Outfitting Sea Kayak for smaller person

I just bought my first sea kayak second hand at a great price only problem is its pretty big. Im about 5ft 3. I love the stability of it and when Im out on the sea I feel this kayak is never going to let me down only problem is its too big for me I don’t think I will ever learn to roll or near in this one. Is there a way to outfit the kayak so that I could learn to roll but still get out of kayak if needed? Or do I need to bite the bullet sell and look again not much out there for smaller paddler

LENGTH:17’ 4", WIDTH:23.75" WEIGHT:68lbs

COCKPIT: 33" x 17.25"

What is the make/model of the boat?


if you are buying second hand. But the boats are out there. Yes, the looksha is WAY too BIG for you.


Another 5’3" paddler.

I think you would be much happier
with the small Surge, or a QCC 10-X

Jack L

Europe based
in Ireland will have a look for those boats but there havent heard of them before. Is there no way I can outfit this for now?

the only
reference I could see for a surge was a sit ob top which I have no interest in will keep looking tho. The Qcc X10 is 15ft would I not be spit into the first rock I encounter on a windy day

Brit Style Boats
plenty of those for smaller paddlers, e.g. romany, pintail, anas acuta, capella LV (low volume).

You can get pad like heck with minicell foam, but it will still not perform as well as a narrower, lower volume boat for you, especially if you are on a learning curve. It is a matter of you - a smaller paddler – trying to control a boat intended for a larger paddler with a load in the bulkheads (that’s what the looksha is intended for).

When your skills/techniques get better, you can edge and roll bigger boats. But this sounds like something in the future for you. In the meantime, the bigger boat will be dampening your learning curve.


Rockpool & Tiderace
are also UK names. When I looked up Rockpool I spotted a dealer in Ireland (Seapaddling.com) that sells Wilderness Tsunami. There are a couple in that line that fit smaller paddlers I think. There are others on the board here that can speak better to those than I can.

If you have time & space, you can also consider building. Stitch & glue kits go together pretty quickly & aren’t too hard to do.

l am your size

– Last Updated: Jul-21-15 11:44 PM EST –

Maybe a bit heavier but within half an inch on height. Answer to your question..
Yes theoretically you could learn to roll in this boat. After a long time and a lot of unnecessary difficulty because it is do ridiculously too big for you. Even if you outfit the heck out of it, the boat is still taller and wider than works for your size.

While l may disagree with a couple of the suggestions above, the bottom line is that there are plenty of boats out there that would work better for you, in both plastic and composite. And if you learn to paddle you should be able to avoid hitting a rock head on anyway.

You are on ireland? Romany should be around. To be clear, this boat is actually too big a hull for you. But it is also a stunning success as a schooling boat and super forgiving for skills work. I have one with me on vacation here by the sea specifically to use for getting my roll back. I think you might find wilderness systems over there, could you clarify if that is possible? I am thinking of the smaller Alchemy. If necky is around, look for an Eliza. That is your size.

By the way, my go to sea kayak that l have had in tidal races, surf and other pretty nasty stuff isn't even 16 ft long. Fiberglass. She has been dumped on the beach by surf with me hanging onto her stern quite a number of times, hit and scraped over rocka and aside from looking used and finally needing a keel strip she is just fine. Just obviously not new, except for the rigging which l replace periodically. It is about the hull design, not the size

Valley avocet
Maybe the Valley Avocet LV or if you want plastic the Avocet RM. Might still need some padding but I would think that would fit you and should be available in your part of the world. Plus easy to roll.

Thanks All
its just quiet hard to find a smaller sea kayak second hand here and I really didn’t want to go down the new route till I had more experience. This kayak was a great price so guess I wil have to keep my eye out for something like tiderace, sepre, elza and capella which are all here. The other idea was to go somewhere on hols and return with a new kayak meanwhile I will just concentrate on paddling until I get a more suitable kayak.

for a cheap way to get a skills boat
Look for what they tend to call general purpose boats in the UK and l think Ireland, similar to old school white water boats over here. Of course suited for your size. Generally available cheap used in plastic, usually also beat to shit but you shouldn’t be taking them out offshore in Ireland anyway. But they are great boats for getting the feel of managing a boat with your body on inland smaller and flat ponds etc.

Also, on a hot day, they are a lot less trouble to transport than the looksha.

another suggestion
Venture kayaks are a less costly line made in the UK by P & H/Pyranha. I am 5’ 5" and have their Easky 15LV, a low volume sea kayak perfect for smaller people and very similar to the P & H Delphin . They also have a newer model, the Islay 14 which is tailored to smaller men or average sized women. Here is a listing by an Irish outfitter:


The Easky 15LV is no longer available in the US but it appears to still be available in the UK so an Irish dealer should be able to get them. The Venture’s are reasonably priced, nicely made and outfitted boats that are fun to paddle.

My brother has a Looksha 17 like what you have now and I have paddled it. I find the Easky has much the same performance characteristics of the Looksha (but fits better) and I think you would find that it gives you that same sense of solid security in the sea but scaled to your size. I have not paddled an Islay 14 but it has gotten good reviews for the way it handles coastal waters. A big advantage of the Easky 15LV is that it is lighter weight than many other mid sized touring kayaks at 21 kg.