I’m heading into my 5th paddling season, have my Level 1, currently paddle a Dagger Stratos 14.5L.
I’m 6’1”, 225-230, size 12 feet.
Love the Stratos, probably will never get rid of it, but looking for more speed, and a little more space for camping gear for a weekend trip here and there.
From what I’ve read, I think I’d really like the WS Zephyr 160… stable, a little quicker, still agile, longer water line but decent rocker. They stopped making them in 2016-17, been searching for months, haven’t found one used yet.
There’s also the Tempest 170, but reviews put me on the high end of “fit”.
I’m not stuck on WS at all, but am looking for a Poly, 16-17 ft sea kayak with a day hatch and skeg.
The Current Design Sirocco sounds like a kayak which Derek Hutchinson designed for you. Really nice plastic kayak for your size frame and feet. And, I see them semi-regularly for sale used east of the MS River at reasonable prices (seldom check W of the MS).
You would probably fit the Tempest 170, however my experience was that it paddles best only when fully loaded. The Zephyr was a great paddle when I tried it, but it was a tight fit for me at 6’1", 200, & size 11.
Congrats on getting your L1 and for deciding to keep your Stratos. Like you, my Stratos is one of the two forever kayaks I own.
I had a WS Zephyr 160 for several years. I liked it, but compared to the P&H Cetus I now have, I would not call it stable. Since you specify stable, a little quicker, maneuverable, and room for camping gear, a boat in plastic that comes to my mind is the P&H Scorpio. While I have not tried one, it is modeled after the Cetus, and comes in three sizes. But it is a bit longer than the Zephyr, which could give you a bit more room for gear, or be a deal breaker, depending upon your situation.
While my first instinct is to recommend the Scorpio HV (as per @GregofDelaware rec.) I know a local paddler looking to rehome his Necky Eskia. Older boat but one of the classic big guy fits. Drop me a line for more details and I’ll contact the owner. He just came in yesterday with this news as he wants to get a fishing kayak.
Point 65 Whiskey 16 Rocker. Current Designs Sirocco.
The Sirocco has the more traditional feel of the two. It’s a bit more efficient than the Whiskey 16 Rocker. It has high secondary stability that makes it comfortable to edge deeply, and it’s fun to maneuver on edge.
The Whiskey 16 Rocker has Nigel Foster’s favored arched bottom between hard chines, with no defined keel line down the center. I think I can maneuver it every bit as quickly as a Stratos 14.5, but it’s a faster kayak than the Stratos. It’s playful and maneuverable in waves.
I’m 6’ 1/2", size 11 feet. I think you might enjoy either one.