Hello all. I’ve been planning to get into kayaking for at least a year now. I’m limited to purchasing at REI because I received a gift card that will cover a large percentage of my $1500 max budget. Most of my paddling will be at a nearby 500 acre lake, but I also have easy access to Lake St.Clair, which is huge, plus I would like to paddle the Detroit river. I really would like to purchase the Delta 12.10 and the Dagger Alchemy L is my second choice, but I haven’t sat in either boat. Here comes the elephant in the room: I’m 5’7" and weigh 255. 80% of that extra weight is carried in the belly region. Do I have any hope of fitting either of these boats? If not, what’s my alternative?
I paddle a Alchemy L
Although I'm a fairly inexperienced paddler I have had my AlchemyL for a couple months. I'm 5'8 and 165 pounds so can't verify if it's a fit for your size. I tried the alchemy s but didn't totally love the size. The alchemy is a great versatile boat that I've paddled in lakes and in the Hudson River. With the skeg down it tracks incredibly straight and with the skeg up it turns easily on edge. I'm paddling the alchemy l with a 210cm Lendal Storm MCS and has been a great combo! But like everyone here will say sit in both boats and of you can try them it's best. I tried eight kayaks before loving the alchemy. My only gripe is I hate the foot braces, they have a hard time staying locked into place but easily fixed with some zip ties.
I am 220# and 6', and fit the Alchemy well. Getting closer to your size. I have also had it loaded with camping gear, which would probably put it above your weight, so the boat can float with your body plus some gear.
The Alchemy has a larger cockpit opening than the Delta, so that may be good for your case.
I am a strong proponent of demoing boats before buying. Now ay to get in one of these? Even for some cost (rent, take a class, etc.)?
Delta: I think not
The Delta cockpit is shorter than average for its class. You could try the Eddyline Denali (for quite a bit more money).
I sat in a Venture Islay 14
this weekend and liked how it felt and getting in and out was not too bad. Do you think it compares well? From photos it appears the Alchemy thigh braces might restrict entry a little more.