Is new kayak too big for me?

-- Last Updated: May-21-13 1:12 PM EST --

Last fall I bought my first glass sea kayak. It was on sale and the "expert" sales rep said it was the perfect boat for me.

Recently , researched that it's paddler weight range is 160 lbs - 230 lbs. I am 145lbs and 5'4"

I can't seem to put it on full edge.

I also find it weathercocks for me, as the bow is high out of the water.

I could edge fully in my old plastic low volume sea kayak.

Thinking of selling the new boat for a lower volume one, that is easier to handle.

Thanks for help,

Which kayak is this?

Sounds like a lot of boat

– Last Updated: May-19-13 4:56 PM EST –

...for you. I weigh a few pounds less, but am taller. I studiously avoided the WS Tempest 17, and went far out of my way to find a Tempest 165. I haven't been around many pro-composite shops. WRT RM and WS dealers, my impression is that they stock only 17 footers because it's less inventory, and buyers aren't dicerning enough, and/or they can steer any sized paddler to the 17 footers.

Which boats might be too big?

– Last Updated: May-21-13 1:12 PM EST –

Old is Wilderness Systems Tempest 165, which I felt fit me well, but wanted a glass boat.

New glass boat is a Tiderace Xcite regular size(not S,)

Sounds like too big for you
The 165 is OK for you, why not find a composite version of it, if you liked the poly version? I have not paddled the Xcite so can’t comment, but by specs and shape indeed it seems a boat for a heavier person…

Can you trade it? The store gave you poor advice - unless you load-up that boat well it has too much volume and stability the way you describe it…

Nice info that…

– Last Updated: May-19-13 9:16 PM EST –

...'expert' provided you with. It would be nice if you could do a swap with someone with too much junk in the trunk for a TR Xcite small as the TR line seems to be of a very high standard.

Hope that either you can swap rides or adapt your technique to your present boat.

Why did you buy the TIderace Excite?
What was it it that appealed to you? Length, cocpit size, etc.

What were you intending to use it for?

The cockpit (19" x 34.5") seems humongous for you.

smaller boats to consider

– Last Updated: May-21-13 1:13 PM EST –

I tried the Avocet LV last year, waited 24hr to think about it and it was gone,

Tested a used Carbon Tempest 165, waited 10 minutes to consider and it was bought out from under me.

Tested several others like, Romany, Pilgrim, Eliza, etc, but none fit me. Felt like Goldilocks.

I like the idea of the Tempest 165 in composite and maybe should test the Impex Montauk.


Why the tiderace

– Last Updated: May-21-13 12:25 PM EST –

Was hoping for
*Skeged sea kayak
*a nimble boat
*a day hatch mainly for towlines, spare water, other rescue
*can accidental bump or two when I land on a rocky beach with surf

Try Some Ballast

– Last Updated: May-19-13 8:15 PM EST –

To see if a boat just has too much volume for a particular paddler, and therefore is sitting high on the water, we place three or four two liter pop bottles filled with water in both the fore and aft compartments.

pics to see waterline
Hmm. Here are pics of me and full gear (aside form dry suit) in plastic tempest, excite and testing carbon tempest. Would this be helpful in an evaluation?

If anyone can tell any thing by how the boats sit I’d be curious to hear.

You are an Excite S

– Last Updated: May-19-13 10:34 PM EST –

(oops - that is Xcite S isn't it, not Excite?)

Aled Williams designs his boats with a good amount of head room in terms of stability. When the boat is on a smaller paddler, that turns into too much volume for good control. I am 5'3.5" and 10 pounds lighter than you.

Re the weathercocking, the Tempest is a trackier hull than either version of the Xcite which is intended to be more maneuverable. That is probably just the boat hull design overall more than a over-volume issue.

If get what you need - a boat with decent maneuverability and good acceleration to get to a paddler quickly - it doesn't have to be the fastest hull in the world over a distance. So a 16 ft boat in general can be a good fit.

To add to the list of boats that might be a fit from BREI above -
NDSK Pilgrim, shorter one that I forget what they call it
Necky Eliza

Not sure about the Aquanaut LV - you are on the cusp. But it is worth sitting in one.

sorry to say
But, in this case, it is your skills, not the boat that are letting you down.

