Too small a kayak or too few skills?

Bought an Eddyline Fathom LV.

I am 5’7" on a good day and 180 pounds.

Have been in my Tsunami 140 a number of times. It feels like a bathtub.

First day on the water I paddled carefully in circles seeing how it would be on sweep turns.

It feels very tippy.

Paddling into the beach I shifted to fall to the left and got slammed to the right. Did a wet exit and called it a dismount.

Have noticed that some manufacturers state that similar kayaks are for people up to 160 pounds.

Also wondering whether I should switch to a soft chined kayak.

leak ?

your stats are ball park.

having a bad day ?

any cogent reasons for buying a … ?

thinking of hard chines I remember only the Monitor.

Quoting review from a guy
who is 5’11", 180# with 14 years paddling experience: (from the Eddyline site)

“Steve: The Fathom was responsive and

pretty speedy too. It tracked well. The

cockpit was roomy and the seat was comfortable.

At rest the initial stability was only

fair, but the secondary stability allowed for

good turning. It will feel a little twitchy at

first for some paddlers, but it steadies right

out when it’s moving forward.”

Sounds like you just need more seat time in the boat, not only because of the difference in chines, but you’re going from a 24" beam to a 21" beam.

I’ll be doing a demo of the Fathom LV next month but the chines won’t be an issue as I paddle a hard chined boat. Soft chines feel as weird to me as hard chines do to you.

more likely the transition
is what’s catching you out. Those are very different boats. Paddle it for awhile and you’ll get used to the differences.

Once you get comfortable in it, THEN try the Tsunami. It’ll feel even more barge-like and less responsive (this is what the new boat gets you).

I wouldn’t get too hung up over chines but focus more on the handling of the Fathom.

Smaller is more responsive
The Fathom is catching you out in errors that the Tsunami let you get away with due to the design and volume difference. You just need time.

Once you get used to hard chines and relax the boat will paddle fine. I paddle both, over time I have gotten to where I have to pay attention to notice the difference. Both boats have similar stability, so it is just how it feels when it stops.

found Eddylines to be twitchy
I used to teach for a shop that carried Eddyline. It often seemed that when I had a new student in one, we more often had early wet exits. What I found was that the boats didn’t like to stay exactly, perfectly upright.

Whenever I taught with someone in an Eddyline, I always described to them that the boat did not like to stay perfectly upright. Newer paddlers tried to keep it upright, ended up getting stiff because it was so much effort to keep it there. If they let it fall off 5% or so to one side or the other, and let it stay there, then they did fine.

This was easy to show on a beach. The boat have a noticeable keel line. If you put them on sand, and have someone sit in it, the boat automatically falls off to one side or the other. Be almost impossible to have it perfectly straight upright, as you would be balancing on the keel. Same effect on the water, but perhaps not as large.

I never figured out of if it was all models, or just some models.

Thank you all.

A lot of good advice here.


Hard Chines
Most hard chined boats will feel twitchy at rest and when beached because of the hull profile. Think you may be at the high end of the “smaller paddler” it was designed for and with a higher CG may add to the twitchiness.

Hard chines matter.
It’s the relatively abrupt change from one face to another compared to a soft chined boat make it a challenge to get used to.

I owned the Fathom LV for a couple years, as well as soft chined kayaks. Kept a soft chined kayak that fit my body and paddling style better than the Fathom LV.

I’m 5’6" and 165 lbs. I paddle mostly flat water with minimal waves, but often a fair bit of wind.

Plenty of foot room in the Fathom LV, but a wee bit tighter on the thigh braces than I prefer.

Get some more seat time in it and play around a lot to test the limits on edge when turning at speed.

Have fun.

images appear composed for examining these effects …

I’m not a kayak guy (anymore) but coming
from one extreme(somewhat) type of really soft edges to the other(hard edges), as Yanoer mentioned, is a radical change = which demands you put some time in(as mentioned) paddling…

I agree that hard chines feel different - literally more of a hard hit side to side in waves rather than a smoother motion. But my soft chined boat has a stop and tend to hang spot exactly like my hard chined boat does. It is just less smooth as it moves side to side in waves.

I have had both of these boats in haystacks over my head, granted it is not as tall a head as some here. When it comes to the part I cared about, which was not capsizing as we got knocked around, there was no big diff. Had I been in another boat in the household with very different stabilities I’d have been swimming, but that isn’t about the chines. This other boat has an entirely different stability profile than my main boats.

I can agree with different feeling. But when boats have about the same stability radical seems on the strong side for the diff between hard and soft chines.

There is more than the chine diff going on here. The boat the OPer is coming from has a different stability profile than the Fathom LV, with a good bit less emphasis on what tends to get called primary stability. It also sounds like the volume match of paddler to boat is different between the two. So it really would not matter how the Fathom was chined - it would still feel very different to him.

