A-NAUT HV?-WAAAY TOO BIG, FRIEND SWIM
– Last Updated: Apr-11-10 10:32 PM EST –
Concur with Celia, Wilsoj, and others -I'm 6-0, 205, -but with a short 30" inseam, and size 12s (in H2O shoes) -and the standard Aquanaut is a GREAT fit.
I've paddled it at 210#, and I bought it at 200# 2-1/2 years ago, after an intensive search that had me paddling all sorts & sizes of boats with rides begged, borrowed -and no, not stolen. (No comments from the P-NET p-nut gallery; I am now 205 while up from 200 still DOWN from 210...) This one fit the bill and was just a terrific fit for me and my paddling growth curve and education as well as physical size.
I've been out in rather squirrelly conditions relatively far from port a couple times, and the boat is just a damn fine confidence builder. I've camped on a 3-day trip on it and didn't bare-bones backpack so it hauls a decent quantity of gear. It's very well built, and is comfortable for me to spend several hours in the saddle -also an important consideration, as you do NOT want to be either uncomfortable in and during, or super-stiff after, your trip. The A-ANUT standard has enough room for me to move about it to relieve stiffness and I can still be locked in between the foot braces and the thigh pads.
That said, you may like another one just as well.
I enjoyed paddling friend Brazilbrasil's roto Tempest-170, I thought the roto Chatham 17 was the absolute BEST-fitting and MOST-comfortable kayak I've ever laid butt in, and my wife Sally has a Hurricane Tracer.
However, I thought the Chatham 17 paddled poorly -it felt like I was paddling in wet concrete when I rented one and paddled the Willamette River in Portland, OR. The T-17 was fine, but perhaps I had residual bad vibes because I couldn't roll it even in relatively calm conditions under the excellent and expert instruction of one of our (PNET's) better rollers, Brazilbrasil. And Sally's Tracer is a bit big in the cockpit even for me and my mildly oversized thighs. While String notes that his brother experienced weathercocking in it, Sally found that it has happened only once in 3 years after having had a skeg retroactively installed, which really firmed the boat up nicely. In addition, the Hurricane T is the only SINK I've dumped -I think it was because I wasn't paying attention, but it is what it is...
I enjoyed paddling a CD Solstice GTS, and both Sally & I REALLY enjoy paddling friend Grayhawk's CD Caribou. However, the latter is not what is now being sold by Current Designs, so I'd strongly suggest you find the current edition and paddle it to see if it fits your bill.
As others have noted, try as many boats as you can -and in as many conditions (real, or manufactured -like seeking out boats wakes) as you can -maybe even keep notes and try to perform a series of similar maneuvers with each to better asses them. Attend 'demo days', talk to local shops, tell them you're serious about trying boats to find one to buy, and ask for a test-paddle, and ask other paddlers in your area -think about joining a paddling club -to try their boats. We generally don't bite and want to help...
And, as others have noted, seek out opportunities in the 'pre-experienced' market as well as new boats as well.
Understand that you're NOT just getting a boat -you'll also need a good (good=provides sufficient flotation for you AND good even more importantly=COMFORTABLE -because you'll wear it!) PFD, a good paddle (I'll let others go into that), and a system to transport the kayak from where it lives to where you want to paddle. You might also consider how you're going to store it where it lives as well.
Hope this helps you to more quickly find a nice boat -for YOU -so you can get out on the water and
-Frank in Miami