Sea Kayak with deep frame and large seat

I have a friend who is 6’2” and weighs 225 lbs. I have kayaks that are made for a lighter frame ( I’m 5’9” -145 lbs).
He is new to kayaking and having a hard time being comfortable in the water because he’s turtled a few times.
Can anyone suggest a brand /model that is not a sit-on-top?

The 6’ 2" 225 lbs can be somewhat helpful, but a person could still have a relatively narrow frame at that. On the other hand, a person could be wide/thick at the hips/butt, and thick in the thighs, which requires more room for comfort than the prior person.

Of my kayaks, I think the Impex Hatteras has the widest seat. I personally prefer some room in the cockpit, and can say this cockpit was designed to allow a thicker, wider person some comfortable room. Nothing about the kayak overall strikes me as voluminous while paddling. It’s just that the cockpit was designed with some room. I have more voluminous kayaks with a narrower cockpit opening, narrower seat, and lower thigh bracing. So what I’m suggesting is that cockpit fit isn’t always a very good indicator of the corresponding overall hull design. This kayak was designed with a roomy cockpit, but it is definitely not a voluminous kayak in the way that it paddles.
I’m always left scratching my head when I see someone smaller and lighter than I am, but clearly with wider hips, fuller booty, and thicker thighs getting into a kayak with a narrower seat and lower deck than even I would be comfortable in. It’s like somehow it was decided that if you weigh less, you’re automatically smaller through the hips. And if you’re smaller/lighter with thickness through the hips/butt, you’re just supposed to decide that being squeezed in is the way it’s supposed to be. “Better-connected” I always thought the Hatteras was onto something with the layout of the cockpit allowing more room, without the overall hull design being done with a need for a lot of weight to behave well.
I guess you don’t need to know all this other than if your friend fits comfortably, it will paddle well unloaded.
This is a fun all-around kayak that might be worth a try. If by “turtled a few times”, you mean he has capsized, I can’t really speak to that. The Hatteras will behave well under his weight as a sea kayak, and it’s plenty stable as far as sea kayaks are concerned. But it’s designed to be able to edge and lean and roll as part of sea kayaking performance, so it’s not meant as something that won’t allow you to capsize.

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Wilderness Systems Tsunami. I’m 5’7" and 240 lbs. 38 waist, big thighs, size 11 feet, and my Tsunami 165 fits me great. It has really good primary and secondary stability, which is good for someone new to kayaking. They can often be found used for under $1000. It also has a comfortable seat, and if your friend doesn’t care about the ability to use a spray skirt, he can get an adjustable seat back to make it even more comfortable. Although, with the seat back in its lowest position, a nylon skirt from Seals does fit over it.

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NHTrucker has a good idea there. The Tsunami is affordable and roomy.

If you are looking for something not-so-affordable but roomy maybe a GI. Built by then-company owner Sterling Donaldson for his personal use. Sterling is a big guy. The Grand Illusion has a roomy cockpit and is a joy to paddle.

If there were a such thing as a “grail kayak,” the Grand Illusion would be mine. He builds some incredible kayaks.

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Look for “HV” designations, knee height or deck height and shoe size figures.

  • HV = High volume

On fitting, here is a list I got from a kayak instructor friend (so someone who has paddled lots of boats) who is 6’ 7" and maybe 180 pounds:

–start quote–

I don’t think there is a kayak greater than 17’4" that I’m not able to fit into.

I would be able to fit into a fair amount of kayaks in the 16’-17’ range IF I drilled and re-mounted the footrails/ footpegs further away from the seat.

Here is a list of kayaks, shorter than 17’, that I can fit into WITHOUT any modifications:

Current Designs Sirocco
P&H Delphin 155*
NorthShore Atlantic LV
Valley Gemini SP
P&H Hammer*
Dagger Alchemy 14.0L*
Dagger Stratos 145L*

–end quote–

The ones with * are ones that I, at 6’ and 225-230 lbs, like. The others on his list I don’t know well, so can’t comment on, but likely would fit. Some others I like (and that my 6’7" friend hasn’t tried) are Jackson Journey 14, Necky Eskia, Wilderness Systems Tempest 170.

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Another used option is a 16 foot Perception Captiva. They were made for larger paddlers and have a flat bottom making them quite stable. Lot’s of reviews here:

Here’s a Craig’s List example:

As mentioned already and a few others that came to mind:

WS Tsunami 165
WS Tsunami 145
WS Tsunami 175 - this kayak is HUGE - may actually be too big
WS Tempest 170
CD Solstice GT
CD Sirocco
Dagger Alchemy/Stratos 14 L
P&H Aries/Delphin 155
P&H Cetus/Scorpio HV
Valley Etain 17.7
North Shore Atlantic

There are many other options. at 6’2", 225 the person in question isn’t huge, but guys can have their weight distributed high which can make them less stable (high Center of Gravity). They often don’t have the hip flexibility needed to balance in a narrower kayak. I would strongly suggest that he take a lesson (or several) with a good instructor in addition to finding a kayak that fits better.

Since you said your friend is a beginner, the WS Tsunami 145/165 or Dagger Stratos 145L would be ideal. The CD Sirocco is also a good choice though it is a slightly better performance kayak & it may feel tippier initially than the others. All are roomy enough and have good initial stability such that he shouldn’t be swimming unless he induces a turtle.

All the other kayaks mentioned are great kayaks and should fit your buddy, however personally I view the others as not as initially stable and a significant step up for a brand new paddler.

An Outfitter I worked with used to use the current design storm as a rental almost everybody got along with that boat

My husband was 6 ft 2 in but about 40 pounds lighter than that, he fit into most boats for a medium sized male paddler. He was a also hardly a weed but more lean than stocky. The HV boats were often bigger in the cockpit fit than he wanted. Remember that every inch of scope up there becomes more surface the paddler has to control when edging the boat.

Is he capsizing that much because he is trying to fit into your boat? On weight alone, that additional 80 pounds should be sinking anything that works well for you below its optimal water line. That will make it quite unstable for him.

So I suspect that he needs a higher capacity weight limit more than the different deck height etc of an HV kayak. Though that will likely still be associated with space for longer legs and maybe bigger feet. If your friend feels too tight in yours they are probably tense as well.

The concept of an optimal waterline is something that has traditionally been well defined for canoes and barely mentioned for kayaks. But it exists for any boat hull regardless of type and affects stability and control.

Speaking as a big guy (6’ 5", 230 lbs, size 15 shoe), the most important measurement is foot size. I have been stopped from enjoying lots of boats because of my foot size. My current fleet has the Hammer, the Jackson Journey, the CD Isle, the Prijon Combi, Yukon, and Marlin. For ww, the previous generation Jackson boats fit well. The current generation does not. Your friend will absolutely have to try the different boats. BTW, people who are not big guys will offer lots of opinion about fit. I wouldn’t put much stock in those opinions.