Bigger heavier kayaker.

-- Last Updated: Jun-06-04 6:18 PM EST --

Went out to a kayak/canoe demo today. It was rainy and cool with a variable breeze from light to strong. I got nice and wet while kayaking, and I loved every moment of it! :)

So, I managed to first try a Current Designs Storm. I'm very new to the sport, so I felt slightly tippy at first. However it only took me about one or two mintues to become completely comfortable and feel totally stable. I can thank growing up around water for that. I think it helped knowing that if I tipped I wouldn't panic. I would have tried to roll (never have before but I think I've got the technique down in my head) and failing that do a wet exit. Never had to at all today though thankfully. Anyways I practiced my braces a bit and then I was off like a rocket. Kayaking is so fun! I never really had to use the rudder at all despite the breeze, which makes me proud as a beginner. Tracked well, turned alright I guess. At about 6'2" I was quite comfortable with my legs in the braces and feet on the peddles. I spent about a hour or so paddling and I think I could probably go all day with a bit more lumbar support and some exercise to get in shape. See, I'm also 268 lbs which is a bit of a problem. Yes, quite heavy but losing some weight is definitely an option I am willing to consider if that's what it takes to start kayaking (each pound lost is one more pound of gear I can take after all). But what did this mean kayaking in a CD Storm? No room for gear since I had almost no freeboard left.

So the guys demoing the gear decided I should try the Necky Eskia because of the freeboard issue. This boat seemed more stable than the Storm and may have been slightly faster on the water even. But I couldn't get it to track straight at all (as someone else recently mentioned today on these forums). Also the thigh braces didn't go down far enough for my long legs, so I was quite uncomfortable. For the most part it was a night and day difference between the Storm and Eskia for me, and made me realize just how important it is to try before you buy.

FWIW I've also tried a CD Solstice GT before, which was a great experience (my very first in fact) except for the cockpit which was slightly too small for me.

So here is the list I've made of kayaks to look at:

Current Designs Storm
Perception Eclipse 17.0
Dagger Halifax 17.0
Dagger Exodus 16.8
Necky Elaho HV
Wilderness Systems Tempest 170

The Necky Elaho HV is probably out of the picture because the cockpit is the same size as the Eskia I tried today. I'm hoping you folks here can comment on these choices based on my height/wieght, and maybe come up with a few models I haven't thought of yet (demo guys said the Storm II might work better for me since the design is slightly different). I want to be able to do weekend back country trips on flat water (northern lakes mainly), and maybe even week long trips if possible. A trip some day on the ocean is not out of the question either once I get enough training and experience.

Thanks all! :)

First Step
I believe the first step in chosing a boat is to realistically figure out what you are going to do with it. Are you going to the coast? If so, west coast, gulf coast or east coast? How about rivers? Will you stay in the smooth water of lakes? Hot climate or cold climate? Who will you paddle with? What do they paddle? Will you camp out of your boat?

All these facts make a difference. After you decide on exactly what you will do with the boat, realistically, then you will be able to narrow your search to a few boats. That is when you need to demo the boat.

Don’t fall for the high performance sea kayak hype when you may not be part of the 10% of people that paddle the high performance boats for the purpose they were designed for.

And lastly, don’t forget about comfort. It is no fun if you can’t be comfortable for a couple hours.

Mostly flat water.

– Last Updated: Jun-06-04 8:54 PM EST –

I would say 90% of my planned usage will be the lakes here in Central and Northern Saskatchewan, Canada and that plastic is preferable. The elements do not bother me much (except when it gets too hot perhaps) and thus I would like to paddle as early as possible (as soon as the ice is gone), to as late as possible in the year (don't mind a little snow). I will be going solo most of the time (I need the solitude badly sometimes) and the idea is to get into the back country and just camp. Once I find the right kayak, my plan is to rent it a few times and perhaps even go on a weekend trip with it before buying, to make sure I'm 100% comfortable.

We are getting there
First, in my opinion you don’t need a high end ocean boat with lots of rocker. This doesn’t do you much good in flat water. Look for a high volume boat that has plenty of room for you to move around. The high performance boats will fit very tight and if you just want to get on the water and relax you will want to move around a little. I believe you will want a slightly higher deck so your legs won’t feel pinned down. Since you will be in flat water a higher primary stability and less secondary stability may let you relax more. If you are in tight areas you may consider a shorter boat. This will let you poke around in small stream and creeks. If you will be doing long straight crossing you might consider a longer boat that is fast and tracks a little straighter. I believe if you look around a little you might find something used that will get you started. This will allow you to afford some safety gear and cold water clothing. You might also consider a boat that is a darker color. It will be much warmer.

You might like that Cape Horn 17. It is very roomy and you should be able to find one used. The Liquid Logic Seneca is very roomy and comfortable if you are sure you won’t be in any rough water. The Shaman is a roomy short boat. There are a few others that stand out and others will surely be able to mention them. Just stay away from the high performance sea kayaks. I don’t think they will be what you want. You must be comfortable first!

OK. Fire away you high tech guys.

One More Thing
I am not saying that any of the boats that you mentioned aren’t good boats. I would be glad to own any of them. It is just that they may not be right for you.

You might take a look at Swift’s Labrador Sea and QCC’s 500X. Both are designed by John Winters for larger paddlers. I briefly paddled a Labrador Sea, but it wasn’t the boat for me.


I am curious about
how many of us BIG HEAVY Kayakers are out there.

