Dagger Alchemy Large or Small?

I am 5’ 11", weigh 185, have an inseam of 32" and wear size 11 shoes. Should I get a large or a small Alchemy? I am leaning toward the small, since I am used to paddling low volume boats, including three skin on frames. I fit fine in my Tempest 165 and love it, even though some say I am too big for it, or at least on the upper end of the scale.

I tried both the large and the small a couple of years ago. The large seemed cavernous. I don’t remember a fit problem with the small, but someone recently told me I wouldn’t fit the small and would not be happy with it.

Alchemy owners, Help! Which should I get the large or the small?

We Can Talk
I’m 5’9" and about 165 pounds. I found a deal on a used, smaller Alchemy. It handled great but wet exiting was a little uhhh… crowded. Since the price was so good I felt comfortable pulling out that stiffening hardware and I moved the seat back some. Perfect. So far I’m not sorry I did it.

(I moved the seat back in my T165 also)

Source of that comment?
Was it from someone who was used to tight fitting boats themselves? Not that they are necessarily wrong, but at 5’11" you are not so far off the size of a couple of local paddlers who prefer a shoehorn fit and get into smaller boats. That said, you are probably right on the cusp… you do plan to hang onto that youthful figure, right?

that is a kayak for play in wind and waves; a good fit makes for more fun. you have enough experience w. low volume boats to prefer the the S.

The deck in both Alchemies is high, so size 11s should fit in the small.Should Wear your water booties and check it out.

The seat pan is plenty big so no issues there, and the thigh braces and seat adjust like the Phase 3 seating in the Ts. Only Dagger calls in the Zone outfitting.

If you fit in a T165 you will fit in an AlchemyS.

I Should Mention
I loaned my smaller Alchemy to my buddy. 6’ 4" and about 195 pounds. He had no complaints.

Again, this boat had the seat moved back a bit.

I’ve tried both
I really liked the large. I am 5’10" 230 and size 12 shoes most of the time. The small is still much bigger than any Greenland boat I’ve ever tried. The Tempest 165 is too tight for me.

I want a really high deck because I want to be able to keep my knees high and my legs straight. Not frog leg style. More like flat water racing style is what is comfortable for me. So I add a thick pad to the seat to raise my bum and keep my feet near the center.

I could paddle the large day after day after day 10 hours a day. I could paddle the small about a half day.

Large for play, small for tracking

– Last Updated: Jun-25-12 2:15 PM EST –

Of course, optimal would be to try both side by side if you can.

If not, I would guess the large if you want a playful boat. In this areas (NorCal), the Alchemy's are very popular for rock garden play. And most people are getting the larges (even those who I would say would fit the small better, just by reading specs). They are finding that the large is more maneuverable. My girlfriend (5'1", 110#) paddled both yesterday at a demo, and it takes her less sweep strokes to make a full 360 in the large as with the small.

All of the Neptune Ranger guys that paddle Alchemys paddle the large ones. Some of the guys, like Greg and Tony, are not big guys. 5'10" and 160#s if I had to guess. You can see them in various videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/NeptunesRangers.

I paddle a large, but that was automatic, as I am 6' and 220#.

My assumption is that if the small is less maneuverable, it will track better (so be a little faster in straight line). Haven't tested to see if this is true.

I talked to a Confluence sales guy a while back, and he said that the large outsells the small 3 to 1. I had assumed that is just because Americans are large people, but maybe it is a performance issue.

have paddled a Dagger Alchemy S
numerous times, and considered getting one.

your assumptions are wrong.

It is no trackier than the L which I also have paddled. Neither is esp. tracky, on the great continuum of that trait… they are play boats for active water. Ppl do buy them for flat water cruising, they are adequate, but their real potential is untapped.

The S and L have a suggested size and weight limit, which is not a rigid spec, and in the end in comes down to very personal ideas of fit.

As to why L outsells S, I think you are right.

Does anyone really know
if the hulls are different between the Alchemy L & Alchemy S ?

Or, are they simply different cockpit/deck dimensions ?

I’m demoin’ an S on Sat. in surf & rock gardens along with some open water paddlin’. If I fall in love, I’ll prolly keep it, or if anyone out there has “firsthand” should I look at the L too ?

I’m 5’10", 155# soaking wet, fit & love my tempest 165pro, used to love my roto Zephyr 160 until I found out what a good fit was with a hull that sits “in” the water. I still love the Z, but I bob like a cork in the 160, the 155 performs better on me. Since I got the composite tempest, I’m leaning toward a dedicated roto surf & play boat that can still day tour and feel the zephyr may be a bit of overlap with the tempest, while the alchemy is more of a departure. I need something soon cause I’m beatin’ the crud outta my tempest.

Thanks for any educated responses, t.george

A year ago I demoed both and I
paddle a WS tempest 165 mostly. The large Dagger Alchemy, i disliked as it was was too large a cockpit - the rep asked if i tried the S which i didn’t know existed and when i sat in it and paddled it - it felt very similar to my tempest 165 in fit and its feel in the water. Now realize i just tried it for a few minutes as i was looking for a different type of kayak - but i did like it and felt it compared to my 165. The tempest 170 is also too big for me.

talked to Flatpick
I talked to Flatpick on this (he is a boat designer for Confluence, the company that makes Dagger). He said that the hull profiles between the small and the large are the same.

But I am still finding people who are claiming they are more maneuverable in the large over small.