said:
    First off, why would you (GMacG) disdain a statement on the performance of skin on frame boats in the same breath where you admit you've never paddled one?? Second, of course nobody would use a skin on frame or folding kayak preferentially in most of those racing events you list because the relative speed and handling advantage over rigid boats exists in confused very open rough water, not in other conditions that would be more common in a racing situation.

    I have no opinion on the comparative handling or stability of SOF's, but I do on comparative speed. How? I've answered this question twice above. I look at the empirical past -- namely, the boats that winning racers have used. Any water race.

    But you want to focus on speed in "confused and very open rough water", Okay (with some links). How about any slalom or downriver whitewater race ever held in class 3-4 whitewater? Think a SOF could win? I've never seen or heard of it, and I've been watching whitewater racing for 40 years on every level from local races to the Olympics.

    How about the annual 41 mile ocean race across the Molokai channel in Hawaii? BIG water. (The video is only of the OC6 boats, but it shows the carnage conditions.) No SOF constructed boats ever seen there to my knowledge.

    How about any of the many open class ocean races such as the 20+ mile annual Blackburn Challenge around Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in which "the water can be very rough, with strong winds and high waves." Never heard of a SOF having the fastest times, which are all published.

    You don't have to be a meteorologist to know empirically what the weather was yesterday.

  • @Glenn MacGrady said:
    ...age 40 to 70: Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy...
    ...At age 70 I revised the upper weight limit to 35 pounds...

    What a great 'rule of thumb' (just 'cause that's what I think).
    I might amend that with an exception - if you always paddle with friends that always will be there to assist in carrying. (I paddle 90% solo)
    Also, if you think that a lighter weight boat will get you on the water more often, spend the extra bucks on the kayak (get a cheaper car next time, put off the kitchen remodel)

  • Every year me and my kayak gain 2 pounds!

  • My feeling is that our Wilderness Polaris at 85lbs is a little heavier than we'd want but we can do it (we're in our 40's) and we are right on the water. I do appreciate the weight just for momentum and handling rough seas as it's right on a tidal bay that has very rough water, but we would never want to take that boat out anywhere else, ever. I wouldn't have it if we weren't staying where we are.

    180lbs pure, unloaded boat weight is just too much and that was my suspicion. That kayak could be disassembled in 3 pieces but two of them were about 80lbs each, too much to handle! I saw it took over 2 hours to assemble, and 2 hours to disassemble too, not practical. And it felt heavy enough that not only was it a no-go on land, but it felt like a no-go on water. That's my unqualified opinion.

  • Well Glenn you may be on to something. I just sold my heaviest solo canoe (45 pounds) because it was too heavy. Now I have 5 solos with 3 around the 35 pound limit...but my Shearwater is over 40 and I'm pondering selling it and replacing it with a lighter one. My Bell Merlin II is around 40 but I can never sell it because we've done too many things together. I recently test paddled a Northstar Trillium and I was impressed with the boat's performance and also with the 26 pound weight.

    CA139 - I've always thought that a boat is too heavy if you ever hesitate to use it because of what it weighs.

  • I've been carrying this kayak on my shoulder
    to go paddling} for over 15 years. I turned 67 this year and determined it was now too heavy to solo carry. I weighted it when I took it apart a week ago 75 pounds. I bought a 50 pound Nordkapp LV to paddle instead. Feels light to carry {

  • My new {to me} kayak

  • Hi Roy. Would love to know how you do with the Nordlow. My eldercare issue is gradually resolving so my time is more predictable, looks like I can count on getting my roll dialed back in on both sides this winter so I can come out next spring in JIm's Nordkapp LV. I have been playing extreme safety in my choices of boats because of paddling solo so it should be a lot of fun to try out the other.

  • @Glenn MacGrady said:
    Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy.

    This is complete BS, as it eliminates all but a handful of commercially made sea kayaks. Utter nonsense!

  • @bnystrom said:
    Utter nonsense!

    nonsense for thee but not for me
    (age - mid 60's, kayak miles - over 4k/yr, avg (of 8) kayak weight - 35lbs)

  • I'm 76 and wouldn't trade my 19'-2", 51 pound fiberglass sea kayak for anything. I still carry it on my shoulder to and from the water. I do wish they would put the parking lots closer to the water, though.

    The other day, I just about crossed one launch site off my list, because they changed the beach and it's now pretty steep from the water to the parking lot. Ever try carrying a boat uphill in soft, dry sand?

