Kayaks for TALL Folks

-- Last Updated: Feb-27-05 2:31 PM EST --

I am intersted in hearing from tall folks that have 35+ inseams and paddle touring/sea kayaks on what boats they use. I have searched the archives for Tall/Big Boy boats and have some ideas, but most of the posts mostly have heavier folks than myself with less inseam. I am basically 200 lb, 6' 6' with a 36" inseam.

Nearly all of the boats, except for two, that I have sat in are too short for me in the leg room. All of the boats that I have looked at have the foot braces too short and the forward bulkhead to far aft.

I am only interested in composite boats with forward and back hatches.

The two leading contenders are the Impex Assateague and the WS Tempest 180.



Tempest 180
I’m not as tall as you - 6’0" and a 32" inseam - but I think you’re on the right track with the WS Tempest 180. I just bought one and can tell you that there’s plenty of room left on the rails to move the footpegs forward. Also, at 14" of depth you’ve got a lot of deck height to accomodate your legs.

I also sat in the Assateague - another great boat - but it didn’t fit me as well. Since my issue is girth, not height, it might fit you fine. You’ll just have to spend some time sitting in them to find the one that fits you best.

At long last
there is someone out there with my problems. 6’5" 36" inseam size 13 shoe. OK, so… I paddle a Pygmy Coho, Old Town Castine and Dagger Specter. When I got the Castine I moved the seat back about 2 inches and I think that the pegs still have room forward, but not much. I have to keep the pegs on the Castine and Coho a little forward so the angle at the ankle is a little greater than 90 degrees. My toes are not pointed forward like a dancers though. I must be careful what types of paddle shoes I wear and sandals will never work. The thinner shoes work just fine, like Tevas and I have the NRS Paddle shoe that zips above the ankle and do not have any trouble. The thicker/stiffer soles on some shoes will not work. The Coho was easy for me because I just installed the pegs a little farther forward. The Dagger has plenty of room with its high deck. I didn’t have to change any factory settings on the pegs in that boat. The same for any of the Carolina’s. I have been in several of the Necky touring boats without being uncomfortable. I think that you will find most Current Design boats are quite roomy. Wilderness System too. Hydra’s will be tight and may not work at all if the thigh braces are in.

I hope that some of this helps.


tall kayaks
Since the two boats you mentioned have skegs I assume you want to avoid boats with rudders, so cross off boats like the Seda Glider, CD Expedition or Extreme HV.

One thing to remember is the you can move the bulkhead away from you on a composite boat, so a boat the dosen’t fit you can be made to fit you. I did this with my VCP Argonaut

Bracing off the bulkhead makes my large feetmuch happier than bracing off of foot pegs. btw. 36: inseam size 14 feet.Here’s some boats you can check out

VCP Argonaut

NDK Greenlander

NDK Explorer

Impex Assateague

Nigel Foster Legend

Nigel Foster Shadow

Kajak Sport Viviane

P&H Quest

P&H Sirius HF or L

maybe a P&H Bahiaya (SP?)

NDK Explorer, VCP Aquanaut
My husband has the latter, I have the low volume version of the former (too low volume but the lengths etc are all the same as the full size). We know from our own purchase of these that the bulkheads should be able to set far enough out for you, especially if you decide to brace off of it. (We both love that over the inevitable cramps we’d get from the darned pedals.) We had to have them moved in, Jim less than me since he is over 6’.

Wilderness Systems will also custom-place the bulkhead.

As above - you should have a lot of options. While your height is the same as many who go for a high volume version of a boat, your weight isn’t. So most of what you need is a manufacturer who is willing to place the bulkhead for your needs and maybe a not too short deck height. You didn’t mention your foot size - if it goes with your height you may feel a little tight in something like the Silhouette.


Here is the web site you are looking for

Wes Boyd’s Kayak Place. Boats, etc for the big guy and gal …



You may be surprised…
…at the boats you can actually fit in. I have a 36" inseam, but I’m 6" shorter and 30 pounds lighter than you are. I have size 11 feet. The boats I’ve owned are:

Walden Passage

VCP Nordkapp HM

Nigel Foster Silhouette

Betsie Bay Recluse

VCP Pintail

Bestsie Bay Aral

VCP Anas Acuta

Three skin-on-frame boats I’ve built

Although all of these are medium to low volume boats, I fit in them just fine.

I’ve also paddled many other boat that I fit in well such as:

Boreal Ellesmere

Dagger Meridian

CD Caribou, Gulfstream and Slipstream

VCP Skerray and Avocet

NDK Romany, Explorer and Greenlander

Nigel Foster Legend

and others I can’t recall at the moment.

Since you’re apparently pretty slim for your height, I would expect you could fit in the same boats, depending on what your shoe size is. That’s probably more likely to limit your choices than your inseam is.

Bulkhead placement
Forward bulkhead placement on Valley touring boats is 37".

