You might also check out the West Side E.F.T.
The E.F.T., or Extra Fast Tourer, is essentially a de-tuned racing boat, incorporating many racing boat features (e.g., round hull, tiller bar steering, legs-free cockpit design and hung seat), but with greater volume resulting in better stability. LOA is 19’ 4" with a waterline length of 18’ 9" and BOA 20". Depth forward of the cockpit is 13" - hopefully enough for your foot size. Full specs are available on the website.
I have owned the E.F.T. for years and consider it an outstanding combination of speed and seaworthiness.
The owner designed, built and paddled to first place 3 years in a row in blackburn challenge. If you plann to race, check with pam of usca to see what is legal in touring class.
I don’t know…
…about deck height or room for rather large feet, but I also seem to recall the Nigel Foster boats and NDK Greenlanders as having a reputation for speed. Another boat that would seem pretty fast, although probably a little lower volume, is the Kayakpro/Kirton Inuk.
At 6’1", 34" inseam, and size 12s I had issues with foot room in my EFT, when using the as spec’d tiller bar setup, at the furthermost arc of the tiller. My toe would get jammed against the hull even with thinner booties on. Since going to Pat’s gas pedals, no problems whatsoever. I still think it may be tight, seeing as depending on inseam length, you’ll conceivably be another 3" forward in the hull as it narrows.
The Inuk is out-very tight in the footwell, and unless they’ve changed the cockpit on the newer models, you might have issues with their quasi ocean style cockpit-don’t get that at all for a fitness oriented boat.
As others have recommended, unless you go to a ski, you might be limited to the second or third tier down in speedy sea kayaks with boats like the Vivienne, CD Extreme, etc. They won’t run with the Epic 18s, QCC 700s and certainly not with the 18Xs or EFTs, but if you’re not purely racing…
My 2 would be a more stable surf ski at your height and dimensions, something like a V10 Sport-super wide bucket, lots of leg room, and now you can outfit a kick up rudder (cobbled on as it may look) for rocky/weed infested areas. That and a decent drysuit are all you’d need. I actually prefer my ski to my SINK in the colder winter months, knowing that if I do come off, I don’t have to test my roll and can just remount, often without even getting my head wet. Remember the adage: There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.
Thanks for the comparisons
I did not get the chance to test the Epic last week, hopefully this week. I'll post here what I find out in terms of roominess and otherwise.
Paddling yesterday in some 2' wind chop & some small swells with an occasional breaker wave with my Tempest 170 has me wondering how these longer/sleeker boats will behave. The Tempest was really stable in any direction with pretty much no need to think about stability. I had to brace only once when my wing paddle dug under me when I forgot to rotate enough. At the same time it was also rather sluggish - it could catch larger rolling waves and stays infront of them fine. But forget catching them again and again, especially with the smaller waves - it just slows down and falls off the back of the wave eventually even with hard paddling. My P&H does better in these conditions and surfs such waves with less effort, so I suppose it is possible ... Hopefully a faster boat will do better yet and not be terribly unstable ...
…to mention a good resource for finding boats that might be suitible for your intended purpose…the Sound Rowers Kayak Clasifications Page.
I have finally gotten used to a tiller bar system, and now don’t think I would want anything else! I have developed my technique to where I thrust w/my legs alternately, and include or incoperate pressing my toes and the balls of my feet w/my calf muscles against the footboard, which puts a lot of pressure high on the footboard. I have always thought I might prefer a gas peddle style of rudder control, but I think that now I might inadvertadly press the peddles and make the rudder wag if I didn’t keep my toes low enough on the footboard (11 1/2’s). The person I bought the boat from took out the Seadog gas peddle rudder control footrest system because he did exactly that. Maybe it could be avoided w/a floorboard style system like in the Mirage’s or that ONNO makes. I keep the tiller control pretty tight and make up for any lack of fine directional control with paddle muscle/technique pushing the boat slightly in the desired direction while edging. I still might be better off w/something else for surfing, and am actually trying to figure out a way to incorporate a peddle or top pushbar (like the Hunt Johnsen Wavewitch) w/the tiller.
I have heard from a friend who has a QCC 700 that it may not be legal for racing. You will have to check with the sanctioning bodies but that’s the scoop.
check this thing out!
…JackL have one for sale a little while back? I want one to push my 90 y.o. mother around in…but I don’t think she will be up to learning to roll it…
Update on Epic
Thad a chance to try both the 18x and the 16x (thanks Brian!) and unfortunately I fit neither.
The biggest issue with both is the low position of the foot board - the only way I can put the balls of my feet there (and not on the gas pedal part) is to stretch my feet to full extension, which of course is uncomfortable.
Moving the board up may be an option I suppose but there is barely enough room in there for me barefoot in a comfortable position so I think I will be cramped with any kind of shoe…
The 16x had a shorter legroom overall by about an inch or two and that further complicated things as my shins pretty much touch the front coaming unless I put my up knee directly in the middle and not an inch to the side -
The 18x felt tippier enough that I had to tone-down my paddling where in the 16x I was stable enough to paddle normally. And after rolling it, to edge it comfortably.
