Fat guy ski/fast boat?

Mostly curiousity here… I’m a big guy - about/over 250 lbs. and 5’ 11".

I’ve had a come and go interest in going faster and/or maybe picking up a surfski. Problem is, I don’t know where to start.

(And, I hear you all - put the donut down and “start” with the gym to lose some weight. I hope/plan to…)

Anyway, thoughts?

Start by…
… looking at the Huki S-1R (probably wide seat option), and EPIC V10 SPORT (already wide). Maybe a Think EVO - but I don’t know about the seat.

(Basically would be my shortlist - though there are more intermediate type skis on the market now from South Africa and Australia worth looking at too).

You have have narrow enough hips and or a small rear - a wider bucket may not be needed, but these skis are still likely to be best options.

Practical note (ugly truth): Every extra pound (that isn’t contributing to power or balance) will make the basics - that thinner (triathlon/runner body type) folks find a snap - like remounts - considerably harder and more taxing. At 5’9" 215 - I find rolling a sea kayak to be a snap, while remounting one of the newer deep bucket skis is a real chore. Shallower bucket Spec skis (lifeguard spec) and some old school skis are much easier. Can sit side saddle on some of those.

Moral of the story: Realize the majority of ski comments regarding stability, learning curves, remounts, etc. - are typically made by leaner/fitter types. All things relative, their impressions/rating/abilities/experiences rarely translate directly to heavier folks.

None of this is any reason not to go for it. Just understand it will likely be a bit of an adventure (is for anyone, and even the fit skinny folks typically have a pretty steep learning curve - that just sort of gets forgotten once they get though it and are enjoying the benefits). Anything you can do to make it easier on yourself in terms of fit and function (big enough ski, wide enough seat pan, not to tippy that it over-frustrates and impedes progress), you should take advantage of.

Be sure to check out http://www.surfski.info - great info, articles, reviews - and forums you can ask these things on and get more ski paddler responses than here. Also visit the surfski group on Yahoo: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/surfski/

I see you are in MD …
and that you also mentioned fast kayak, not just surf ski. If you are near DC, feel free to contact me to try my Current Designs Extreme. It is just about as fast as it gets for a sea kayak with only a handful of models that are faster but also a bit tippier.

If you are nearer Havre de Grace, there is currently a QCC 700X and a Kayaksport Viviane for sale there at a reasonable price (check CPAkayaker.com gear swap section for both). I don’t know the sellers, so just FYI. All these are capable of handling your weight size IMO, though I think the CD may be a little tight at the seat for you but seats can be swapped out if needed - have not tried the others…

If your profile is right (“just bought a kayak”) you may find any of these tippy. If you want even a bit faster kayak - Epic 18x or KayakPro Marlyn.

The Seda Glider and Necky Looksha II may also fit the bill but again, I think (especially the Looksha) are supposed to be a bit tippier than the above.

A couple more things…
I have just bought a kayak, but I paddled 3 or 4 times a week since May. I’ve paddled a couple of different boats, but most of it has been wider/stabler sea kayaks (W/S Tsunami, Perception Carolina, Perception Eclipse, Necky Chatham 17).

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been paddling 1x/week, but going on the windier days - going out of Annapolis and poking around the Naval Academy and surrounding areas. I’ve been trying to press myself into a bit of rougher water.

That said… I’m not horribly worried about tippy and/or getting wet. I wouldn’t be doing anything until summer and would be willing to invest the time into getting a feel for the tippier kayak/surfski.

Practical note/ugly truth
Thanks for laying it out. I’m OK with all that you said. I know, that even for me- reentries on a sea kayak leave me winded and feeling F-A-T.

Hard part for me- I’m not sure how I’d even test out a surfski or fast sea kayaks. “Stroke-stroke-splash. Yep, that one goes over just like the rest.” A while back I paddled the Chatham and hit the water in like 5 minutes. I wasn’t sure if it was me or if it was the boat. I paddled the same boat a few months later and while I still wasn’t rock solid, I found out that it was definately me (my 2nd paddling was MUCH better).

Profile is fairly right.
I was able to paddle a bunch this summer… so, I feel like I’m beyond the “just bought a kayak”, but… you know.

I am pretty near DC - I live just north and work just east of it. I paddle in and around Annapolis/Naval Academy fairly regularly. (Don’t know how much longer I can keep it up… the water temps have been dropping.)

