kayak for 4'11" 100lb paddler?

I currently am borrowing a friends Dagger Crossfire. However, I am 4’11" and about 100lbs. I dont seem to fit well into the Crossfire. I am interested in buying a new or used recreational kayak soon and was wondering if anyone had any advise on which makes and models might be best for a beginner and someone of my size.

small kayakers
I hear ya. Every fit is unique. I am 5’3" with a 33 inseam, 116 lbs. relatively long arms and legs. The Tampico 135S by Hurricane Aqua Sports fits me perfectly (even had an outfitter check the fit last Saturday during a class).

My footstops are on the fifth position down so there is room to bring it up for your height.

The Hurricane Aqua Sports website has a dropdown menu for dealers in each state. Try to find one with a demo. Not all dealers offer them as a demo because they are popular and they sell out just off the floor.

I found one dealer in all of Michigan with a demo Tampico S, happily about 20 miles from me.

If you are anywhere near the southern half of lower Michigan I can steer you to that dealer and another dealer with a fantastic new boat (not demo) price! I got mine barely two weeks ago :slight_smile:

I now know five other TampicoS owners (three are certified instructors in two states) who have made this their personal day touring boat of preference. Another woman I met with a 2005 model looked to be about midway between you and me in size and weight.

Happy Hunting! Also search the fine archives here under “small paddler” and you will see an array of great possibilities!

Years ago
and in a galaxy far away…

Oops - wrong response. Years ago at the ECCKF I met a small woman who had a Perception Sole’. While this is not a rec boat, you migh tfind some on sale used. It really appeared to be well-sized for the smaller paddler.



– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 3:43 PM EST –

The Perception Acadia Scout 10.0 or Carolina 12.0 might work for you. A used Wilderness Systems Piccolo might also work.

Check out the Episea …

I’m 5’3" @ 110 lbs. – It’s 14’x 20" wide – I love it.


Got mine from Marshall @ River Connection.

I been looking at that particular one. River Connection is in NY correct? I cant seem to find many dealers for this maker.

Yup … P-netter –

– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 5:17 PM EST –

Marshall around here runs the River Connection ... see if he's got any more in stock. This is the 'yak that I am teaching myself to roll.

Recommended to me by Sing and others as well -- I'm sure Marshall will pipe in here ...

Episea–maximum weight?
That episea looks like such a fun little boat. What’s the maximum weight for a person in that boat?

impex mystic

– Last Updated: Aug-31-06 7:30 AM EST –

or the simpler sea breeze at 14' is a lot better than most rec boats without being extreme, my daughter loved it and she's your size

You Fit Perfectly In Episea

– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 8:45 PM EST –

the other possibility is actually the perception umiak which is now the Carolina 12. You may also find the old Wilderness System Piccolo (it's that name?) will fit too. All these boats show up in the used market. Carolina 12 and Episea can be bought new. The WS boat is out of production. Any one of these on the used market can be had from $250-$400. If you want to squeeze more performance through better control, plan on buying after market thigh braces to give you better contact. You'll need it at your small size.

This probably doesn't matter given what you said you wanted but I think the Episea is the more "performance" oriented boat of the three. But, if you're doing lakes, ponds and steams, it really doesn't make much of a difference. You can learn and grow with any one of the above.


Something Like 130…
but it’s probably more than that. I’m about 140-145lbs. My SOF is 17’x18"x6" depth (back deck). The episea is 14’2"x20"x~7" (back deck). I think the volumes are pretty close.

I used to paddle my son’s umiak, 12’x21.5"x7" and that handled fine for me…

Of course, the heavier the paddler and the more novice in skill level, the more it will feel “tippy.”


It’s only 34 lbs too …
10 lbs lighter than my Manitou. Very easy to car top.

Shorty Kayak
My wife and daughter both got themselves Dagger Zydekos, and both are very happy with it.

It is very light, 34 pounds, and I belive that it would fit you rather well.

Isn’t the Crossfire a ww boat?
My memory is that thje Dagger Crossfire is a white water kayak. Somewhat old school. If that is the type of boat you are thinking of, you might try to track down a Piedra, also Dagger.

yes it is a ww boat. I am only borrowing it from a friend. I live on water that is more suited for touring, however.

Ditto on the Mystic
I’m your height and I love my Mystic! If you go to the Impex kayak site, you might find one used. You’ll be able to look up the stats and see a picture, if nothing else. Good Luck!

in that case try the Mystic

How do you all feel about the Manitou? I sat in one yesterday and it felt good, narrow enough for my small frame and all.

Too tall
I can’t say that I’ve spent time in the Manitous’ myself, but anecdoctally a woman closer to average height who paddled one locally moved out of it after just one season, if that. She took it into a rolling class and found that it was too deep around her and the cockpit was too big for her to be able to get purchase and do anything with it. OK until she wanted to do some skills work, then the boat had to go.

She is maybe an inch shorter than me - I’d say 5 ft 3 inches.

We have a 13’ Manitou that my 5’2" girlfriend uses - she loves it. The Manitou Sport is only 11’ but an inch or two wider. I think they’re great performers and value for the $$$ if you’re looking for a basic recreational boat. Plenty of Necky dealers (in the Northeast anyway)so you should be able to find one you can try out.