Kayaks for the bigger person

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Ent
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Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:02 pm

Hi, I am new around here.

I brought a Seabird Expedition HV as my first kayak and been learning the trade, the wet way! The idea is to paddle the lakes of Tassie and maybe the sea, but safety first as Tassie can be very unforgiving. But it is becoming very apparent that the HV and me are not well matched. Lovely word is stability, as it can mean anything. In the case of the HV it means nothing. Also it is too small in cockpit opening and feet room. I am 192cm, 110 kilograms, two axe handles wide at the shoulders with size 48 feet. Most of my length is in my legs. Also been fifty the word nimble does not spring to mind and my balance system was taken out once by inner ear infection and again by a wayward crystal so excellent inherent stability in a boat rather than marketing claims is what I need.

I played with a Storm but again too short in the cockpit and the peddles run out of travel, feet reach the front bulkhead. plus feet room marginal. Stability ok, at least you can feel the boat pushing back to upright while the HV lacks feedback.

Been practising recovery techniques but yet to master solo recovery. At least with another boat as support I can get in. As for rolling that art has eluded me, and a surprisingly large number of ocean going paddlers. And yes figuring out bracing. Lot of skills to develop but too old to master something that is designed to win races. Sight to see was Klim, the swimmer wobbling in a narrow racing kayak at a charity event.

Been lucky, survived a head on wind gusting to around 60 kmph on the Tamar and head on chop in Lake St Clair driven by a 45 kilometre wind. Side on, I would have been toast. The HV by being loaded to maximum weight survived but when no load is a death trap.

The kayak needs to able to take heaps of gear stored below deck. The HV is adequate but not brilliant. Length 5.1 metres suits the car with overhang, but providing it is legal happy to consider a longer boat. Width would have to be 60-64cm and that is at the waterline. The HV is 59cm but that is not at the waterline. That assumes width corresponds with stability.

I am not anti any material but over thirty kilograms could not get it on my vehicle by myself.

So what be out there?

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gnarlydog
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby gnarlydog » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:00 am

at 195cm and 110Kg you probably will not fit into many kayaks, especially with size 48 feet
I am positively shorter, smaller feet but same heft; some kayaks sit too low in the water for me
A "stable" kayak is the Impex Assategue but it is no longer produced. There might be a used one around...
One kayak that is currently available in OZ that could fit your stats would be the TideRace Explore X. http://www.tideraceseakayaks.co.uk/kayak-models/xplore/
Stability however will remain an issue as it is only 61cm wide and not really that flat bottomed

I hear that sit-on-top fishing kayaks are much wider and more stable, but I have never paddled one
There would be no issue with fitting your feet
Most sit-on-tops however are much slower, really

Kayakingwithgecko
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Kayakingwithgecko » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:05 pm

Rosco SRX might be an option.
I have not paddled one, but I understand they were designed for people with 'big feet'
Gecko

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:43 pm

Hi

I will have a look at the suggestions. Been trawling the web and found something close to what I am after that being "Tasman Express Sea Kayak". The cockpit opening looks rather smaller than what I was hoping for. Looking for a rough seas boat (ok likely not going out in those conditions but in moderate seas be good to have something that is designed for rougher conditions). Any thoughts on the brand and the boat?

Cheers

Paddle Dog 52
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Paddle Dog 52 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:15 pm

Current Designs Solstice Titan http://www.cdkayak.com/Kayaks.aspx?id=34 I got it my first SOT after paddling my regular Solstice and even being wider you are higher and it feels horrible.

mushinaiki
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby mushinaiki » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:18 am