  • edited September 2

    @bnystrom said:

    @Glenn MacGrady said:
    Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy.

    This is complete BS, as it eliminates all but a handful of commercially made sea kayaks. Utter nonsense!

    Your response provides no objective and little subjective guidance on the topic question: How much weight is too much?

    I simply provided the general weight guideline that I, in historical fact, followed from about age 40 for solo canoes, solo kayaks and solo outrigger canoes. From ages 8-40, I paddled and owned lots of much heavier canoes including aluminum, wood and Royalex tandems and solos. At around 40, it was impressed upon me by the top whitewater racers and flatwater sport canoeists of the time to consider lightweight composite canoes, and that my body would thank me in later years. I did, and and my body has.

    I took up seakayaking after 40 and searched, I suppose, among the "handful" of lightweight kayaks in that field. I was never interested in a kayak that could cross the North Sea or circumnavigate Iceland, but which simply could provide some pleasant day trips and exercise and which was easy to carry on portage routes. I suspect that the "handful" has grown bigger over the past 20 years with the increasing popularity of modern construction techniques such as resin infusion, more space age fabrics, and the move to shorter kayaks (and canoes).

    Weight may not matter much to the young, the strong, the physically fit and the perfectly healthy. And heavy boats certainly have a place in niche areas such as expedition paddling (or historic recreations). However, for those of us who are -- or who soon will be -- no longer young, no longer strong, no longer fit, no longer healthy and no longer interested in expedition paddling in heavy boats, I think my old rule of thumb still makes sense. Today, in fact, I would strive for solo boats under 40 pounds even if I were still superboy. Other folks, of course, have different histories and different opinions.

  • Skin on frame kayaks and surf skis, both rigid and folding versions, have indeed been used for racing. They are more common in Europe:

    http://race.fit2paddle.com/C1159474119/E20051123005157/index.html

  • Magooch - there comes a time for kayak carts... just sayin' :)

  • Per light boats and portability for us "geezers": I have 8 in the armada at the moment and only one is a bit over 40 pounds. I live on a steep hill (you have to descend a flight of 6 steps just to get from the street to the front yard) with no place for a driveway or garage so these all live in my walk-out basement in back of the house. I will be building a garage and boat storage house within the next year at the level rental property that I own a few blocks away but for now this is the arrangement.

    At 69 years old and only 5' 4" tall I no longer want to own any boat that I cannot carry on my own (without pain and strain) from the basement, up through the yard and steps and hoist onto the car roof rack. I do have a double kayak trailer but it has to be parked for now 150' behind the house in the back alley (down at the bottom of the steep yard). But using the trailer and putting the folding kayaks into their respective duffel bags I can haul all eight boats (260 pounds total) in one trip.

    Listed by length. The 18' SOF (with 20" beam) is the fastest:

    12' Pakboat Puffin folding kayak: 23 pounds
    12' Curtis Ladybug canoe: 37 pounds
    13.5' Pakboat Quest 135 folding kayak: 27 pounds
    (two) 14' Pakboat Swift folding kayaks: 28 pounds each
    15' Venture Easky LV plastic kayak: 46 pounds
    15' 7" Feathercraft Wisper folding kayak: 37 pounds
    18' handbuilt West Greenland replica rigid skin on frame: 34 pounds

  • @willowleaf said:
    But using the trailer and putting the folding kayaks into their respective duffel bags I can haul all eight boats (260 pounds total) in one trip.

    Nice,
    wish I could do the same
    (you know, when & if need to escape a hurricane that gets a bit too close - wait a minute, need to go check that 2pm forecast update)

  • edited September 2

    @willowleaf said:
    Skin on frame kayaks and surf skis, both rigid and folding versions, have indeed been used for racing. They are more common in Europe:

    http://race.fit2paddle.com/C1159474119/E20051123005157/index.html

    I'm thrilled that Nautiraid's 2006 folding race kayak weighed 29.5 lbs. They paid attention to a racing champion on the weight issue. It's also historically interesting that folding kayaks were raced in the 1936 Olympics. That was just after fiberglass was invented and before it was being used for boat hulls.

    I'm not in any way opposed to SOF's. I find them fascinating, would love to paddle one, visited 20 years ago with a fellow who made them in the islands north of Seattle, and became entranced with the idea of a baidarka after reading Dyson's book.

