chatham 16 RM for smaller paddlers?


I am getting mixed opinions as to whether the Chatham 16 RM is really a playboat for smaller paddlers. Am 5ft 6 and a buck 35. I know that 200 pound folks use this as a playboat … scratching my head confused. Any small paddlers out there who have got into a Chatham and have thrown it around? Thanks


They may have changed…
But at 185lbs it was very painful just sitting in it due to the metal seat hangers. That’s my only recollection of the boat other than the skeg cable ran through the middle of the rear hatch opening.

It looks great though…

Composite Eliza ia what you want
Very very good playful boat for your weight, simple cockpit, two Valley ovals, stiff, light, skegged. Excellent surfer, rock garden boat.

CH 16 is a very playful hull and superb surfer but you may be a bit light for it. Lighter paddlers can have trouble overcoming the buoyancy in the chines…the very thing that free’s the ends for the heavier advanced paddlers. Yes the cockpit is snug, as it was designed to be by two guys weighing 200 lbs. At 210 I love the fit…not everyone does. The Eliza has a wider cocpit aft, and shorter in length. Very fun little boat. CH 17 has a wider cockpit and is a more all round performer than the specialized 16. Still very playful.

Of course there are other great brands as well, so look for the category that you want and try em all.

This seems to be a question that is ask alot. From my experience i have found that if you talk to the people that you are buying the boat from they will guide you. The other place to get good info is the builder. Most co’s have toll free numbers and tech. people to help. Also, buy from a kayak shop rather than from some "Wal-Mart"like place. You will get better advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. Good luck. Vaughn Fulton

The wire
People seem to tweak on that routing of the wire. Here’s my take after 4 years with packing one. Simply ease it aside as you load bags! That’s all it takes. The reward is NO kinked cables. I find it amusing how folk will fixate on that when it’s absolutely no big deal…at least for me… For those who tweak on it, simply re-route with a cheap braided cable. I love the NiTI wire.

salty …need a poly boat. It’s going to be used in Class III ww stuff. As for a boat … I am looking for an advanced boat …as in does not have to be forgiving …but has to be lively! Does the Chatham poly fit the bill …if not …what do you recommend?


buying used (nm)

definitely no for 200#
I don’t fit. ~200# and 6’. Can’t get my butt into it.

My girlfriend (5 1" and ~110#) has one, and the cockpit fits her fine. But she needs to outfit it some more so as to be able to get enough grab on her legs and such so she can lean it and such. It is possible the overall size of the boat is a bit large for her to be able to get to move for her the way a boat should.

sea kayak for whitewater?
What’s the deal? Although we have a few big water whitewater runs in the midwest where a sea kayak would be okay, most every whitewater run I have ever done is much more fun in a whitewater kayak. What class III river are you going to be taking your sea kayak on?

How fat is your ass?

– Last Updated: Dec-20-07 9:00 AM EST –

I'm 210 and have pads in the CH 16! If at 200 you cannot fit in that boat, you have a completely different perspective than the designers of said boat... both of which I know well!

Look, it is not the boat for most here on this site. It is a VERY playful expert coastal play kayak. If you have a lousy stroke it will yaw back and forth. It will also be sluggish on flat water as the very attributes that make it excel in big water are not conducive to flat water. It appeals to WW boaters and expert coastal paddlers, as it is exceptional in rough conditions.

The 16 was designed by an Olympic slalom coach and expert coastal paddler. He also paddled for England and is English for you Brit boat freaks.
But, having said all that, I know first hand that both designers of this boat don't care if you like it or not...they did it for them! This is one non-marketing boat designed by designers for said got through the system un-altered. So, it will never be a mainstream market boat, and the designers are good with that. Those who "get it" undestand, the rest find something else, which is all good.

Happy and safe paddling!

Chatham poly is an expert boat
the rest won’t realize it’s potential. They will say it’s slow and too snug :slight_smile:

south platte river -union chutes
I got a jackson 2fun. I got a slalom boat. I want to be able to surf long glassy waves created by chutes in a sea kayak. It floats my boat so to say. Took down my glass boat in it. Loved it …except for the fiberglass work on the boat.

Plus I am working on a video documentary. Sea kayaking Colorado :). Going to give em TITS videos a run for the money I tell you :wink:

so is it still too big for me (nm)

I’m 5’6", 155 lbs and liked it the one
time I test paddled one on a windy and choppy lake near Carl & John’s in Madison, WI. I had an absolute blast playing on the waves and boat wakes and taking them and the wind on from all directions. I was ready to plop the credit card on the sales counter until I tried to shoulder the boat after about 90 minutes of hard paddling and found it to be too heavy and off balance for me to pick up safely and take it to the car.

I’m definately no expert, but I found it to be quite lively and stable, maneuverable and easy to keep tracking and just a bunch of fun in those windy and wavy conditions.

Besides the fun, the two characteristics I remember most were: 1. I took a lot of spray in the face when paddling into the wind and waves. 2. The seat adjustment straps along the sides of the cockpit seemed to be in the way and inflicted discomfort at times.

I’d like to paddle one again in those conditions.

Probably not
from your above post it sounds as though you are a good boater. The 16 is very much liked by WW paddlers in general. You’ll probably like the fit and will love the way the boat surfs…for a long boat. Get the aggressive WW thigh hooks and install those. (5 minutes)

My initial caution was based on the ability to load the edges and some lighter paddlers prefer the 17 or Eliza. But, that extra buoyancy in the chines allows the good boater a platform to throw the boat around, which was an intentional part of that kayaks design. It is NOT a flat water touring boat.

Where are you? Colorado?

Straps suck
Those are going away I hear. I took mine out and anchored the backband as normal at the seat frame / deck. It adjusts in the back. Installed WW thigh hooks. Not sure the weight of the plastic CH 16, but would guess it right in line with other 16 poly boats…Avocet, Tempest, etc.

Composite is about 46 lbs. at least my old Carbon boat is?

Those who “get it” undestand,

– Last Updated: Dec-24-07 11:13 AM EST –

From its introduction the Chatham 16 earned the respect of dedicated paddlers.

It compares favorably with the most often seen playboats such as the Romany and Avocet.

The Chatham is often the only non-Brit boat in lumpy and moving water sessions in which I've participated.

Except for is elaborated cockpit outfitiing, the Chatham series are, for all intents, Brit boats in all but locale of manufacture.

Yup, am in Colorado (nm)

Colorado has a whole lot more big water runs than the midwest so I definitely could see where a sea kayak could be useful for surfing certain waves where playboat attainment just isn’t possible. Sometimes in my playboater mentality, I forget the joys of a quality front surf. :slight_smile:

As for putting out more sea kayaking films like Justine and Brian, that’s awesome. It’s a segment of kayaking videos that still has a ton of room to grow. Now if you can break away from the Justine formula of segmented music video style clips, that would be cool.

must be pretty fat… NM