Weight Limit for Avocet???

Saw this issue come up in another post and have seen it in the past.

According to Valley’s new site, they recommended median paddler weight for the Avocet is something like 130 pounds…pretty light.

I have an Avocet and am short and stocky at 5’8, 185 pounds.

Am I “too heavy” for this boat, or approaching it?

I like the Avocet, but have always found it to have very poor secondary stability for me…not that it has been a problem really, but for me I find it to be pretty much non-existant. I notice no real change in stabilty when edging the boat from dead flat to the point where the cockpit is in the water and it is about to tip over.

Could this be a function of the fact that I am on the heavy side for this boat?

Again, I like the boat, but have never been pleased with its lack of secondary. I prefer a boat with some more secondary stability for rough water and deeply edged turns, bow rudders, etc…although this boat requires little edging to turn.

Would my weight be a “better fit” for a Romany perhaps?



you question is answered here:

your weight should be ok…
Despite what Valley puts on their website, if I had to name the ideal weight range for the Avocet, I’d probably guess 160-180 lbs. I’m 5’8" and 145 lbs and I consider myself a bit small for the Avocet unloaded even though I’ve paddled it quite a bit.

As far as “secondary stability”, this term is thrown around a lot but I’m assuming you’re referring to the tendancy of the kayak to right itself when heeled over. If you have a lot of weight in your upper torso

(high center of gravity) or if your core muscles aren’t used to extreme edging, that may be the reason you aren’t comfortable edging the Avocet. Personally, I’ve found the Romany and Avocet to be fairly similar both in size and performance. Try it out. If you feel more comfortable edging the Romany, go for it.

i am
a bit over 6 feet and 220 or so…i didn’t have a problem with the cockpit or with capacity but used it primarilly as my surfy, fun little day boat so never much of a load in it.

Test Drive…
A Nord LV, you are the perfect weight for this boat.

However you may find that the Avocet has more secondary than you think.

Capella 163
If you’re near a P&H shop, also try the Capella 163

AA with new keyhole
What you need is the new anas acuta with

the keyhole, thats a fun boat. Good secondary

& fun for playing. They should be available

this summer.

I would like to demo some of these boats, but unfortunately I don’t have any local dealers. Personally I find the Nordkapp LV to be a very promising boat based on what I have read.

Please note though…I did not say that I did not feel comfortable edging the Avocet, just that it is not optimized for this. I am completely confident with my bracing skills and don’t feel uncomfortable deeply edging any boat; however, a boat that suddenly gives out on you is not optimal for deep edging because the need to have to brace completely kills the turn that you were trying to execute.

I find that the Avocet’s stability just gives out suddenly when edged deeply. For me I have to maintain the muscle memory to remember just how far I can edge it before it wants to go over. A boat with good secondary stabilty would provide you a bit of a wall to lean against and a bit of a tangible feeling of just how far you could edge the boat before it wants to go over.

I actually like boats that are somewhat tippy, but ones that provide a degree of secondary. I recently paddled a Foster Legend and really liked the stability profile. This is regarded as a fairly tippy boat, but it had a definite wall of secondary stability that could be felt when the boat was heeled over. Not so for me with the Avocet.


it’s not the boat…

– Last Updated: Apr-05-07 8:35 PM EST –

I'd say it's your body type and possibly weight relative to that particular boat. I paddle the Silhouette but on the many occasions that I have paddled the Avocet, I thought it had really good "secondary stability" in that I could pretty much hold an edge (cockpit in the water) throughout any maneuver I needed to perform. The Silhouette is much more challenging for me in that it is much less stable both upright and on edge.

With all that said, the Nordkapp LV might be a perfect boat for you. I absolutely love that boat and it's probably the next sea kayak that I'll pick up.

Silhouette in the rough stuff can be a real


but fun!

Email from Grumpyhamilton
Received this email message, edited out actual words used.

Thought it might be pertinent to the post:

“Dude shut the f_ck up and start paddling. 185 is fine in an Avocet. Don’t be

that guy…go kayaking! Enough already.”

Thanks for the helpful email.

I am just asking the question mostly because I am curious if my weight is the reason that I find the secondary to suck on this boat while others have commented the opposite. I like the boat otherwise…but hey, I am a perfectionist in pretty much everything that I do. Nothing wrong with that.

