Whitewater For A Big Guy


I have kayaked for several years but I am relatively new to whitewater. I am looking for a good WW boat to learn and play in. I’m 6’2, 235 lbs.

Our local outfitter here doesn’t carry anything large enough for me, so I’ll have to drive somewhere or get it online. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Thank you!!

Can’t explain why your dealer is
lacking examples, because things are MUCH better now than they were when I shifted from c-1 to ww kayak in the early 90s. There are some kayaks now (such as the Jackson MegaRocker) that can handle guys in the upper 200s, and there are plenty of good candidates for a guy at your weight.

But rather than recommending anything specific, lemme ask you where you are located and what sort of rivers you hope to paddle. Also, whether you will be mainly running rivers and concentrating on getting through harder and harder rapids upright, or whether you have seen playboaters and would prefer to do that. It’s really a river runner versus creeker versus playboat issue, with each type of kayak having some limitations if asked to perform in the other categories.

For getting started and
up to class II or so, the SOT models are fun. I have two Perception Torrents that hold me fin and I’m 6’1" and about 230lbs. I’ve seen them new for $650 and used as low as $275.

It’s not a serious whitewater boat, but a good started that doesn’t require you learn to roll and it’s a forgiving boat at 31 inches wide. The discontinued Dagger Pegasus is similar but tracks a bit better on the flat sections. Make sure you get thigh braces with any WW SOT.

Just a thought.


Good point
I guess I could have given more detail. I’m located in Oklahoma, but I travel all through the Southwest. I have been focusing on Class II+ water, but really want to get into playboating. We have a nice WW practice spot in Tulsa. I have a river runner, but I’d like a little play boat. Our only local outfitter is a little skinny guy and I guess he thinks everyone should look like him. Anyway, he’s not very cooperative about getting the right boat for me, and he’s also the only rental business in town. Thanks for your response!

Jackson super fun
a big guys play boat. for standing waves, surfing, spinning and whatever else you can eventually learn, it’s an awesome boat. there may be others, but certainly, you will need a substantial kayak. easier to find a river runner for your size, but they won’t surf nearly as well if this is what you wish to do.

Or the Jackson Super Star
There are several for sale over on Boatertalk.com.

From a well-known school

– Last Updated: Jan-04-09 3:12 PM EST –



Most of the boats mentioned come in several sizes.

Anonymous said...

Great article, thanks. The comment about a larger paddler not liking a Jackson Fun Series, would that even be true of a Super Fun? Reading the specs, they seem to be designed for big paddlers. And if not the Superfun, what similar playboat/river runner would you recommend for a 6'2", 230# paddler?
October 23, 2007 12:04 PM
Wayner said...

Actually, the SuperFun is a very good boat for larger paddlers that are aggressive and looking for an exciting design. It will also serve "fuller figured" paddlers well in helping develop more playboating moves...plus it's comfortable and easy to roll!
October 23, 2007 12:48 PM


– Last Updated: Jan-04-09 4:24 PM EST –

Other boats to consider (assuming river running):

Liquid Logic Remix 79

Dagger RPM Max (if you can find it used)

Dagger Axiom (RPM replacement available next month - you'll likely need a large)

Pyranha Burn - large

Wavesport Diesel 80

for all the suggestions, now I have some things to research. I wish I had someplace close to “test run” those boats, but I’ll depend on reviews for now. Thanks again all.

Did anyone suggest…
…an open canoe? If I had knees I’d be in an OC.

A couple from others
I am not a whitewater jock, but I know some. Here are the several boats that people of roughly your size and weight have liked:

Jackson Super Fun

WaveSport Diesel 75 (used to have one myself - floated me at 235 so well that it worked better with some water in it)

Pyranha H:2 - the larger version 245 or 255 I think.

Good luck.

  • Big D

Well, some of these are river runners
and the OP wanted a play boat. The Pyranha Burn L (which I had) as well as the Remix 79 are rather long for a play boat. Don’t think he will be doing cartwheels and the like in them too comfortably -:wink: The Jackson Super Fun may be a better bet for this, though once over a certain length it is just mroe difficult and us taller folks will always have it more difficult than more compact folks. Ever seen a good 6’4" gymnast -:wink: ???

But the river runners above (and some others) are great for a beginner to learn all the basic skills on the water and should be very comfy for his size. And they will remain fun in bigger water too later.

We open canoeists do not play around.

Where are you
Some of the guys nearby might let you test drive on easy water.


Wavesport 64 is advertised

– Last Updated: Jan-05-09 6:01 PM EST –

(FUSE) as fitting your weight and playboat area of interest. IMO some of the boats recommended (Diesel, RPM, Remix) wouldn't fall into the playboat category that you mention an interest in but are more "river runners". YOu might also want to post your question onto the Boatertalk website.

On the list
Two boats that should definitely be on your list are the WS Diesel 75 and the Dagger Mamba 8.5

those aren’t playboats
of all the boats listed, most are river-runners. if you wanna learn to play, i’d definitely agree with the people mentioning the jackson superfun. it’s a playboat, but a forgiving one. and, it should fit you.

another option …
go old school as in used. last years w.w. boats are old school i have an older necxky blis which is a flat hull 8 footer that plays and runs rivers better than ok. then youll know what you like more

Feel free to come to the Arkansas Canoe Club message board and post your question. We have a Tulsa-based chapter (the “Dustbowl” chapter) that includes the guys that have been working hard to revive the Tulsa Wave back to it’s glory days.

Plus, if you get into whitewater, you’ll be heading east into Arkansas chasing our water all over the Ozarks and Ouachitas, anyway!

Seriously - some good guys right there in Tulsa who’d likely be glad to help you out.

Please reread
He did NOT say that he wanted a playboat. He said he wanted a boat to LEARN AND PLAY in. Is it possible to play in a river runner or creek boat? The answer is yes. When one is first learning, just surfing a kayak is playing in a rapid, and I can tell you from first hand experience that Diesel 75s are very good for surfing and learning about surfing.

  • Big D