Looking for crossover kayak

I recently lost over 90 pounds after surgery and have been bitten by the kayaking bug. Especially now that I can squeeze my shrinking backside into one. I was 365, I am now 275, and doctors expect my final weight to be around 200-220. I am 6’ tall and live in New Hampshire where I have been mostly doing day trips on lakes and smaller rivers including coastal Merrimack river. I am looking for a crossover that can handle general paddling. I’ve tried several yaks from Necky and Wilderness and decided on a crossover as I didnt like an enormous cockpit like that on the Necky Rip, W Pungo120, or OT Camden 120. Right now I am leaning towards a Dagger Axis 12 or 10.5 and the LL Remix Xp10. I was wondering if anyone with more experience has any comments on these choices or if there is something else I missed? I tried a SOT (necky vector 13) and hated it so I m not interested in a SOT. thanks

Often times when a company tries to make something that does a lot of different things they end up with something that does a lot of different things not so well. The boats you mentioned will be frustrating in flat water if you want to cover any distance. If you put in at the same locations you will quickly get board paddling around in a couple mile circle. I don’t know what your whitewater is like where you are but if you progress in that area you will quickly outgrow these boats and want something a little snappier. You can get two of these in used boats for the price of a new one of what you are thinking and will enjoy it much more I believe.

So, I say look for a couple used boats that have more specific purposes. There are several good boats for larger people that you can find if you are patient.

LL Remix XP10
is a very nice boat. A friend of mine has one.

Reminds me a lot of the old Overflow X hull as a WW boat, yet the skeg is a workable design that makes paddling it on flatwater easy, really works to keep it tracking straight and pretty bombproof.

LL’s outfitting is tops. The seat is like sitting in a barcalounger in a boat. The storage space is plentiful, and although no hatch in such a boat where it is used in WW is truly waterproof, it works pretty well.

If you want a crossover for doing Class II/III WW more often with occasional flatwater or estuary type trips, it’s a great option. If you want to do longer flatwater trips more often and only occasionally Class I/II WW, it is still a good option but there may be other choices that offer better track and glide on the straight stuff for long distance.

second hand report
Crossovers are not my personal cup of tea (I prefer to have multiple kayaks each tuned to a specific function) but I have a friend who is around your target size to whom I recommended the Axis 12 and he absolutely loves it – I don’t think he has been home a single weekend since he got the boat in early Spring but has been exploring every fast water stream he can find. His preference is for rivers with Class 1 and 2, even 3, rapids and he reports the boat is very comfortable and maneuverable for those conditions. He also reports being able to keep up with his fellow paddlers in a variety of boats on group flatwater trips.

While I tend to agree with other comments that you might eventually become frustrated with the performance limitations of one of these compromise boats, if you can find a good deal on a used one it could be an excellent entry level fitness boat for your present needs. I understand the Remix is very similar so I doubt you could do wrong by choosing either. I am constantly scanning the used boat market (to identify boats for friends who are looking for them) and the Remix and Axis models turn up fairly often. I found the used one for my friend for $600, a deal which included a good Werner paddle and an MTI PFD.

Try using the search function
There have been recent postings about this very question which are very thorough about your options and the trade offs.

crossover boats
I own a Pyranha Fusion S which is another crossover design. The Fusion comes is three sizes and they just released an an XL size.

With skeg down, this boat (and the others of its type) travels great on flat stretches… much more easily and efficiently than traditional ww boats. Until you try a ww boat, and then one of these, you won’t believe the difference.

It will stay up w. and pass a number of rec boats as well. And then w. skeg up be ready for any ww you care to tackle. Excellent ww boaters are taking the Fusions on Class IV.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center, a ww school of some renown, uses both Fusions and XPs as student boats.

And all boats are a compromise. You just pick one that’s shaded towards doing well within your preferences.

These crossovers - the XPs, the Fusions, the Jackson Rogue, the Dagger Axis, are ideal for rivers w. mixed flats and rapids. They will also do fine in small lakes too. The large stern bulkhead makes carrying a few things or a weekend’s worth of camping much easier. Not so easy w. a ww boat. And they are so much more turny and agile (and for me so much more fun) than the garden variety rec boat.

I paddle a seakayak, an old school Dagger Blast river runner, and a FusionS. I think I have a pretty good idea of how they handle compared to each other on flat and active stretches of rivers.

The crossovers are a great choice. Not the only choice, for sure, but sure not a mistake or weak compromise either.

Go and demo a few, see for yourself.

Just to say that those of us who learned
in “old school” ww kayaks never had trouble getting down the flats without skegs.

Experienced ww paddlers who try skegs in crossover boats seem to find them worthwhile, but it isn’t right to broadcast the notion that ww kayaks must be incapable on the flats between rapids.

