Is new kayak too big for me?

good ideas abound…

– Last Updated: May-21-13 12:26 PM EST –

I didn't know you can add a day hatch.

Interesting. Perhaps I will talk to the dealer.

what’s with a day hatch?
Take a drysack, stuff the junk you need in there and frow it in the cockpit with a string attached so it is easier to fish out later. Do it all the time with food myself. And the towline, if you use it a lot, just bungie it up on the deck, or better, deck-mount it. Muche less hassle than putting in bulkheads and cutting hatch holes, IMO.

10 years?
It might sound harsh but I will say it anyway. Someone who has been paddling for 10 years should be able to tell if a boat is too big for them and also too small. If the dealer has been working with you for 10 years, they would have to believe you would know what you want when buying a boat.

Also, even if a boat is too big, you can still edge it without trouble. I regularly paddle a Cetus (classic) which is too big for me and it is no trouble at all to edge.

day hatch
I don’t want or need a day hatch in any of my boats, but this is about what the OP wants and she wants one. Not hard to do. There are plenty of talented boatbuilders in greater NYC.

The Tiderace dealer (Randy of NYC Kayaks, I’d guess) is a good guy. I think he and OP can work this out.

Bad link
Try again?

Several comments

– Last Updated: May-20-13 5:56 PM EST –

I am probably closer in dimensions to the OPer than most who have replied - 10 pounds lighter and I have apparently lost half an inch somewhere along the line. But I used to be 5'4".

One of my sea kayaks is decidedly over volume for me - NDK Explorer LV. As those who are familiar with this boat know, the hull is still very kind to someone who is smaller and the extra small cockpit makes control easier than it would otherwise be. My other sea kayak is more right-sized, smaller volume, narrower and a good bit shorter.

I have not paddled the TideRace boats, but have experienced a boat that was so over-volume I couldn't put it on full edge. Commitment was not an issue - I was in the bilge and hanging my head over the water beyond the edge of the boat. I was not at its fullest expression of an edge. It was one of the boats in the older CD Solstice series, designed for the average male paddler. I couldn't fully lift it with my knee. I could have sat in the bilge, hung over the edge and lifted with my knee in one big move - but going thru that for every change of direction doesn't sound fun.

I had to use the knee regularly in the Explorer LV. While it works, it is a literal pain in the back, produces some stiffened responses and makes for a tiring day. The more recent training I have gotten - at least starting a few years ago - that emphasized first weight shifts into the bilge rather than lifting the knee works nicely, even in surf. And it is a heck of a lot less tiring.

BTW, I have no idea if there is a debate about knee versus weight shift primary between BCU and ACA, just can say that I have heard this is sessions with coaches from both organizations.

This is a paddler who has to get to someone quickly and handle some nasty paddling conditions. The degree of difficulty in getting an over-volume boat to respond translates to real response time. IMO, even issues that can strictly speaking be overcome in the boat/paddler match are not ones that can be tolerated for this use.

As to how this boat happened - the OPer had tried for other boats but this is what landed in her lap in the quest for a fiberglass boat. And as some even here have said, I can see someone deciding to give it a go.

Re the day hatch - yes, having that day hatch adds a few pounds of weight. It also adds an extra bulkhead to help stiffen the deck.

Most importantly, it allows you to get to emergency gear and not worry about leaving water in there while you solve the problem. I have paddled half a day (by accident) with a filled day hatch, and I never noticed it until I went to pull the boat up for lunch and something sloshed.

Trying the same with a skirt left open is a lot dicier. Someone the OPer'sd size will be rescuing people who are bigger than them by 50 pounds, and someone who is likely to be a sloow rescue because she leads groups with newer paddlers. The only way to get enough torso on the other boat to carry that weight is to lay out sideways, with the cockpit half under water. When time matters, messing with a skirt just adds risk.

Side note I just remembered about the Eliza - and me bad for forgetting about the lack of a day hatch in that and the Xcite S. This came up when the composite Eliza was relatively new, and someone weighed in saying that their female SO had no problem with its lack. In further dialogue, it turned out that the reason said female didn't need a day hatch was that the male in the group carried that stuff for her...

well said NM

PS - tow line in hatch?
Is there a reason you don’t use a tow belt? That’s help a little with things.

Rolling a boat that is hard to edge
The dynamics of the two acts are probably related, but FYI I find that if one is harder the other is as well.

