Impex Assateague - what's roomier?

-- Last Updated: Jun-09-08 7:44 PM EST --

Just an FYI for someone in my shoes, he-he. Size 15, that is at 6'4" and 190 lb.

And a question for fit - what's roomier for the feet, without being wider or with a higher deck where it is not needed?

Today I briefly sat in several kayaks, among them the Impex Force Category 5 and the Impex Assateague, the Valley Nordkapp, and the P&H Capella Vella (poly), and finally (and again) the WS Tempest 170 (poly).

As you know, my feet are size 15 and none of these boats seemed to fit properly. The Assateague was the closest to a good fit, but would have required a slight modification/extension or complete removal of the foot pegs and foam-built-up to the bulkhead. The second best fit was the Force 5, actually may be a better foot room potential, but the seat was on the narrow side of acceptably wide enough for me, where the Assateague was just snug enough to not be loose.

As a reference, the Tempest 170 had probably the best foot room "out of the box", due to the wider/squarish bottom where my feet were. In contrast, the other boats seem to be narrower there even though they have similar deck height but are more v- or u-shaped...

As another reference, the Eddyline Fathom if memory serves me right had better foot room than any of the above and a great fit for the seat too. But the problem there was the knee/thigh braces location - not exactly where I want them and they are not adjustable. The other Eddyline 16-18 footers did not fit me well - either too snug or too loose. I think I need to finally go and demo the Fathom to make sure it also paddles well and may be if it does all else well, I can modify the braces.

I guess I will need to look for some of the HV models afterall, with deck heights of at least 14" to get a chance to fit without modifications. Chatham 17 is also on my list, but can't find one locally to try - hopefully next weekend, when there would be a few more to demo, with luck...

I’m guessing the Chatham 17
will not be kind to your toes. I have much small feet than you (size 9) and–if memory serves–used to hit the underside of the deck myself.

I get the feeling that lower decks is all the rage these days. Maybe try an older boat? I paddled an old Dagger Cortez this weekend and loved it.

do you leave your shoes on?
i’ve paddled an assateague and that is one big boat. i am 6’1", 220, 14 shoe and there could have been two of me in there. (always paddle barefoot) the best foot room i’ve seen is the kajak sport viviane. low and snug at the hips but i could have worn hikeing boots in there. not to mention there was at least 10 inches past the pegs untill the bulkhead. there is and older used one in maine for sale at Maine Island Kayak.

Chatham 17 and Assateague
I own both and I doubt your feet have a chance in the Chatham. I do like the Assateague but it is starting to feel a bit too big for me…6’ 215lb.

With snug water shoes…

– Last Updated: Jun-09-08 9:26 PM EST –

Thanks for the tip for the Viviane. 19 feet are may be half a foot more than my garage can comfortably handle and may be more than I am willing to handle too... But I may check Maine Island Kayak Co. - they seem to have good inverntory if the web site is any indication.

I use fairly low profile water shoes that are adding may be less than 1/3 inch to the size of my foot. Barefoot it will be a better fit, and may be with a water sock it may be perfect.

I would not go as far as to say 2 of me would fit - with the abovementioned shoes, my heels are stuck together with the feet forming a V and my toes push the deck up. This is partly due to the fact that my legs are too long for the foot rails and the built-in pegs are set a couple of inches too short to allow for my foot to angle forward as opposed to be closer to vertical (looking from the side).

With my colder water shoes (used for wind-surfing to date, mostly), I can't even fit, even though they are also snug - just not as flexible as my almost sock-like soft shoes I used today, which bend and allow me to curve my toes a bit forward arching above the foot pegs... Not a position I would want to hold for more than an hour at a time, I assure you -;)

If you think the Ass. is for you, it can be ordered with the foot pegs forward of the standard position. Problem solved.


