ww kayak for big guy

My husband has decided he wants to get a beginner ww kayak so we can do roll lessons together, and eventually paddle easy ww. He is about 5’10" and weighs about 235, with very stocky legs. I would welcome suggestions about used ww boats that might fit him. We do not want to buy new, as it’s just too much to spend without knowing whether he will even enjoy it. Budget is about $400 - maybe a bit more if we found something really good.

So far he likes (on paper) the Dagger Mamba 8.5, Jackson Rocker, Prijon Chopper, Prijon Cross, Prijon Embudo, Diesel 75. Some of those are creek boats, and while he doesn’t need a creek boat, they are pretty forgiving. (A friend lets his newbie girlfriend use his creek boat all the time and she does great in it.)

Suggestions are welcome. Thanks,


Time to play…
Good paper choices and while I haven’t paddled them all a few of them are excellent for what your husband is looking to do. The Prijons allow for lots of leg room being that they are a pillar free design. The Diesel is a very nicely made boat and the folks I know that paddle them, love’em.

Time to go visit these boats and test sit them or better yet take them out on a pond and play around with the glide and feel of them. Entering the realm of personal preferrence here and it’s going to be a matter of what feels best for your husband, not what looks best on paper. Make sure he uses the paddling shoes he plans on going out in, not street shoes or socks.

See you on the water,



Sounds Like You’re On Right Track…

– Last Updated: Jan-30-06 1:23 PM EST –

Hit should have enough volume in majority of creek boats. Not being tall, feet room should be an issue unless he has exceptionally big feet.

One other boat to consider is the Liquid Logic Lil' Joe. It's a relatively high volume river runner. I like liquid logics features for this boat targeted towards newbies. Lots of toggles to grab onto when swimming, or for someone to tow it to shore on a short leash. The lil Joe is 60 gallons act will more like a river running/play boat.


However, if more volume/forgiveness is wanted, also consider the Liquid Logic Hoss which is more creek boat at 70 gallons.

As always, best to try before you buy. Lessons with an outfitter that has different boats for students is a good way to pick up skills and try different boats.


WaveSport Z has a
maximum weight of 260lbs, Pyranha H2 280lbs, Pyranha Stretch 253lbs but you won’t find too many of those used as they are very new, Wavesport Y 280lbs but more of a creeker. Hope to see your hubby on the river. Good luck

where are you???
i am 5’10" 225# with a 28" inseam thick legs from cycling all my life…does he have red hair and goatee too???

i use a dagger gt 8.1 for surfing and river running…rolls very nicely…set up for me and so if you guys are near RI he could try it since he will probably fit it quite well…


In addition to your list and suggestions
have a look at http://www.biothinking.com/big.htm.

I would also recommend you take beginning paddling lessons before you take rolling lessons. In my teaching group we provide all equipment for those taking lessons and have an assortment of boats for different sized people. I believe many other groups do the same. We also offer a beginning river running course after people have had the paddling lessons. You can learn to roll without knowing much about paddling but in terms of your having fun as soon as possible I would delay it.

He DOES have red hair!
Not kidding. No goatee though. You guys are probably twins separated at birth. LOL

Funny thing too is he was just asking me about the Dagger GT’s and I told him I wasn’t too familiar with them. I’ll add that to the list of possibles.

thanks Dr. Disco
We have researched what lessons are available locally and pretty much know what classes we will be taking in the spring. Meanwhile he is shopping for gear so all the expenses won’t hit at once. We have a few months to shop for boats and he is in no hurry to commit so that’s good. I have already taken some classes but there are a couple I’d like to do again. We have both been paddling flatwater and slow rivers for awhile, me for 4 years now and him for 3 years in his SOT. But ww is a whole different ball game as you know. Should be fun, or at the very least a learning experience.

I like the LL boats, too. Hubby doesn’t like the look of them. (He will soon find out what most of us have experienced - some of the ones that don’t look good to us initially turn out to be awesome boats, and vice versa!) There is an outfitter locally that lets you try boats so he will probably end up trying one at some point. Thanks for your input.

