Explorer HV Fit

Hello. I’m 6’ 3", 34" inseam, 210 lbs. with size 13 feet. I just tried a regular Explorer and did not fit. Legs and feet smashed too low. I’ve done a lot of searches and I read of guys a hell of a lot bigger than me fitting in a regular Explorer. I just don’t get it, maybe they’ve removed the footpegs and are using the bulkhead or something. Anyway, would like feedback on my chances of a reasonable fit in the HV. Thanks.

As another point of reference, I tried an Etain 17-7 and fit easily. Felt like a lot of buoyancy though. Tiderace Excite bloodied my shins. I’d like to try a Romany S and Tiderace Xtra but only have the Tiderace available to me locally here in Portland.

re: HV
I’ve sat in both the regular Explorer and the HV, and I can report that the HV has quite a LOT more room under the deck for your legs/thighs.

I didn’t fit comfortably at all in the regular Explorer (and I’m surprised by your reports of ppl ‘much bigger’ than your 6’3" 210 lbs fitting well in one), but the HV was just about perfect.

Far as the Tiderace Xcite goes, I’m also surprised that it bloodied your shins up. It’s a boat that’s been known to fit somewhat large ppl. Are you 6’3", but also ‘all legs’ or something?

HV and Romany S
I am 6’5" with only a 32" inseam (tall torso) with size 14 feet and weigh 225 pounds. I have both an Explorer HV and Romany S. They fit very similarly except that the Romany S has a wider keyhole. I removed the foot rails from both boats and just use a little minicell foam on the bulkhead and a bit more foam behind the seat instead of a backband. I use the Romany S almost exclusivly now as it’s just more fun to paddle.

These two boats fit me better than anything I’ve ever tried. I really like the keyhole cockpits and knee bumps. It feels very secure when getting tossed around in surf. I have friends who have sometimes gotten sucked out of their boats in a tide race or surf, but I have such great thigh contact in these boats this has never happened.

I tried the Etain as well, but also found it too ‘volumy’ especially around the front deck. I also didn’t like the lack of a solid secondary stability, but this may be a factor of my torso height as others have said otherwise.

I am your size, except 190#. I pull the pegs back toward me out of the way on my regular Explorer and foam the bulkhead. 2" of foam works well with warm season footwear, 1" when wearing mukluks. The fit of the deck is perfect for me, but my legs are probably skinnier than yours. A friend uses an HV and likes it - he’s our height, but 250# plus.


Sterling Kayak
Since you’re on the West Coast you may have the opportunity to demo a Sterling Grand Illusion or Sterling Reflection. I’m your size and weight and I paddle a Sterling Reflection, WS Zephyr 160 with the seat relocated aft two inches and a Capella 173.

I sat in and demoed lots of boats to find ones that are comfortable for me.

Good luck.

I’m 2 inches shorter than you, but the dimensions fit otherwise. Wearing booties (not shoes with soles), I find the Explorer to be just a little looser fitting than my Valley Nordkapp. I have about 4" to the bulkhead in a stock Explorer, and 7" in the Nordkapp. I prefer padding out a bulkhead over foot braces in any boat.

You are not as big as many others I know paddling Explorers. If you feel that your legs are too low under the deck, I suspect that stretching to improve your flexibility might be a big part of the solution. Maybe I am off base here, but it is something to consider.

ndk vs tiderace
The TR build quality and fit is better than any of the ndk boats. The paddler position is also much more efficient in the Tiderace boats. The only reason to get a NDK boat is there are cheap used ones around (because everyone bought TR boats) and the extra 10 lbs of gel coat means less repairs from rocks. I have 3 friends with Xtras, and a bunch more with Xcites. They all love them. One of them is a tiderace rep and instructor and the Xtra is his boat of choice for teaching.

I traded my Tiderace Xplore-l for a Explorer HV one day on a paddle and I could only take about 45 mins of the explorer.