Seeking advice on a big man kayak

Dear Board,

I’m a big fellow and I’m considering a kayak. I’m 6’ 5" and 330 lbs big just so you know.

I am looking for a kayak for use on lakes and ponds with the occasional trip on a relatively slow moving river or creek. I also would like something I could take down the shore on vacation for back bay use but I don’t plan any beach launches.

Based on what I have read here and elsewhere I am considering the Cobra Fish N Dive and the Malibu X-Factor. I’m far more concerned about stability and ease of use while fly fishing than I am with paddling ease or speed. Most of places I plan to fish are either small lakes of 200 acres or less or gently moving flowing water.

In my mind besides the questions I have about my potential choices I have questions about how kayaks are rated for capacity?

I see kayaks of similar length that only vary in width by 3 or 4 inches and yet the published capacities are very different. One may be rated for 600 pounds and one a foot longer and 3 inches narrower may be rated for 400 pounds. Is somebody fudging something?

With those thoughts in mind I would like to hear from owners of the kayaks I mentioned, or from owners of similar kayaks with similar specs suitable for a big guy.


Tim Murphy AKA Goobs

SOT ratings are inconsistent
Also, they tend to be very low.

I had an Ocean Kayak Malibu II that was rated for I think 350lbs, but in a rescue situation where someone was stranded standing on a mid-river rock while her kayak washed downstream, I was able to go recover her, pick up the fishing tackle and lunches for three more people, and get both of us back out through swirly, squirrelly currents with plenty of freeboard remaining.

For what you are talking about, I think each of those kayaks are a good choice. The Fish n’ Dive in particular was designed to be a slow and stable capacity boat (“barge” in the vernacular). It’s one of the very earliest kayaks targeted at the fishing market.

Other boats you may wish to consider are the Manta Ray series and some of the so-called canoe/kayak hybrids. Also, the Jackson Coosa was specifically designed to allow site-casting while standing on the kayak and is meant to accomodate larger paddlers. It’s pricey, though.

There are many good options out there for what you have in mind. Which one is ‘best’ is entirely a matter of personal preference.

Good luck. Stay safe. Tight lines.

  • Big D

Sit on top
The Adios

Diablo Paddlesports

12’ 5" 69 lbs. $1499.00 Top weight is 400 Lbs. You may find them cheaper somewhere but this is just the suggested price. If I was going to buy a SOT I would check this one out. For me it is the canoe, I have a Radisson 12’ Aluminum weight is 34 Lbs. but it weights little more then that now since I added items to it. But check the kayak pull down on this sight even used ones. If you can’t find one here and want a used kayak > hope this helps you but I would think about sot kayaks not cockpits kayaks mainly due to your weight harder to get out but not impossible. You’ll have to look for large open cockpit like wilderness pungo which I had long time ago.


– Last Updated: Jul-14-11 6:14 PM EST –

I have one of the 1st x-factors and I'm similar to your size. It's super stable and laid out very well. I've toted as much as 50 lbs of gear on it and it hadled it fine. I also got the "gator hatch" for it and paddled with my approx 50lb daughter up front on small lakes and that worked quite well, although a small kid swinging fishing lures around your head is pretty scarey...
There are definately some down sides to it also:

The pronounced keel makes it draw a lot of water.
It turns like a mack truck and takes quite a bit of effort to get it moving. There were also some fairly well reported quality issues on the early models and the companys response left a bad taste in several peoples mouths (mine included). I would think that those issues have been worked out since the I know that they have changed the hull design since I bought mine.

I bought mine with big plans of fishing with it at the beach, but as it turned out, I only put it in the ocean a few times (live 3+ hrs from the coast) and ended up using it mostly on local rivers, which is NOT it's strong suit. I still have it for trips to the beach, but I paddle a canoe for my river fishing.

big game prowler
I’m using a ocean kayak big game prowler. It’s a bit slow, but I love it. I was about 305 lbs when I got it. No problem sitting sideways and fishing off it. Its super stable. It’s the kayak is use most. I have that, a loon 138 and a loon 160 tandem. No problem fishing out of it for 6 hours at a clip.

Feel Free Moken
I would also suggest you check out the Moken as its a very stable SOT at 35" wide with a 420lb weight capacity.

I take mine on multi day trips down the river with 50lbs of gear and a 60lb dog…i refuse to

been there done that
I’m your exact size and did a ton of research before buying. I ended up with the ocean kayak prowler big game. I really like it and it fits the big guys perfectly. I believe it is rated for 550# and I’ve had it loaded with every bit of that without issue.

