big paddler question

Howdy, I’m 6’3", 230# indermediate sea kayaker. Own a P&H Capella 166 RM that generally feels edgy. Can’t get a lot of lean without feeling like I"m going to tip. IT’s also a bit unforgiving when in rough water or bracing. What I’m wondering is… is this a boat I’ll grow into as my skills expand or is my size going to prohibit me from feeling as comfortable in this boat as I hope to. I’d love to hear some thoughts from any other paddlers about my size who have experience in this boat. P.S. Most of my weight is torso/shoulder weight, so above the spray skirt. Thx in advance.

general tendancy
the more a person weighs the more stable a boat is needed. Consider a more inherantly stable boat.

All boats will (of course) get more comfy with practice.

I will not enjoy a pintail in rough water.till I drop below 200 pounds and/or improve by a couple of notches as a paddler.

thx for the reply. Heartily agreed that more skill and paddling time will help. Boat specs out at 265#'s max so I thought I’d be OK. I guess I’ll wait a bit and see how much more comfortable I get over the nxt yr or so before making a change. I suppose the best option is to drop 30#'s myself and paddle a whole lot more. be well. thx again

About the same size …
and paddle the same boat. I’m actually an inch shorter than you are, but the same weight. I was paddling my Capella today in a lot of confused boat wakes, nothing huge but coming from all directions. I couldn’t help think while I was doing it with no problems and even doing leaned turns that I wouldn’t have been comfortable two months ago. The reason, I think it is partly because I’ve improved as a paddler, but alot of is that I’ve simply grown accustommed to how the boat feels. It works great for me.

grown accustommed
that is very reassuring to hear. I had hoped to get a boat I could grow into as a paddler, and thiught the Capella would do the trick, but I was beginning to wonder. Time will tell, but I am glad to hear of your success. very encouraging for me. thanks and happy trails.

How long have you had the boat?

I’m about the same size (6’1") and my first sea kayak had a lot of initial stability. It was also 4" wider than what I’ve been paddling for the last four years.

The first few times on “big water” made me a little nervous, but now the boat feels very stable to me. You’ll get used to it. Someone told me once to “paddle the tippyness out of it” - it works! Good luck.

paddle the tippiness out
I like hearing that. I’ll put in my time ont he water and see what happens. Thanks for the encouragement.

more time sounds like the cure
I’ve only had it three months. As an intermediate paddler without a lot of experience in conditions and a newbie in my boat, I think what I’m hearing is I need to give it time. Time on the water sounds like the appropriate Rx.

different boats
Each boat will feel different to you. Try paddling others. I own a Tempest 180 and a NDK Romany HV and each has it’s unique feel. Both are great boats, but when I’m shooting video or photos I much prefer the stable feel of the Tempest.




Not Just "Paddling…"
develop your bracing and rolling skills so you don’t worry about conditions as much. Without these skills, you will always have some apprehension in less than flat water. This translates into body tension. A tensed body can’t adjust well to the rolling motion of the waves. When you stay relax with your upper body, your hips will move with the boat and naturally adjust to the conditions to stay upright. What you may feel as tippy now will actually be an advantage in textured water.


As others have said …
seat time will cure what ails you - there is nothing wrong with the boat. I’ve paddled it a few times and think it’s a very good handling boat and reassuring.

Remember to stay loose in the hips - don’t tense up. In other words, let the boat do what it needs to do - don’t fight it. Relax.


Check out the Impex Assateague

– Last Updated: Sep-12-06 8:02 AM EST –

Check out the Impex Assateague. I am heavier than you, with Broad shoulders, and muscular legs. I also have a bit of a belly being 55yo has given to me.

The Assateague is a perfornamce Sea Kayak designed right from the start for the larger / heavier paddler.

I love mine, and I think you should test paddle one for sure!!

read my review here on P-Net on the Impex Assateague. it is a great boat!

Join a club
A great advantage of belonging to a kayak club is the ability to try a lot of boats. Every paddler no matter how good their skills feels best in one or two boats and goes through exactly what you are going through. One day you will sit in a boat that just feels great to you and your skills will advance faster than trying to struggle along in a boat that you don’t feel really comfortable with. The fact that you posed your question means you have apprehensions about your boat. That’s good. I have been in boats that some people like and I don’t like at all. That’s why there are so many different ones. You know know enough about YOUR padling to make those decisions for yourself. It’s fun. YOUR opinion is what counts most. Try boats and see where it takes you. The resale market is high.

try others
nice collection of AV, particularily the diving video. I’ll try some other boats as opportunities permit, the risk is I’ll want too many of them as that’s my nature. I think I’ll first do my best to sharpen my skills in the boat I have. Once I’ve attained a reasonable degree of comfort there, I’ll have a better perspective from which to try some others. thx.

textured water
that sounds like it should be a song or a movie. I hear you loud and clear, sing. Bracing and rolling. Bracing and rolling. That’s what I’m working on, maybe I’m just impatient. I look forward to feeling that advantage in textured water, in fact… as pathetic as it may seem, I dream about it.

the seat time cure
got the message and it’s reassuring to hear. I’ll put in my time, anxiously awaiting the pay-off. I didn’t want to get a boat that I’d grow out of as a paddler and I suppose my current discomfort is a consequence. Just curious, do you speak as a big paddler?

impex assateague
that was one of the boats I considered buying initially. I never have paddled it, but it looks and sounds like a great boat. My paddling is in more textured waters than what it sounds like you frequent. Still, I will make a point of trying out that boat as some time, thx. Nice review of the boat, btw.

a great advantage
very good advice on joining a club to get exposure to other boats, thx. I’m not ready to bail on my Capella just yet. I’m hoping that I’ll recategorize it’s twitchiness as being responsiveness once I sharpen my skills and have more seat time in it. We’ll see. Thx again.

The Assateague is a true Sea kayak, designed for about anything you can throw at it. it just has a little less Rocker than a Greenland kayak, as it is designed towards “touring” over extreme manouvering. it is still amazing to me how tight it will turn with a nice lean.

I have had it in rough water, and it just shrugs it off. My situation is that to get away from “stress”, I preferr to paddle on calm water most of the times. But I do enjoy a challenge out on the Chesapeake bay once in a while