Notice that all the crossover kayaks are proportioned and shaped like “old school” ww kayaks. Their skegs aren’t necessary, they’re more like icing on the cake.

not really very similar
the XP10 is born of real whitewater heritage, the Remix river-runner line, capable of serious whitewater paddling. it has a semi-planing hull with rockered ends and most of the outfitting you would expect in a full-on whitewater boat. the Axis on the other hand, is a lively rec boat with a shallow-V and extended keel (which could be an hindrance on rocky runs) and lacks real thigh hooks or a whitewater-style pillar.

I suspect the OP could be happy in the Axis 12, but for the mixed types of paddling he described, might also want to consider bigger and more capable kayaks such as the Tsunami 145.

I’m your size and have a crossover.
It’s a Prijon Cruiser. It has a Teardrop cockpit that has a hip as well. If you have a good lean the boat is manuverable. Weak hull, heavy and the hatches leak badly. Otherwise, no problems.

Crossovers have a place

– Last Updated: Jul-14-12 1:23 PM EST –

Based on your location I wouldn't get a SOT either - your season would be way too short.

I live in area where there are lots of places to paddle but it is a mixture of small narrow twisting streams -- lots of class 1 with some 2 and 3 mixed in as well as old canals -- and lakes that could be paddled completely in a long boat in a few hours. In this type of environment the shorter boats (up to 14') seem to be ideal.

From driving around Mass it seems very similar to Pennsylvania, where I live.

A typical trip around here involves long periods of flat slow moving water, with the occasional riffles, beaver dam, downed trees to avoid, as well as numerous areas where you must portage a kayak around a low head dam or it gets too shallow that you need to walk a bit. Frequently, I need to squat and drop into the kayak while in water that is moving. Having a smaller boat that is easy to portage is helpful. Good tough plastic is mandatory as the boat gets scratched bad on any trip. The 10-12 range of the crossover, plus the skeg makes the flat water sections much more enjoyable. The bigger cockpit, but not Pungo sized, helps with cowboying in during the frequent reentries as well as giving good body contact for maneuvering in the trickier areas.

The places to kayak around here are prefect for a crossover boat. For some of the smaller streams getting even a 14' down them is going to be a chore. For me it is a bit of drive to for real white water or to go down to the shore. I would rather spend the time on the water then in the car, so my Axis 12 is probably always going to see more time in the water, even if I had a touring and WW boat.

Another thing to consider is that for stocky, wide, muscular, and/or fat guys we are very limited in our choices. About 95% of touring kayaks are out. The deck height is too low for our thighs. The cockpits are too narrow. It seems as far as most non-rec kayaks are designed, the boats designed for bigger people cap around a paddler around 200lbs if you follow the 2/3 of the posted capacity rule of thumb. For example, the Perception Carolina 14 has a great cockpit (not many close to this size) but a posted capacity of 300lbs so about 200 lbs is ideal. The WS Tsunami 145 posts a 350lbs max (2/3rds is 233 lbs) but is a pretty tight fitting boat for getting in and out of on the river. The few kayaks that can claim they can handle a lot of weight frequently have narrow cockpits such as the CD Whistler (400lbs, 16.5") or CD Vision 150 roto (375lbs, 17.25"). Then there are the Delta 14.5 Expedition and Hurricane Expedition 140 which seem very large guy friendly but are too damn pretty and shinny to be abused on a rocky river or the extremely rocky lakes shores we have around here.

I own the Axis 12 and very happy with it. Great tracker with skeg down, comfortable seat which lifts in the front (stops numb butt and leg pain on long trips), I have always found it fast enough on flat water and slow moving water, and very maneuverable with skeg up. It does seem that the Axis is more designed for flat water or slow water then the other crossover boats which have a lot more rocker. If you think are going to be doing a lot more flat water and slow water, then you may want to consider the Axis 12 for its extra length and hull design. A lot more class 1 and 2 and limited flat water then probably the other crossovers maybe better, but the Axis seems fine to me in this area as well.

I have looked at the XP10. It is very comfortable and roomy, seems well made, and very nice looking kayak. For me the longer hull and better flatwater of the Axis won me over. You can add optional thigh braces and hip pads from Harmony which brings the Axis outfitting to the XP10 level -- it does add another $120 to the price.

Another thing you should consider is the weight capacity. The Axis 12 is listed as 350lbs while the XP10 is 300lbs. You are not going to find a small SINK that is going to be perfect for your current weight. I have loaded my Axis 12 to probably around 300-310 lbs and it still performs fine. I have no idea how the XP10 is going to perform for you as you get close to the listed max. It is doubtful it will sink but you are probably going to be low in the water. I used to take my old Blackwater 10.5 out at 300 lbs and it worked well enough. I will say that I was much happier paddling the Axis 12 as the boat just fits me better. I am 5'8", 275lbs, size 12 shoe -- my goal weight based on body fat and muscle analysis is about 210 lbs.

What is old school?
I have only been kayaking for 8 years, what is considered old school?

One worth looking at
Check out a Dagger Alchemy 14.0

Second vote for a Dagger Alchemy
It appears you are a beginning paddler. With that in mind I’d rather take a Dagger Alchemy (Large size for me please) down class 2 rapids than take any of the crossover boats you have mentioned to a lake or a lazy river or the ocean surf or a bay or a sound or anything else.

