I’m looking for a kayak for my husband after having a few different ones. He had a Vibe Seaghost 130 which seemed to work pretty good for him except for it was just too heavy too load. We sold it and bought a Perception Pescador 12’ which was great until the bottom busted out in 2 places.
He is 6’ 1" and weighs 275 lbs. and we do flat water creeks, slow moving rivers and moving water and rapids upto class 2(?) rapids (i.e. Lower Mountain Fork River, OK and Frio River, TX). We do a lot of bumping and scraping on rocks.
The Perception didn’t hold up and now we are looking for something else.
We have considered Seaghost in 11’ or the Vibe Yellowfin 12’ or even the Sea Eagle 393rl. The inflatable seems pretty good but are concerned about comfort with the low seat and no scupper plugs so I guess that wouldn’t work in the rapids we do. My son has an 11.6’ Brookyln Kayak and my husband likes it pretty well but the section where your legs go is too crowded due to the center console.
Any recommendations for a kayak for a heavy, big man that is tough enough to withstand some rapids and rocks and isn’t too heavy to load (65 lbs or less ideally)?
SOTs are great for whitewater as they’re self-bailing, but the Seaghost and the Yellowfin both have frame seats which put your center of gravity higher and might make it unstable in ww.
Big people need longer boats, so I suggest looking at 14’ models. I think a WS Tarpon 140 might check all your boxes. It is on the heavy side, but I expect that’s because they make the hull a tiny bit thicker (for those rocks). Those are also reputed to have the best seat in the industry.
I don’t know the boats in question all that well, so can;t give specific advice.
But some general advice:
- in general, a heavier boat is heavier due to having more material (more plastic) than a lighter boat. A boat with more plastic will be more rugged/less likely to break.
- inflatables perform differently than hard shell kayaks. They are often slower and more impacted by winds. The ones that have a frame to help hold the shape generally do better than those without, but the difference in performance likely still will be noticeable.
Many go in a different direction than getting a lighter boat -get methods to make the transport and loading easier. A wheeled dolly to transport on land, methods/equipment that helps with the boat loading, etc.
I appreciate the responses thus far. As for making the kayak easier to load we frequently go to a local creek to do whitewater and we have to haul the boats up a rocky steep incline for many feet to load them. Not sure of a way to do that other than to carry them.
As for the 14’ model mentioned (which I will check on) my husband disliked having 13’ and really liked the handling of the 12’ much better (easier to turn, fits in the back of the pickup better). The Seaghost 13’ was harder to navigate in the ww than his 12’ Pescador. The 12’ turned easier. The seat does move down to a lower position in both the Seaghost 11’ and 13’ but I don’t know if it is as low as other kayaks.
We are concerned about inflatables being slow/wind affected . We thought about having 2 kayaks, 1 for ww and 1 for other times but even our whitewater trips have long stretches with little or no flow (and wind sometimes).
Another point that I might mention is that we seem to do a lot of rapids with low water conditions were there are a lot of rocks and gravel and occasional dragging.
I don’t know the specific boats currently in this group, but I am wondering about a creeker. Those are WW boats designed to handle pretty big WW, but more importantly like most dedicated WW boats they have thicker and more hardy plastic than otherwise intended boats.
The don’t track as straight as a typical SOT but they are much better than other WW boats. You would not necessarily destroy upper body parts by taking them a decent distance on flat water especially if there was a minor current.
Anyone on this board know this group of boats and have an opinion?
Dragging is the worst thing you can do to a boat, in or out of the water. Also repeated scrapping on river bottoms is not heathy for any kayak. Try to avoid/minimize that and most plastic kayaks will last for many years.
You have conflicting requirements. High user weight suggests a longer boat which is heavier and less manuverable. Stronger durable hull means more thicker plastic which will be heavier.
Selecting the right kayak for oneself is all about setting your priorities and recognizing the tradeoffs with different boats.