River boat for Tall paddler

-- Last Updated: Apr-17-08 9:11 AM EST --

Since I live by the Potomac River, I have the choice to go into calm water of go white water. For the calm water I got the WS Tsunami 145 (see my other post).

I am thinking of also trying out the white water. I've been up to Great Falls in my sit on top Cobra Explorer a few times and while it can be fun going down, it is generally no boat for this type of river. It is too long (can't turn quickly enough), catches waves too easy (tips over), can't roll obviously, hard to maneuver around eddies, unwieldy to carry... While it is a lot of fun in surf on the ocean, it is again slow and hard to catch waves with it.

Looking to get into something that is stable yet nimble for up/down river paddling, gliding on the waves, turning into eddies, etc. I do not see myself doing cartwheels or any "hard-core" trics any time soon if ever. I might use it a couple of times a year on ocean surf (nothing "grand", may be just beyond what triggers a red flag on most beaches).

I'm 6'4" 190 lb and worst of all have size 15 shoes.

So from reading on the net and trying a few boats, my choices seem pretty limited. It seems I should be looking for a river boat, not a creek or play boat.

It appears, on paper at least, that the Jackson Kayaks offer two models that might fit the bill - the Super Fun and the Super Hero. Somehow I'm thinking that the Super Hero might fit the bill better and will be visiting a dealer with a possible demo for it to sit in.

Another boat I sat in was, if I remember right, the Liquid Logic Remix 79. Comfortable enough for me and seems to be the most appealing set of features for me: not too long nor too short, large enough for my feet...

I was also looking at a local Prijon Hercules that I will be checking out today but my research shows that this creek boat may be a little too long/sluggish to be as much fun to run on the Potomac rapids as some of the slightly shorter boats above.

Finally, for some reason I am dismissing the shorter playboats such as LL Cross River 250 for some reason (and flat out refuse to think of smaller yet versions). I have a feeling they might be too tippy, too demanding for a first-time WW paddler with no big aspirations. Let me know if you think I'm wrong -;)

Pyranha Everest
We designed the Pyranha Everest with the taller paddler in mind. Great Down River Boat -

So’s the Burn (L). Fantastic boats.

Jackson 4fun
I am very close to your height, weight, and feet, and I have a Jackson 4fun that is very comfortable. The Superfun is too big, and the CR250 is too small. My other ww boats are Dagger G-force 6.3, and Perception Stikine. Been paddling ww kayaks for 30 years, never had a problem finding a boat that fits.

You might check with Davey and
Jennifer Hearn at Maximum Whitewater Performance. They don’t deal much in poly boats, but they would have no trouble whatsoever putting you into a slalom boat with room enough for your big feet. The Galasport Toro is for big paddlers up to about 215#. Or you could get a slalom c-1. Although long enough to be fast, slalom boats turn very easily. Go back to the video Fast and Clean (or was it in C-1 Challenge?) and you will see c-1 paddlers surfing on the Potomac.

Davey is the Olympics and World Champion c-1 paddler who was once dragged bodily from the Potomac when he went out to paddle it at flood. (The judge dismissed the charges and suggested the Park Service was over zealous.)

Jennifer, Davey’s wife, has history of effective racing in k-1w slalom.

By the way, you might be able to fit
in a Prijon Athete. I did have to tear out nearly all the outfitting, at which point my size 15s were a bit scrunched in the bow… I knew from reports that the Athlete can carry 190 pounds ok, but not my 220 pounds.

Jackson Hero series
prolly a great fit for what you want to do, given your description, and likely to fit your legs as well.

Tried a couple last night…

– Last Updated: Apr-17-08 9:09 AM EST –

I had a chance to sit in a Prijon Hercules last night. Great fit overall, BUT my feet do not fit! Without any shoes on, my heels touch each other on the bottom, feet at 90 degree angle to each other, toes touching the top. With paddling boots I would need to bend my toes backwards to fit...

I also sat in the Jackson Super Hero and that was a good fit all around. But had to remove the front foam piece for the feet to fit - would need to cut at least half of it out or it is too short otherwise. I am not sure how they estimate 40" inseam with this boat - it feels shorter than this. I was not particularly impressed with the outfit, especially the rope-pulley system of adjustments. While this makes the boat cheaper and lighter, it felt unreliable. The foam piece in the front for the feet also wobbled somewhat. It may be comfortable, being foam and not hard pegs but will the movement be a problem for efficiency (or a plus?). Will need to think about it a bit more, perhaps paddle one to see how it feels on the water... I will be back at that same dealer to try once more, hopefully on the water, and to also consider the Super Fun (the 4Fune seems too small for me on paper).

Thanks for the feedback so far - I'll check these sugestions out.