I just bought an old town solo 119 which I haven’t used yet, but you might want to look at those. You can get the inexpensive knock off at Dicks for 399.00. I’ve read a million reviews on them and they too seem very stable and more kayakish than a typical canoe. I’ll let know after the weekend.

Check out the Pungo 140

– Last Updated: May-25-12 12:11 PM EST –

My neighbor up the creek that I fish with some is about your size, he paddles a Pungo 140 and he loves it.

You may want

– Last Updated: May-26-12 1:49 PM EST –

to check out the Nucanoe Frontier. 650# capacity,great boat.

I wound up with a canoe
Dear Board,

I managed to pick up a Novacraft Prospector 17 for $ 200.00. It’s the SP3 version so it’s as heavy as Navy gunship but it goes where you point it and it allows me to get out fishing.

I liked it so much that I also managed to find a nice Grumman 15’ Sportboat used with a trailer and a Yamaha 4 HP motor. I have that on a local electric only lake and I’ll be putting it on the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers once they open back for fishing in a couple of weeks.

Assuming of course that they ever clear up again.



Good choice.
Those canoes will treat you well. I’m working on my 17 Esquif Cargo today and will be fishing it with electric motor on electric only lakes, and also on the Potomac and Shenandoah with a gas engine. I’ve got a rock guard on it, which seemed to do its job. First time I took it out without a rock guard, I lost a blade on the prop within seconds.

  • Big D

Rock guards
Dear Big D,

The Yamaha I bought is a 1997 and all the paint is still on the prop. While it came from Lebanon PA it’s clear to me they probably never had it in the Susquehanna or Juniata, or if they did they were extremely careful with where they went.

I’ve checked out a number of accesses on the two rivers and I figure if I take my time and don’t try to do what I know I shouldn’t I’ll be able to keep most of the paint on the prop too.

The only issue I have with the Grumman Sport Boat is that it has no drain. I wonder if I could get a good welder who works with aluminum to put one in for about $ 100.00 or so? I’d would be worth it too me to not have to bail the boat all the time.

The boat sits outside on the trailer, I suppose I could tarp it too?


Tim Murphy :slight_smile:

Old Town 119
I to recently purchased an Old Town 119. It is a 1998 I believe. Paid $275 for it. It currently just has the web seat. I did however order a few upgrades like…

Foot braces with glue on studs.

A SitBacker seat. I really considered the fishing seat from Old Town. I need this SitBaker for another trip anyway. If I think the fishing seat will be better I can watch for someone who did not like it to be selling theirs.

Installing a couple Skene Bow Chocks and a cleat for the anchor.

A pair of down east rod holders.

I would also like to install a portage yoke. I need to see where that should be installed yet.

Outfitting is fun.


I flip mine over on the trailer
I bought a good quality cover to protect it from UV (not a problem with an aluminum boat), but it doesn’t prevent rain entry. I need to find a way to lift the center so that it has a rake and drains water. If you think of something to keep the tarp raised so that water drains off instead of pooling up inside the boat, let me know.

Of course, I take the engine off and store it in a shed before flipping my boat over.

  • Big D

Plastic sawhorses
Dear Big D,

Sears has plastic sawhorses on sale for about $ 24.00 for a pair. They say they will support 500 pounds so I’m sure they will support a rain tarp.

I figure you could put a tarp over them once they are set in the canoe and direct most of the rain water away from the boat. My neighbor has a canoe he stores outside on a rack he built and he uses the sawhorses and a tarp.

I could always clean out the garage and put the canoes in there if I wasn’t so lazy.


Tim Murphy :slight_smile:

on the edge
the Pungos are nice kayaks but near the limit they lose stability fast.

I was about to suggest a canoe
not all big guys have the back and hamstring flexibility to sit with feet and butt and the same height and there’s a lot of canoes that can be paddled with a long kayak paddle just fine.

Good idea
I’ve got a couple sawhorse brackets that I could cut 2x4 to the length I want to get a long, low center rail. Then if I pull the tarp tight on it, that ought to do the trick, especially if I spray the tarp down with some silicone spray.

Thanks for the suggestion. It was right there staring me in the face. Isn’t that just the way?

  • Big D

Prowler Big Game vs WS Ride 135?
wondering if you have any experience comparing those two.

I imagine a boat has to be built
To handle a load significantly higher than what it is rated for, just for the manufacturer to be on the safe side legally. Lots of factors might affect what kind of load a boat can physically handle, including age of the boat, water conditions, how the weight is loaded, etc. having a big cushion between that actual maximum and a rated maximum can help handle all those. So if you’re right at or even a little above a rated weight you might to be okay most of the time, though I don’t feel right to suggest it’s a good practice to do so.