If my weight means that I am not getting the optimal performance out of this boat then hey, it’s easy to sell a used glass boat and to buy a different used glass boat and lose no money on the deal. Why settle for less than optimal when optimal can be had with little effort? The internet makes this easy nowadays.

Like I said I like the Avocet and have used it in some very rough water with great success. It is a very good boat, but I would consider it a great boat if it had more secondary. I have been toying with the idea of getting a Romany or Anas Acuta and getting rid of the Avocet.

My question is just out of curiosity. It was sparked by another recent post about the Avocet and from looking at the Valley website. If you look at their bell curve it would show that my weight lies far from the center of the curve. Thought that was interesting.

Sorry if I am offending anyone here by asking this question…and the many others I ask on this forum. If I have something on my mind that I am curious about, I ask about it here. That’s what I like about these forums.


That’s what I like about these forums.
That is the use for which these forums are intended.

We all learn from others’ questions and responses.

No one is compelled to read anything here.

Most of us have commitments (i.e. jobs) or conditions (frozen water etc…) that prevent us from being on the water everyday at times. These forums keep us in touch with something we care about greatly.

Good points…
Something else I would like to point out…spending a lot of time posting on the forums and spending a lot of time on the water are not mutually exclusive. I do both.

Most of my posts are about 5AM before I leave for work or at about 7 or 8 PM…often times after paddling.

In no way does posting on this forum take away from my time on the water…it just teaches me more about the sport and enriches my experience on the water.

I love paddling and basically eat, breath and sleep kayaking. Just ask my wife…it drives her crazy!


What to worry about…
life and death issues. Being healthy and wanting to wake up in the morning. Yes.

Emails on the side from people who can’t take 10 seconds to say something in a non-confrontional way, so it can be said publicly… no.

Enjoy your paddling however many questions come with it.

Stability Curves…

– Last Updated: Apr-06-07 8:53 AM EST –

If you have ever noticed the stability curves (basically secondary/righting moment) that Sea Kayaker Magazine publishes with their reviews you will see a huge difference with how the load weight of the boat is configured.
A small paddler with a loaded boat will have the most and a large paddler and no load equaling the same total weight will be on opposite ends of the graph. My configuration in an unloaded Nord LV is almost nonexistent secondary or righting moment compared to the other configurations.
So it just may be you and not the boat. Switching to a boat that gives you a bunch of secondary may paddle a whole lot different than the Avocet..


That is what I am thinking too…it’s not the boat–I know that because so many others say they get good secondary out the Avocet.

Maybe my weight and where it is located…all in my upper body… is what is causing this lack of secondary for me.

I don’t find the boat tippy…just can’t feel any distinguishable difference between primary and secondary stability…just smoothly edges until it wants to go over without an warning or indication.


Concepts of Stability and Meaures Of
You might want to review the materials on http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/ relating to design and how designers use and what they mean by such terms as secondary stability. I can’t tell what you mean when you describe your experience in the Avocet in terms of primary and secondary stability. Many boats that are considered great rough water boats and some say have great secondary stability, act and feel just as you describe the Avocet. I’m not saying it does not behave as you describe when you use it, nor am I saying you are incorrect if you are saying it lacks a strong self righting force. However, that can be viewed as a good thing. It also means the boat can be righted from an extreme angle of heel with little effort and the paddler can edge the boat to whatever amount they prefer with little effort. A boat with a strong righting moment will also require a higher amount of force to come back once it is on the downside of the stability curve which means it will be harder to bring back up. If you were to say the Avocet is easy to put at any angle of edge, I suspect most people would agree. Seems to me you don’t have to edge this boat much at all when you over 180# to put the coaming under the water and it can be readily be balanced quite a bit further; especially while moving. It cannot be held on edge as if against a “shoulder” since there isn’t one, but it can be balanced there without a great deal of drama.

All of which suggests the Avocet, due to your size and weight distribution as well as the boat traits you prefer, is not a good match for you. As often the case, its not the boat, its what we bring to the boat. A qualitative statement, but not a judgmental one.

the sign of a good boat (IMO) It lets you determine at what angle you wish it to be…not an edge that “it” likes to be at…I much prefer boats that transition smoothly from anywhere to anywhere. If they have this Secondary edge…then they have a tendancy to flop, as they break over that edge. some boats exhibit this trait more than others.

Best Wishes