    But, Willowleaf, you're trying to defend the indefensible -- the narrow and perhaps totally unimportant question of whether a SOF hull can beat a modern composite hull in an ocean race, the paddlers being equal. There is no historical race evidence of which I'm aware that suggests that. But who cares, really, for all us non-racers. Having been away from this site for 2+ years, I was very interested to have read yesterday that you recently bought a Curtis Ladybug . . . canoe! Congratulations. I doubt that model would have been as popular as it was if it had exceeded 45 pounds.

  • @Celia I have been playing with the seating to get my body weight where I want it in relation to the buoyancy of the hull. Rolls nice. Took the original seat out, tried a foam seat, then tried a gel seat , then tried a thermorest self inflating seat. Took out all the thigh brace foam that the former owner had in it. Put some back in. took it out rolling between each change. Then did the next change. Hips are next. I like them a bit loose, but not too loose. Having some rotator cuff issues so had to quit for the day. This is a very fun kayak. The first time I paddled it, I was on Lake Superior....now I'm doing all the fitting on an inland lake so it's a bit warmer to roll for a few hours and test.

    I've been paddling Nordkapps for over 20 years....This seems to be one of the best. IT"S a KEEPER

  • edited September 2

    I was talking about touring boats and touring conditions, not race-specific boats or racing at all, to begin with. Note that I said "similar boats", as in touring or sea kayaks.

    This excerpt (a report on a high performance Cape Falcon Kayak F1 SOF designed by Brian Schulz) better describes the performance characteristics of a skin on frame in challenging conditions than I can -- the author in one instance was out with two other paddlers in high end composite sea kayaks, an NDK Explorer and Tiderace Xcite, and the F1 outperformed those in 30 mph winds and rough water.

    https://www.adventuresportsnetwork.com/sport/paddle-sports/canoe-kayak/rides-david-bixbys-cape-falcon-f1-skin-on-frame-kayak/

  • edited September 2

    Roym, I am glad to hear you are enjoying the boat! Jim loved how it went thru the water, it is slick, and I adored how it rolls. One of a handful of boats I had to stop with the paddle to avoid window shading. And that was with a very loose fit and no foot contact.

    I have kept the Nordlow hoping to have a season where I could really take it out. But I want my roll solid on both sides before I do that. Unfortunately I started recovering from the loss of kayaking time due to Jim's illness just in time for my stepmother's health issues to ramp up. The latter is finally heading towards a more sane resolution and it looks like I will have the pool time I need this winter to get my left side back in operation. I am looking forward to that.

  • @Celia Sits on the water like a praying mantis. What's not to like B)

  • Roy, it is a sharp looking set of colors too. Too pretty for me, with my sloppy habits a white hull is better...

  • If you ever pass through SW Pennsylvania I'd be glad to offer you a test drive in my West Greenland SOF, built by Dawa Nordrup of Monkcraft Kayaks out in Oregon.

  • edited September 3

    @Glenn MacGrady said:

    @bnystrom said:

    @Glenn MacGrady said:
    Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy.

    This is complete BS, as it eliminates all but a handful of commercially made sea kayaks. Utter nonsense!

    Your response provides no objective and little subjective guidance on the topic question: How much weight is too much?


    If YOU need lightweight boats due to physical limitations, that's fine; nobody is going to argue with you. However, stating that "Any solo canoe or kayak that is over 45 pounds is too heavy." as some kind of hard and fast rule for others is just plain ridiculous and has zero basis in fact. Millions of people are happily paddling heavier boats.

  • You want heavy? Concrete canoes run about 300 pounds each. Yes, they are a thing and there are entire organizations devoted to designing, building and racing them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_canoe

    "Too heavy" is subjective and personal.

  • edited September 3

    @willowleaf said:
    "Too heavy" is subjective and personal.

    Exactly.

  • Roym, do you really roll “for a few hours”? About one hour is plenty for me.

  • What is too heavy for one person not only differs from one person to another, it also can change over time.

    I’ve always been happy paddling boats in the 55-60 lb range and still enjoy doing so. However, CARRYING them is another matter. That weight always felt borderline for me. A few years ago I stopped shouldering it, period. Using a portage cart and a trailer minimize the need to lift and carry. Unfortunately, any real carrying now means I need my husband to help, which limits my days on the water. And we both are tired of schlepping the weight when it is possible to get something lighter.

    The limit is set mainly by affordability and what lightweight boats are available that we like. Affordability is a bit less of an issue than it was 15 years ago. Now the task is to scope out other boats.

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