The Dagger Alchemy handles all of these other waters well and is serviceable in mild white water.

The crossovers are only better than the Dagger in class 2 or better white water. For all other paddling they are pigs. If white water is your only interest, then a true white water boat would be better. Don’t forget to get a helmet too! Otherwise look for an all around paddling boat, because the crossovers just don’t…crossover.

10 feet or longer, not flat bottomed,
soft chines, mostly designed and marketed before '95.

It’s a cluster concept. There isn’t a single criterion, and certain criteria may not apply in specific instances. Some old school designs were still on the market in the early 2000s.

Some people relate it to “displacement” (old school) versus “planing” hulls, but that distinction doesn’t work. They’re all displacement hulls, but some plane better than others.

Don’t know what “crossover” means …
… to different people.

I have a Prijon Yukon Expedition that I bought for a boat that could handle flatwater and hard whitewater with reasonable aplomb, and which also can carry a reasonable amount of gear. It meets those requirements, none perfectly but all adequately.

I ended up putting a rudder on it, as its rocker demands very tiring attention to vertical stroke technique for extended flatwater forward stroking. The rudder helps hold a line when you tire.

My wife and I were out paddling today
She was in the Jackson Rogue (a WW oriented crossover) and I was in my Dragorossi Mad Boy (a mild creaker, river runner), a true WW boat. We traded back and forth on a lake with mild wind chop and some bigger motorboat chop. The difference is dramatic. The Rogue tracked well even without the skeg and was on rails with the skeg. It had strong initial stability to the point of being hard to edge. And while it turned well it did not match my Mad Boy. So while the Rogue can certainly run WW it cannot match a true WW boat. And of the big 4 (Jackson Rogue, Pyranha Fusion, Liquid Logic Remix XP, and Dagger Approach) the Rogue and Fusion are more focused on WW and the others on flatwater. I have paddled all 4 and my experience is consistent with this characterization. So if you really want a crossover boat, and I am not sure that is a good decision, I would go for the Liquid Logic or Dagger given your description of uses. Or you can give up the idea of a crossover and take the advice above about the Dagger Axis (which is not really a crossover boat). I recommend the latter.

Combi359 @ 11’ 9" or Prijon Yukon Expedition @ 14’ 5" Read the write-ups and reviews

Dagger Alchemy
that is interesting… I’ve paddled an Alchemy S a few times… outfitting is great. But I found it a “pig” on flat water compared to other 14 foot kayaks, the price paid for extra stability on flat water. It really is kind of a waste of the Dagger’s potential to paddle it on flat water…same w. the P&H Delphin.

It has big volume in the ends, so it really shines in dynamic water and waves… But on the flats, no, oink-oink lol

More stability is fine if that’s what a person needs to be comfortable in the water. It is after all recreation. Only keep in mind that after 5- 10 times out paddling the boat may feel too stable, w. the limitations that come w. that.

Old school
Old school designs aren’t inherently better. Ppl just like saying “old school” as a self justifying phrase.

I have one, I liked it for a season. But am not paddling it since I got the Fusion.

The Fusion - and other crossovers - shine on rivers that mix mild to mid rapids and long flat stretches -that’s why they are crossovers. They don’t need to be nearly as long as the Alchemies and Prijons, etc (both fine boats) which makes them much more versatile on tighter twistier rivers.

It does both very well and it totes stuff better than any ww boat, while being more agile than the typical rec boat. The Fusion outfitting (Connect 30) is a far better combo of performance and support than the old school boats. That’s why Pyranha is using Connect30 on the Karnali, Mulan and other of its newest, most popular designs.

As for strokes, I can use a moderately high angle stroke instead, paddle as quickly as I want - the boat is not a pig - and spare my shoulders, too, when compared w. a pure ww stroke. That stroke has its sporadic uses but I like not being dependent on it to go straight if there is an easier way. The skeg is that easier way. I don’t need it all the time, but I’m happy to have it some of the time. W. a ww boat I have it none of the time.

I don’t want a dedicated ww boat for paddling rivers in MI. Makes no sense given the lack of significant rapids and topographical descents. Ppl w. similar style rivers ought to give the crossovers a good look.

You can only have one boat out there at a time, lol Try a crossover, you might find it beats having two boats that are good at either end of the spectrum but kinda drop out in the middle.

Happy pyrahna fusion owner here
I use it for fishing river trips on small twistier whitewaterier river trips in minnesota/wisconin, targeting trout and smallmouth bass. I use better tracking pungos on larger water like the St. Croix (in the market for a sea kayak now too.)

I like to fish and camp so it gives me the option of banging down good size rapids and then fishing below them. Theres room enough to stow backpacking size overnite gear in the back hatch, and a small fishing pack and soft beer cooler between my legs. Fishing rod stashes perfectly on the paddle keeper at my right hand.