Eddyline Sitka XT (formerly known as Denali) good for big beginner paddler?

I have taken up kayaking this year and would like to get more serious next season. I have an Eddyline Caribbean 14 at the moment which I love, but would like to get a sit-in next year and go for longer trips.

Not sure if the Sitka XT would be too much/advanced (tippy) for me never having tried such a narrow kayak, I know I will want to try it before buying but hard to get hands on on around the NJ area as of right now.

For reference I’m 6’0/275pds/38-40in waist/12.5 shoe, my “bulk” is distributed relatively evenly, but I would say a bit more in the gut…


Not sure about the Sitka/Denali fitting you, however if you find a used Current Designs Sirocco or Gulfstream, they were built for the larger paddler.

A 24.5" beam isn’t all that narrow. I think the biggest adjustment will be the hard chines. But keeping loose hips will remedy that quickly, as well as some seat time. It has a 400# capacity and is built for the L to XL paddler.

Do any of the REI stores in your area carry it? If so and you can’t demo on the water, perhaps you could at least sit in it to check fit.

I agree. That is actually comparable is width and the chines to say my Chesapeake. Not quite as hard of lines, but the same idea. It is really a great configuration for learning because it is stepping up the skill levels, yet far from requiring an expert to be comfortable, while at the same time able to handle whatever you throw at it. It just requires a little paddling to get used to it. The hard chines on that boat are a bit more squirrely feeling than some of the more flat bottomed boats out there, but compared to the roundish, surf ski type shape of my Epic the hard chines seem very stable.
I personally don’t think you will ever regret going with the quality of the Eddyline. Not sure about where you are, but Eddyline is a pretty common boat and the best bet is to get some seat time and see what you think. I tried the Fathom at a paddlefest, dealer / manufacturer event one time. Really nice boat that I would be happy to add to the fleet. Lots of dealers have test paddles available also with some pre arrangement. If you bought your current Eddyline from a dealer and a year later you are looking at buying another new Eddyline, they will probably be willing to do quite a bit to accommodate a test drive (if they are smart at all). I would say expect it to feel a little squirrely at first, just because the entire configuration is new. Believe it or not if it isn’t a little loose feeling, it doesn’t maneuver as well. The hard chines also mean a couple things once you get used to it and learn to keep your hips loose and balance centered. First you have somewhat of a V along the keel for tracking. Second you actually have another surface that you lay on when you lean giving good secondary stability when compared to a more round surface.
All the hull configurations have their advantages. I actually really like a hard chine. I only spend all that money on the Epic to push myself and see if I can do it’s potential speed any justice!
I’m far far from an expert and this site is loaded with guys with years more experience who have paddled more types of boats, but I think you will love the Sitka. As an added bonus I believe is has fairly decent volume if you decide to start taking it on trips. It’s amazing how fast you reach the limit of how much gear you want in a boat when you have distance to cover or potential bumpy water ahead.


Our experience is that folks under 240 actually might find it a little oversized, but at 6’ and over 250, you should be good. Definitely find a dealer who has it in stock so you can try it on first, but my guess is that you should be fine.

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I know for many it isn’t too narrow, narrowest I’ve ever paddle was 28in. My C14 is 29in wide and has a 400lbs capacity so in that regards should hold me fine I think, but I’m more interested about how easy it is to get in & out and the stability, aka how long it would take to get use to the hard chines…

There are REI’s not too far, just need to see if they carry the XT so I can see if at least how I fit in it.

We have a Denali, the original model, that we don’t use anymore. It was a good kayak for a beginner, roomy (I am 6 ft, 205 lbs) and very comfortable kayak, great stability so you feel very comfortable in most conditions. But too big for me, too loose for good contact. My wife loved it for its sure stability.

I do not think you will find it too advanced, or too narrow and tippy. My understanding was it was designed for larger paddlers.

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REI only lists the LT on their site and none available in NJ. Did you consider the Equinox? It has a larger cockpit if in and out is a concern.

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Yea I noticed that. I did consider the equinox and will definitely try if I get a chance!

You anywhere near NJ I could try or buy hehe :wink:

My 2 cents, I sat in an XT about a year ago and found it way too snug. I’m 6’1”, 235lb, size 12 feet.
I ended up with a Dagger Stratos 14.5L, fits amazingly. As we’re all shaped differently, you won’t know u til you sit in it.

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I’m weary of the Stratos as it says capacity is only 300 and I think I would be too heavy for it…

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I sent you a PM to see if that would work.

Sorry I’m a bit stingy with my toys. I really do like the Equinox. It’s much more fun then the Pungo 120 I have. I would have considered the Sika LT but availability was kinda lacking this summer. I still might down the line but the trade off I believe is more stability with the Equinox. That’s kind of a nice thing for a novice like me that would prefer not to end up in the water this winter.

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I bought the Sitka Lt this past spring from REI in Paramus. I’m 5’11 220 lbs and actually feel the boat is fairly loose fitting around hips . I have plenty of room in the foot ( size 11 ) and leg area . I’ve been kayaking for over 25 years in all types of kayaks and this boat is top notch. It’s a boat you’ll easily get used to, I’ve taught a couple of friends in it who never kayaked before, very stable. After a bit of practice and getting familiar with chines I’m able to put it on edge where the cockpit coaming is touching water . I believe you’ll fit into the xl fine . I wrote a review on this website you can look for.


From another big guy…
You know that if you are a skier, other skiers will refer to you as a Clydesdale? We are big, but still pretty, welcome to the barn. :horse:

When I started I had a heck of a time finding a boat that weight classed what I wanted in a price range I could take. 6’ 270± butt nekkid before breakfast, and I was multi day river tripping. Figure me, camping gear, paddle gear, and food, I would be overweight in a 300lb boat the instant I put a foot in. I ended up with a well used Sea Lion @ 22" wide and almost 18’ long. We had a tense relationship for a little while, and she has thrown me a couple times. I have dropped weight to a tad over 240 and it helps getting in and out of the cockpit, but I am still top heavy. More weight in the shoulders than the butt so she can go quick. Learn to brace. Once you get used to it and put a skirt on and start edging you get a lot more comfortable with a skinny boat. Dont be afraid of getting one, you can learn it and then you will have a hard time going back.
I think your main problem will be foredeck space for your feet. I run a 11 work boot and there are a lot of times I feel out of room in the foot area of the Sea Lion. I have used crocs, sandals, wet shoes, and the latest that worked pretty well was deck shoes. I just bought neoprene boots for a trip so we will see how that goes.

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Just chiming in late to the party. I have a Sitka XT (I’m 5’10", 235, 38 waist, size 10 shoe). Its a good boat and fits me well. I’m in northern NJ ( went to Saratoga to pick it up). Even when I was heavier and rounder it was a well fitting boat. That said it’s a big boat and you know it. rock solid and the primary and secondary won’t fail you. I had an Equinox as well. Another solid boat but if you can go with the Sitka. Just a better boat overall.
My wife has an LT. It fits but I find it too confining.

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