Another person looking for a new boat

After a couple years pushing a bloated rec-boat (10’ Dagger Blackwater) with feet/ankles that cramp after an hour, I’ve decided I like kayaking enough to invest some real money.

The important bits: I’m 6’4", 34" inseam, 235lbs (currently, normal range is ±10lbs), size 13 feet and getting old enough that my body lets me know for Days afterwards when I contort it in ways it doesn’t like. Comfort is top of all the lists, that and transportation costs are the 2 top things keeping me from being on the water more. Is Deck Height the dimension I’m looking for in regard to foot/ankle comfort?

I am exclusively a day trip/touring paddler on medium rivers w/ class 1/2 to lakes. I like loading up for a night or two camping out of the boat, so room for a tent/bag/food is a must. I think I want more speed/glide/efficiency because paddling the barge I have now is work, less stability is fine as that seems to be a necessary trade-off. I’m not looking for Racing type speeds (well, part of me is… but I try to ignore that irrational voice, it gets me into trouble), just something that is more efficient on the water than a fat Rec boat. Beyond that, I’d rather have something that retains Some maneuverability for the smaller rivers and down log/portage (well, plus getting on/off vehicles solo and storage)… I’d say that 15~16’ and ~60lbs, but again lack of exposure/experience may be clouding my vision. When it comes to tracking, all I know is that without the skeg on my current yak, I do nothing but spin in place. Okay, maybe it’s not That bad, but it certainly doesn’t track straight without the skeg. Unfortunately it’s not easy to use/is sticky and I’m afraid of losing most of the parts again when it gets hung up. Did I mention that a lot of the water I paddle is shallow, filled with shoals, downed trees and the like?

I don’t have a whole lot of choices for doing boat demos and zero within an hours drive, so I’m trying to at Least get a list of possibles in order to try and be as efficient as possible when I DO make a drive.

And the last consideration, as always, price. Less is always better, but I’d really like to just do this once too and I know that buying the best now can really save time and money in the long run. So I’m good with up to $2k, but would Vastly prefer something used for half that.

Thanks for reading the wall of text and hopefully offering suggestions. Cheers!


Sirocco again
If I sound like a broken record, so be it, but the Current Designs Sirocco seems to me to be the boat to answer your parameters.

I’m similar in size and weight.
It’s been hard finding kayaks in which I am comfortable, but there have been a few. However, for the kind of rivers you’re doing, I prefer solo canoes. One can outfit them so one can sit or kneel. They hold more stuff, and loading and unloading is much more convenient. When you come to that inevitable tree across the stream, it is much easier to climb out of and reboard a canoe.

You’re having directional issues with your kayak. Perhaps you need to be reaching forward just a bit more, to use your paddle in a more vertical, “high angle” style, to have a bit firmer catch, and to NOT pull way past your hip. The work should be done mostly in front of you, so the boat behaves as if being pulled forward by the nose. Similar principles apply to solo canoeing. I paddle mine with almost no ruddering or J-stroking, almost always on one side.

You should enjoy the easy parts of the Flint and Ocmulgee, above the Fall Line.

tall guy boats
My 6’7" friend paddles a Scirroco. Definitely works. He also uses a variety of Valley (regular and high volumes - not low volumes) boats with success.

Note - moving to sea kayak from a rec boat will feel weird at first (and perhaps you won’t be able to get past it). They will feel tippy and the cockpit openings will feel small.

On tracking - any change from a rec boat to a touring type boat will vastly improve the tracking.

Given the costs involved and that your size is off of the norm that boats are designed for, I would strongly recommend getting in boats before buying. You say you have limited access to shops within an hour - consider taking a weekend trip to some place with better access. Or see if you can find a local club whee you can meet people and perhaps test personal boats.

And my traditional worry - when someone says they want a great flat water and that also does white water (even just Class II) - paddling in moving water is very different than flat water, and except for people with advanced skills, really isn’t something someone should do in a touring boat.

True, you can crash through class 2
in a touring kayak, but to really pick it apart, it takes a ww boat and a skill set.

If there is an Eddyline dealer near you I would recommend you take a look. You would probably fit in a Fathom and definitely in a Denali. Thermoforming kayaks tend to be lighter than rotomolds and many fiberglass boats yet are nearly indestructible. Worth a look.


No eddyline
I would avoid any thermo formed plastic kayaks.I have seen 2 split open on the bottom were the eddyline form the v hull. Thats there weak point and if on shallow river/creeks you go up on a rock just under the surface you can easily crack the hull. We had to toe this eddyline and put the paddler into a canoe that was in the group. It didn’t take on to much water with the paddler out of it but if she stayed in it it would swamp quickly.

Go roto mold for creeks with rocks.Which class 2 white water will have alot of those. The sirroco looks like a good choice but since iam not in your weight category no idea if it would be comfy for you. Maybe a not as fast as a Sirroco but shorter which might work better in white water but still not to slow a kayak. I call Tsunamis the SUV of kayaks.

Thanks, no canoes
The Flint is my go-to (74 bridge just outside Woodbury to 16 bride if I want a long day, otherwise I modify with Sperwell Bluff for put in and take out), and the Ocmulgee is something I’ve done once but am itching to go back and do more.

Anyway, not interested in canoes, I just have a better experience with a kayak. I’m the same way with motorcycles, I simply hate anything with a fairing/windscreen (and all feet-forward bikes), but have hundreds of thousands of miles on naked bikes.

