Zephyr for 200-220 lbs 155 or 160?

While I started out with sea kayaks - most of my kayaking experience has been in fairly tight fitting whitewater (and polo) boats - and most of that was when I weighted around 170.

Fast forward 10 years. Not doing any white water paddling anymore - and most of those tight boats are either too small to get into or have turned into squirt boats. I am thinking of getting a new Sea Kayak since I really don’t fit my Tchaika anymore (think it was really designed for 140lb paddlers - but was still a lot of playful fun when I got it at 160 and usable but tight at 180). I am needing to loose some weight, sitting at 225 at the moment.

I am thinking the Zephyr might keep some of the playfulness I loved about the Tchaika - while not riding quite so low in the water. Just not sure which way to got 155 or 160 (saw reviews by near 200lb men who thought the 160 missed some of the magic playfulness). My wife will kill me if I get a composite boat - loose weight, and then want another.

Second question - finding them to demo…

So thoughts of the 155 or 160 would be appreciated.

zephyr demo
I am 6ft 210lbs and just paddled a zephyr 155 last weekend. I did not end up buying it, but I fit in it. I think it largely depends on how you carry your weight. I have broad shoulders and a longer torso, but short legs for my height. I fit into the cockpit very easily (not tight at all). The primary stability was very high even when sitting still, but the secondary just wasn’t there. I am used to soft chined boats so it wasn’t just the hull shape being unfamiliar. I think maybe it was my high center of gravity combined with very little freeboard, but I could not edge aggressively to turn without ending up doing rolling practice instead.

Long story short, I think you would most likely physically fit into the 155 (I did with room to spare), but you’d want to demo it for desired performance.

I think you are right smack on the line
between the two boats. Demo would be a good idea. If you buy at EMS you can return no questions asked. If you live around Vermont you are welcome to try out my 160. I bet you will like either boat. If you are planning to carry gear maybe lean toward 160 for sure, maybe even if not. My 160 has the magic for my weight.

I might be that…
…reviewer who felt the 160 lacked the magic.

Both of the previous comments are spot on and acknowledge the value of demoing.

I found the 155 secondary “rock hard” and never doubted that it would take care of me, but I’m not built the way jamiemanx is and value his experience in the boat.

I’ve paddled many boats where the secondary disappeared and don’t like that much. For me, that type of design has got to have something else really compelling going on to even put up with it.

I’m 5’10" tall. I do have broad shoulders but don’t carry a lot of muscle or fat up high. Very typical inseam, torso length, etc. I do have pretty longish arms but doubt that matters in this conversation.



I am very happy
with my Zephyr so I think you should definitely try them out. Another boat that many people love that fits in the same category is the Delphin.