I don’t think it’s radical
Sure, it’s noticeable. But it’s not something that should throw an experienced paddler.

I will say
When you get used to a boat that in my opinion is designed right–a boat that has a definite center and doesn’t want to flop from one side to the other-- keeping in mind that there is a difference between that and a boat that edges very easily, but yet has a good secondary–it can be quite difficult to get accustomed to the flopper, or the roly-poly boat. Of the two, I prefer the roly-poly over the flopper. But by far, a boat that has a center is the boat that will spoil you. I love a boat that allows you to get a little sloppy and forgives you for turning off your gyroscope from time to time. There are such boats and that doesn’t mean they have to be pudgy at the waist (cockpit)–just very well designed.

It’s a skill thing.
As above, hard and soft chined kayaks can be equally stable or unstable. I eventually lost that feel for primary stability among most sea kayaks. A kayak has to be heeled over a bit before it registers that I’m getting off-balance. For most, including myself, we start out very much in tune to very subtle heeling movements. It leaves you seeking stability where stability doesn’t need to be an issue. It leaves you tensed up and pulling your kayak upside down when you had no reason to feel off-balance in the first place. It really is a matter of relaxing your legs, hips, and torso, and allowing them to move independently, eventually without thought. The gyroscope eventually fades from consciousness, and you’re no longer consciously aware of the little movements that used to have you tensing up. So it’s not some move that you’re taught and then perform. I might describe it as developing a feel for it. You can have every body position textbook correct for whatever stroke, but that doesn’t mean you’ve become more advanced at remaining comfortably balanced in textured waters.

It takes time.

I read about things on here like the Great Lakes rescues where you have tourists capsizing and swimming. It makes me wonder if there isn’t another balance that exists that gets ignored.

Everyone wants a kayak that they feel comfortable in, and there are a lot of very stable kayaks out there. But I think a line could be drawn where if you don’t feel stable in such-and-such a kayak design, you don’t belong in open water with high rough-water potential in any design. At a certain skill level, you can jump in some of these “more unstable” designs without issue. And that speaks to your level of ability in handling a non-horizontal waterscape.

There are obviously people who appreciate the design. So I would look at it as an opportunity to hone your skills, a way to bring yourself much more towards being one with the moving water underneath of you. Imagine yourself part of it. Imagine yourself as swimming in it (figuratively eventually) rather than riding in a boat on top of it.

Learning to handle a P&H Sirius in the ocean was probably the best teacher I ever had. Right after I bought that boat and had it out in the ocean a few times, I started thinking I’d never be able to fully relax in it. Then one day, sometime down the road in a beam sea, I happened to notice one of many whitecapped waves washing over the deck. I had been giving full attention to my forward stroke mechanics, and in that instant realized I had lost that insecure feeling, and my skills had improved markedly. I had previously pretty much accepted that jittery was just the way everyone must feel in that kayak in open water. I was wrong. I used to be jittery in the kayak. The kayak was fine with the right level of skill.

If you have it in you, and you paddle often enough, I highly encourage keeping on. It will reward you…if it doesn’t leave you for dead first.

addressed to me?
I’m not sure whether your post was directed at me, or the OP. If it was to me, let me assure you that most of my paddling is in waves and conditions that would have most paddlers watching from the beach. That isn’t meant as a boast–it’s just the way it is. I will admit that a few years back, I would have hung it up for the day when it gets that hairy. Sometimes I have no choice as conditions change very quickly and you’ve still got to get back to the launch site. Sometimes, it is daunting enough that I do call it good when I get back, but other times I just stay out there and let it happen.

I’ve been called crazy, but I think you know there’s a huge difference when you know what your boat is capable of, but still, I have been surprised a few times.

What I refer to in my previous post is not with reference so much to stability, but to the design that lets the boat sit on an even keel and not irritatingly flop on every stroke.

Not at all to you.
It’s a response to the original subject and post: Too small a kayak or too few skills?

I answered skills.

If you look at the positioning of the responses, if they’re on the left, it’s to the op. If they’re indented, it’s to the top post that’s indented one less space. At least that’s how I’ve figured it. It looks like I hit the right button to respond to the op?

No, it was no comment on your skill level. I think I borrowed the “gyroscope” terminology that you introduced, simply because it made sense to me. But I probably borrow terminology from the flow of posts regularly. I suppose I’m not all that original of a thinker.

I apologize if I’ve offended in any way.

good post
It’s probably good to remember when our own boats felt more tender, why they felt that way, and how all that changed. As you suggest, a lot of it is in the mind, but which goes away with training and repetition.

I read it as a response to the OP.
Thought it was a wonderful reply, raising some points I’ve not read here before. Thank you.

The words that really jumped out for me were “It takes time.”

It does, not only to develop skills but, I think, to learn to trust your boat.