As for my technique, I do my best to reach out past my toes with the blade for entry and stop pulling (twisting) when it’s near my hip. I’ll have to get my wife to video me next time we’re out to see if I am Really doing it, or just think I am… I know that I always need J-stroke in a canoe (always 2-3 up) to keep things mostly straight, ruddering only when there’s an odd current.

Thank you for the reply!

Would the OP fit a 14’ Necky Elaho Sport? There is clean looking used one for sale for $700 in the Atlanta area CL, including a Werner paddle. Not familiar with that version of the Elaho and could not find specs. It has a rudder, which I prefer for shallow or rocky rivers because it can be flipped out of the way and doesn’t risk getting dinged or fouled like a skeg can.

I was also thinking of the Venture Jura HV. I’ve taken my Venture poly 15 footer down many rocky class 1 and 2 streams in PA. There is also the Necky Elaho HV but I think that is getting up into the 17 foot range.

Okay, I need to refine "Flatwater"
I’m thinking the Okefenokee swamp, and lakes that are in-line with rivers (like West Point lake in GA is basically a very wide section of the Chattahoochee river). Most of the time I’m on rivers/moving water.

As for “doing” whitewater, so long as I can get through it with minimal fuss, that’s fine with me. I’m not out there playing in the stuff and should I get to the point where I want to play in it, I’ll buy a boat for that task.

I absolutely plan on getting in a few boats before buying. I’m actually planning a trip to Asheville, NC to paddle 4 days on the French Broad this summer so I’ll shop and try there, and in Atlanta as well ~ otherwise it’s a “take what I can get” approach. I’m not too worried about the “tippy” aspect, I’m a skiier (both alpine and x-country), have roadraced motorcycles, and my first ever kayak experience was in a tandem sea kayak… I’ll get used to the feeling, I’m sure.

Thank you!

Good to know abotu the eddyline…
I was looking at one here semi-local (Macon, GA ~ about 80 minutes drive one way), I’ll pass.

The WS tsunami has been one of the few that was already on my list. If it were a Porsche Cayenne S that’s great… not so much if it’s a GM Hummer 2. heh

The Sirroco is now on the list as well, I’m just not sure about dealing with a 17’ boat. It would have to live outside as my garage can’t handle that size.

But thank you.

Me too
I too have had thermoformied kayaks split. One split on both hard chines each side just in front of the seat and the other started to come apart at the hull/deck seam.

With a little push from my dealer, the manufacturer (not Eddyline but a very large conglomerate) arranged a credit with my dealer for the full purchase price of the two boats (which is why I"m being nice and not trashing them on every Internet forum I can find :-0 )

I’ve looked at that boat/link

– Last Updated: Apr-01-15 8:43 PM EST –

And this is the First link in the description about it:

"The Elaho Sport is specifically designed for the smaller paddler."

... "smaller" is one thing I am Not. :)

How is the Jura HV for foot size? I can't find anyone who says anything one way or another.

standing in for clydehedlund
You’re a big guy and need legroom. You live in a warm climate. Ever consider a surf ski?

Marshall, what about the Jura?
Marshall, a regular poster on here who runs an outfitter in New York that carries the Venture kayaks, might weigh in eventually on the suitability of the Jura for your metrics.

The folks I have paddled with have bashed an awful lot of rocks with Eddyline boats and have never done anymore damage than scratches. The exception being when the temperatures were well below freezing. Then the TF boats can become brittle and drops off of cars have caused cracks. In my case the roof rack failed at 70 mph and 15 degrees and it punched a pretty good hole. Repairable but not pretty.


Jura HV
You know what excels at two separate water environments? Two use specific kayaks. Time to start building your quiver.

On Willowleafs prompt the Jura HV takes my 33" inseam legs straight with no bend to the knee and my #11 Keen street shoes just brush the underside of the deck with toes vertical. Tilting the toes towards the bow they make contact with the footbraces but not the deck. With my legs more bent in a comfortable seated position in which the footbraces are drawn back about 30% from max., I have plenty of space.

13" Front deck height to underside of deck.

10.5" thighbrace height

16" across the seat pan

9.5" rear coaming height

16.25"x32" Inside opening dim. Of cockpit

Now about that WW kayak. Fusion SOT?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Looks like the Jura HV is a front-runner along with the Wilderness System (there’s a couple I’d like to try). I couldn’t even fit my feet w/ Keens in the Dagger, so I’ve already been forced to buy water/kayak shoes.

Of course the closest Venture dealer is in another state, 180 miles one way. Whee…

I think you folks do something different then me to need a specific WW boat for class 1 (90%) and class 2 (when there’s no other option). It’s something I tolerate because there’s no other option… like riding a motorcycle along a road where you know a few miles are torn up because the rest is a blast to ride. I’m not taking a dirt-bike just for the minority section of rough on otherwise smooth pavement.

Any boat you eventually get–no matter what it is made out of, should not be stored out in the sun. If you must store it outside, shade it, but do not just cover it with a tarp, etc. that might create an oven in the hot sun.

Not just Eddyline, all thermoformed
Thermoformed plastic is not recommended for white water, regardless of which manufacturer. Treated reasonably, it is very durable. I’ve dropped my Eddyline off my car onto the pavement twice and run up on many submerged lake rocks with no damage other than scratches. But I’m careful around rocks in rough water.

Also, the Eddyline deck is quite low in some models, including at the front of the cockpit, and might not fit size 13 feet. The Denali might fit you, though. It’s the largest Eddyline and has a higher deck.