Valley Aquanaut for tall blokes?

I am 6’5" and 220 lbs and still looking for the right boat for me.

Currently padling a Valley Aquanaut HV RM/PE and it is a perfect fit for me, but I want a bit faster and more playfull boat.

The NDK Explorer HV was for me too twitchy unladen, otherwise perfect.

(Impex Force 5 seems like a playfull and fast boat, but they don’t sell them in Europe!)

Could Valley Aquanaut (standard) be a good candidate - will I fit? I’m afraid it’s to small for my long legs and body weight.

The HV version seems to be a slower and not that playfull boat!?

-Happy padling (also for long legged guys)

Checked the bulkhead length?
Others can weigh in on the weight, literally, but I do know someone close to your size who paddles a standard Aquanaut. One thing I don’t know is whether they had to find one with the bulkhead moved out a bit - they are I think 6’4".

P&H Cetus

– Last Updated: Oct-12-08 8:21 AM EST –

It is at least as fast as the Aquanaut, very maneuverable and will handle your weight. Should handle your height, but if not swapping out their newer footbrace system they are now using with an older Yakima style one would allow the footbrace system to be mounted further forward. Because of its' rocker/maneuverability factor it does need the skeg in certain conditions, while the Aqaunaut might not. All are trade offs. Not sure how the poly Cetus differes from the glass one.

I think the Impex 5 is tilted more towards the tracking side then it is the maneuverable side.

Standard Aquanaut

– Last Updated: Oct-12-08 10:00 AM EST –

You should fit in a standard Aquanaut. Standard forward bulkhead placement is 37". At 220 you might not want to add another 75 pounds of gear ;-)

You would likely fit in a Cetus. I'm 6' 180+ and found the Cetus enormous. However a friend felt very cramped in one last weekend - it may have been how the boat was outfittted by/for its owner. This friend also could not quite make it into my Aquanaut, though he fit in my Nordkapp LV. My Aquanaut has custom placed bulkhead and glued in mini-cell at the hips and under the flanges. My Nordlow has only the stock hip pads, 1/4" of foam under the flanges, etc...

Thank you for the answers.

It seems like I maybe can fit the Aquanaut by pushing it’s limits and a bit “over”, so choosing a bigger volume boat can be it…

You recommend P&H Cetus for its speed and play. It looks like a really nice boat with extra load capacity combined with speed and stability.

If the stability curve is like the Aquanaut it is a winnner for me. Thanks again!!!

Valley Aquanaut HV
From another point of view, I think that you are going to have a tough time finding a better boat for you than the one you are in. So try before you buy. Most of it is personal.

I personally prefer the Aquanaut HV very much to the Cetus. Although there are a lot of things to like about the Cetus, I don’t think many people would call it more playful than the Aquanaut HV.

In P&H, also try the Capella 173, which I think you would find more playful than the Aquanaut HV - at least I do.

Another thing is stability. At your height and weight, it is going to be an issue with many boats. If you found the Explorer too twitchy (most folks consider that a pretty stable boat for average sized people - comparable to the regular Aquanaut), you might find the Cetus a bit narrow.

As for speed, I don’t think that there is a meaningful difference between any of the boats that have been mentioned unless you are racing, in which case none would be suitable.

A Foster Shadow might be a bit faster and is very playful for such a large boat, but you would might find it a bit twitchy also, and you might love or hate the hard chine. For general purpose paddling and boats, the Aquanaut HV is about as fast as anything IMO and is an excellent overall design.

All good boats

– Last Updated: Oct-12-08 7:05 PM EST –

For me the Cetus is as stable or even more then my Explorer as it gets wide just past your hips. Definitely much more maneuverable as once a turn is initiated in it, you can turn it 180 degrees in one shot in certain conditions. Several years ago I demoed a plastic Aquanaut HV for about an hour on a quick water river setting. I was impressed with its' initial and secondary stability, ability to maneuver effectively for its size and efficiency in the water. I am a little shorter (6'+) and about the same weight and fit all three boats just fine. Yes some customizing might be needed, but nothing major for my body size. Having only paddled the Aquanaut HV once I don't want to pretend I have much to offer outside of the fact I found it a nice boat for people over 6' and 200 lbs. I am more familiar with the Cetus and Explorer and don't see any major issues of stability with either one. Maneuverability goes hands down to the Cetus and more neutral behavior goes to the Explorer. Cetus is a tad quicker and by no means a narrow boat in hull width or cockpit opening. Big difference that I see is that they each followed different design theories or approaches. Explorer is more box shape with a flatter bottom, Aquanaught HV with a little more of a "V" bottom and slightly flared sides and the Cetus seems to be a little more of a soft chine with the most rocker.

I agree with sactobob.
“I think that you are going to have a tough time finding a better boat for you than the one you are in.”

The search continues
I have the Aquanaut HV in polyethylene and maybe the composite version offer more?

I have to admit that I am very happy with the Aquanaut HV as an good allrounder for my skill level right now. (But i want a little bit more…never satisfied)

It has very good initial and secondary stability.

Handles big waves and choppy sea beautiful.

The speed is ok, but a bit slower than NDK Explorer.

“Slow” surfer compared to NDK.

Easy to roll, I have done the handroll with it.

The cockpit could have been slightly longer for cowboy and side entry rescues.

Had to adjust the footpegs a bit as they where to short for me.

Hatches are waterproof, no leaking.

As beeing an intermediate padler the boat gives me the confidence to try out new techniques and of course I will try a new boat before buying.

