Sea kayak option for paddler who is 285 lbs

I get his point. A lot of people are not comfortable with that close of contact. If you are really in the sea, you need it.

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4k msrp. Op is looking for a newbie boat for a student

Exactly the same thing.
The LOP on my 98 orbendorf Mannlicher is 13.75 and canted a bit, the Lancaster barn gun built by Don Getz is 14.25, and the McSwirly in 6.5 Skan is adjustable with the current setting at dead on 14 but I dont have much time on it yet.
I shoot service rifle with an A2 stock and I feel like i am dwarfing the rifle, better then the A1 I was issued way back when though.
Mose Lilliputians would be very uncomfortable trying to make my customs work for them and I can use a off the shelf stock, but it just doesnt fit.
With a sea kayak it isnt JUST the fit, its also the payload. If you are going to use the boat for touring, and you add 285lb in it without even underwear on and the max weight is 325, add paddle, pdf, clothes, pump, float bag, whistle, light, you arent carrying much camping gear.

Since you said custom flinters, this is a pic of the last one Don Getz made. John hasnt made a bbl since he passed.

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As pointed out, the Titan, Tsunami 175, and 180 Tempest Pro are very Seaworthy kayaks. High capacity boats will never be as nimble or fast as a 17 ft by 21 in sea kayak, but they fill the need of a large paddler.

A sea kayak is not some abstract construct - it has defined paramaters. When a design includes all the features that makes a boat “sea-worthy”, it is a “sea kayak”. Paddlers in skinny race boats give Craig_S sniggers when he paddles up to the start line in a 175 Tsunami. They aren’t laughing when he’s hot on the tail on the lead contender and in front of the others. I’ve seen his high angle paddle technique; its impressive, which is why he commands the boat.

I dropped out of the absurd conversation when E.T. posted a detailed explanations about his fitment and level of comfort in the P&H Virgo and 170 Tempest, yet he was getting recommendations to drop into a 165 Tempest (he tried one and didn’t fit, yet someone invariable says, “Well I’m bigger than you and I fit!”). What is that supposed to mean?

I own the 125, 140, 145 and 175 Tsunamis. I paddled them all when I weighed 263 lbs, 255 lbs, 240 lbs and 225 lbs. I’ve never been on a turbulent ocean with any of them and consider that both outside of my skill and comfort level, but I do know how they all handle on multiple trips crossings of the upper Chesapeake Bay. The 145 and 175 go out during Small Craft Advisories with winds gusting to 25 mph out of the South East. I’ve never used my spray skirt or felt the need for it.

All of those boats have worked for me under the right conditions, but the handling is vastly different depending on my weight. My preference is the 145 because it’s easier to handle in any condition and I don’t need a rudder. It performs best when I’m under 240 lbs. The 175 Tsunami is designed for my weight class. It’s the boat I use when conditions are most severe, because it has a rudder that can be useful at times to help keep it on track when encountering cross currents, it has greater freeboard, and the greater length bridges waves better rather than climbing and plunging. It’s rock stable and without question outside the performance standards needed for a really turbulent ocean environment, but then many sea kayaks could fail in that regard.

Excluding the high volume boats from the “sea kayak” category is elitist.

If you’re 285 lbs and want to paddle a kayak, go find a used 175 Tsunami or a 180 Tempest Pro. The high deck of the Tsunami gives plenty of foot room. The Tempest has a lower deck which could make it tighter on foot space. Both have the same seat pan (Tsunami has a high back seat and the Tempest has a more suitable backband that would make reentry easier), and they’re both rated for a maximum capacity of 400 lbs - ideal for a paddler up to 264 lbs. Although an additional 20 lbs might overloaded it slightly, which will impact handling and edging, it won’t sink the boat. I overloaded the 145 Tsunami by that much for years, and it remains my go-to boat.


I paddled some of the CLC high volume boats. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any intermediate boats that fit me at the time. They were either too tight or too large. There is no doubt that the CLC high capacity boats could handle someone in the 285 lb range.

The advantage of their designs is the performace, especially at the cost level. The only disadvantage is that you have to build and maintain it, although that is a favorable point for some.

