Smaller paddlers in Solstice GT?

New here! Currently looking at a solstice GT that is available to me for a pretty good deal but is further than I can go for trying it out before buying and I’m wondering if there are any smaller paddlers (5’2-5’6, 120-150lbs), that use this boat?

And how much does an inch in the beam/depth make in regards to the fit?

Editing to add - how much adjustment can be done with regards to adding foam?


That inch can matter when you want to roll it, lower is easier. I honestly forget where this boat lives for someone of your, and my, smaller stature. It may be big.

What is your size and which boat do you use / the dimensions?

5 ft 3.5 inches, start the day these days at 135 pounds. Used to be 10 pounds lower but I have hit an age where I need to keep a few pounds on for insurance if I get sick. At least that is the excuse I use.

My primary boats these days are the NDK Romany, officially I should be in the LV but the regular one that I inherited behaves well and is a good baby sitter for solo paddling; and the Vela which does fit me correctly.

Just measured and max deck height (measure to the underside) on both is 11 inches and a little smidgeon. Note that these two similar deck heights operate in rather different packages. The beam of the Vela at the intended waterline is 19.5 inches, it is narrower. I have had people find that they can’t stay in that boat if they are wider in posterior or thighs than me. The regular Romany only gets complaints from people who want an ergonomic seat, something which seems to not work for me at all.

My first sea kayak was a CD Squall, at the time the smallest paddler boat in the Solstice series. Really outstanding boat in many ways. But the boat was working so hard to keep me upright it set up a spot that was a bear to get by coming back up. I put my NDK Explorer LV in the water and my percentage went from 3 out of 9 to 7 out of 9 the first session. Really just because the boat did not fight back.

As to foam, you can add a fair amount to pad down and from the sides as long as you made secure layers with the minicell foam and DAP Weldwood cement. The problem is that the overall volume of the boat remains the same regardless of how you pad it out. Some boats make it fairly easy to manage them even if over volume, like my old Romany, because it is a quite maneuverable boat. Some boats are not so cooperative when they are over volume. You really can only find out by taking them out and seeing what happens when you try to drop them on an edge.

Wow! This is so helpful, we are the same size haha. I think I might just go for it and figure out maneuverability later. Thanks

A better fit at your size would be the Solstice GTS. I suspect the GT will be too large, I have seat time in the GTS and none in a GT

It will be way to big. You need a Solstice GTS. Only thing you’ll figure out later is that it was a mistake. Year, condition and price of it is?


NO, don’t buy it! That kayak will feel like a bathtub to a small person, even for the 5’6” 150-pounder. It will be an absolute barge to the 5’2” 120-pounder.

My first SK was the Squall, the roto analog of the Solstice GTS. It was useable for me as a beginner, at under 110 lbs 5’3”. Padded it out for more thigh contact but the cockpit really was still too wide and high. I used it a lot, in different conditions, too. But it was not a good fit.

My husband bought the Storm, the analog of the Solstice GT. Even at 5’9 and 150-ish pounds then, he was too small for that boat. If he had actually wanted to develop his skills, the mismatch would have been worse.

As it was, due to their extraneous volume on both of us, the kayaks were more than stable enough for beginners. I would not recommend buying it unless all you want is sheerly staying uncapsized. Developing skills beyond that, especially anything that requires edging (which is most of SK skills), the width and height of the cockpit would be a handicap, possibly leading to bad habits.

Ditto Paddledog52’s comment about the only thing learned will be that you made a mistake in buying it. Keep looking for something that fits better. The GT is WAY too big for the 5’2” person and still too big for the 5’6” person, too.

BTW, when my husband got another kayak, I sold his Storm to someone who was 5’6” and on the heavy side. I warned him it would be too big, but he was hot to buy it. After he sat in it, he bought it. A few days later, he wanted me to buy it back from him. Nope. He was warned, and I am not a rental company. Don’t jump just because it is a deal.

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A kayak that is to big will usually be tippy because you’re to light to get much of it below the water line.

Usually many GTS models around. Usually $700-1000 unless it’s fairly new. That range you can get a real nice Solstice.

Not exactly my full experience. There was a Solstice, forget which one, that was so much too big for me it got ridiculous. I was literally throwing my upper body out sideways over the boat and waving at my friends, forget any proper edging form. I literally could not get the boat to go over.

I know of a Sostice SS in kevlar for sale. The SS was the precursor of the GTS. If interested.

My experience has been the exact opposite. The too-big boats felt ridiculously stable. They are, however, difficult to control due to lack of thigh contact, so if I were foolish enough to use one in rough water, it probably would feel tippy even if it did not capsize me.

Either way, a poorly fitted kayak won’t be good for furthering skills.

Thanks everybody! I’ve decided to pass on it and look for a kayak that will fit me better long term! Currently looking at a Kevlar GTS, would this be a good fit for a 5’2 130lb paddler? Or any other recommendations? I love sea kayaking but know nothing about the boats and am hoping to find a boat that’ll suit guiding as well as multi week trips :slight_smile:

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See if you can sit in it or take it for a paddle. Hopefully it Sea-lect pedals not sliding Yakima pedals. You can swap them out anyway.

Hi and welcome! That boat is way too big! I am 6’4” and 230lbs and I wouldn’t buy it for myself. Too roomy. One of my early boats 30 years ago or so was in the smaller solstice ST. You would be a better fit in a GTS or something completely different. Keep looking!


There are several other all-‘rounder sea kayaks that would fit you better. WS Tempest 165, SKUK Pilgrim or Pilgrim Expedition, P&H Capella 161 or 163 (whichever one has the smaller cockpit; they also made a roomier 166 and 169, I think), and at least one of the Valley models. All of these are skegged kayaks.

Your choice will depend largely on what models are within geographic reach, and whether you’re willing to travel a few hundred miles or more to demo and buy a kayak.

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