Need to find one to paddle to decide. Also I’m leaning towards a used boat at this time, so if I like it, I will most likely just build-up the bulkhead with foam…

apples and oranges and Assateagues
seems you are in a couple of categories of boats as far as fit is concerned. the poly Capellas (even the biggest one) are pretty small and low volume. the WS Tempest is a tad bigger, but with a small cockpit. if you are looking at fuller boats, it would seem the T180 is the more direct comparison, and a really sweet boat. feels and paddles much like the Ass. except the sea feels a lot different. the Nordkapp is also a very slender boat, with decent, but moderate foot and leg room. a more logical Valley boat in this comparo would be the Aquanaut and Aquanaut HV.

the Ass. is often portrayed here as a gianormous beast of a kayak. i’m 6’5" and love it, loooong legs, big feet, and a great fit for me. my toes do touch the deck, but not too bad. i have 2 other friends who are smaller than me who also have the Ass, they’ve padded the hips, and find it to be a great size, great fit, excellent thigh bracing. one of the few boats out there that fits a wide range of people fairly well. at 22.5" wide, albeit with a wider cockpit opening than some boats in it’s range, it is not excessively large by any means. it also has a very short waterline length due to lots of rocker and dramatic overhangs so it paddles like a smaller boat, but it’s not overly fast. feels much like my Romany Surf in this regard. i put students in this boat (all of which are much smaller than i) and they universally love it, and can move it around handily. it is so stable and edges so well it feels much smaller. i’m not saying it’s a small kayak, but relative to the market, it does not stand out as remarkably large either. a full size, tripping kayak for the larger paddler. certainly not in the category of say the Current Designs Titan or anything like that. also lower volume and lower decked than the Aquanaut HV.

it’s unnerving to see someone type
"my friends have Ass"

If you’re willing to build…
The CLC 17 is a big roomy boat. You can adjust the height of the deck during the building process to accomodate your flippers.


All good boats
So only you can determine which is best for you. Don’t worry about the thigh pads on the Eddyline, since you can fix that with some foam. But you can’t enlarge the foot room. The Eddyline could be a great fit for you.

My son has the same problem, big (14) feet, tall (6’2") and light and thin. Most of the boats that will fit your feet will be designed for a heavier paddler. Probably the WS and the Eddyline would be the best fit for your weight. A Capella 173 would probably fit you as well or better than any of the boats you listed, and does a good job with paddlers under 200#. A Foster Shadow could also work.

If you like the room and the seat of a boat, you could probably pad out the rest of it to suit. The Force 5 and Assateague are both good boats, but quite different in feel. I thought that the Force 5 was a very competent and predictable boat, fast, but not as much fun as the Assateague.

If the boat fits, I don’t think you could make a mistake with any of the boats.

solution for larger feet?
I paddle an Assateague and wear serious shoes to prevent injury when walking on coral.

My shoes will probably compare to size 14 booties and I had to modify my footpegs to have a comfortable ride.

Check this solution

It allows for multiple foot positions and gives you more room since the deck is higher in the middle then the sides of the kayak.


longer foot-peg rails
Another easy fix for foot-peg positions that are too short: John Sweet Company carries Yakima foot-peg rails in a 17" length (compared to the standard 13 or 14")

Foot brace mod
This looks exactly like what I have been thinking as one possible mode myself. Do you just have the cross-plank screwed to the existing foot pegs? This alone unfortunately may not be 100% enough for me as the pegs are just a little too close, so I may need to move them forward a little first…

Thanks for the link.

For the other post - I was not really comsidering all of these different boats but trying them for fit since they were lying on the showroom floor anyway and thought some might find the info useful.

the cross brace is bolted
to the foot pegs. The bolt holes in the cross brace are elongated to allow brace adjustments for different size paddlers. Since the hull of the kayak is tapered the foot pegs diverge as you pull them closer to you.


I have a friend who has a cute anus

– Last Updated: Jun-10-08 11:04 PM EST –

Or in Latin she has an anas acuta, which I think is the technical expression for a cute ass.


– Last Updated: Jun-15-08 9:05 PM EST –

At a demo day I had a chance to paddle the Impex Assateague (and the Force 5), the P&H Cetus & Quest LV, the WS Tempest 170, the Prijon Barracuda & another slower plastic Prijon and had great time trying them all. Plus the three WW boats that fit me - LiquidLogic Remix 79 and Jefe, and the Pyranha Burn "L" (which I have) to compare. I also paddled the Dagger approach and while it may be an OK for many conditions, it did not strike me as a boat that I would want to paddle for a long time in any condition - too many compromises...

