Yet another what yak for me question

I’m drooling for a Pygmy kayak. I’m 6’ 245, 11.5 shoe size, 38 x 32 pants. I’m a definite beginner, but I have paddled several plastic boats. The one that fit me the best was a Tsunami 165 although I didn’t feel as locked in as I would have liked. I’ll be paddling larger fresh water lakes in Texas and maybe some rivers. I’m interested in the the Coho, and Murrelet SDC. Another possibility might be the Osprey standard. I don’t plan on kayak surfing, or doing greenland rolls over and over, but want something responsive and challenging enough that I won’t outgrow in a year or two. I’ve analyzed this thing to death so I’m asking for some greater wisdom.


– Last Updated: Dec-05-11 10:40 PM EST –

Pygmy Boats are a good choice. I suggest calling Pygmy yourself - be honest with them about your ability and what you want to do, and they will point you in the right direction and get you in the right boat.

PS that new Murrelet is sweet-looking, it's new to me. The Coho and Osprey are both great boats.

“…maybe some rivers.” Talk to Pygmy
about whether an extra glass layer on the bottom would be helpful. Or, just avoid rivers where there are rocks, ledges, and gravel shallows.

Thanks. Sound advice. I’ve emailed them a couple of times and their suggestions were the really big high volume boats or their new Pinguino. I’m big, but not huge and plan on losing another 40 pounds. The Murrelet is a sweet, sexy looking boat, but worried it might be outside my abilities at this time. I sure wish Port Townsend WA was closer.

Pygmy kayaks
I built an Osprey Standard some years ago. The Pygmy kits are well thought-out and they offer good phone support if you run into a snag.

I am a bit smaller than you with a size 10-10 1/2 shoe size and just under 6’ and 200 lbs. The Osprey would have had plenty of foot room and capacity for someone considerably bigger than me.

The Osprey Standard is a very hard-tracking boat and not the most maneuverable, unless you are able to heel it pretty hard to turn. I have a preference for sharp-chined boats rather than the multi-chined nature of the Osprey so if I were building another boat now I would select the Arctic Tern. The Arctic Tern was not yet available when I built the Standard. There is also the Arctic Tern Hi (high volume) with a higher deck if foot room is a concern. You could ask Pygmy about this issue.

Different look at things
A custom built boat is investment - either money if purchased pre-built, or time and money if building yourself. Depreciation of the used boats is really huge, be it perception or something else.

Depreciation of a used composite boat is, usually, negligible. A used plastic boat can be had under 1k, has advantage of being associated with you-can-paddle-as-rental approach.

From my coaching I noticed that people’s expectations of boat’s performance experience a huge jump once they start spending a bit more time in the boat, take a skills class or two.

So, if you are still with me at this point - get yourself a well regarded used boat, paddle it for a season, figure out what you like or dislike about the boat. At the end of that season you will have a way better idea of what you desire in a boat, which kit boat will suit your paddling needs better. And, you’ll have ample time to build your kit, since there will be another boat in the barn.

The perfect kayak
Don’t try to find the “perfect” kayak. Your definition of perfect will change as you move up the learning curve. (I went through ten kayaks in eleven years.) As skills, abilities, and confidence increase, you quickly beocme bored and start looking for the next perfect boat. Pygmy offers some great designs. If you ask around, you will likely find some in your area that you can test paddle.

Rephrasing my question
Anyone with my general dimensions of 6’, 245, 11.5 shoe and 38x32 with experience in Pygmy kayaks? Which model? Likes, dislikes?

I’m not planning on expedition kayaking, mostly extended lake day touring with an occasional over-nighter. Wind and motor boat traffic on north Texas lakes can make for 1’-3’ waves.

I’ve been paddling for a season in a variety of plastic rental boats. I’ve been studying and comparing boats for longer. I have a general idea of vendors and models that I like and do not like. For the price of the plastic boats I am most comfortable in I can spend a little more and have something I built and can be proud of on and off the water. In other words, I’m committed to building a wooden kayak, and have settled on Pygmy. Now I’m trying to focus my commitment to a particular model without actually sitting in one which is tough to do. I’ll probably end up with the Coho as it seems most similar to what I’m used to in a plastic boat. The Murrelet SDC looks like it might be a livelier boat that would push my learning. The Osprey strikes me as a great easy paddler that does one thing well. Decisions, decisions. Calling Pygmy again…

Pygmy says…
Based on my goals, the Coho was recommended. A possible alternative was the Murrelet 2PD or 4PD. The Pinguino 145 and Borealis XL was discussed, but I was not happy paddling a large beam plastic boat. Looks like I’ll stick with the Coho.

tough one
Going for a boat without even sitting in one is tough

I have these kayak building links in my bookmark folder

Someone should be able to help you out

Pygmy Kayaks are great. They take a long time to build so building should be rewarding to you in it’s own right.

I have paddled their boats and find them wide, stable with strong tracking. They are light strong and comfortable. I am from Port Townsend, and it is a great company. People can build them and sell them for around $2000 which is impressive to me.

Local builders?
Call Pygmy again and ask if there are any owners/builders anywhere near you. Builders are usually happy to show off their projects.

re: Builders
Thanks for reminding me, I meant to do that!