I have been paddling for 2 years in a solstice GTS and have come to realize my boat may just be too big for me. I don’t feel very stable or feel I have good control of my boat. I am 5’6" and 110lbs and have narrow hips. Today I paddled a Suka and loved it! I loved the feel of the harder edge and felt in control and effortless in my turns. Before I go and sell my GTS and buy a Suka…what other boats similar to the Suka would you recommend I try first? I am interested in other light weight touring kayaks with hard chines, preferably not longer than 16-17 inches since I want to be able to pick it up and move it short distances without too much difficulty.


Are you sure it was the hard chines
that gave you the better the better control in the Suka compared to your Solstice GTS?

I suspect that the better control is more related to better fit and shorter length than hard chines vs soft chines.

My recollection of my test paddle of the Solstice GTS is that it’s a very hard tracking boat.

I haven’t paddled the Suka, because at 5’6" and 160 lbs, I had to pry my thighs under the braces when I tried one on for size at Canoecopia last spring.

You’d probably enjoy a kevlar Perception Shadow 16.5. The cockpit is a pretty tight fit for me and it doesn’t have enough foot room for my size 8.5 mens, but my wife fits it well at 5’2" with size 6 feet. It’s a very easy to control and very sporty boat.

the Solstice GTS is way too big
for someone 5’6" and 110 lbs.

And, for what it’s worth, “suka” is the Russian word for bitch

Suka also means sugar.

Might try an Impex Mystic. Or, you might
locate a Wilderness Systems Tchaica Pro, Shenai Pro or Tempest 165. The Tempest is probably the easiest to find.

Suka is an awesome boat
It’s one of my favorites. Problem is, my knees aren’t so good anymore and getting in and out of it is really tough for me. But, once in, I love it.

Other boats
My are you too small for the Solstice GTS…

Agree with others, don’t get too wedded to hard chines or not right now. The issue you had with the Solstice GTS would have even been getting to a balance point - you simply don’t weigh enough to make it easy. In the Suka you are the right size so you found it. But you will in other boats right-sized as well, regardless of how hard the chines are. And you may find that you like some of the features in other boats for smaller paddlers that are different from the Suka boats vary in terms of stuff like hatches and how aggressive a thigh braces they have.

Other boats approx 16 ft to try, in no particular order -

Necky Eliza

Valley Avocet LV

NDK Pilgrim S (or however they label that shorter one)

It’s longer, but coming from the Solstice you may like the feel of the P&H Cetus LV

Wilderness Systems has one for smaller paddlers I believe, check their site for which model. I just tried to check quickly but internet here is slow and the clicks required to get to that are too many.

I am sure I forgot some.

Probably not Cetus LV

– Last Updated: Jul-08-12 11:49 AM EST –

It's about the same length as the Solstice GTS, though a bit narrower and lower-decked. Might be OK for her with a full camping load. I had a light camping load in it and still felt like it was too big for me. Stability was very good, though, and I could roll it despite the loose cockpit fit.

The shorter Pilgrim is simply the Pilgrim.

The OP did not mention preference for hard tracking or maneuverability, intended paddling venues, day trips only or camping, skill level, etc.

Make it Fit ?
Have customized your current kayak, completely ?

Shouldn’t be too hard to get comfortable

in a cockpit with some thought and planning.

Another you might like is the
Impex Montauk.

Pilgrim Expedition
In addition to the Pilgrim, you might consider the Pilgrim Expedition. It’s 17’ and seems to be more popular than the regular Pilgrim. The extra length seems to give it more stability without affecting maneuverability. However, I have a PE and am downsizing to the regular Pilgrim because it just seems to fit me better. I’m 5’4", 125 lbs. My PE’s for sale, see the classifieds.

volume way too big
Making the cockpit fit will not make the solstice gts work for a 100. Pb paddler.


– Last Updated: Jul-09-12 2:01 PM EST –

In the Valley line, the Avocet LV is probably the best match for your size, but the composite Aquanaut LV would be worth a demo if you're planning to carry more gear. Lovely boat.

In a different direction, a custom skin-on-frame might be another option for finding a boat that fits:

Good for you for pursuing a boat that fits. My 5'0" wife struggled for years before finding a kayak that she didn't have to fight to control.

Yep GTS way too big

– Last Updated: Jul-09-12 2:17 PM EST –

The problem is that at 110 lbs most production boats are still too heavy. Suka is a good choice and worth getting but I'd strongly suggest setting aside some time and money to build a skin on frame kayak or hunt out that rare custom construction. While not as fast a Pygmy Osprey 13 could be made light and strong, while only 13' it still has sufficient waterline for easy cruising speeds. A 30lb. kayak is a good thing .

Another consideration

Is also the Sanskrit word for joy.

So, today I learned
That “Suka” might mean “sugar coated, joyful, bitch.”

(That sounds like quite a boat.)

I love this place.

other smallish boats
These are all paddled and enjoyed by paddlers I know who are 5’3"-5’6"

NDK Pilgrim - good small volume touring

Sterling Icekap - rolling machine

Tiderace Xcite-S - good all round performance in dynamic conditions

Tiderace Xplore-S- fast touring less rocker and softer chine than the the Xcite

Romany LV - good old school design.

Pygmy Murrelet

Romany LV not lower volume
Same hull as the regular Romany, they just lowered the deck and made a small cockpit. The volume issue is why they came up with the Pilgrim boats.

I have paddled the Romany/Explorer lines in LV, have one, and while they can be made to work I would advise any small paddlers buying now to get a boat that has lower volume as well as a tight fit.