I need a new kayak that fits my 6'4 250 frame

I bought a Bonifide SS 127, 2 years ago and have been dumped out too many times. Its a great calm water lake fishing boat but i spend more time in rivers and streams with enough current to make staying in the seat a challenge. I am not totally fixed on sit on top if a sit inside will not trap me in if and when i roll. I do mostly day trips with plans of a few 2 or 3 night trips. Like mentioned i am 6’4, 250 so top heavy in the seat makes me more likely to turn over but i like comfort. As far as budget i invested $2K in the Bonifide and not happy. After i get more experience i would love to try some more rapidly moving water but nothing extreme. I am 62.

6’5", 230 lbs, large feet, and I fit in the 10 ft versions of all the modern ww crossover boats (Pyranha Fusion, Jackson Karma Traverse, Dagger Katana, etc.). I personally use a Jackson Rogue and it works for me up to Class III rivers. If you want to pack more stuff for overnights, a Prijon Yukon might be a good option.

It’s not the kayak, its the high frame seat that elevates your center of gravity. You may have to lower your butt on any boat, so a sit in will prob work better for you.

Thanks for the input.

The Bonified also has like trihaul with pontoons running the length. I start getting sideways then against a rock and I’m doomed.

For rivers try to find a kayak with a more rounded hull, like a WS Tarpon, to avoid getting hung up on rocks and logs. The Bonified has a complex hull that can easily catch obstructions.

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I’m a large angler myself and am more comfortable in a 2 person canoe paddled solo; just an idea.

Have you looked at any of these?


A 14’ Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 would be a good fishing boat for you. Also the Perception Pescador.
I am 6’5" , 230# and have to try to fall out of the Tarpon.
Tarpons have room for one paddler to camp from, both under the deck and in the tank well.

I will second @kurtzislost with the solo canoe idea in taking a tandem and converting it to a solo. I have an OT Guide 147 and I’m a good size guy as well. I made some simple mods by taking both seats out rearranging the thwarts where I wanted them and adding a comfortable stadium seat back just behind center placing my body at the widest part of the canoe. Then using a 260cm kayak paddle. Stable, tracks well, lots of room for coolers and camping gear. Works great on rivers like you are looking at.

No, i haven’t. But will check them out. Thanks.

Great idea, just not sure a canoe fits me. Thanks.

I don’t spend much time at all fishing. I will save my Bonifide for fishing.

Great feedback.

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When you say a canoe won’t fit you do you mean fit your physical body size or is it that a canoe doesn’t fit the style of boat you see yourself in?

I have never paddled a canoe. I also have just never considered one. It very well may be something i should do but i am not in a situation where i can try one out and really don’t want to buy with hopes i like it. But this is the reason for my request for help, i would like to find the best fit and stay in/on the watercraft regardless. Ha.

I took a leap of faith in buying a used canoe so it wasn’t a huge leap as it only cost me 150 bucks and I was pretty sure if it didn’t work for me I could likely sell it for 200 after cleaning it up.

They sell very lightweight solo canoes that are intended to be paddled with a double blade. Some are for all practical purposes an open kayak. Seat height may be the same as a kayak or higher as some canoes like mine when converted from a tandem to a solo are wider when seated. IMO that improved stability even more along with comfort. Canoes can be paddled seated or kneeling and there are all kinds of variations people do based on what they want. In my case with old wore out knees I need a comfortable seated position and it covers all the water conditions I will be in. I did need to use an extra long paddle to make up for the width. I also added some bow and stern flotation just in case.

Now that I did the experiment I’m very happy with the boat in the water and wish it was a little lighter for loading and unloading. It is a bullet proof hull though at least in the slower rocky bottom waters I paddle.

As an example my canoe is rated for something crazy like 900 lbs. assuming two adults and gear. So even though I’m good sized and have up to 100 lbs. of gear I’m still lightly loaded and riding pretty high in the water.

I understand canoes are not for everyone. :canoe:

You have me really thinking about canoes. What category water have you been in with a canoe? Will it work in cat I and/or II water? I would never be able to kneel in a canoe. I need a lazyboy.

I’m far from an expert on WW canoeing, but I did a fair share of WW rafting 40 years ago so I understand the concept. There are some very experienced WW canoeist here so look around some on the forum and you will find lots of videos and such.

As far as class I/II WW it is very much something people do in canoes. Early on you talked about wanting easy wet exits and open cockpits so as far as comparing a canoe to something like a sit inside rec-kayak with and open cockpit they are pretty much the same IMO as where they can be used.

Like I said I added some floatation to my canoe and not so much to make it into some kind of a WW canoe as to help with wet exiting and getting to shore or if I reenter in the water I am not so low in the water it couldn’t be bailed with me back in it. Even with the air bags taking 3’ in each end it leaves me a large cockpit area and two large areas for gear I might bring along. 14’7” is kind of a short tandem and IMO a perfect length for a river solo.

The way I set mine up was to suit me at my age and abilities and likely wouldn’t have been something I would have been excited about 20-30 years ago. The funny thing is I’m 65 and we just did a 450 boat river float a month ago 95% rec-kayaks and I had to many to count comments from young people 20-30s telling me they wished they had my setup and how cool it was to see someone paddling a canoe double bladed. Lots of “You look comfortable in there” comments.

Here is a thread I started last spring when I wanted to get into paddling again for the first time in a very long time. I didn’t know what I didn’t know and felt I could makeover a tandem to remain a tandem and still make it a good solid solo boat. I came to the conclusion that wasn’t as easy as I had hoped and around post #31 I started over. I’m a DIY kind of a person so for me this was a fun project.

So I have an Old Town Discovery 158. I paddle it backwards and put an old dry bag full of water in the front as ballast. I paddle with a canoe paddle most of the time, but my back up is a kayak paddle. I paddle class I-II rivers here in Texas (maybe the occasional class III) along with ponds, lakes, and even in shore. I mostly fish out of it, so covering lots of ground quickly isn’t a goal. I find the upright position of the bench seats comfortable. I don’t even need a back rest. Generally in calm water I stay drier than my friends in sit on top kayaks, so I’m more comfortable in the winter than they are.

Its heavy, slow, and I stay out of high wind and surf. I suggest you find a place near you that rents canoes and spend a few hours trying one out. Just make sure you have something to weigh down the front; they feel more stable and track better. If you like the seating position you can start researching designs that better suit your paddling needs, but a typical rec canoe will give you a sense of how you like it compared to a kayak.