I too…
am a Big Guy. Last Summer I paddled a semi-Old School Dagger Animas and was constantly getting my butt kicked with the thin stern. (This was mostly due to size and lack of ability :slight_smile: While I was on the Nantahala River I took a day and rented a Pyrana H3-255. It made a big difference. However, in September i went to Rockport in Arkansas and demo’d the Wavesport Diesel 75, the Jackson Super Hero (actually was helped in the boat by Eric Jackson himself, pretty cool!) and the Dagger Mamba 8.5 I settled on the Mamba 8.5 I am actually a few lbs over the rating but it still seems to react very well. Very stable boat with lots of stern volume.

Good luck.

Jay Boyd

Those are along the lines
of what he’s looking at, so I guess we are on the right track.

Just curious, anybody know anything about the Corsica? Somebody said is was kind of like the Pirouette only larger. Not sure who makes it… Perception?

I liked my Pirouette (while I had it, now I have a Prijon Performance). If he could get something like the Pirouette (or Corsica?) cheap, I think it would be a good start.

The Diesel
H3, Jacksons, Mamba, etc. are so expensive, even the used ones are $700 or so. Looks like we will be going with something older (and cheaper). Anybody know about the Wave Sport Godzilla? Saw one for $150 and I’m told it is for big people, but is it a creeker, river runner, or playboat?

I loved my old dagger animas. Great for a 225# guy like me. I really think a 10 ft boat like the animas is better all round because you can paddle the 2 miles between the rapids much faster. The 8ft boats are good for onr thing, not for all round touring, picnics,etc. An old animas might sell for $200.

The Godzilla is a transition boat
It is definitely for bigger people. It has a semi-planing hull, which means it is sort of half way between an older displacement hull (e.g., Animas) and a newer river running playboat with a full planing hull. It is a decent boat and not a bad choice for you. It is important to keep in mind that any boat, especially an older boat will have its quirks and present different challenges to someone starting out. Learning good paddling technique is very important. For example, posture in the boat makes a huge difference. If you keep an aggressive forward posture in the Godzilla it will handle nicely. But get lazy and start to lean back you can easily catch an edge. This is true of many river running boats.

We are now looking seriously at a Chopper (only problem is 6 hours each way drive time) and possibly a Pyranha H3 255. Rocker has been ruled out for now, and we also found a Dagger Freefall (anybody know about that one?) that seems like it might work.

Found a Prijon Cross that might work, but again, a long drive. Looked at the numbers on the Dagger Animas (as someone suggeested) but haven’t found a photo of it yet.

By the way, he says he is about 220 now, lost some weight when he became a vegetarian and will probably lose some more.


Don’t mention the Animas around
Dr. Disco. He had one when he was not fully competent, and so he hated it.

That’s good info
My husband is certainly what you would call “not fully competent” in terms of ww paddling, so the Animas is probably not for him. My first ww kayak was a Dagger Redline, and that d#%@ thing nearly turned me off ww paddling forever. IMO, the right boat makes all the difference, especially when starting out.

I thought the Animas was fine when I was starting out and didn’t know any better. The more I learned the less I liked it. After I had a chance to paddle better boats I immediately sold it to some poor unsuspecting soul. He still has it even though he has been trying to dump it for over a year. Are you interested?

I have an Animas. Certainly not as good
as a Prijon Athlete, but much more room for my size 15 feet. The Pirouette is a better boat on a slalom course, but less comfortable once I get all the way in.

Except for the Athlete, design evolution on long, fast plastic boats pretty much stopped, as you say, with the Godzilla.

Saw Godzilla in Spanish on Telemundo. Made more sense in Spanish.

LOL Let me guess
who you sold it to! G2D perhaps?

I think the Athlete is a cool looking boat but I never understood from reading the literature whether it was only intended for extremely advanced paddlers, or if it’s kind of a Pirouette-like kayak only a tad edgier.