Don’t get fixated on numbers
A 22" wide boat might be better for you than a 21.4533 " boat. Discrete numbers aren’t the whole boat or how it rides. Have you paddled an Eliza or Suka?

Day hatch isn’t a necessity
Put in rigging under the foredeck and in front of the seat to secure gear.

edging clarification
Celia said… “emphasized first weight shifts into the bilge rather than lifting the knee works nicely, even in surf. And it is a heck of a lot less tiring”

Can you clarify? I am guilty of using the knee to edge. However recently i’ve been experimenting more with moving weight onto one cheek or the other to edge or compensate for a side on wind instead of dropping more skeg.

When you say weight shift into the “bilge”, what exactly do you mean?

thanks in advance.


I mean physically moving over
I actually shift my butt over so that I am sitting off center in the boat. Some seats make this less practical or comfortable than others, but you can make it work to some degree in most boats if the volume is well matched for the paddler. Usually I can stay in contact with or at least in close reach with the footpegs for access if needed. But in many cases you won’t need them - in smaller surf for example just that shift can hold my boat on the right edge to ride a wave in sideways. I can leave everything else quite relaxed.

Note on the Xcite - my over 6 ft tall and 180 pound husband tried one (I had forgotten which TideRace model he was in) and found it to have more volume than he preferred. His fave expedition boat is hardly a SOF - it is an Aquanaut.

Pilgrim Expedition is longer than the regular Pilgrim, same height and beam. Really, really nice overall and I was exhilarated to finally get the fit and handling that I’d been wanting for so long.

I have owned both a plastic Tempest 165 and an Explorer LV, both of which I liked, but the PEX takes the cake. Although I’m smaller and lighter than you, the PEX will easily accommodate 5’4" and 145 lbs unless there’s something odd about your body configuration.

I could edge the Explorer LV…except if I put a camping load of weight in it. Then it became too stable, ironically. So now I know that if a boat feels really stable unloaded, it’s probably too big for me to maneuver easily when it’s laden.

Does this boat make my butt look big?

Yes, do what you asked.
“Should I perhaps sell this one and look for a smaller volume glass kayak? Or do I just need to edge in this one.”

Eventually yes. The kayak season is the time to put it up for sale. Meanwhile you can hone in on what feels good to you. Obviously you now know you have to try them. It’s not the end of the world and you have a nice boat to use and learn more things in. You can advertise for free on the ConnYak site: - classified ads.

Good luck with your search. Very few paddlers settle into the perfect boat right off so don’t worry it will all work out.

I once bought a P&H Serius and I immediately knew I didn’t like it but loved my fit in it etc. Somebody bought it who still loves it.

One thing Tiderace does not need
is extra bulkhead to stiffen the deck. I can’t flex deck or hull of mine even sitting on it! :slight_smile:

The bigger the boat, the smaller your
butt looks inside it.

Very clearly stated
Thank you. You have expressed my situation much more clearly than I ever could.

You fully understand.

what I would do
I am not you, but if I had that Tiderace Xcite I’d give it once more serious go at edging, drawing, rolling etc. dressed as I’d usually dress and geared up as usual - to weight the boat realistically.

if things improve - keep the boat

if they don’t. Stop using the boat. The more you use it, the more wear and tear esp. on that apparently (?) thin Tiderace gelcoat. Put the boat up for sale. This is prime season, Tiderace is one of the “hot” names among certain of the seakayaking community, and there aren’t that many at all on the used market. You might have a couple buyers fighting over it.

Demo a glass Tempest 165, an AvocetLV, an Aquanaut LV. I know two women who weigh in the 140s ( who are 2 inches and 6 inches taller than you, respectively) who use and like theirs. One is an ACA instructor who teaches and guides in the Great Lakes.

Consider also a glass Capella 160 (Danny Mongno of Werner Paddles using this guiding and does all kinds of surfing with it) and a Chatham 160 in glass or some other composite. Both quick, turny, not hard chined, responsive boats with day hatches. And you are solidly within the weight range for both.

Get a price on putting in a day hatch in an XciteS and if it’s a good price, get w. the Tiderace dealer and see if he’ll take back the Xcite and sell you an XciteS instead. The get the day hatch put in.

Obviously if you stop using the Xcite it’ll be easier to arrange as it will have less wear and tear.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.