If you have not yet, go check what they got at http://www.annapoliscanoeandkayak.com if you have not. For $10 a boat you can try the kayaks in stock…

V10 Sport
has the roomiest bucket out there. Next would probably be a Mako XT. The XT gets the nod for out and out stability at the expense of some speed. It’s a great rough water boat that starts to come alive in big conditions. The Hukis, even with the wide seat option, are on the narrow side. With my 34 waist, I’m a comfortable fit in the wide seat-not much room there at all. The Sport is fast, albeit a bit tender initially compared to the more ‘stable’ skis, but the seatwell accomodates practically all.

do not dismiss the venerable Futura II

rock solid stability, rock solid construction (one survived a brush with a NYC Barge)

and usually pretty affordable…

There are a few SOTs that would probably
work for what you want. I’m 6’1", 230 lbs and interested in similar boats. Even if you move towards a ski, you might want an intermediate boat that is a bit wider and has a hatch or two (or tankwell).

In particular the more stable boats are:

Scupper Pro (aka RTM Tempo)

Tarpon 160 (heavy boat)

Cobra Expedition (18 footer)

Or the more expensive composites:

CD Zone (new design, looks sleek)

Heritage Hop on Tops (14’ Nomad or 16’ Shearwater)

Kaskazi Pelican (fishing SOT, but nice)

Kaskazi Skua (Fast, light, maneuverable)

Knysna Ithsmus (almost a ski)

Some of these are pushing the $2000 price point.

More reading:



have much less stability than the boats you descirbe as feeling tippy. But if you are persistnet and don’t mind getting wet and putting on a show for your fellow paddlers, you can learn pretty quickly. And it is unbelevable how stalbe and confidnet you will becom in your sea kayaks after lerraning on a ski.

I can almost guarantee that you will not be comfortable on any ski after a one day demo or rental. If you really wnat to learn, there are some good deals on used skis (ski users seem to be constatny upgraiding). If after a couple of weeks you find it is not for you, you can probalby sell your boat faily quicly.

Been there, done that. :slight_smile:
I demoed the looksha with them and have done rentals with friends from there.

I know that they carry a lot of CD boats.

larry, you’re definately right.
My guess is that I’m going to have to pick something up based on fit alone. Then try like heck for a while to stay upright.

But, I’m ok with that… I enjoy the water and have a great group of people willing to make fun of me!

I’m ok with less stable.
My long-range goal is to actually lose weight and race. Until then, I’d like to play around with a ‘go fast’ boat.

Hi dsetzer
Trilobite was on the money. The XT is by far the most stable. I weigh 225. I had an XT. It doesn’t like heavy weight on it’s back. The Sport doesn’t seem to mind. Its seat is very wide. The foot room isn’t. If you have big very wide feet, the foot room may be a challenging (I’m an 11.5-12 EEE). The Sport’s initial stability is a little light. Its secondary is about as good as fast sea kayak’s. Skis like to go. Bird watching is out. If you are going to race or use the boat for exercise, skis are great. If you are going to lilly dip with a kayak club, maybe the sit on tops mentioned above? I believe any ambitious novice could paddle the intermediate skis…in calm water. Its in the bumps that these boats come alive. They’re awesome!

If you’d like to try an Epic, email Christ Laughlin at Epic. Chris’s email address is chris@epickayaks.com.

Great guy, very patient, very helpful. Their cheapest boat, Value Sport (a little heavy but not bad), could probably stop bullets and remounting with your weigh wouldn’t hurt it. He can tell you where you could try his boats.

You might also want to try a QCC. They are fast, well built and a good value. I love my 700. The 500 is VERY stable, pretty fast and will carry the world. It’s just not as athletic as the 700.

Bruce Gibson, Venturesport, sells intermediate skis made by Honcho. Bruce says it’s a great boat but a little heavy. He has some left and wants to make them go away. He would sell them VERY cheap! Bruce’s email address is Vent929@aol.com.

Good luck!


"It doesn’t like heavy weight on it’s back."

That was my understanding, and why I omitted it. I wouldn’t rule one out personally though.

HopOnTop Correction
The Heritage Nomad Aka HopOnTop16 ia 16 feet long

The Heritage Shearwater AKA HopOnTop 18 is actually 18’4" long.

I owned both. Sold the Nomad, still have the Shearwater. With a design at waterline beam of about 20", the Shearwater is a pretty fast boat