help with perception eclipse

Hello all,

I am a new kayaker and just bought an old (2001) perception eclipse 17. I am 6’5" 250 lb so even though it has the most leg room of all the kayaks I tried (except for the rec ones) it is a tight fit.

Being new to kayaks my first concern was getting out when i flip it. (seem to do ok at that, panic makes it easy to squeeze out I guess) and then getting back in. The getting back in is giving me some troubles. Watching lots of youtube self rescue videos I have seen a few different techniques. the first involves backing into the cockpit face down and then rolling over to face up. that is not gonna happen for me in this boat.

The second is the cowboy rescue. that seems to work much better for me, except that once i drop my hips into the seat, my legs are too long to get into the cockpit. What I have to do it disconnect the bungee on the bottom of the seat back, loosen the string that adjusts the seat back position, and flip the seatback upside down on the floor behind the seat bottom, then I can re-enter the boat and get my butt back far enough to get my legs in one at a time. Then I have to get the seat back flipped around a connected behind my back, which is quite difficult for me to do without capsizing again.

Is this the required procedure for this boat or is there a better way? Would replacing the hard plastic stock seat back with a back band help?


Chris P.

what kind of rescue
I’m 6’5" also, so i understand the leg issues.

Are you using a paddle float or not? I guess since your talking about the cowboy re-entry you’re not using a float. That can make it tricky.

Using the paddle float or a good sculling brace will get you enough stability to enter feet first with your butt on the back deck.

A lower seatback or backband will help regardless.

If you can get on the boat,
face the stern, laying on the back deck. Work the legs into the cockpit.

When you are in position, twist 180 degrees, and you’re in.

I’ve not done this without a paddle float.


I have that exact same Eclipse
and have no problem at all doing a self rescue.

It might be because of your height and weight.

I use a paddle float, and then facing the stern, doing a combination of kicking my legs in the water, and semi-swimming, I pull myself face down up and over the paddle shaft onto the rear of the kayak.

When I have my belly on the rear deck, just behind the seat, I roll over and as I am doing it I put my legs in the cockpit.

The whole time, you have to make sure you are leaning on the paddle float side, or you will roll right back over on the opposite side.

Where you are so tall, you will probably have to get your belly farther back on the rear deck in order to get your legs in.

Jack L

seat back

– Last Updated: Aug-25-10 7:08 AM EST –


Do you have a hard plastic seatback that sticks up 2-3" above the top of the cockpit? Mine does and makes it very difficult if not impossible for me to do the re-entry without removing it.

either way, it looks like a paddle float is on my next shopping list.

Seat back

– Last Updated: Aug-25-10 8:17 AM EST –

My current boat (Tempest 165) has the shortest seat-to-front-coaming distance, which I've been able to drop into, and then get my feet in. The low back band makes it possible. I can lean way back to get each foot in.

A lot of new paddlers like the barka lounger seat backs. But, they inhibit good paddling, which is best done sitting upright, and using torso rotation. And, obviously, they inhibit re-entry. So, you may give a thought to replacing the seat back with a backband. IR bands have been recommended in the past, for replacements:

I'm not familiar with that boat and its construction, but, it may also be possible to move the seat back a few inches, as I've now seen done on the Tempests.

I’ll check it the next time I am over at
our boat barn, (which is across the road)and get back to you.

My wife is reading this over my shoulder, and suggests that you might want to consider removing that seat back and installing a back band.

Jack L

Lose the seat back, go backband
It’ll be annoying with a skirt anyway, and if you decide to go for a roll a seat back will really be in the way.

As to the rest, it may be harder for you due to your size, but ultimately you still need to be able to balance over the boat in sometime inconvenient positions. Time and practice will make that easier.

I’d suggest taking a lesson or two, might learn more in an hour than you’ll learn in weeks alone.

Bill H.

I have that boat…and even with short stubby legs, I still have the same issue…being shorter than you, I’m not as top heavy, so I do this…

Cowboy the boat WITH a paddle float in place…then slide forward until your hips are even with the rear deck just BEHIND the cockpit.(here’s the edgy part…) then do a pushup off the front of the cockpit and sit on the REAR DECK just behind the cockpit…this will take leaning into/toward the paddle float as you transition to a sitting position…then slide your legs into the cockpit and sit down in the boat.

for flat water paddling the technique has worked well.

I checked mine, and it does come up
higher than the coaming, but only about a inch, or inch and a half higher.

It is soft padded


Why would it be annoying with a skirt.?
Mine isn’t

Jack L

are you looking to wet exit?
if not;then this should not be a problem for you.If I am in deeper water I do re enter cowboy style-shimmy up & over the rudder & once I hit the cockpit, I place both hands on the outside of the cockpit & balance myself & then place one leg in & then follow w/the next(I’m 5’8"). Once you get use to the boat & find your balance then fixing/adjusting the seat should not be a problem once your back in. My seat actually has an adjustment near the thigh braces & I can loosen up before I get back in & then tighten up when I’m all situated. Perhaps a new seat style may be helpful for you.

Agree with Celia

– Last Updated: Aug-25-10 5:47 PM EST –

In the past I owned that boat.

Lost the stock high back seat and converted to a back band.

With a back band, re-entry after a wet exit, with a paddle float, was much easier.

JackL's comment on a paddle float re-entry is great advice.

Get some lessons (e.g. from an ACA or BCU instructor).

The Eclipse is not a bad boat.


thanks everyone
for all the advice. I have been practicing in this thing every chance I get, and I am sure it will all get easier with practice. I do feel much more comfortable in the boat in just 4 days.

I do think I will replace the seat back with a back band. I tried some rolls tonight and with the seat back on, even reclined all the way, I could not come anywhere close to getting back up. But, with the seat back removed so I could lean back onto the rear deck I almost made it. I still needed a little help from outside, but it was close. Darkness and fatigue ended my session before I completed an unassisted roll, but I will get it eventually.

In my experience anyway
A neoprene skirt tends to handle a tall seat back poorly in my experience. But maybe that’s me, and it isn’t clear if you are using a neo deck skirt.

Face up paddle float rescue
Give this a try.

paddle float
I bought a paddle float and it makes all the difference. I can easily get into the cockpit with the seatback up using the paddlefloat. I can actually stand right up on the boat with the paddlefloat.

I also used the float to practice rolling, and after some practice with the float on I took it off and was able to do my first unassisted eskimo roll.