Also sat but did not paddle the Point 65 N XP - what a great and fast-looking boat! Had great foot room and parallel leg position for fast straight touring. But the seat was perhaps 1/2" too narrow for long term comfort. I hope I would be able to paddle one in the near future along with some NDK boats (Explorer and Romany) to get a feel for them as well.

Back to the Demo Day. The Assateague put me at ease immediately, allowing for easy edging and had decent room. Fun boat as others say. I think it needs a little skeg to go straight but not too bad without it either. Excellent secondary stability IMO. The Tempest 170 was probably the most "confidence inspiring" though - the most stable initially and I think with very predictable secondary stability for edging. May be a tad slower than the others but hard to tell without a GPS.

The Barracuda I did not like. Too heavy, too twitchy, too straight-going, but it had more foot room than any of the other boats (plus a more leg room as well). And that footpeg design as well as the seat back ... comfortable but pain to adjust. It seemed fast but I do not think it was that much different from the other boats above. For some reason the fiberglass boats felt faster and sleeker on the water - may be an illusion, may be not - just making less of a bow disturbance on the water.

The Force 5 was also very nice, less stable than the Assateague and perhaps a little too narrow at the hips for me.

The particular P&H Quest LV had less leg room than I needed, but that was a custom boat without footpegs and the front bulkhead was way too close for me - in the proper position for me I was pushing it with my heels, having my feet in a fully vertical "V" with no room to move at all. I think if it had footpegs or the bulkhead was 2-3 inches farther forward, it would have had enough room as the "V" would be slanted forward, leaving some wiggle room. It paddled nicely and had less initial stability and less confidence inspiring secondary than the Tempest or the Assateague - not too bad but I could not relax in it as I could in the other two. The "regular" Quest looked way too high volume for me, so I did not paddle it - would probably be good loaded but I seldom carry anything with me so that would be wasted space and too much above water boat surface to interfere wtih winds etc.

The Tempest had the best fitting seat for me and as I said was the most beginner-friendly of the bunch, had decent tracking without the skeg but turned very easy with edging and felt stable doing it. This was a the only boat where I felt completely comfortable laying back on its deck on the water and not feeling it would tip over, plus it has the most comfortable back band/rear deck position (due to the long cockpit) and height for me to allow me to lay back comfortably without pressure on my back.

I also paddled the Pyranha Speeder - this was an oddball. Very twitchy, had some secondary stability when edged but not very reassuring IMO, could not track straight and would try to turn left or right almost all the time, requiring significant effort to correct. Not sure who would use that boat to be honest - it needs a rudder I think for flat water and does not seem playful enough for rough water. But again, I'm a beginner, so may be others will correct me here...

So, to me the Tempest and the Assateague were the two boats that I would probably be happy with, but they are a somewhat different in how they handle and their seats are different - hard to tell how the rigid seat in the Assateague would feel after several hours of paddling, where I already am familiar with the seating in the Tempest and can live with it for 3-4 hours at a time at least. The Tempest cockpit is also long enough (with the seat back loosened) to allow for seat first re-entry, which is a major convenience factor. The Tempest has the worst foot pegs as well - they are rough and need padding or shoes if one pushes on them, but they are the easiest to adjust...

Paddling these also gave me a prospective on my P&H Outlander - it is more playful than either of these two boats, has at least if not more foot room, and behaves a little differently on the water for edging due to the softer chines. Probably a little less initial stability than these two but not too twitchy to be a problem in most conditions where I would take it. It will probably teach me better control being a little more demanding, plus I think it will be more playful in waves and still has decent forward speed. So, while it is still on sale for the right offer (e-mail/call me if you want it), I will be keeping it for a while to learn with it. Plus it seems more solidly built than the new fiberglass boats I saw - sturdier hull if anything, with less flex when pushed-in with my hand. A little heavier but still manageable. I just do not have enough confidence in my self to pick another boat before I master this one better and see what I like and not like about it...