Kayak sizing

Several manufactures are producing 3 sizes of river-running kayaks…small, up to 200 lb paddlers, and 200+ lb paddlers. I am right at 200lb, so should I get the larger boat or the medium-sized boat? What would I be sacrificing if I go for the larger boat (and more volume)?

Specifically I’m looking at Perception’s Blaze 7.1 or 7.3, and Pyrhana’s S8 225 or 235…

go with the larger
that weight limit is meant to include you, all your gear, and lunch. Also, if you are super close to the weight limit you will sink the boat. The boats you have listed are planing hulle with hard chines, and sinking the boat will present more of it to the water and will result in much bracing and squirting. Also, you more than likely will be more comfortable.

If you were wanting a boat to throw down in, you may want to consider the smaller size since you would be reducing the volume you would be pushing around.

i would love to
try the Blaze… Never seen one around these parts.

Choosing a boat
Many manufacturers now days give you three weight ranges – one for river running, one for river playing, and one for playboating. If you intend to just travel down the river like a raft and eddy out occasionally if you need to, then get the bigger boat. If you intend to do park and play (not likely with the boats you are interested in) get the smaller boat. If you intend to do some surfing along the way get the bigger boat if you aren’t very interested in honing your whitewater skills and moving on to a more radical boat, or get the smaller boat if you see this as a step in learning harder skills.

I have learned a lesson
or two about weight ratings and kayak selection.

For one thing, I think most manufacturer recommendations are more geared to their marketing demographics than reality. Come on… Brand X will comfortably fit paddlers from 110 lbs all the way up to 250 lbs!!!

Let’s get real here. My body weight is 165 but how much do I weigh when dressed for 35 F waters? Or when dressed for 75 F waters?

What is the weight of my regular cargo, e.g., first aid gear, emergency clothing, survival pack, radios, water, etc?

When I bought my first touring/sea/expedition or whatever tripping kayaks are called, I wanted something that would take me on my FANTASY trips and failed to take into consideration the reality of the paddles that encompass 95% of my boating. And that would be day trips and single over-nighters. Hence, I ended up with boats with too much volume. They behaved only when heavily laden. When I went out on my day paddles, I fought the wind and currents needlessly.

The lower volume touring boats were much more FUN to paddle on a day-to-day basis.

My choice is now a boat that favours the smaller paddler. I prefer to have my body weight, combined with that of my personal attire, to be in the upper limit of the boat as opposed to the lower limit. I may be a bit short on space when doing a 10 day trip but I can always rent a boat for that venture, especially since a journey like that occurs only once a year at best.

Or, one can have two kayaks if finances allow.

I think the manufacturers are too vague and all encompassing in their recommendations and I also believe that many paddlers have not properly weighed themselves and their gear to make a wise selection. Additionally, we tend to buy a boat that addresses our fantasies instead of our realities.

Or maybe it’s just me!!