I am fairly recrent to the sport of kayak touring as I only picked the hobby up last season. I am looking for some advice ragrding a new kayak purchase. The primary purpose of my kayak is for inland lake 2-3 day camping trips, some river work and eventually some off shore fun after some sea kayaking classes and a lot more in boat time.
I purchased an older cd whistler as my first kayak last season and had some issues. As with the eddyline Merlin XT I was borrowing before I bought the whistler, I would get relatively bad sciatic nerve pain down my left side. I eliminated that by purchasing a cloud 10 seat pad.
Fast forward to this year and I am looking for a new kayak that fits better where I will not need the added seat pad. I am 5-10 155 lbs and have 30 inch waist and a 32 inch inseam. I have tried out the fathom, fathom lv and Dagger Stratos 14.5l. I liked the fathom for its speed, but the seat was causing some discomfort after about 30 min of paddling. I found the fathom lv way too twitchy for me and caused me too much discomfort after about 15 minutes or so of paddling, in addition, both of the sliding seat locks would not stay tight on the eddylines even though they were brand new boats. The Stratos 145 l version was simply too wide for me.
I am going to demo the ph Delphin 155 this weekend and the Stratos 145s the following weekend to see if either one of those will work for me. I sat in the Delphin 150 at the shop and almost instantly my leg/hip started bothering me. I think it was because of the low deck height.
Other than those two boats, I am not sure what else to look at. The seats in the current designs boats don’t excite me and I think that the deck height of the deltas is likely too short. Any other suggestions, or advice on the two I am looking at for my intended purpose would be appreciated. Ideally, I would like to stay adrojnd 15-16 feet and with my experience in ththe fathom lv. I think 21 inches may be too narrow for my current skill level
Thanks for the help
Demo the P&H Delphin 150. You will be too loose in the 155. I have paddle both. Iam 5’7" 170 pounds and the 155 was to big for me. I don’t like loose fitting boats.
OH I missed that part of sitting in 150. .
Inasmuch as the OP noted sciatic nerve pain when he just sat in the Delphin 150 and given his experiences with other boats, I wonder if the issue is more related to his body than the boats: http://www.sherrikayaks.com/2013/09/10/revisiting-the-issue-of-pain-when-kayaking/
When I buy a used boat, I make sure that the seat construction allows me to modify it - rather than expecting a good seat fit. I recently purchase a 2007 explorer which required no modification, a somewhat isolated instance. My wife uses a thigh pad which works very well for her occasional back discomfort.
It seems everyone’s back is different enough so that evolution of a ‘universal’ fit has not evolved.
quote: “I think 21 inches may be too narrow for my current skill level”
Your build suggests that you will quickly get used to a rather narrow hull.
It does seem like the Delphin 150 would be a better fit for you than the 155, but only your body will say what really will work for you.
The Stratos S might be good, but it might still be a touch wide, as I think it is only a touch narrower than the L you tried. You could always look for an Alchemy, which is no longer made (it is the boat in my profile picture here). That is the predecessor to the Stratos and is smaller. Stratos does have a higher deck. If you felt the Delphin too low, the Alchemy may feel similar.
Dagger comes from white water background and brought over the extra adjustable whitewater seats for the Alchemy and Stratos, which might be good for you. Delphin has the lesser frills seat more standard in sea kayaks (though perhaps a bit more adjustable than the average sea kayak).
Another boat in this size range that has very adjustable seats is the Jackson Journey (I’d look at 14, not 13.5). At the super high end of rock garden and surf play, I don’t think it is as good a boat as the Delphin or Alchemy/Stratos, but for what it sounds like you are doing it should be fine.
Thanks for all the advice and the link. Agreed the specs on the 150 seem like they would be a better fit, but unfortunately my body had other ideas. I will look for an alchemy as well as a Jackson journey to try out as well. The seat in the Delphin is definitely a less frills seat, but the thigh braces coupled with the higher deck height seamed to help as I could keep my legs bent instead of straight out in front.
Did you try removing the hip pads in the Delphin 150? I have similar issues and struggled with various kayaks and seats. If the hip pads are in a bad position for you they can put direct pressure on the sciatic nerve. I had this problem. I was able to make the Delphin 150 work for me by removing the hip pads and reshaping so I had boat contact as needed without the pressure on the nerve. Ultimately, a lower foam seat worked best for me but this was not possible with the Delphin as it needs the rigidity of the seat. Worked great with the Aries 150 though.
Stratos 14S had the same issue with the hip pads, btw, for me - and same solution. It has the benefit of the seat having thigh support. Fun boat, but I prefer the Delphin hull design.
I’m about the same size as you.
I hadn’t thought about removing the hip pads, but I’ll give it a try in a 150 tomorrow when I’m at the shop and see if it works. Unfortunately the aries is a little out of my price range though. Thanks for the suggestion,
Did you remove the seat and completely replace it or did you add a foam pad on top of the seat pan?
On the Aries, I replaced the seat entirely and installed the NDK foam seat that can be purchased from various dealers. With the Delphin 150, I removed the hip pads and just velcroed a foam strip higher up. Google “sciatic nerve hip” you’ll see where the wrong pressure point can cause issues. There are some good stretches to help eliminate the discomfort as well. For me, the issue was better addressed on the sides of the seat, although my first try was with a foam pad as you described. I remember a class with the well know instructor Gordon Brown where I described the pain I was dealing with and he reached into my boat and removed the hip pads, and said try this… that was an epiphany for me.