Is this kayak too big for me?

I have the opportunity to purchase a Delta 12.10 at a very reasonable price (and it’s in great condition). I’m 5’5” and 135 lb. After doing some research I’m wondering if it is too big and I would be better off passing, possibly looking for a 12s. Thoughts??? I’m not sure what to do. Thanks!

Can you get in it to try the fit?

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I will be able to this weekend. (-:

Delta’s site says the depth of the 12.10 is 13.5". I assume that is under the front part of the coaming. 12S is 12". 12.10 is cockpit 17" wide, an inch wider than the 12S.

You do have an inch of height on me. But for a proper sea kayak fit, where your legs can find a thigh brace easily for good control, the 12.10 is a shakier choice for fit. The deck height and width makes that more challenging.

My question goes to your goals. Both of these are well equipped with fore and aft bulkheads and other details. But their length and hull design does not put them into full out sea kayak capabilities. Delta has those boats in a group called “Touring”. The 12S and 12.10 are “Light Touring”.

Here is what Delta says about Light Touring. “Delta’s Light Touring kayaks are a great choice for the recreational or transitional paddler looking for better performance in a smaller lightweight design. With plenty of storage capacity for overnight or weekend trips, they offer quick and responsive handling while maintaining a high degree of stability in calm to rougher conditions…”

Rougher conditions is vague term, but it likely means chop and one foot waves more than three foot waves. So if you are going to be going out on manageable lakes, ponds, creeks and want a lot of safety features as well as capacity to store gear, likely these two have what you need. The issue between them is fit, paddling a boat that is too big for you becomes uncomfortable after a time. Best to try what Sing said, see if you can sit in it.

But if you want full out sea kayak capability, neither of these is your boat for a long term hold.

Could you talk about where you plan to paddle? People here may know the area and the conditions you are likely to face.

I was doing a race on the Rainbow River on time, and an eight year old girl was in the mix paddling a Westside EFT.

The boat looked huge on her, but she had been paddling since she could sit up and both of her parents were Olympic paddlers from the Czech Republic.

The girl finished the race, and was in the middle of the pack.

It is not the size of the paddler in the boat, it is the size of the paddler within the person.


Just looking at carrying capacity (300 lbs for 12.10, 220 for 12S), the 12S does sound like a better fit for you if a 12 foot kayak is what you want. But what are the chances of getting a deal on a 12S?

So long as you don’t wreck it, the value of used kayaks doesn’t drop all that much over time, so you likely could buy and sell for close to the same price. If this is a good price and it fits at least Ok, might be worth buying and using until a better fitting boat option comes along, and then selling the 12.10.

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Thank you! Very good point.

I will only be using it on slow moving rivers in Florida, not inter coastal or ocean. I paddle Rainbow, Santa Fe, and Suwannee Rivers.

Rainbow River is where I will be using it! :blush:

For more casual paddling size and fit are less important. Maybe affects speed.

So for you the question would be whether over a long paddle the larger size would make it uncomfortable for you to paddle without extra gyrations to control the boat’s direction or to get the paddle well into the water. At your size my normal response would be to go for the 12S. But probably worth your seeing if you can sit in the 12.10 and maybe even get it wet.

Generally I would rather see someone in a kayak that is a little too big rather than one that is a little too small, but you don’t want it to be a bathtub either. When you sit in it, see if your elbows touch the coaming when you are sitting up straight. If they really touch (ie the coaming is pushing your shoulders up with your arms at rest on the coaming) it might be annoying to paddle. If just touching lightly, probably OK for now. As others have said, less of a concern in a rec kayak, and you should be easily able to sell that kayak down the road if you find one that is more suitable.

Rainbow river is a great place to paddle - it’s a little far for me (~2 hrs driving each way) so I only get there every year or two, but I always enjoy it!

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I believe the Delta 12.10 will fit you perfectly. You’re an average-sized woman and the Delta 12.10 cockpit is for an average-sized person. Delta 12.10s are fairly rare on the used market (I’ve been looking for one for years), so if the one you’re looking at is really in good condition I would buy it immediately before someone else does. I recommend checking the year of manufacture, which is the last 2 digits of the serial number, found under the deck at the bow end.

The Delta 12.10 would be perfect for what you want to use it for. You could also use it for camping as it has very large volume in the hatches. It’s an extremely stable kayak in waves, but easy to turn due to its short length.

If you need any more information, feel free to message me (former and hopefully future Delta 12.10 owner).

I just reread and it seems you will be able to even try this boat? Please let us know how that goes.

Sizing is unfortunately somewhat variable in kayaks, in a way that can make it harder for women. I suspect that for your use the 13 inch depth in the 12.10 will be ok. But at just an inch shorter than you it is way too deep for me. Been in boats with it and for what l want to do it is too tall.

The average sized paddler that manufacturers traditionally designed for was an average sized male, 5 ft 8 or 9 inches and around 180 pounds. When they started adapting for women, an average sized woman at 5 ft 4 inches and 30 pounds lighter was automatically a small paddler.

Since manufacturers realized a while back that selling to women was good for their bottom line, there have been a lot more boats that are truly well suited to the average sized woman. And perhaps more women are closing the weight gap…

But bottom line for women is that we need more than men to get inside a boat. In order to decipher the manufacturer’s idea of average sized.

No wonder cockpits are too short for me.

I had a Delta AR12 it was a great kayak but at 44 pounds it was very heavy to lift up onto my Jeep by myself. I ended up returning it and bought Swift Adirondack 12AR. It weighs only 24 pounds.

Think of the loading & unloading process and if you’ll be able to do it alone.

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I am just about your size. For me what I would watch out for is if the width and depth impedes your paddling. This will largely depend upon how you like to paddle. I always wanted to plant the paddle as close to the side of the boat as possible, with a high-angle style. That was what came naturally to me. It meant that in my first boat, which was 24” wide, and also 14” deep, I was constantly bashing my hands on the side of the boat, which obviously was not ideal. But whether this will happen to you or not depends upon how you like to paddle. If you have a more low-angle style, it shouldn’t be a problem.

One thing that will effect fit will be your proportions, too. I’m 5’ 5" and 145 lbs but have long legs (particularly long thighs from hip to knee) and a very short upper body (I wear petite sizes in jackets but tall sizes in pants). So I find myself quite uncomfortable paddling anything deeper than 12" and wider than 22" because I bang my knuckles on the gunwales . But I also have to account for the long legs and the placement for knee bracing under the cockpit coaming.

Only sharing this to point out how individually specific it is to optimally fit a kayak. You don’t mention your prior experience paddling so it may be difficult to tell what “fit” means when you try it out, especially if you are buying it from an individual, not an outfitter (who could work with you to check fit.)

But you got some good advice on taking a chance if it is a good deal since resale is typically good for used kayaks. I have typically gotten 60% to over 100% of the original price I paid for used boats whenever I sold them.

The discussion about banging hands on cockpit rim did not seem to mention using a cushion, I found one on Amazon that is very comfortable, almost 2" thick, and keeps my knuckles much more scar free. I wondered if it would reduce stability, I guess my Loon is wide enough, it has not been a problem.

I’m pretty sure he means he’s sitting on a 2" thick cushion to raise himself up, which would certainly influence stability…

Oops. Though it is a rec boat? Maybe not a lot