Sea kayak option for paddler who is 285 lbs

Had a student today who has trouble fitting in most kayaks. He is 6’3", 285 lbs, 33" inseam.

He kind of fit in a Dagger Stratos 14.5L, but found the seat back uncomfortable so didn’t use it. He liked a Necky Pinta better, so did the class in it, but these haven’t been sold for more than 20 years, so not readily available. He didn’t really fit a Necky Eskia he tried.

He would like to find a kayak to replace the Prijon Touryak he currently uses and doesn’t feel comfortable in. What kayaks should he consider? New or used.

Current Designs Solstice Titan. Possibly Solstice HV but cockpit is few inches shorter.

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I was just going to say that exact boat!

My husband has the HV and it’s slightly big for him (195, 6’) but we picked it up for 600.

The west coast has a lot of them for sale up in PNW.

He could get the custom foam seat too.

Romany Excel has a much larger than ordinary cockpit. Current Designs Isle I’ve heard truly has a larger cockpit - never been in that one, but I’ve paddled the original smaller version Caribou a lot, and have the smaller sized Suka at home, and these are very capable sea kayak designs. The Impex Hatteras has a somewhat larger than typical cockpit fit, but that’s a smaller step more roomy compared to the first two - more like a Romany Surf. I’ve paddled a Stratos a couple different times, but I can’t really remember how roomy the cockpit was in that one. I don’t remember it feeling outside of an average sort of cockpit configuration.


Big enough, you said student so cheaper is good. I was 282 when I got mine. 32in inseam and the foot pegs are not bottomed out. It will do 400lbs so if he ever uses it for touring there is plenty left for gear.
I assumed CA so that was #2 that came up on a generic search

I’m 6’ 2", currently 245, 42" waist, and have enjoyed paddling a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 175 with rudder.

Very comfortable fit with a cavernous 15.75" deck height, 36" x 20" cockpit opening, and fairly stable at 24" wide (a lot more stable than my Valley Etain 17-7 at 21.5"),

I understand they went out of production around 2022, but may show up as used boats, or as dwindling inventory, like here:

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In more of a 15’ day touring length I finally had the chance to try out the Stellar S14HV, at a dealer meeting, which at my 185lb 6’ frame I definitely agreed with the recommended starting paddler weight of 220#. An S14 in all other regards and not so huge where I couldn’t make contact with the control surfaces but definitely had the volume to support and perform for a 300# person. A kayak for the linebacker.

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First thought at that size paddler would be the NDK Romany Excel.

He may fit the CD Sirocco/Gulfstream? That design has a cavernous cockpit.

Another suggestion would be the Eddyline Sitka XT with a 400 pound capacity (at only 49 pounds) designed for larger paddlers.

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175 Tsunami with rudder. I’m not aware of any other kayak with the proportions that will fit his size. It’s similar to the 180 Tempest which is as rare as hen’s teeth. Compare width, deck height, freeboard and max capacity.

I own this exact kayak, right down to the color. I can’t see how it can work well for a very large man.
I am short at only 5’ 6" but I have thick thighs and I fill my Shadow’s cockpit up. If the cockpit could fit people “from 1 to 10” I am a 10. Not because I have long leg or very large feet, (size 9) but because when I am sitting in it, my thighs touch both thigh braces and also have firm contact with the front of the seat, and that is when the foot pegs are set so I have to extend my toes forward pretty far to make the ruder peddles work. (I have gas-peddle type peddles in my Sea Lion Shadow)

I absolutely LOVE the way this kayak handles, and carries cargo for longer trips, but just in the last week I have finally decided to sell it just because it’s slightly too tight for me. I have a 34" waist and only a 28" inseam but my thighs are very thick. I have a friend who is 5’ 9" tall and built “more normally” and he can paddle it very well and not feel tight. I also loaned it to a lady friend who is 5’ 3" and she also paddles it in total comfort. But if I am in it for 6 hours or so, my hip joints get to hurting me. So I have kept it and loves using it for shorter trips but just can’t seem to make it perfect for long days or multi day trips.
How it could work for any one over 240lbs I can’t imagine however. I think the Sea Lion Shadow is better for mid size or smaller paddlers.


Yes, the Sea Lion Shadow was for smaller paddlers. The Sea Lion Eclipse of the same era was similar but for larger paddlers, but perhaps still not suited for someone who weighs 285 lbs. Here’s an archived catalog that gives the specs:

Well, my sea lion holds me fine. 38w 32inseam. It isnt a shadow, and while the pic might be a shadow, I mentioned a sea lion.
I have done 5 days self supported in it, 107 river miles

One thing you all need to understand, is that they really dont make a true sea kayak for large people. If he wants a sea kayak, then he will have to wear it.

So if a boat fits a large paddler it isn’t a real sea kayak? Unbelievable. Did you read that on the internet?

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Varmintist - the confusion was just because the Craig’s List add you linked was for a Shadow…

… if a big person wants to use a sea kayak, its going to be snug… Prove me wrong.

As a big feller, I can tell you straight up, that the vast majority of kayaks are built for wee folk

Same deal with skis. All kinds of stuff for a marathon build, Not to many for a Clydesdale.

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Well I intend to fix that for at least a few of my friends, but they have to wait a few years until I am all caught up on my back log. I have some books on building kayaks and I now understand how to build a kayak the way a tailor makes a set of clothing ( I think. -------------- I hope!)

I have a friend (Len) who is on the large side. He’s 6’ 2" and is over 300 pounds. So we are doing a collaboration effort in designing a kayak for him. But Varmintmist is probably correct about buying any factory made sea kayak for men in the 265 to 350 pound range. That’s one reason I am interested in making kayaks in the future. I want to make them to FIT the person I am making it for.
As a custom Gunsmith I have made guns to fit men and women for 50+ years and I have given perfect fits to men as tall as 7’3 and women as short as 4’ 5". Wide shoulders, narrow builds, long necks, super short necks, big hands little hands cross dominate shooters and so on…Nothing matters to me when I want to fit a gun to a shooter. I can make a gun to fit anyone. I believe I can (and will later) make a kayak for anyone too. When you start with a paper and pencil and raw materials you can make a kayak fit anyone. I like doing that and I hope I enjoy making custom kayaks as much as I have enjoyed making custom flintlocks and other arms since 1968.

I just wish I would stop aging physically. That way I’d have more time to get better and better.

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Skin on frame kayaks can be scaled to fit any body metrics. And even one sized for a really large person will typically be under 45 pounds.

And some wood kit boats, like Chesapeake Light Craft’s Great Auk Extended, are designed for the larger paddler. The Great Auk has a paddler weight spec of up to 400 pounds and will fit a size 14 shoe.


CD Titan is a true sea kayak for large paddler or their Isle.

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