Pyranha Everest vs. Burn
Thanks! This may work. I think it may be pushing it a bit in terms of length and thus maneuverability though. Wouldn’t a large Burn work better for what I have in mind (less down-river, more up/down with play on the waves/eddies)?

Maybe for what the original poster wants
to do, but too slow for what I want to do. If a kayak is a pig on an easy slalom course, I’m not interested.

Dave Knight admitted to me that the first edition Super Hero was NOT designed for my weight, at all. He was noncommittal as to whether the second generation would be different, but the second generation boat, while reportedly better handling, is slower. Period.

Let’s see, 30 paddling years takes us
back to 1977. I am 6’ 5", size 14-15 feet, and at that time I weighed 195 pounds. There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING by way of a kayak to fit me. A couple of similar sized guys in our club actually converted Hahn c-1s into kayaks because they couldn’t find a kayak that fit, either.

There was really no change in this situation through the 1980s. In 1990, I took a Noah Magma I had purchased as a c-1 (it was also sold as a kayak), laid up a rim for a Prijon sized cockpit, and was able to get in, feel comfortable (except for tight foot space) and wet exit safely. But, suckered by claims that the Perception Dancer XT was “roomy,” I bought one. Even after thigh hook surgery, the boat was almost dangerously hard to enter or wet-exit. It didn’t carry weight as well as my composite Noah, and it handled like a pot-bellied pig.

Some boats like the T-Canyon might have been OK except for tight seats and hard-to-modify thigh hooks. I bought a second generation Perception Corsica in '93, and after trimming back the thigh hooks, I was pretty comfortable in a plastic boat for the first time.

SO, the reason I have related this is that, if you have been able to find boats that fit safely for 30 years, you have been very fortunate. There have NOT been decent options for really tall, big-footed paddlers until the Corsica and Pirouette appeared.

back to maneuverability

– Last Updated: Apr-17-08 6:43 PM EST –

between canoes and yaks. Mintjulep and I sometimes get into a spinning match approaching some rapids, getting side by side and attempting to outspin the other so we can run them over or push them into a rock. I paddle a 13'2" Dagger Encore canoe, Mint paddles a Pyrana ??(prijon?) kayak, Whitewater boat about 7' long. I always outspin Mint, mainly due to the rocker in my hull. Turn on a dime, get nine cents back.

New Dagger Approach 9.0
This is a brand new addition to the Approach 10.0 crossover flatwater/WW kayak. It is 9 feet. check it out.


1977, memory test…
I was in college, paddling hollowforms owned by the school club. They were a bit snug, had to get out and stretch occasionally. The first kayak I owned was a Perception Eclipse (ww version), I’m guessing 1980. Then a Jeti, then a Dancer XT, Corsica, Pirouette, etc. etc. Never could wear much on the feet, usually just neoprene socks, forget anything with hard soles.

Got the Pyranha Burn - L
Thanks everyone for the input. Second hand, reasonable condition. Looks like it is the '06 model with some seat/padding upgrades. Fits me quite nice with the seat in the middle position and foot pegs all the way forward.

At the same seller had a chance to sit in the previous generation of the Jackson Super Fun. Surprisingly, that had a better/softer feeling backrest than the new Hero I sat in at the store. While I did fit in the Super Fun, I did not feel comfortable at all, mostly due to the wider spread and twist in my knees/legs (the Pyranha sits me in a more “close-kneed” position with more room for my feet as well.

Now, off to aquire a spray skirt that would with some luck also fit my WS Tsunami 145 and I should be well on my way to my first capsizing in a sit-in kayak -;). At least in theory I know what to do -;( Got to find a buddy to stand by though…

Jackson - Prijon
Me: 6’ 8" 280 lbs size 14s

Jackson Superfun - relatively comfortable and lots of fun - Soft plastic and simple outfitting though. Don’t buy new as you can always find them used super cheap.

Prijon Hercules - Comfortable and bombproof plastic. Solid outfitting.

I have paddled both extensively and have owned the jackson for 3 yrs. Both are excellent choices.


How did you fit in the Hercules?

– Last Updated: Apr-18-08 6:51 AM EST –

I sat in a Hercules two days ago and could not fit my feet comfortably at all! Heels were cramped against each other and toes bent backwards pushing up on the top deck, even barefoot - would have been very iuncomfortable on long paddles with water shoes on... The Piranha and the Jackson Super Hero have considerably more feet room. And while I do fit in the Super Fun size 15 feet and all (the current owner is 6'5, size 13), I am not as flexible I suppose and felt the legs/knee position uncomfortable for sitting in for longer than a few minutes...

May be I'll revisit the sizing after I actually paddle for a while -;) BUt from just sitting-in, the feet size makes a lot of difference. I can't fit my foot in size 14 shoe and walk with it for more than a minute before I feel pain. I can fit in some 16 shoes and not lose them while walking. So I am a comfortable size 15, closer to 16 than to a 14...