I haven’t paddled any Valley boats, but I have paddled a P&H Scorpio and a NDK Romany RM. Both of these kayaks will fit larger paddlers. I am 5’11" and about 195 lbs (size 11 feet) and they fit me well, with plenty of leg and foot room to spare.

The Scorpio is very quick for a RM kayak, yet stability and maneuverability are good. I paddled a half-dozen different kayaks at a recent demo day, and the Scorpio was noticeably faster than the others. The new Romany RM is a tighter fit than the Scorpio but is fine once you get in it. It has extra room for your knees. It didn’t feel as quick as the Scorpio, but it tracked well and handled great in rough surf. Storage room is quite bit smaller in the Romany compared to the Scorpio (which also has a 4th day hatch in front of the cockpit.)

I would consider both of these “fun” kayaks with excellent primary and secondary stability. The Scorpio would be faster if speed was your primary goal, and the Romany would probably handle a little better in rough surf. The Romany is more of a day or weekend tourer, while the Scorpio has enough storage for longer trips.

I own both the Aquanaut LV RM and Cetus
Two very different boats. I am 6’3" 245lbs and fit comfortably into both boats. The Aquanaut would be my only boat if it were made from composite. The composite Aquanaut LV, or HV for that matter, do not fit me. I suppose it is because of my generous mid section (sounds nice!, much better than fat _ss). The Valley composite boats are not equivalent to the their RM boats. I can’t even get in the composite Aquanaut lv. I love the RM LV, it is fast enough, very stable, manueverable, and rolls very well. The rocker makes it a blast in the waves. I wish it were stiffer and faster and lighter (composite).

The Cetus is the most comfortable boat I have paddled and I like it for distance paddles. I feel that it is fast, comfortable, and has tons of storage for both single and multi day use. It does not roll as well as the Aquanaut and is not as fun in the waves (for me). All of my boats have the foot braces removed and the bulkheads foamed back with foot blocks outboard. The Cetus does not track as well as the Aquanaut, or as well as most boats, particularly in a rear quartering wind. The Cetus is a relatively flat boat (fast). They are both very trustworthy boats, if you plan on being in bigger wind and waves, or surfing, go with the Naut. Longer distance with handy storage and flatter water, the Cetus would be my choice. If you can fit in a Aquanaut Composite that might be just perfect. My comments are based on my size, ability, and experience. I have found that many of my initial impressions have changed as my experience increases, but I have owned both of these boats for over a year and used them in varying conditions. I am presently giving serious thought to the Betsie Bay Recluse as well. If I sell my Q Boat I will likely buy one. As you can see, I am trying to find that perfect boat for my size, and at my size it is not easy. They all have trade offs, but so far my Aquaaut has the fewest. Good Luck! Bill

Valley RM and Composite models differ
Valley RM and composite boats of the same model designation fit differently and, sometimes, have slightly different hull dimensions.

BTW, my composite Aquanaut standard feels faster than an NDK Explorer. Sea Kayaker reviews and drag figures for each confirm this sense.

Intermediate paddler
Hand roll.

Interesting mix.

Have you tried the new Nordcapp. I like the Nordcapp LV. You have to lean to turn her but she is fast.

My explorer is great but I am 5’8" and you are right the lay up is dodgy. My skeg box seams to be leaking now.

a bit faster and more playfull boat
Nordkapp :wink:

You’re likely too heavy for a Nordkapp LV which is really more playful and quicker…

I also agree.
Stay with what you got and on occasion when paddling with others, see if you can try their boat and see how you fit and how it feels. Paddlers are always obsessing over boats needlessly. If it’s an absolute dog that’s one thing but most boats will do the job fine with a good paddler in it. Enjoy what you have and the next best boat will pop right up in front of you in time.

Thanks again
I know: “Never change a winning team!” (The Valley Aquanaut HV RM)

I agree that changing a kayak to often is not the smartest to do if you got a boat that is “good enough”. A few years back I had a kayak with rudder and no rocker. Today I am very happy that I changed to a britboat, learned new techniques (edging, rolling ++) that would have been much harder with the old “ferry”.

And that I can roll a kayak with or without the padle does not make me a good padler but sure it is more fun…

Based on your feedback I am really looking forward to testpadle following boats:

  • Valley Aquanaut Composite
  • P&H Cetus Composite
  • P&H Scorpio RM
  • Aquanaut LV RM (can I really fit a LV?)

    Thanks again for your feedback!

I can’t imagine how you will fit in an
Aquanaut RM LV without major modification to the boat. There are people in the 6’ 200# range that have difficulty fitting in my LV comfortably.

Bruce, is your LV an RM? I cut away the
inner coaming lip for about a six inch run next to my

hips and this took away a minor pinch point. Otherwise I have tons of roon in my LV RM. I am 25 lbs heavier and 2 inches shorter than SVEINT and my bulkhead has a 2inch solid block of minicell with 2 inch foot blocks outboard on either side. That is a four inch build up to my feet. I think he should paddle it and see. What I don’t fully understand is how he will benifit from a change from the HV RM to the LV RM. In my mind there is not enough of a difference to justify the purchase, but a change to composite in another story. I would definitely check out the Nordcapp and the Q boat. If I were thinner I would still own the Q boat. Bill

Hey Bill- my LV is an RM
I have seen people shorter and lighter than the two of you struggle getting into and out of my boat. Perhaps it depends on where the weight is distributed on the individual.