Large Paddler Boat Search

I’m 6’3", 250 lbs, 12 shoe, 35" inseam. I’ve been paddling various boats and looking for more to try before making the final decision. One other note, I also have a fused left ankle, so I need a deck height that will allow my foot to be at 90 degrees (the only position possible). I can’t point the toe.

I’ve been away from the sport for about 12 years and I’m ready for a comeback. Can you help me narrow it down? I’m only considering fiberglass boats and skeg boats as rudder pegs won’t work for me.

I paddled a Tempest 180 Pro today for about 2 hours and that was the best so far to date. Deck height was great… maybe a little too high as I didn’t have anything to brace my feet on. Footpegs in any boat seem out of the question – they never go out long enough. But, with some foam on the bulkhead, I think it would be perfect. Overall, I was very impressed. Very comfortable for my long legs and overall size. And, it paddled so nicely. Does anyone out there close to my size paddle a Tempest 170 they would be willing to comment on? Word from my local shop is that the deck height might not work out for my needs.

I’m also considering an NDK Explorer, though I haven’t paddled one yet. I suppose the HV Explorer would be the obvious choice. Would I even consider the standard volume Explorer?

frayed knot
the T-180 sounds like a fit. The 170 has a touch less foot room and the EXplorers even less.

The Impex Assateauge fits between the T-170 and T-180.

sounds like the fused ankle will be your limiting issue.

good luck


Consider a QCC 700x
When you order one, they ask your inseam size and position the foot pegs appropriately. You can have it with a skeg (which I have) and you can pad out the cockpit to suit your situation. There is no doubt that the boat works for your weight and height and can be made to accommodate your phycical restrictions.

a number of good options
as you demo others, i suspect the T180 will stay high on the list. great all around kayak for bigger guys. i’ve loved them when i’ve demo them.

Valley Aquanaut HV

CD Gulfstream

P&H Capella 173

Impex Ass.

i have the Ass. and it’s an awesome boat. all the boats on this list are remarkably maneuverable and all good boats, just some different flavours in there. if you think you will be tripping with yours you’ll want to consider what hatch systems you like as well. i’m pretty stuck on having 2 Valley ovals for a camping boat myself…

Valley Nordkapp Jubilee
Have to find one on the used market.

Tough decision
I’m slightly taller and a few pounds lighter than you and I paddle the Impex Assateague. While I was demoing boats I paddled a Tempest 170 and found it just a bit small. Would have done in a pinch, but the 180 with some padding would have fit better. Anyway I found a deal on a used Assateague and that solidified the decision. I think both are nice boats. The foot pegs in the Assateague work just fine all the way at the end of the rails.

I can’t pronounce it, but it sounds like a great boat. I’ve heard positive feedback from several folks here and out in the real world. I’m in the Twin Cities area… haven’t found any dealers here except duluth for the Impex line. Where does a person look for good used specialty models?

Eddyline Nighthawk 17.5
I like mine alot. The Fathom is also a nice boat but might not give you the room. I have a review on the Nighthawk 17.5 in the product reviews section. The Eddyline is not glass, but I would not rule out the Carbonlite 2000 as it has several advantages over glass, and disadvantages too. A nice boat for a bigger paddler.

ass-uh- teak
just like it’s spelled.



There is an Assateague at Hoigaards in St Louis Park. Ask for DOC, it’s in the back. Happy paddling.


Two other options…
Island Expedition. The regular version, not the LV, has a lot of volume in the cockpit and does well with large feet.

Second consideration, the Point 65N X-Ray, or even the Sea Rover (which is a wider boat).

  • Tom

These may fit
Nigel Foster Shadow

Capella 173

I’m 6’1" 260lbs and I fit fine in both of those. I don’t have the ankle issues though, but my toes definitely don’t touch the deck, so you might want to check them out.

I also fit in a Chatham 18, but only if the adjustable thigh braces are removed – that only takes about 10 seconds.


Long Inseam and fused ankle
Could be a problem for entry and exit. So I would look for a boat with a long keyhole cockpit that has room to raise your knees up and out while sitting. The Capella 173 should allow this, and definitely has enough leg and foot room. I don’t think my Shadow would do - I barely make it with a 31" inseam - but have tons of clearance on a Capella 173. I think the WS Tempest 180 would work, and the Impex could be close.

Anyhow, I think getting in and out, off a dock, rescue etc, with the fused ankle would suggest a large cockpit.

Explorer HV
The HV explorer from NDK may be great.

You may find the Valley Nordcapp HV a bit tippy, the LV I was in was superb but high performance.

All the other boats mentioned ( that I have paddled ) are excellent.

NDK has some quality issues that are worth a look before shelling out a lot of money quickly, Once on the water the weight, funny lay up and other anomalous complaints dissolve.

The Valley boats have a better lay up.

Good luck


Seda VikingMax
Rudder, not a skeg, but has a great big cockpit for larger guys like us. Well I was 250 pounds when I demo’d it. I loved the huge cockpit, loved it. I’m, 6-4, 36", and size 12 myself.

I think you can get it with out a rudder. I didn’t use the rudder the day I demo’d it, and didn’t have any issues.


QCC 500X A better fit.
For a paddler of your size and for more in terms of deck height, the QCC 500X might be a better fit. I’ve put a number of paddlers your size and larger in the 500X – with very good results.

Perhaps best Not
to abreviate Impex Assteuage…

Large Paddler
Look at Current Designs. They make boats for larger paddlers. Vaughn Fulton

Boat for large paddler
I’m at 6’3" and 240lb, and consider that kind of on the larger side.

From “beginner” to “middle” to “advanced”, I’d rank boats:

Of course, any boat must feel right for you, but here are some ideas:


Necky Pinta, a high volume boat with high stability that is still a

“real kayak”. Big cockpit, probably a good all round boat.

The CD Titan.


CD Extreme - fast, excellent all round boat. I could enter or exit

fairly well even in shore chop.


Nelo FW2000 - I can fit in this boat comfortably, but it is

definitely a flat water boat only. (1/2 ft or less chop!).

Why not think of a surfski like the V10, Mako 6, or the like?

They are fast, can handle any conditions out there, and offer safety advantages over a decked boat. They are tippy, and finicky, but are very fast.

Hope some of these ideas are helpful,