too tall

I am preparing to purchase my first canoe. I went to the canoe store today to look at some. I sat in several Wenonah canoes and the seat was too low for me. Old town seems a little better but still not very comfortable. The problem is I am 6’3" tall and have long legs. I have to sit cross-legged. I can’t kneel because my feet won’t fit under the seat. It would be fairly easy to raise the seat but I think I would be sacrificing stability by raising my center of gravity. Are there any long legged people out there who have found a solution to this or a suitable canoe? I should mention that I am looking for a canoe for slow rivers and lakes and fishing. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Raising the seat

– Last Updated: Apr-01-07 11:17 PM EST –

Raising the seat and kneeling with your feet beneath it is what works for me, and it makes the boat a lot more controlable and stable. Even sitting on a low seat, the boat can be a bit "floppy" when crossing eddylines, even with your feet well braced, compared to having your butt higher but your kness solidly planted on outside edges of the floor. I kneel more than 95 percent of the time, and on an average canoe that means I have the rear edge of the seat as high or almost as high as it can go (and the front edge is a couple inches lower).

If you can kneel and do so comfortably, I suggest you raise the seat and give it a try. If you can't kneel or don't want to, a footbrace is the way to go. Paddle with your legs out in front of you and your feet planted against the brace. Besides the increase in comforrt, you will feel a lot more "connected" to the boat using either of these methods, and your paddling will be more efficient.

I’d raise the seat
I too have lower back pain with my legs out front if I do any twisting. So rowing works but paddling does work for long unless I can kneel.

Alternate view
Or you could get a tarpon 160 Sot… and not worry about anything. BTW I am 6’3" also.

Or, you could take your shoes off.
I’m 6’ 5" with size 15 feet. I have not found a stock canoe with a seat so low that I could not easily get my feet in kneeling position. I wear Tevas or NRS paddling socks.

Now, if I put on my portaging boots, I can’t get my feet under the seat. But I don’t wear big footwear in a situation where I might be swimming. Also note that some river shoes have such stiff soles that they do not allow you to down-flex your ankle enough to comfortably kneel.

The other possibility is that you may need to work on your flexibility. If you can point your toes like a ballerina, then you should be comfortable while kneeling. Otherwise you are going to be on the tops of your toes all the time. Similarly for paddling in a sitting position: if it is uncomfortable for you to paddle while sitting with your legs extended, then your hamstrings are so tight that you are at constant risk of back injury. This must be corrected by a proper program of progressive stretching.

Same dimensions, human not canoe
6-3, 36 inseam, size 13 feet.

I can kneel for short periods but mostly sit.

I paddle solo boats exclusively now and use a combination of postures/positions. Legs crossed and braced on the inwhales or under the tumblehome depending on the boat. Shift to extend on leg or the other, shift to extend both legs, brace on the pack or other gear in front.

I have considered various foot braces and decided that only something easily removable would be ok, otherwise it’ll take up too much space for camping trips.

In a tandem used solo there is a lot more flexibility with the additional space. Consider adding a back band (like in a kayak) or a strap-on canoe seat for back support.

All things will develop in time on the water. Your mileage will vary.

Hope this helps


I am 6’5" and have a 34" inseam.
If your height is in your torso like mine , you want to kneel or lower the seat. Raising the seat is going to make the canoe feel very unstable.

I am really a frustrated kayaker, so I put a foot brace at just the right place and angle to be comfortable for me. I can paddle for 2-3 hours and be very comfortable.