P&H opinions

I plan on demoing a bunch of boats later in the summer and am now making a list of candidates.

As you recall, my main issue is size 15 feet. The rest is not too bad, but I’m tall at 6’4" and 190 lb.

The Eddyline Fathom fits me OK. The rest of the Eddyline line does not.

I am thinking that narrower than 22" would be pushing it for my height, but put one slimmer boat on the list below…

I have been checking the specs of several other boats that might accomodate my feet and the rest of me:

  • NDK Explorer HV (I doubt the normal would fit comfortably, but it might).
  • P&H (in this order of “good feel” about their specs): Quest, Scorpio, Sirius
  • Point 65°N Sea Rover/Cruiser or the X-Ray Kayak
  • QCC Q700X - very tempting, and with the current 20% off seems like a good deal for a light and fast kayak. Inability to test one is a problem though…

    There are a few dealers a couple of hours away and I will demo them, but looking for relative comparisons if you have experience with them.

    Realistically speaking, I will mostly use the boat on flat-ish still or slow moving water for short (day) trips and a very occasional ocen trip close to shore in rougher but non-extreme conditions.

    What I want in a boat is that it is comfortable, relatively stable but not too stable to prevent advanced handling with relative ease (once mastered), to track well, and be reasonably fast to allow active paddling speeds for a few hours at a time with good glide b/w strokes.

    As a reference, I currently have the WS Tsunami 145 (plastic, no rudder): it has good foot room for me but the seat is a bit too loose (can be fixed with padding). The back rest is too high even at the lowest setting (I ordered a Tempest replacement to try). I feel it is too slow and does not have a good glide at all - I have to work way too hard to maintain speed. It also is very much affected by side or rear wind (no issue going into the wind directly), so a skeg would be a good thing to have. Lastly, the seat is OK but hurts my tailbone after a couple of hours - needs more padding.

    So, any thoughts on these boats above relative to each other? I tried the Tempest 170 recently and I liked how it felt and moved (a little heavy, but reasonably fast for me and stable enough), but unfortunately it does not have enough foot room for me for long term comfort. I do not want to go longer than 18’ for storage and weight either. The Zephyr 16, which I also tried is probably too playful for me - I’d rather have something with less rocker but not totally flat.

    The Carbonlite material of the Fathom is I think a plus as I like “maintenance-free” things -:wink:

    Cost is an issue, and the $2500 or so for the Fathom are already stretching it for me, but weight of the boat is important as well…

P&H Sirius
Sweet boat in many ways, but I am not sure it fits your stability wishes. Quest or Scorpio better, or Cetus (Scorpio is essentially a lower volume Cetus).

the Sirius might not be a good fit
it is a ‘swede form’ kayak, meaning the widest and deepest part of the kayak is behind the cockpit. That translates to being narrower and lower volume at the cockpit and feet compared to ‘fish form’ kayaks of the same length and width.

relatively stable…
I think the Scorpio and Cetus might best suit your desires. The Cetus has amazinlgy high primary for a boat so responsive. The Scorpio is the poly version and is somehat smaller but should still suit your needs.

The Sirius is an interesting boat with many partisans, but it is not usually considered “relatively stable.” It is also not usually a big person’s boat.

P&H Quest
The Sirius will not comfortably fit your feet and will probably not have the stability you sound like you’re looking for. The Quest would probably suit your needs well. I own a Sirius, and I’ve paddled a Quest on a couple of occasions. I also own 5 other composite sea kayaks along with a couple plastic sea kayaks, so I’m not speaking as a P&H only kind of guy or anything of that nature…but the Quest is a great all-around boat. It has better speed than the Capella, but still turns beautifully when edged. It has a nice tracking to turning balance, and you will appreciate the good speed if you decide to go on a few longer outings. It’s a lot of fun in bigger open water if you get your skill level to that point, and on flat water you will appreciate the nice response to leans. I also own a composite Capella and I prefer the Quest to the Capella. The Capella is a little more maneouverable but slower and more squirrely in wind and waves. I’m sure some of this is personal preference, but I find the Quest to be wonderfully maneouverable without the excessive tradeoffs in speed and tracking.

I’ll leave this to the experts here…
…but would the Impex Assateague be a good choice for someone of his size?

get in and try one
honestly, all the speculation about your fit is just that.