I think it’s too bad that Perception dropped the big Tsunami. I’d love to try one, but would not own it because it’s too long for my shed and I can’t keep and store it. Still, I’d be fun to try one.

Varmint Mist, funny you should mention a Don Getz barrel I am right now using the last one I had in stock. Making a fancy rifle for a man in Illinois. I have sold all the extra barrels I had in inventory because I’ve made the decision to work toward retirement and see no reason to keep any inventory now.

And also I smiled at the comment about the A2 being a bit short. I made a custom butt plate extension for a friend of mine who has arms like a squid and needed a 15.5 " LOP on his AR. Just a well fitted extension that fits the stock and is fitted on the end with the GI plate and trap door, and it’s made from a scrap off the floor which was a chunk I cut off one of the muzzleloader blanks I’d made in the past. The triangulation of the stop goes to it’s old end, and then is parallel for a short length ending in the military butt plate, but after I made that for him he’s much happier with the fit of his A2.

Seda Viking is for big guys. Capacity 455 lbs.

The 175 Tsunami might be too big for you, considering that you fit the Chatham which is 21 inches. You might try a 170 Tempest or an old 140 Tsunami (24 inch model vs the newer 25.5 inch version - that was bone headed because it’s the same width as the 145 Tsunami that was 24.5, compared to the 175 which was 24 inches wide).

If you fit the 21 inch wide Chatham, the 175 Tsunami would be cavernous for you. The 15.75 deck offers increadible foot room, which I need with a size 13 shoe, but that creates a good deal of surface to catch wind. As with mountain bikes, the smaller the frame, the better the control. However, big people need big boats.

The Tsunami excels in comfort, primary stability, and cubic foot storage space. I believe they’ll handle most waves until the wave begins to curl. Then the incredible primary stability makes the hull follow the curve until it upsets. I personally would not use a Tsunami in the conditions that you often face. Partly due to not having your level of skills, but mostly because the boat isn’t optimal for such conditions. If you fall within the 140 to 180 lb range, the 140 in 24 inch width would be more to your fit. My 145 lb sister hated paddling my 145 Tsunami. I didn’t want to take her across the bay in a 140 Pungo (which she did once on a calm day). So I took her to Annapolis Canoe and Kayak to test paddle a 140 Tsunami, and she bought it on the spot. As a testament to a properly sized boat, we took a shortcut through shallows between Poole Island and the mainland when tide and winds reversed. Waves kicked up and I was only interested in clearing the channel before conditions worsened. I stopped for a water break. She gained a few hundred yards in front of me and I couldn’t catch her. Her boat was dry inside, while I had taken close to a gallon of water. Her boat gave her at least another 40 lbs of safety margin, while I overloaded my boat by about 20 lbs. The passage was a piece of cake for her. The irony is that we turned the point, we saw a couple who had anchored their boat near the “red X”. They were sitting in floating lounge chairs, in calm water, reading books.

My intent is to explain changing conditions that new kayaker unfamiliar with traversing open water could face unexpectedly. We were both familiar with how the wind, tide and land features influence conditions on the water. In this case, an incoming tide combined with a south wind that was blowing overnight for over a hundred miles straight up the bay from the ocean, created a current amplified by the tidal flow. With the reversing of the tide, the outflow current from the Bush River (unseen on the upper left) was constricted by the island and the shalllows of the channel. That met the outflow of the Gunpowder River from the left. The colliding forces create a upwelling of the water in that area and considerable chop. I’ve occasionally seen 10 ft boats out near there (a 10 ft boat caught in that passage when tide reversed, would founder in those conditions). NOT to resurrect the PFD discussion, but to emphasize that conditions can be radically different within less than 15 minutes, and they can be as different as flat calm to 3 foot chop within a distance of a few hundred yards. Venture into such conditions unexpectedly, may not afford the time to prepare for it).

We both use the Kalliste, hers is 240 cm and I increased to the 250 cm. @StarlingGirl tried both and pointed out that she felt the 240 cm gave her better control. I agree, but I have wider shoulders than that delicate lady and the added inches lets me open my chest cavity for better breathing. The length doesn’t slow my cadence.