Both were fast and up to about 5 mph probably either would do. I seem to began to hit a ceiling in the 16x at around 6 mph and I doubt could paddle it much faster for any length of time. With the 18x I reached 7 mph in sprint and I felt I could do more but I kept losing stability so I could not paddle it at 100%. Could cruise comfortably at 5.5 and may be 6 at an excersize pace for extended period I suppose, but I’m extrapolating as I only paddled both for about 15 minutes each.
So I guess, I’m back searching. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try the KayakPro Marlin soon.
And I need to reevaluate if I want 20" or less waterline boat -;). I’m sure I will adapt to it in a few hours but not sure if I will enjoy it in rougher conditions or will I be struggling with it…
I started with…
…a narrow waterline boat and it took more than a few hours to get comfortable in it, as I was relatively inexperienced. But it happened, and I am glad I decided to put in the seat time. I certianly wouldn’t suggest anyone endanger themselves in any way w/a boat way beyond their abilities, but in my case, I had a lot of opportunity to put in seat time on a small lake with very little boat traffic to contend with during the week. I’m now able to push to my hearts content and am confidiently tackling most any weather conditions on the little lake, as well as wakeboard boat wakes!
As I have heard mention here before, the boat will teach you the skills necessary to handle it over time, and will leave you a better paddler, provided you have maybe a bit of natural inclination or experience that might be of benefit. And patience.
Now, I think I might be bored most of the time in what might be considered a typical or standard width to length ratio of 8 or so, as I am primarily a fitness paddler at this point… But, I would also certainly enjoy a more conventional boat for taking where I might encounter more extreme conditions, and also for learning some of the traditional paddling techniques in…it’s all good!
Let me pick-up this thread again…
Having rulled-out the Epics for now (poor fit for my feet and somewhat sub-optimal in terms of overall leg room) I’m looking at some of the aforementioned alternatives.
There is a kevlar CD Extreme (aka Nomad) within a reasonable driving distance from me and a regular (non-kevlar) Looksha II about twice as far (which is still reachable but would cost me about $50 and one day driving just to check it out).
The Extreme is wider, a smidgen slower up at cruising speed and a little slower yet at the top end. And it is about 2x the price (both used). I think I will fit in either (thanks to the Looksha II owner I got some measurements of the cockpit and it is at least as big as the Temoest I got and probably bigger, and the Extreme should be similar if not bigger yet).
To be honest though, after paddling the 18x and reading comments here that the Looksha is less stable, I’m having second thoughts about being able to handle the boat in rougher conditions. The Extreme by most accounts would do much better there compared to the Looksha. Being a few pounds lighter and probably stronger does not hurt either (though the rudder on it may need to be upgraded from the moving pedals to be useful where the Looksha already has the smart track system with stationary pedals).
Any more thoughts? I can’t really test the West Side EFT and still have not gotten a chance to try the Marlin and I have not found a Kajaksport Viviane near me either…
How do the Extreme and the Looksha compare for rolling? Both seem to have relatively high rear decks. And both are rather high volume, which is not particularly apealing to me, but I guess with my dimentions I don’t have much of a choice…
Lastly, I read some about the WS Arctic Hawk. Does anyone know how much leg/foot room is there in it? Any other comments obout it (I suppose I would put a skeg in it or a rudder, but other than that?) I understand that is a much lower volume and is actually faster than most of the remaining boats on my list…
If stability is more of an issue, the Extreme (Nomad) is VERY stable. It is a big boat and would be great for cruising and camping. I’ve only paddled it a couple of times. If you want to race, there are faster boats. If you want a fast cruiser that will do a lot of different things, it’s probably going to be great. Current Design builds great boats with very good attention to quality.
If you’d like to try the Marlin, email Ben Lawry. Big Ben has one and goes up your way often. Email me off line and I’ll give you his email address. He is great, very fast, an awesome instructor and paddler and knows A LOT about boats!
Great info about Ben Lawry - I'm signed up for a class with him in October! I sent you an e-mail thru here. Thanks!
I don't want to race too often although I plan to join a race or two... I and I do not see myself hauling a lot of gear or doing extended trips, so lower volume would be better, but I only see good reviews about the Extreme despite its size, so I might give that a try...
Last update (for now -
Had a chance to paddle three boats today - as different as they get but I wanted to try the variations.
First, was the CD Extreme (aka the Nomad at present, same boat). Very nice. Except the deck felt a little too wide and that both felt a little loose and prevented optimal paddle entry for high angle stroke. And the rear deck is a little higher than it could be for layback rolls. Other than these, it felt very fast and surefooted in the water even in some boat wakes and wind chop.