For example I am 6’2" and I weigh 294 lbs. The problems I have found was trying to find a kayak with more depth due to my large thighs.

I have found that Current Designs and Wilderness Systems and a handfull of other companies do carry high volume kayaks.

Thanks for the kayak suggestions and maybe some more of these kayak companies will make more high volume kayaks in the future.


Wilderness Systems
Came out with a Tempest 180.I’m 6’ 210#. I have a Tempest 170. Last week I had a chance to demo a 180. It is only 1 foot longer,but more volumn also. I loved it so I ordered one. If you get the chance demo one.


Prijon Kodiak??

Tempest 180
A 225-lb friend just bought one, said there is lots of room for someone larger. The Tempest co-designer said that the performance of the 170 starts to deteriorate above 320 lbs load, so the 180 would probably be a better boat to try.

I second this suggestion…
I love mine!! I’m 6’2" 205 lbs. Monster keyhole cockpit and plenty of adjustment on pedals for plentiful leg room. I wear size 13 shoes (wear a low profile aqua sock when paddling) and have plenty of room for feet. The spec. on this boat say it’s designed for paddlers up to +250 lbs. I believe max. weight suggested for the boat is 375- 450 lbs. That should be plenty. My .02–this boat is ideal for the bigger paddler. Probably one of the heartiest plastic boats out there and I think worth a look for a larger paddler.

Go to this link where I have posted the review on the Kodiak from SK mag.


large kayaker info


Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5 is another boat for big guys you might want to consider.

Thanks everyone!

– Last Updated: Jun-07-04 7:29 PM EST –

So far I've added the following to my list of big guy potentials (thanks for the Wes Boyd link by the way!):

Wilderness Systems Capehorn 170
Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5
Prijon Kodiak

Primarily interested in plastic, but I suppose the composite Necky Pinta might also be a good possibility if I can find one used here in Canada. The hardest part of this is turning out to be the "try out" factor, being so land locked as I am. Everything here is about canoes and play boats, so it's hard to find touring kayaks to try. Maybe a trip out to the BC coast is in order this summer... :)

Quick edit: Finally found which Perception Carolina people have been talking about (the 16 foot one). Don't know how I kept missing it in the 2004 catalog I have. I'm putting this one up there as one of my top three to try (Nighthawk and Pinta being the other two).

Lot’s of us.
“I am curious about how many of us BIG HEAVY Kayakers are out there.”

I would say there are a lot of us. In fact I would hazard a guess at slightly greater than 50% (I live in the “fat” capital of Canada FWIW lol). The first impression most folks have when you mention big and heavy is overweight out of shape people who have no business in a kayak. The problem is that there are plenty of reasons for being big and obesity is only one of them. Not to mention kayaking looks like a good low impact sport to help those who are overweight get in better shape.

Quick aside; based on everything I’ve read, if Necky were ever to bring back the Pinta in polycarbonate plastic, they would have a very very popular boat on their hands I think. The more I read the more this boat seems like the one for me. So expensive though…

Another Recommendation
You may also want to try a Necky Zoar Sport. Quite a few larger paddlers like this boat. I thought it was a more comfortable fit that the Carolina 14.5.

Try the Boreal Nanook!
I am also a big guy, I am 5’10",and weigh 270 Lb. The Boreal - Nanook is made for us bigger guys. The Cockpit is 17-1/2" x 32". Easy for me to get in and out. The Max weight capacity of this boat is 345 Lb.

It is decently stable, and the seat is comfortable. The only negative to me, is that you must use the rudder to track straight. The hull has “Moderate” rocker, so it is very easy to turn. Perhaps too easy for me. You might want to check them out at


How can I say this politely?

– Last Updated: Jun-16-04 12:17 PM EST –

CANOE! LOTS of canoes would do what you want and fit shouldn't be an issue.
I am 6'5" /235 and I found the Necky Zoar(out of production, but lots around) to have room to spare.I sold mine and bought a Wenonah Voyager, which is basically a kayak without a deck.It is designed for carrying heavy loads on lakes.

Part of the problem when we approach the
ends of a statistical bell curve is that there is not enough buying power to create a market for smaller companies.

so usually only largre companies will be able to get to scale to service thise ends of the market.

OtoH a q500 might be the ticket for you!

I have what you need
I have exactly what you need. I am 5’9" and I weigh 275 lbs. Part of the excess weight is accumulation over the years from an excessively sedetary lifestyle and part of it is because of my other hobby, which is powerlifting. I have canoed for years and love it. I have also kayaked on occassion and have emjoyed that. I recently ordered a special kayak for my that I would be comfortable in and could get into and out of easily with gear. It is a Nimbus Telkwa HV in kevlar. It weighs 53 lbs and is 18’3" long with a large cockpit. All the information is on the website for Nimbus Kayaks. This is a marvelous kayak for a large person, I just decided I would rather canoe than kayak. Consequently, I want to sell the kayak, paddle and gear I have with it. If you promise to give it a nice home and use it regularly, I will give you a great deal. If you are interested, let me know.

Mark Hagy

I’m not the man I used to be.
Down to 227 as of today. Still 6’6" and size 15 shoes. I do paddle a Perception Captiva (which turned into a Carolina 16) not sure if they even still make it. Fact is, it was designed for big people with plenty of foot and leg room. I was up as high as 262 and still had no problems with this boat.

I also drive a Ford and a Chevy because they do fit, not to impress.

For what it’s worth,