Fat guy first time paddler

hey guys. I am looking into my first kayak, but my size offers some possible limitations. I’m 6’6" 300lbs and I want to get a sit-in Kayak. Likely using it for lakes and day trips down rivers (mainly flat water). I have been looking at the Pungo 120. It has a capacity of 325 lbs. Just wondering how close to get to the max capacity? how accurate they are? or any other recommendations for sit-in kayaks.

I’m 6’3 240lbs with a 34in inseam and 40 inch waist and paddle a wilderness tsunami 14.5 comfortably. I test paddled the pongo and for my needs the tsunami won out. Might be worth a lookf

Why don’t you give some serious
consideration to canoes? Usually faster, almost always easier to carry, load, unload. A big guy can set a canoe up so that it is comfortable whether he is sitting or kneelin, and many canoes allow standing and poling.

Big guy boats
I am also a big guy. I have paddled a lot of different boats working in a boat shop. I used to have a Necky Looksha 17, Necky Zoar Sport and Ocean Kayak Prowler 15. For kayaks I currently have a Liquid Logic Stomper 90 for my white water fun. I have gotten away from flat water kayaking for now and moving towards more canoeing. Working on replacing the gunwales on a Mad River Courier for my flat water paddling. Here soon there will be a Wenonah Recon added to the fleet to mostly replace the Stomper 90. There are pros and cons to each craft.

When in comes to flat water, kayaks are simply better on flat open water especially when it is windy. I wouldn’t consider buying anything under 14’. On the other side they can be harder to get in and out of. For camping I would think of light weigh backpacking.

If you are looking at paddling not so windy places a canoe is awesome and brings something special to paddling. If you are going to paddle solo a 14’ boat of the right kind will suit you well. You can even solo a tandem 16’ if you practice. Currently my favorite tandem to solo is the Mad River Explorer 16. They are much easier to get in and out of. Also if you plan to camp you can go in a little more luxury.

No matter which you choose the most important things are to get quality gear and practice your paddle strokes.

Like others have said, you should go longer. You have to think about displacement. The boat hull has to displace a volume of water equal to your weight to allow you to float in it. If it is a shorter boat, it has to be wider (which makes it slower) and if you go too close to or over the weight limit (which you will with your clothing and gear and water bottles) the boat will sink lower to make up the volume displacement which makes more drag on it (thus harder to paddle) and can also make it harder to handle and unstable.

As the other bigger guys have testified, a longer boat is more pleasurable and versatile. I only weigh 145 lbs and don’t care for 12’ kayaks, even my last 14’ one felt too short. Longer boats are easier to solo load on your car, too, since you can lift up the bow up to the rear of the car and shove it forward from the stern. The angle is too steep with short boats to do that as readily.

If you were in my area (southwest PA) I’d tell you to buy the used Looksha 17 a local guy is selling for $650, including PFD, paddle and sprayskirt. As was mentioned, the Tsunami 145 is a good boat for big guys, as is the 165, which would give you more speed and cargo room.

And don’t discount canoes. I paddle both, and often prefer a canoe for the ease of changing paddling positions, cargo capacity and for comfort on hot days when I don’t want to be stuffed under a deck (I usually use a long kayak paddle).

If money was no object, I’d be recommending the Feathercraft Klondike folding kayak. Payload 575 lbs. You could use it solo or with a buddy, and store it it a duffel bag in the closet off season. But $3500 is more than most people want to spend on a first boat.

Or a Pakboat Puffin Saranac with solo deck. Capacity 400 pounds and you can use it as an open boat, like a canoe, or add the removable deck for kayak use. Plus it too folds down into a duffel bag and only weighs 28 lbs., costs around $1500.


Fat guy kayaks…
I am same size, and bought Hurricane sport exp. the boat has a very very large cockpit opening. Capacity of 375lbs. Has 2 hatches/2bulk heads. I have used for over night camping and have no trouble hauling gear. Boat weight in at 50 LBS. and at 14’, works great.

What comes to mind
For a SINK (sit inside kayak) for a person of your size–Current Designs Isle.


– Last Updated: Jun-30-14 11:24 PM EST –

The CD Isle is a Greenland-style kayak with a hard chine. There's also the soft-chine CD Solstice GT Titan for big guys, which might be more comfortable for a beginner. They're nearly the same size, and both have fairly large cockpits.

Better choice
is a WS Tsunami 145.

There are other much better choices like the CD Isle, Eddyline Denali or recently discontinued Nighthawk 175, the GT Titan, but they are all much pricier.

just some more thought on this…
I am 325 lbs and have two boats. a 16ft old town camper canoe that i solo paddle and turn the boat around and paddle in the bow seat with a stadium seat with backrest. i use a double kayak paddle and love it. this canoe is light and easy to load. it does catch a little wind from the front on flat water and windy days but the double paddle is easy to overcome that.

also i have an old town striper sit on top kayak 12ft. it has a 350lb payload. it does great but is a little heavier but a breeze to paddle and is very stable.

I would recommend both to someone my size.