Second was the CD Rumor. Now that is a little on the small side for me - I'm 6'4 at 190lb and size 15 feet and getting into and out of it was somewhat funny to watch from the side. The front bulkhead is just about perfectly placed for me so that I do not use the foot braces (I could not - too short for me anyway). Once in, it felt snug all around and would make a great playboat I think. It felt reasonably fast for a short-ish boat. Being 19" did not inspire confidence initially even sitting in it in flat water. But after 10-15 minutes I felt very comfortable in it but still had to brace 2-3 times in the same boat wakes conditions where I hardly noticed the waves in the Extreme. I don't think this is a boat I can trully relax in but playng in surf and waves or rolling is not something you want to relax at anyway. Deck height on this was perfect for me and I could lay back fully. But I think I'm a little too tall and my waist perhaps 1 size too large - the fit is nice and snug and comfy but there is really no room to move about. Just a little seat rotation is possible if I push it, but basically, as it is my but is firmly planted and any rotation will be coming from my upper body. I thought that this is not the best thing for me as I like to move.
Third was the CD Freedom. That thing I do not get. It felt tippier than the Extreme, did not handle chop well (was not fun) and it did not feel any faster than the Extreme either. Did not have a GPS with me so I might be wrong on speed. The material felt flimsy and flexible (where the Extreme was stiff and felt sturdy). The only positive was the large cockpit and recessed sides on the front for a close stroke, though it was actually the same width at the paddle entry point as the Rumor, just widened going back.
I still can't rulle out the Looksha II - everyone says it is rather tippy and I thought anything much tippier than the Extreme would put me on a brace way too often in rougher water, though it probably would be nicer to paddle in calmer conditions as it is narrower. Whish I could have one close enough to try but no one seems to have them in the Wash DC area that I know of...
Thanks for the advice so far. And still, there's nothing like getting some seat time in the boats -;)
I think the ideal boat for me would be something like the Extreme with 1/3 less volume above the water, longer cockpit, lower rear deck, and narrower foot area for goof forward stroke, and it could be 1/2 to 1" narrower overall if it must -;). Sounds a lot like a Kayak Pro Marlin -;) Guess I have some thinking to do as the price tag on these is pretty steep and I have not seen them come-up used ...
Sounds like you’re doing it wrong
If Epic is using the same footboard setup in the 18X as in their skis, it’s designed for you to push though your heels and use your toes to work the rudder pedals. Set it up right and give yourself a little time to get used to it and it might fit you just fine.
The Extreme is fish formed so wider forward of the deck. It is harder to get a close catch. If that was about as tippy as you liked, don’t get the Looksha 2. Try and find a QCC 700 to paddle. Also try and find a Seda Glider. It is fast and stable, not much rocker. QCC’s 500 is a battleship but still pretty fast. It too has little rocker. If you’ve hooked up with Big Ben, ask him to bring his P&H Cetus. It’s fun, pretty fast, bigger volume. May have enough room for you. It is a British skeg boat and was the only skeg boat I could really paddle. It does everything pretty well. It is a swede formed hull.
If you’d like to get a ski, Bruce Gibson of Venturesport has several of the new beginner/intermediate Honcho skis he is selling very cheap. That may be a good route for you and you shouldn’t loose money on it when you sell it.
I used to own a Seda Glider ('93 model, I think,) and second that recommendation. It’s certainly worth trying.
Seda Glider is an interesting boat. But not many become available …
As for Looksha II stability, that may indeed be an issue. I looked at the hard-chine shape and the actual waterline width will be probably something like 18" for me. Would be great for speed but based on my paddling a 19" boat yesterday, I think it may be just a little on the tipsy side for comfort, especially at my height…
What’s worse, I keep reading that it is rudder-dependent, which I think is a safety issue - if the thing fails in harsh conditions I would not want to fight to keep an unstable easy-turning boat on course…
The Extreme was completely stable in the light chop/wakes I encountered - I did not feel pretty much any discomfort after the initial 5 minutes or so in it. I think it is right where I like it - more than that would be wasted, less than that would be keeping me on “edge” (not the boat’s edge) too often… It felt somewhat less stable than my Tempest 170 but not by a huge margin. I am totally commfortable in the Tempest so I think I can probably tollerate a little less stability in “big” water - I probably would not care that much for close paddle entry there -
Anyway, I’m leaning more an more towards the Extreme due to favorable comments on handling in rough water and the excellent hull stiffness and build quality I felt during my dest paddle. I’m not that much of a racer and this boat would be very versatile for me. Keeping the Tempest for surf/river play and rolling practice would have me covered for most things I do most often. I might even sell my WW boat as I noticed I have used it only a handful of times this season…
It’s the Eskimo not the Yak
Sometimes paddlers spend too much time talking about fast boats, and seem to forget the issue most often is who is driving the boat. Take someone like Doug Bushnell who could beat a lot of guys that are half his age and do it in a far “slower” boat. I think of a line from the local bikeshop when someone came in looking for a fast bike: “we don’t have fast bikes-just fast riders.”