Adice for a new XL paddler

Hi All I am looking to purchase my 1st Kayak I’m mid 40’s 230 lbs 5’10 I will probably be useing mostly on Lakes and rivers in NJ, possiblbly Bay if I get confident enough, I’m looking at an old Town XL 160, only because it seems like it works for folks over 200lbs. Can anyone offer advice, tips, or comments regarding choice of Kayak, things to do or anything else that may help me as I get started

Thanks to all

This really is the best way to start. You get a crash course in the basic equipment and how to use it, a lot faster than figuring it out yourself, get a better sense of the possibilities, and likely find other people to paddle with and/or the local club. I am not familiar with details in NJ, but with the ocean relatively accessible, the Delaware Water Gap below and the smaller bodies of water, you shouldn’t have a difficult time hooking up with others who paddle and a place that teaches how.

Old Town Loon 138
I am your height and only about 20 - 25 pounds lighter and I find my OT Loon 138 is a nice stable boat with a large cockpit and room for a larger paddler.

Wes Boyd’s website
Lots of advice for larger paddlers.

The Jersey Paddler
is right in Brick, NJ where you live. It is one of the largest paddling shops in the Mid-Atlantic Region. They have a good demo program that you can utilize to try before you buy. They’ll be able to give you good advice as well.

No affiliation with them, yadda, yadda yadda.

Welcome to the wonderful world of paddling!


Old Town
I know what you mean by being a big guy looking for a kayak. I own a Loon 138 and an Adventure 160XL. I love them both and they both great boats. The new Loon (2006) has a hatch and a rear bulkhead where the old ones do not. The 160 is longer, faster and has front and rear bulkheads. Both boats are stable (Loon, extremely stable) and a great deal of fun. Good choice either way, even with an older loon, like mine.

thanks to all
Thanks to all, I do live in Brick and have been three times to the Jersey paddler, after waiting around for 10 minitues or so (both times) I was could not find anyone to help me, and felt a bit wierd hanging out there. Tommorow I am driving down to another store south of me to talk to them about getting a kayak. I should be in the water by next weekend. I am leaning towards a perception carolina or the adventure 160, but will definatly look at the otheres

Each time I return home to visit the folks on the Jersey Shore the Jersey Paddler is like Mecca – a must stop on my annual east coast pilgrimage.

I’ve never seen so much paddling stuff and so many boats in one place before.

The place is is fantastic! Where else can you run a hand over the hull of a Rushton canoe or a real Eskimo kayak while shopping for paddling gear?

I’ve also never had a problem with service, but despite my Jewish heritage, I’ve never left with a full wallet either.

My only disappointment was when they refused to ship a used – but beautiful – fiberglass Merrimack canoe to the west coast. When pressed, they said while they could do it, they didn’t want to as experience had taught them it would arrive in more than one piece.

Lesson then RENT!!!
I am the same hieght and 225 lbs. If you havent already...... give the Tempest 170 RM and the Valley Skerray RM a try. If I were to start over I would rent each kayak for atleast a full day and take it somewhere you are comfortable without a sales person around. Fist a good starter lesson then RENT. You wont regret it. Good luck.


5’9" and 260
I’m 5’9" and weigh 260 and I just (Literally today) purchased a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 120. The other boat that I was seriously looking at was the Perception America 11.

The deciding factor for me was actually the people in the SpringRiver Corp Store in Annapolis, MD. They had the Pamlico in stock and Dick’s Sporting Goods had the Perception. I liked both boats equally well to let the people running the store be the deciding factor for me.

advice taken
I met with the good folks at Barnegat kayak today and will be joining them next Saturday for a beginers lesson. After that I am going to see about trying as many as possible of the boats that have been recomended. Good news is my wife is going to take the lessons as well. will let you all know how it goes.

I am a big guy too
I am a bigger guy too, weighing 270 Lb. 5’10" tall, sz 42 jeans & a 2XL T-Shirt.