I was with Craig when he picked up his 180 Tempest Pro. Even at 23 inches, I could slip easily into the cockpit and had ample but not excessive foot room.

I’ve watched Craig paddle but haven’t paddled with him as yet. His high angled feathered paddling style is faster than I could follow, but notice that his stroke doesn’t compress the rib cage, and the exit is closer to a rudder stroke that doesn’t catch and lift water. You and I have similar paddling styles, but you use a long Greenland, while I use a long Euro touring paddle. Craig uses a shorter high angle paddle. He gave me his Ikelos to try but its a foot shorter than my Kalliste, so I might end up feeling like Tommy Boy, “fat man in a little coat.” Also have his Gearlab carbon fiber Greenland to try.

John was the barrel maker. Lost a leg to sugar and really hasnt made a bbl since Don passed and I doubt there will be another.
The A2 is required in comp and everyone races on the same track.

Back on my 300 dollar CD Titan restoration :joy::joy::joy:

Fixed it up and primed it, then it’s been sitting sadly 2 years or more. Have to find date on picture when I got it, that may scare me :joy:. Back on it now.

Edit just looked will be 4 years Oct 5th since I bought it. Wanted 400 paid 300.

So far Toplac is working well

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Finally back online.

Thanks for the thoughts. Have passed on many of them

Person definitely won’t be going the direction of building a boat (nor a gun). Could be spending some money, so a $4k new boat may not be out of the question (and I did add a Sterling Grand Illusion as a possible, if he really wants to lighten his wallet). But strongly recommend he only buy something he can try first.


If your student has a small budget, vintage Aquaterra (i.e. Perception) Chinooks turn up periodically on the used market. I had one for a few years as a loaner for larger friends. It’s a big guy boat with pretty decent performance though the earliest models had no bow bulkhead and the early seats needed to have a backband installed to replace the horrible plastic shell type. There’s one for sale at a Georgia based outfitter at the moment (won’t do you any good in CA but I just wanted to verify that they still turn up.) Most of those Aquaterra era Perception touring boats were pretty decent hulls and solidly made. I had a raspberry pink Scimitar for a while and still paddle a 20 year old Perception composite sea kayak.

There’s even one for sale in Honolulu right now – it has dual outriggers if you were up for a transPacific crossing…

Why compromise on features when there are so many available that fit the specification.

If you can find one I’d recommend the Tsunami 175, if you can find one (they’re out of production.)

I have one, I’m 6’2" (doctor says I’m 6’2.5", but I hate fractions.) and at my high point I was 265 lb, so our sizes are comparable. Im 44-48" chest and 44" around the waist and hips and the seating fits me, it’s most comfortable boat I’ve been in. And i’ve been in the saddle in that for 9 hours without being crippled. So I’d say look at one of them.

But that’s just me, I’ve been in the Jackson Journey, Boreal Baffin P3, Riot Brittany, Perception Sea Lion and the Wilderness Just fit my ass best.

SO that would be the direction I’d point you in, but I’m a big wilderness fan due to the phase 3 seating.

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I understand your student’s frustration! Finding a kayak that fits someone who is 6’3" and 285 lbs can be a challenge, especially with an inseam of 33". While a traditional kayak might be difficult, an inflatable pontoon boat might be a great option!

Another out-of-production plastic kayak for larger paddlers is the Perception Captiva. Similar to the Perception Carolina but up-sized for larger paddlers.

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That Perception has a 425 lb capacity and is 1 1/4 inch wider than the Tsunami but 1 1/2 feet shorter. Main drawback is i didn’t come with deck lines.

I’d agree the Sitka XT is the big person kayak, with its 35” x 22” keyhole. I’m 6’ 5”, 265lbs with a 34” inseam and I have plenty of wiggle room. The 2.2 cockpit allows ease of entry and exit. Paddled a CD Storm GT, a large person kayak, but found the 1.7 cockpit a bit small for a guy with long legs.

You need to decide if you want a sea kayak, transitional kayak, or a rec boat as many here are being discussed.

According to the listed specs, these will do.

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