I am 5.9x150, X-cite edges just fine.

Let’s take a step back and re-visit edging.

Even though everybody thinks that edging of a kayak is done with knee action, it is actually weighing one of the b-cheeks that is more effective. When done correctly, one can keep edging the boat by weight transfer alone and not touching the upper deck with her or his knees - very useful when maintaining a proper forward stroke.

So, a drill for you. Sit in your kayak, make sure your knees are not touching the deck, transfer weight from one butt-cheek to the other. Let us consider sinking right edge - you put your weight on the right b-cheek, try to lift left. Do it slowly first.

In my experience women have easier time with edging than men - slightly wider hips and lower center of gravity help a lot.

edging in various boats

– Last Updated: May-21-13 1:18 PM EST –

Have no trouble fully edging in other boats, especially smaller volume kayaks and severla larger ones like Romany Classic, Tempest 170, etc.

Without fully edging, paddling the Xcite is more tiring than it should be in crosswind. I don't like to take my feet off the foot pegs, as one person suggested.

It really does sound like it could be a technique issue and I agree with Suiram that you may not be edging your boat properly, i.e using your knees, though with out seeing you, it’s a bit of a shot in the dark. Also, you shouldn’t have get the Xcite as far up on edge to execute a turn the way you did with the WS Tempest. I know that you’re under the design weight, but keep in mind that after you put on your drysuit, PFD and gather your other gear you are much closer than you realize. A few pounds shouldn’t really create that much of a problem.

To the folks that want to slam the retailers that try to shove people into boat that are too big; the retailers that sell the high end composite boats aren’t too interested in putting customers in boats that don’t fit them and the margins on the boat are too low to make it entirely worthwhile to upset a customer that may buy drysuits, PFDs and other knicknacks which have a higher margin. MOST of those folks want you to be happy with your shockingly expensive kayak, not miserable, as they realize that dissatisfied customers will blame them, not the buyer, who should’ve done some homework before plunking down $3500+ for a new boat. I’ve known many more retailers that have tried to talk customers out of ill fitting boats but the stubborn customer insists on buying it because it’s what’s immediately available or the price is right, or both.

As to the durability of TR boats; I have a friend here in the PNW who repairs kayaks for a living and she says that TR keeps her in business. If she sneezes on them, she’s through the gelcoat and down to the glass. Speaking as one who has a reputation for hard use, that always did alarm me.

The weathercocking is an expected facet of the boat. Given the amount of rocker it’s going to feel looser.

No boat is the “perfect” boat. You will always sacrifice someting in one category for a bit more in another. With some seat time and accceptance you’ll find out how to make it do what you want with little effort. Enjoy the journey!

Xcite and other options

– Last Updated: May-21-13 1:16 PM EST –

ITt is a wonderful, beautiful boat and will be sorry to see it go in some respects.

XciteS might be perfect, except it has no day hatch for for first aid kit, towline( wen just out with husband or a few friends), water, etc. I often go out for 4-7 hours without landing so need to carry enough.

I really liked the Pilgrim and will reconsider it.

The Eliza, a nice boat, but not sure if it has the features I'd like.

Skills and buying boats

– Last Updated: May-21-13 12:28 PM EST –

I do feel I should have researched the Xcite

I took out my plastic Tempest this week and it was so eay to handle. Used a Romany Classic to pass my ACA level 2 Coastal Kayak.

Wondering if the Xcite is a good boat for rolling

Xcite S
I’m a 5’7’’/155 lbs guy and unloaded Xcite is just too big for me - a) too wide b) way too roomy. Xcite S is a tiny bit too short in foot pegs, I have them fully out. But… with that Xcite S is a mean paddling machine for me. Empty, it’s perfect day playboat. I can edge it like nothing esle I paddled and already added three new rolls and balance brace to the list of stuff I can do.

good to hear
Xcite might be too much of a boat for you, but that is besides the point if we are talking about edging here.

My main paddling boat is Avocet RM, I can certainly compare both.

Believe me, Xcite edges just fine.

Again, it is all about weight transfer, try it with one of your other boats.

go back to dealer, swap the Xcite you bought for an XciteS. Then have a dayhatch put in. Any competent boatbuilder can do that.