Choice of kayaks

-- Last Updated: Aug-09-08 4:41 PM EST --

Hello everyone,
I'm pretty new to paddling and I am looking at a kayak. I think I have it down to a Native Marvel 12ft, or a Perception Patriot 12ft. I'm a big man at 6'3" and 330lbs. It seems that the Marvel is a bit more comfortable but quite a bit more money. I'll be starting out on small lakes and small creeks/rivers. Is the Marvel worth another $380.00 difference? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

You are an awfully big guy for a 12’

– Last Updated: Aug-09-08 5:18 PM EST –

boat.Can you get in either in the water? I think you would be much happier in a craft that is rated to carry more weight.Have you considered a canoe?

Hope you paddle them
before you purchace.

Paddlin’ on


Your size
Is the most important issue. I would not go with a boat under 14’ . Once you begin paddling you will find the 12’ boat sluggish and may even be difficult to control. Try the Old Town Cayuga 14.6 I’m 6’1" 230 lbs and this boat performs well for me. Happy hunting…

string and artic are right
you need a bigger boat—I would suggest the Cayuga 16 by Old Town

To elaborate
sorry I must have deleted the remainder of my post.

A 12’ boat I believe will be to small and too slow for you but I’m not sure. You’ll have to try them to answer that question and because you have two specific boats selected I assume these are available to you.

Perhaps the dealer will either let you paddle them before you decide. Many shops rent them and will deduct the rental fee from a new purchase.

If you can’t demo either then sit in the kayaks for several minutes and move around, adjust the foot pegs and the seat. Given both more than a minute or two will help you make a good decision.

Paddlin’ on


Richard, I’ll try this again as my last post went into never-never land. Sorry, but what do you mean by “too slow”? I looked at the specs for the 14.5 Marvel and it is 1" wider and 5/6lbs heavier. Wouldn’t that make a longer yak slower instead of faster? This is all pretty new to me.


Native Marvel or Pungo 120
The nice thing abut a 12 footer for a guy your size (I’m no featherweight at 6’2" 250lb) is that it will be a bit easier for you to lift and maneuver on dry land. I like the Native Marvel 12, but the weight rating is at 300 pounds. If you like this boat, the Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 is similar in all dimensions, but has a 400lb rating and seems to be a very popular choice for newcomers.

The Native Ultimate 14.5 solo is an open boat but you can purchase skirts to enclose the whole boat. Seats are excellent, but the adjustment straps might be a bit flimsy for your weight. I’ve been in the 14.5 with over 330 pounds of me, dog, and gear and it handled very well under load. Tracking is very good and stability is second to none in this class of boat.

I was on a trip down the Androscoggin River in NH this past July and the guide was a college kid with lots of white water and touring experience. He was paddling a Pungo120 and when I asked him why, he said that it allows him to carry gear (his, plus other people’s cameras), and if he has to wet exit or swap boats with someone on a tour, it’s easy for him to get in and out of, and anyone can paddle it. Most Important…Try before you buy!

Look at the Heritage Manta Ray 12/14 too.


I don’t think so

– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 7:39 PM EST –

I'm not a kayak design engineer but I think your weight displacement in the longer kayak will make it faster. But then on the other hand I can paddle my Kestrel faster with an extra 10-15#s in it.

What may be the most important factor is which boat you will be most comfortable in. I have had 250+ lb. people in the WS Pungo 120 which I feel is the most universal boat for almost any size of paddler for stability and paddling pleasure and found it to be ideal for them. I have a friend who is 6'5" 200+lbs and has a WS Pungo 120 that once paddled a WS Pungo 140 and found he had much more leg room and was more comfortable.

I can't tell you or recommend which boat to buy but take your time and don't be shy about sitting in a kayak in a shop for some time because once you are on the water small uncomfortable problems become big uncomfortable problems quickly.

The speed of either boat depends on you more than the boat especially if you are comfortable paddling it. Being comfortable is more important than speed. Unless you buy a GPS you probably won't notice the difference.

Paddlin' on

longer v shorter boats
longer boats are faster to paddle in a straight line because they “track” better, generally speaking. Shorter boats turn faster but are harder to paddle in a straight line and are therefore slower, generally speaking. There are exceptions to this rule, depending on the amount of rocker the boat has.

take it from a big guy
I bought a malibu xfactor and it is good, I have no trouble keeping up with my friends in their daggers. It is stable too and since you are a big guy, stability is something you will learn to appreciate. I am 6’5, 406#'s.

Thanks to all of you
Just wanted to say thanks to all of you for your input. I’m going to take my time and sit in as many as I can and see what I can figure out. Hopefully, I can make a choice before summer is over.

If anyone has anything to add, please feel free.

Free paddling demo
Not sure if you’re in CT or southern NE, but North Cove Outfitters is having free paddling demos at Harvey’s Beach in Old Lyme wed. Aug 13th and 27th 5-7pm. Good chance to jump in and out of several boats.

Google North Cove Outfitters for info.