I now have a QCC 700. I am 6’2" 250 pounds. My legs are big - my calf muscles don’t fit my Kokatat GFER XX drysuit. I always had back pain with the 700 and I know the seat design is modified by many. However, I have tight leg muscles and no matter how much I stretch, I prefer my legs bent slightly. Plus, I had a MRI and a X-Ray which showed a slipped disc in my lower back (L-1?). No surgery is planned for the disc and I really do not have any pain in daily activities which includes 30 min on the eliptical and 20 on the treadmill and 10 min for weights. My ortho doctor said if it hurts don’t do it. My shoe size is 12 and I have to tilt them slightly in the 700. I know the 500 would be better there. Would a QCC 500 be better for my back since it is bigger? I know it is a bit slower. Thanks.
In general I’d say yes
I had to quit kayaking for about 18 months because of three heniated disks in my lower back. I switched to a canoe then I cut the cockpit out of my plastic sea kayak and used it in flat water only. Later after a lot of walking stretching and tai chi I was able to kayak again and even now I’m just able to fit in a tighter boat like my Solstice GTS less than 22 inches wide for about a day.
If you plan to have only one kayak then by all means get the one that would be more comfortable. With that in mind I’d also look at brands that were really well known for comfortable and adjustable seating like wilderness systems, Huriicane Aquasports, P&H and there may be others.
I’d certainly take the time to find one in your area and sit in it for an hour before I bought one.
Thee 700 is a great looking boat I know some one who got one here in NC and they are very happy.
A SOT or a canoe , like Frank said,
will give you the freedom of movement to keep the pain away.
I too have big problems with keeping my legs flat. I test paddled a Q700 which put my legs to sleep in about 5 minutes - I found it brutal. On the flipside, I paddled a Caspian Sea (same as a Q400) for a full day and felt comfortable, so the 2" difference in deck height is crucial for me and I now have a Q400 on order (the cockpit of the Q400 and Q500 are the same height). It would great if you could test paddle one in your area.
You might also consider a CD Solstice GT Titan, which has an even higher deck. It has a similar cockpit to the Pachena, which is by far the most comfortable kayak I've ever been in (and why I will never sell mine).
Go Test Drive Some WS Boats
Wilderness Systems has the Phase 3 Seating. Adjustable thigh support. Go paddle a Tempest 170 and the Zephyrs and see how they feel.
I’m not much smaller than you and found the 700 to have a lot of room to move around(too much really). You might be able to get your knees a little higher in a 500 but I don’t think it’s going to help with your discomfort.
Consider some physical therapy and daily stretching to improve your flexibility. 30 minutes a day took me from not being able to touch my toes to being able to touch my nose to my knees from an upright standing position. My back pain, paddling ability, and other aspects of my life have greatly improved with this improved flexibility.
Definitely Test Paddle a QCC 400
I have a QCC 700; my wife has a QCC 400 and I have found the 400 to be one sweet boat!
If you're going for a bigger cockpit and don't need the carrying capacity of the 500, the 400 might suit you - depends on where you want to paddle and what your ultimate paddling goals are.
Good luck on stretching: tight hamstrings, I.T. band and piriformis are somehting I constantly work on stretching.
Get real with your exercise program !
Only 10 minutes with weights doesn’t get it. You need a minimum of 40 minutes 3 times a week with some core exercises too. I spend close to two hours in the gym at least three times a week. That’s about the bare minimum to get any results.
first the 500 then the 700. I have exacttly the same back problems,and nearly the same size as you. I loved the 500 ,more room to move a little,higher deck,just wasn’t fast enough. Sold the 500 and bought the 700. It had the speed I was looking for,but the cockpit was a body killer. I could never get comfortable in it ,no matter what I did. My size 13 shoe caused me to splay my feet to the side and cause severe leg pain & cramps after an hour in the seat. I switched to canoes and problems gone. Current speed boat is a Placid Rapidfire canoe. Perfect set up for a seat/seat back,can move all about,and can stay in the seat 3+ hours.
If QCC would make a high deck ,high volume 700 hull,I would have another. Sounds like you may need a canoe as well,as you can never change the QCC 700 deck height,and half your problem. Good Luck.
Sounds like you need a Q700 SOT - what do you say, buy one used, break out the jigsaw and get to work freeing up them legs…
I own a 700 and if I have any complaints it would be that I wish the deck was one inch higher. I have another boat that is a very similar fit but it does have a deck that is one inch higher. It makes a huge different for “me”. I can get comfortable in my 700 with some blocks to keep my knees bent and taking the seat pad out but I will always wish the deck was one inch higher.
So, try different boats before you buy. Unless you are going to race, make comfort a high priority. If you are in pain you aren’t having fun and there is a boat that you can be comfortable in to paddle pain free.
I found the 700 to be a comfortable boat
I have had surgery at three levels in the lumbar spine and am 6’3" 245 lbs with 13 feet. Seat comfort is key for me and as a result I have removed the seat from every boat I own and modified it or replaced it. I spent 11 hours yesterday paddling 51 miles and my back is the only thing that feels pretty good today. I found the vertical seat supports pinched my hips in the 700. I would remove the seat and create a minicell seat bottom and back support. I use a 2" inch wedge(2" in front tapering to 1/4" at rear) for my seat bottom. Run it forward as much as possible to get good thigh support. The back rest on my seat only supports my back at the top of my butt cheeks and below the beltline, everything above that is tapered rearward up to the coaming where it provides padding in a layback roll. If you like the speed and carrying capacity, don’t give up on the 700. pictures of my Nordkapp seat are here http://s44.photobucket.com/albums/f4/Wolverinemw/Nordkapp%20Seat/
Good luck. Bill
The Q500 will definitely allow more options in terms of foot position, as it is a higher volume boat that has a deep cockpit that provides substantially more room for the knees, thighs, and feet than the 700. Additionally, you could think about ordering a boat without thigh braces, as this may allow you to lift your knees up (or at least one knee at a time) while paddling. A paddler 6’0" or shorter would definitely be able to paddle in the knees up position in the “no thigh braces” model.
Additionally, as you stated, you might consider removing the stock seat and installing a backband. (I use one from Immersion Research, the “Reggie”). This provides more positive back support and also results in more clearance for the thighs, as you sit a bit lower in the kayak after removing the padded seat base.