Kayak for heavier rec paddlers?

Usually when I paddle in a sea kayak, it is barely wide enough for my hips.

Looking to buy an economy class kayak for recreational paddling on the lake in my back yard or perhaps some day on short BW trips.

I mostly canoe, but want to give kayaking a try for something new. Any suggestions on an entry level kayak with a wide cockpit/seat? Thought about a sit-on-top, but think I prefer a regular one in case I use it myself or for an extra person on a BW trip.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.


The OT Loon 14 I tried would surely
suit you. I have very wide-set hip bones, and I weigh 220.

BIG seats
we put rather BIG seats in our:

Pungo 140 (REC class)

Tsunami 125/145/175 (Touring class)

Tempest 180 (sea kayak)

we have ‘fit’ some rather large folks in all of these vessels.


Pungo, Pamlico, America
The first two from Wilderness Systems the last from Perception.

SOTs are nice too. You may wish to reconsider.

  • Big D

more details on your physical build would help narrow the field. In general here are some boats to consider:

Old Town Dirigo

Wilderness Systems Pungo

Wilderness Systems Pamilco

Any of the Liquid Logic rec boats such as the Sapphire or Tuxedo

All come in many lengths and length would dictate the weight limits of the boat.

Good luck…

Female, wide hips, short legs
snug fit cuts off circulation. But I have fit inside rental sea kayak and outrigger canoe, just barely. Weight in 200 range for now, and dropping slowly.

Don’t want to invest a whole lot until I know a) I’ll always like kayaking and b) what size I stabilize at after my 2007 get-in-shape efforts.

Thanks for the ideas!


another idea
is the Mad River Synergy. NOT a sit-on-top BUT a SOT style (big open cockpit). diff is you sit low in the boat as it has no self-draining scupper holes. quite nice, IMO.


anti-snug fit
You may want to take a longer look at SOTs. There is no “how to I get in-and-out” issue. Just swing your legs over the side and stand up.

My wife paddles the Liquid Logic Manta Ray 10 and is really happy with it.

Liquid Logic Manta Ray 14
a bit longer than the 10 (think speed and load capacity improvement over the LQL 10) but I’ve been impressed with the DEPTH of it…the higher sides mean a drier ride, lots of storage for gear.

Now if you are determined to do a sit in kayak, the Perception Carolina 14.5 is my choice…(yeah flatpick, I’m a believer!)

In addition to the above
Try a Perception Carolina. I think the longer model is a 14 footer these days.

Since no one else has mantioned it. Try before you buy. You should be able to find most of these boats in a rental someplace.

The carolina should be available for rental lots of places. It should also be available Used.


There’s also a LL Manta Ray 12.
Talked to a LL dealer last week, the Manta Ray 14 is going for $825 in my area.

WS Pungo 120 or 140
Great stable boats with large cockpits

EasyRider Seahawk HV or Eskimo HV.
I just brought home a 17’ Easy Rider Seahawk CRX HV (with sail and wet entry kit) for $1200-it’s like new and since I’ve paddled a 17’ eskimo a few times this will be perfect!

I’m 6’6 250.


I am 6’3" 240 and paddle a QCC-700, yeah the cockpit would be much nicer if it was a few inches longer. Point is, don’t settle for a barge because you are big… Yeah its not a rec boat. Rec boat wise try the tarpon 160 SOT The only TRUE Tarpon….

I am in your same boat…
as a large FEMALE paddler with wide hips. I started with a Current Designs Kestrel SOT. I am glad I did. It is lightweight and has some zip. I used it all of last year and was very pleased. I just bought an Eddyline Fathom as I wanted a boat with a cockpit also. I found that when boats were advertised for large paddlers, they tend to mean large men who still have skinny hips and there weight is spread out due to being taller. I was discouraged in my hunt for a good boat that fit. I have a friend with a similar build who is very pleased with her Hurricane Expedition. My two boats were both more expensive as they were new models and not available used. I paid more that way, but got boats that fit and work real well for me. As I lose weight, hey will continue to fit fine and both are such that I can paddle the as a beginner and will meet my needs as I improve my skills. I have other women lining up to purchase my SOT if I ever decide to sell it and I could get near new price. The Fathom is a dream come true. It has a smaller cockpit opening, but with high volume I fit in just fine and the boat is only 22 inches wide. I agree with the previous person who said not to settle for a barge. I wish you well in your search.

Same Boat
I mean, also a hippy chick. he he he

My first yak was a Perception America. Test paddled the Pungo and the Loon 138 and a few other rec boats. Sat in the America and with the first few strokes I knew it was my boat. I had trouble getting the Loon to turn- it felt like a barge. I was able to easily maneuver the America with a sweep stroke, and it tracked just fine for me. Camped with it too!

Now I’m on to the QCC 500, but wouldn’t sell the America. It’s awesome for relaxing floats, fishing, sunning, and I can let the nieces & nephews paddle it.

When I bought it, TexasLady told me that being a hippy chick wasn’t a bad thing. It’s just extra “stern floatation,” and that people would be jealous. lol