Im hoping that with all the people here that you can give me the help I need. Im 56 and 235lbs. and have quite a few health problems that are making the right choice of a boat a big problem. I love being on the water as much as possible just like you guys, and fishing as well as finding nature and quiet out of the way spots on lakes and slow rivers. What im hoping is that you can point me in the right direction. What kind of boat, canoe solo,sit inside kayak or sot and why you feel it would work for me. Also some recomendations on brands and companies. Weight will not matter it will be trailered. Thank You

get some EDU first then this will help you decide what is gunna work.

safety - professional instruction


Agree with Flatpick

– Last Updated: Dec-02-09 4:42 PM EST –

Especially this time of year - it is getting a little chilly to be out on the water anyway unless you have a lot more cooler weather wear than you likely do, even in NC. Taking some lessons will resolve your questions pretty readily.

Also, while I couldn't find any via Google I am hard-pressed to believe that there aren't some local paddling clubs around you that may have winter pool sessions for new paddlers to learn basic skills. You aren't far from some pretty decent white water. Learning the basics will both make you safer and inform your choice about boat.

You have some outfitters around you who may be able to give you good advice and should know the paddling environments near you. A couple I googled:
30 miles away in Staatsville -

Then there is the US National Whitewater Center - 63 miles and a great looking resource.

I came back and saw Kudzu's post. While most would agree that a Sit on top is easier to re-enter from the water than the other options, I've known of more than one person who capsized a nice simple SOT and was unable to get back on. One of them was a pretty healthy, lean guy who anyone on the board would have assumed could do it. He couldn't, his wife ended up towing him hanging onto a rope on the back of the SOT a half a mile back to shore in Maine waters. She was paddling a Swifty... unfortunately no pictures...

If safety is your primary concern, consider a sit-on-top kayak. So long as you don’t knock a hole in it it’s unsinkable and I understand it’s easier for a novice to get back on than for a novice to get back in a sit-in.

What kind of health problems?
You might very well want a SOT if some of those problems affect your position in the boat. There’s more freedom to move on a SOT.

OTOH, if you have poor circulation in the feet and hands, a SINK will be warmer due to more protection from wind and waves.

I agree that some lessons would be a good first step. Then rent some different kayaks, if possible, so you can start figuring out what feels good to you.

Weight is an issue.
Don’t kid yourself, you still have to lift the boat and get it into the water. If you have health issues, pick a boat that is easy to move around. If you have a heavy boat you will dread all the effort of loading, unloading etc. If you capsize a canoe is a pretty nasty thing to dump out solo, especially compared to a SOT kayak. If you capsize you just climb back on.

I was going to ask the same ?
Are your health problems heart related, muscle related, or bone related, etc?

If you spelled out your health problems, folks here could probably have a better idea of what to recommend.



add the adirondack guideboat to your selection of choices - more or less a rowing canoe - very stable - great for fishing, and rowing is a great workout - expensive as hell, but I’ve always wanted one, having paddled several hundred year old wooden guideboats.

Even the old wood ones are lighter than an old town tripper, or the plastic/poly canoes; in kevlar, they can be as light as most canoes.

“Guideboatguy” can probably answer any of your questions better than I can - I’m just a “wannabeguideboatguy”, though I do have five canoes.

from the original post, sounds like you would be interested in a solo canoe - look at the “gear guide”

tab aboe, select canoes and look at hte bigger solos -

and it wouldn’t hurt to do some homework first - see what canoe or kayak dealers are in your area - no point in cerating a lot of interest in a boat that isn’t within a thousand miles of you to go look at.

Based on your weight
and the info you gave, I’d say a 14 foot SOT like the Native Manta Ray 14. It is stable as heck, plenty buoyant for 235lbs (I am 225lbs). It’s easy to get on and off and made for fishing. The other Native boats are also worth a look as are other SOTs like the Prowler 13 and 15.

SOTs tend to be heavier, so also consider something like a Pungo 14.

You aren’t likely to flip those boats, but you need a plan if that happens. Can you self rescue or can someone help you get back in your boat.

For recreational stuff, you really don’t need lessons. Take them if you want, but you can certainly enjoy the water and paddle around without spending a lot of money learning how to make the voat go forward.

jim $0.02

instruction and good dealer
First agree get some instruction hopefully from a decent canoe/kayak dealer. Ask around the local waterways for who actually offers service and instruction. Decent dealers will try to find the right boat for you, satisfied customers is how they stay in business. Many good dealers also offer a way to try their boats before you buy them. You definately want to do that, gets pretty expensive quickly buying the wrong boat and having to sell rather than taking the time ahead of time to try many boats to find out what “you” like.

I’ve got a SOT (sit on top) and unless it’s pretty warm outside it stays on the rack. Depending on where you live the weather can make the paddling season fairly short if your whole bod is always exposed to the weather. I think the SOT is great for a second boat, not all that great (unless you live where it’s always hot) for the first boat. Most SOT’s tend to be awfully slow, so paddling in a group can be limited only having one. Might also look to join a paddling club, they can help much and arn’t looking to make anything from you :slight_smile:

Bill H.