I can say that p&h workmanship looks great IMO - Impex also.

I hav always thought of the Assateague
as a ‘big’ person kayak. 6’4" and size 15 shoes are big, but 190lbs is certainly not ‘big’.

I certainly plan to “get in and try” -:wink:
May be you’re right that reading/writing about it here is not the best use of one’s time -:wink:

Trying to hit several targets with one three-hour-one-way trip is my goal though. There are a couple of kayak dealers in the Norfolk/Hampton area in VA that seem to carry several brands I have not been able to test locally where I live. So I plan to gather info before I get there to know what to ask for and to arrange demo sessions for specific boats that would be likely to fit - some of these folks do not have retail locations it seems, so getting the right stuff ready/requested seems important…

oh not at all

– Last Updated: May-27-08 3:46 PM EST –

Coming here is a great starting point.

It's just that when it comes to "fit" there are so many firm opinions yet such a variance of opinions it would be best to try one on yourself.

Have fun shopping, I really got into it my last time around! And while I spent a lot of time before buying I'm sure glad I did.

The Quest
sounds pretty good. I was looking at the Qust also and called the P&H factory outlet in Ashville. They recommended the Cetus, saying it was the newer model. But, there was no way I could swing a new 3k plus kayak, and settled on a used kavlar Capella.

I have a winding little creek in my back yard so that’s why I went for a 16 footer.

P&H has remarkable quality. They have also supplied me with gelcoat that matched my specific hull. They send it from England, and only cost $20. Replacing the skeg was also easy and inexpensive, at $40.

They have been a pleasure to deal with. Great attitude when you have a problem. They return your phone calls and emails from England or the US.

Mine may not be ideal but it sure gets the job done and then some.

In a few years I’ll probably be looked for another 18 for touring to complement the 16 footer.

Good luck!

at 220 lbs and size 12 feet
6’1" height, the Assateague fits me well.

I wear proper water shoes (Merrell) and I still have plenty of room.

The deck is higher then most kayaks and accomodates my rather large thighs very well.

Skinny legs will find the Assateague too roomy.

It will be hard to find a kayak that will have a low deck (slender person) but have ample room up front for the big feet.

Probably a kayak like the Assategue (designed for larger paddlers) and some creative padding with minicell seems to be in order…


I am 6’4 230 with size 14 feet, I used to own the regular explorer, I just had to cut out the seat and install a closed cell on the floor. I did however sell it and switch to an Impex Force 5. You are a little lighter and might fit the Force 4. Great boats. The Assategue that has been mentioned is just too huge. I think of myself as being good sized, but I swim in that boat.


I own a Cetus and am 6’3" and 240lbs
and size 13 feet. The Quest is an excellent boat but I have heard that it performs much better under full load. The Quest unloaded can be a little twitchy and the primary in a following or 1/4ing sea is not as good as the Cetus. The Cetus is fast and stable. I also find the Cetus to be more skeg dependant than I was expecting. I remove the foot braces and tracks from all of my boats and build up the bulkheads with minicell. If you are not willing to do this, forget about the Cetus with those dogs, the knee tube from the fourth hatch will close you out. I did not have to remove the braces, I prefer to remove them. It makes the boats much more comfortable and gives me infinite leg angle adjustments as I taper the foot rest closer to me as it moves outwards to the hull. The Capella 173 would be an easy fit, but you may find it too large and defintely not the performer the Cetus is. I paddled the Quest, Cetus, and Capella 173 before I bought the Cetus. “FOR ME”, it was what I liked. The Swede form is not an issue, the knee tube is. Good Luck, you won’t need much, the P&H boats are all very nice. I also am fond of the Eddyline Fathom and Nighthawk, and the Valley Aquanaut, and would like the chance to paddle an Explorer HV some day.

tough mix
of long length, low weight and large feet. you would fit in a x-ray but i think you would be swimming in it. i paddled a XP last weekend and i think it would be a better fit. i’m 6’1", 220, 14shoe, and thought i was a good fit with the exception of being a little tight on the hips. perfect for you. a kajak sport viviane would work great if you want to go straight and fast. trying to decide myself between the XP, viviane, and a C-trek. (XP is low volume next to the other two)