Am I considered a small paddler?

-- Last Updated: Aug-14-12 11:33 PM EST --

I'm looking to buy a kayak. I'm a male, 5'6 or 5'7, and about 150-155 lbs. Thanks to a poster in another thread, I've just started learning about the importance of the width of your kayak and making sure it fits right (snug).

I'm looking for a 13' boat with 2 bulkheads, maybe 14', probably a day touring type thing. For my size, what width would I want? Any boat recommendations?

EDIT - Thanks everyone for your suggestions below, the Alchemy seems like a popular choice, but I'm not sure if I have a place near me that sells it. I did have a question about the Point 65 XO 13. The width is 25" which I've been told is too wide (right?), but it has an inflatable seat that inflates in three areas - your back, under your legs, and the big one for this thread, on the sides at your hips. That last one sort of cinches you in the seat, and by that logic should give better control. Is that good enough, or is the boat still too wide?

depends on you and your goals

– Last Updated: Aug-14-12 4:26 PM EST –

How often might you get out, do you see yourself taking longer trips of several miles or more (how many miles?) exploring or more hanging out on small waters? Do you see yourself taking lessons, working with others and working on skills or taking a more relaxed approach. Narrower and a bit longer is good if you are inclined to and have the opportunity to push yourself (and get reward for that), but wider will otherwise make the shorter trips more relaxing. Obviously you may start small but regarding these questions, what might you hope to be doing a year from now or more.

So more info would help.

Put the Dagger Alchemy on Your List
of boats to try out.

Yeah, as the world gets larger and larger you are getting relatively smaller and smaller.

All the above is good.
I’m about the same height but a little lighter. I have a RockPool Alaw that’s slightly over 17 feet long and 21 inches wide. It fits me just fine.

It’s just one of those things. My boat works great for me but it might not work for you at all. What I do know is that it has a fairly low cockpit rim and a very low back deck, which really help when you are short.

If I did more camping my one complaint would be that the hatches are round rather than oval. Having at least one oval hatch greatly helps in getting stuff in and out of the kayak.

There are a bunch of kayaks out there that work fine for smaller kayakers. Just stick with some of the bigger names like TideRace, Valley, P&H, and Sea Kayaking UK. Explore their range of kayaks tuned to smaller individuals and see what float your boat.

I’d say so

– Last Updated: Aug-14-12 5:04 PM EST –

I'm 5'9", 155-160ish, and I usually prefer "smaller paddler" or "LV" kayaks. I hate sliding around in a too-big cockpit, or having a high foredeck get in the way.

The only way to know what feels good is to start trying boats. Test-sitting at a dealer will help shorten the list, but you really have to get out on the water.

Given your criteria, the Alchemy 14S is worth a try if you want something maneuverable, or the Tsunami 135 if you prefer harder tracking. If you like to build things, the Pygmy Artic Tern 14 would be fun. Haven't tried the Tribute 14, but I liked how the the 12 felt.

+1 ^^^
I’m 5’10", 150-155#, love the way the dagger alchemy 14 S fits & paddles. Price is good, but be prepared for the possibility of dealing with some leaky hatches and/or other minor quality issues.

All the best,

160 lbs and I love my Impex Montauk.

Mystic might work

I second, or even third trying out the Dagger Alchemy 14s.

I’m similar to you (5’8" 150 lbs) and have demoed a lot of kayaks this year. Just a couple of weeks ago I got to demo the Alchemy and have absolutely fallen in love with it. It’s a good size and is a complete blast to paddle.

a few
Dagger Alchemy s

Impex Mystic

P&H Delphin 150

SKUK Pilgrim

roughly your size
I’m an inch shorter and 5 lbs heavier and my favorite all around kayak (in a diverse personal fleet) is the British made Venture Easky 15LV, a low volume 15’ x 22"mid sized touring boat. Dual hatches and bulkheads, nice finish and outfitting including thigh hooks and an excellent seat that make you feel really connected to the boat, handles well in flat or rough water, tracks straight and fairly fast and is only 44 lbs (lighter than most 12’ to 14’ models). List is around $1300 but this is the time of year for sales and I have seen them for under $1000.

The 15LV is in the same functional bracket as several of the others that have been recommended.

re: small
Average male height in the US is 5’10", so yes, you’re on the smaller side.

Trying out a fwe
I’m actually trying out Venture Easky 15 LV tomorrow, along with a few other boats - Riot Edge 13, Venture Islay, and possibly the P&H Delphin 150. Excited to compare!

Re: depends
I’ll mostly be paddling on two bays, both which can get quite choppy at times. I’m looking for something I can just hit the water with for a couple of hours, day trips, and the occasional overnighter or weekend trip (maybe once or twice a year for the overnighters). So I’m looking for something right in the middle of a recreational boat and a touring boat. That’s why I was leaning toward a 13 or 14 footer with a couple of bulkheads. What are your thoughts jcbikeski?

Please let us know
your impressions.

could be okay

– Last Updated: Aug-16-12 4:06 PM EST –

13 to 14 feet (depending on the boat type and width) could be good for up to about 8 miles trips. You can certainly do longer but time and fatigue would gradually discourage much more. Should be okay for overnight camping in mild weather. If you wanted to eventually cover even more miles you may want to add a couple feet to the length.

I'd try to limit yourself to no more than 24" width and the more choppy and windy the more I might go down to 20" width given your height. Narrower will take an extra day or few to get used to but will in general let your loose hips guide the kayak nicely through chop and have less drag when paddling into the wind. Also if covering much ground with wind a skeg or rudder is handy but not strictly needed with the right skills.

As far as the inflatable seat idea I would avoid it. You want to be snug enough that if you push your toes and spread your thighs you're in solid but otherwise being too tight will cramp you and limits torso rotation which you will learn to love of letting your paddle faster. I also suspect it will start super comfy but be much less so after some miles.

Others likely have other thoughts I'm sure.

some good choices
The Easky LV would likely be more fun and enabling in the long run than a 13’-14’ semi-rec type boat. I don’t have a list but there are certainly others in that same class of boat. I have the 15.5 foot Delphin and while loads of fun it’s not as good for covering miles as some others in the length due to it’s design for easy turning – I use it in surf and rocks a lot.

Second on Mystic
If you are brand new to paddling, you make find it tippy (as I did), but that should go away with some experience (i.e. growing into it).