I started kayaking in the Old Town Adventure XL-139. It did a fine job for me on local lakes, and the local river.(I mile wide river). But I only kayaked at that time on calmer water.

You are lighter than I am, so you would do fine in either the XL-139, or possibly better in the XL-160. The “160” is longer and narrower, so it would be a little faster and easier to paddle. I am thinking it would be better on the Bay also, as the wider XL-139 is more of a rec kayak, for calmer water.

Good idea to take lessons as you are. Bravo for you. Then test paddle several kayaks after you understand kayaks a bit more from the lessons. Buy what feels best for YOU, not others.

Perfect Solution
I’m about your size and have the perfect yak for you. It’s an 12.5 Perception Acadia. My mother lives in Toms River so I can deliver the boat to you. It’s less than a year old and in great shape, only $450.00. The Acadia is a proven design, strong, stable and perfect for your needs.

I’m available during the week in the daytime.

big AND tall
I am 6’5" and go about 240. I have a 36-38 inch waist and 36-38 inch legs. Any suggestions for a kayak for me? I have paddled a Hobie Tandem (alone and with a partner) and a Dagger Blackwater 10.5. I liked the dagger much better (SINK and skeg) but I think the 11.5 or 12.5 might fit me better. I liked the flexability of the Hobie (single or tandem) I would mostly use it on slow moving rivers calm lakes (although a trip to the coast wouldnt be totaly out of the question.

I am 6’5" and 235. 34" inseam.After
a lot of boats, my 2 best are a WS Tarpon that I use for salt water and very windy days, and a Wenonah Voyager CANOE.Why should I try to shoehorn this frame into a SINK when I can be comfortable?

Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5
Cockpit measures 35" x 19"

Plenty of leg room

Check it out here:

I’ll clock in too
I clock in at 270, 5’4" so I’m a pretty fat dude. The loon 138 has worked well for me, but I don’t go out in the bay in it due to I don’t do self rescues with it etc. I only do shorelines of lake and creeks/rivers.

I am 5’9" and 220
Just bought an Eddyline Nighthawk 16 last month and it seems to fit perfectly. I am a newbie but all the experienced people I have talked to in the past thought it was the best fit out of all the ones I have considered.

5’10", 224 lbs too…Demo…demo…demo!
You should have no problem finding a great kayak for you to fit into…in fact that will be the least of your concerns!

I would second many of the recommendations already offered. Demo…demo…demo…lessons…like Chuck said…rent boats for the day…don’t rush into buying…AND…consider a used boat. There should be many Demo days at this time of the year.

After a few lessons and rentals…talk with experienced paddlers (NOT salesfolks)…and keep asking questions right here…we will help out.

You will need to see what attracts you about paddling a kayak…and…where you want to paddle…and that will likely change as you paddle some more.

Decide what locations you will want to paddle, and how talented a paddler you want to be. And meanwhile…enjoy all of the Demos. I am building my own kayaks now, and actually miss the Demos at this time of the year.

I would also highly recommend looking into using a Greenland paddle. It is especially kind to those of us with ‘older’ shoulder joints.



re: Barnegat Bay
It has been a loooooooong time since I was in the bay. My recall is that the bay surely requires a sea kayak for safey reasons and comfort.

I didn’t answer your question, so here is an attempt and my .02. I am 5’10", 224lbs, 28"inseam and I fit in the following boats:

  1. Tempest 170 (better fit in glass boat)
  2. Impex Susquehanna (a great all around boat…will take you anywhere)
  3. Exlorer
  4. Aquanaut (my favorite commercial boat)

    Of all of the above boats, I would recommend the Impex Susquehanna (if buying used it was known as the Diamante in the past…but…would recommend models with rubber vs. fiberglass hatches) as the best first all around boat that will take you anywhere you want to go with comfortable stabiity.

    Having said all that…Demo…demo…demo and enjoy!