My friend’s Chtatham 18’s forward bulkead is way forward.

Thanks All For Replies

– Last Updated: Feb-27-05 8:09 PM EST –

More Info based on your suggestions.

I sat in a few boats yesterday that some of you mentioned. Based on what worked and what didn't I have to rule out any boat that has a cockpit width dimension of anything less than 16.5". I can get into a 16" wide cockpit, but it is tight. Getting out requires a little finagling and could be problamtic for a water egress. So the NDK boats (Explore, Romany, etc) are out as are the Seawrd, Impex Currituck, and most Necky boats. Cockpits less than 30" long are tough also. I have Size 12.5 shoes

I sat in the P&H quest/capella, but the seat was killing my hiney within 10 seconds of sitting in it. I know that you can change seats, but other mods were necessary also to make it work.

WS Tempest 180 was very nice and comfy and is definitley a top contender. A response to an email to them early last week impied that moving the foot braces/bulkhead was not common for them, so the information on them moving the bulkhead/footbraces is different than what I was told. I will need to recheck.

The Assateague (Impex) also keeps coming to the top of candidates because they told me that they will move the forward bulkhead and footbrace track anywhere that I want it. I haven't sat in a CD Caribou or Gulfstream yet, but they are next.

What is nice about looking now is that there is a lot of frozen water around Boston so I can get the fit thing done and then paddle the few top contenders when the artic layer melts.

Thanks again.


Dude I am 6’3" and found the tempest a TIGHT fit, all the padding and the seat makes for a smaller cockpit then advertised. Even with the padding removed. I have a qcc 700 that fits me great. Granted It would be even better if the cockpit was about an Inch or two longer. I Can’t lift one leg out to exit or enter the boat. but that a minor problem.

Daddy long legs
If you can sit in one check out the Hurricane Tracer. I sold my Skerry Xl for one and never looked back as the Trylon has proved to be tough and really light. The skeg cable needed some retro-fitting but my boat is a legit 46 lbs.

My second choice would be the Foster which built by Seaward is one of the best fit and finish boats I’ve seen.

With those two choices, you would have to move the foot tracks OR re-enforce the bulkhead and do away with the footbraces altogether like I did. Almost all kayaks will have the foot braces placed too low for guys with big feet putting too much torque on the knees and hips if you try to use them. There is a lot to be said for letting your feet find their own comfort angle in the boat. Despite hearing how it would affect the trim and screw up the handling we have moved many a seat forward and back an inch or two with zero adverse effects. So if all you need is another inch try the seat route-but for real comfort it’s bulkhead for me!

Tempest bulkhead placement
According to Steve (Flatpick) it is not uncommon for Wilderness Systems to ship Tempests without the forward bulkhead installed in order to allow for custom placement.

This came up on a thread last year concerning an incident at GOMSKS.

Kajaksport Artisan Millenium
I’m 6-2 with a 36" inseam. I have another 2" of adjustment left in the pedals. The cockpit is too small to allow my knees to be pulled up, if that is a consideration. Great all around boat IMO.

Swedge , your problem with cockpits
ain’t length , it’s width.

Hey Swedge… by width do you mean

– Last Updated: Feb-28-05 4:09 PM EST –

having the forward 1/3 or 1/2 of the cockpit wider for knee room or overall ?

Doh..... reading too fast...... String

i’m 6’5", 37" inseam with 14 feet
and paddle a formula cadence/impex ass and find it great, very comfortable. i brace off the bulkhead which i foam out a couple inches for the ideal position. its a great boat, if a little on the high volume side for some, but it plays very well with lots of rocker, maneuverability and stability. love it. you can read my review of this boat in the review section

you gotta get someone to install the bulkhead but they will ship w/o the b/h installed.

my glass guy charges a hunny to custom install.

the stock placement should work for you tho.


its length, my width fits fine, its the short length that does not allow me to lift one leg out at a time. but I do have rather big thighs. Bird leg folks like string might be able to pull a leg out.

I’m a Tall Gal
I created a spreadsheet of boats I have tried

cyclist’s thighs, a full bottom, size 10 feet, 6’0

I noticed no mention of anything from the Current Designs line. I have been paddling a Storm(plastic) this season-you may want to look at the Solstice(glass version of Storm)-they expanded the line significantly to higher volume models to accomodate a larger paddler.

I am surprised that you are having problems with the Necky line Necky Looksha IV is pretty good or check the Necky Elaho HV.

I’ve sat in the Seaward Chilco and found it to be very roomy.

Good luck

I’m also a tall gal …

– Last Updated: Mar-09-05 9:58 PM EST –

6'-0", 34" inseam, shoe size 11, but I'm also fairly slender (size 8).

I would love to see your spreadsheet, if you're willing to share it, as I'm planning on upgrading to a sea kayak this spring.

~ Arwen ~