I am a fellow Tasmanian. 194 cm tall, 115kgs and size 49 feet.....
I have owned and paddled a lot of kayaks, none of which have been able to be paddled strait out of the box. I have modified the cockpit and foot braces of EVERY boat I have owned, my current ones also have custom seats and no foot races, just a repositioned and reinforced bulkhead. I can recommend a few boats to you, but stability is a subjective thing. I have only ever paddled one very wide kayak, the Assateague, which I owned but I didn't like its feel, the North shore Atlantic would fit both your body and feet, but is more levels in the hull, although I think is very stable. The valley etain 17-7 is another you would fit, but it is also narrower than you requested, although I also think very stable. The tiderace do lore and escape both in x size would fit, but as the importer only brings these sizes in as special order, it may be difficult for a test paddle. I currently have a tiderace Xtra hv, it is stable, flat bottomed, although it is a little tight around the feet, nothing that I haven't been able to get around you can have a go if you like, it is very manoeuvrable, and can carry enough for a three day trip, it is 5 mtres long and 57 cm wide. I also have a Rockpool gt, this has plenty of foot room, but at 53cm is narrow in the beam, I find this boat stable and manoeuvrable. I also own and paddle mostly a valley nordkapp. I have modified the cockpit and removed the foot pegs, I have no trouble fitting in, but the stability profile would hamper your decision. I have also paddled a Skuk explorer HV which you would fit, but stability may be an issue, and the delphin155 by p & h kayaks also fits me.
Good luck with your search. If you would like to test a few boats, contact me I live just south of hobart

Peter

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Rhysie
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Rhysie » Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:04 am

There is only one Current Designs distributor in Australia, besides being based in the Southern Highlands of NSW they only bring in the Storm, Squall and Solstice GTS. They can custom order but it would be pricy. I have a North Shore Atlantic RM and a P&H Cetus. The Cetus is an original and is a bit of a tight squeeze for my thighs under the thigh braces. I think the new Cetus HV is has more thigh and foot room. The plastic Atlantic is cavernous compared to the Cetus and I get much better contact with the kayak due to the excellent thigh braces. While the Atlantic is not as stable as the Cetus on flat water it is much better than the Cetus in rough rebound, it is also much easier to roll. I'm not sure if the foot pegs in the Atlantic would go forward enough for you (I'm vertically challenged at 176cm with short legs) but it would be easy to take the Yakima foot pegs out and bulk out the bulkhead with foam to rest your feet on. I had a sit in an Impex Assatague and it was huge. Another big mans kayak would be the Paddling Perfection Seabear which is very wide and very stable. I watched someone rolling it once it was hard for them just to capsize it.
I test paddled a Tasman Express about 5 years ago and it handled well but I even with my little legs I had trouble getting into it bum first. Back then I couldn't roll so a cowboy scramble was my main re-enter technique, with the short cockpit I scrapped it off my list.

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:53 pm

Hi

Thanks for the info, will be researching the mentioned boats. Out this weekend on Lake Parangana for camping, mountain bike riding, bit of 4wd exploring, and kayaking. Lake was typically flat and had a good chance to explore the art of stability, and yes I am rubbish at it. The trouble with Seabird Expedition HV is no feedback. You are up then you are over. Still to master the reflex of bracing. When I think I can do it but when caught unawares (by the resident clown) it all goes to pieces. But then again that is what practice sessions are for.

Thanks for the feedback on the Tasman Express. Roll recovery is but a distance dream and balance on the top of a kayak threading the needle cowboy style is impossible for me without assistance. This means the that the Tasman Express is out. Looked at the Current Design Titan and on the surface it ticks the boxes but noted the comment that the high seating position makes for an unpleasant paddle. Given its capacity I wonder if it behaves better loaded up near its 180kg limit. But again as mentioned they are not been imported into Australia and not cheap. Way past special order as you are committed to a boat unseen.

Interesting watching our clown playing with the Storm attempting to learn the roll recovery. Complete failure at the moment but one day he will master it. This meant cowboy recovery. He was very good with the Seabird Discovery but struggles with the Storm. Just goes to show each boats has its charms.

Good to read other Clydesdale reports as this gives great perspective. Long legs means cockpit access is a critical factor. As is seat design. Know full well the issues that a blown disc can bring. Space to move is critic when a disc grumbles.

Cheers.

Paddle Dog 52
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Paddle Dog 52 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:30 am

Seat on Titan is not high at all I have three CD boats Nomad, Solstice and tandem Libra XT seat is plastic and on the hull except for what ever it tilts up in front. Titian is very stable boat as is the solstice and Libra . Selling price here for a kevlar one is about 3500 USD few hundred less for glass. To bad it's a big deal to import one.

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:31 pm

Looking at what might be available in Australia (sadly Titan is not) has anyone had any experience with "Wilderness Systems - Tsunami 175 with Rudder"? The cockpit is long at 91cm and the beam 61cm while the capacity is 181 kilograms so should be a good expedition boat. Been plastic bit heavy than what I would like (getting up on a taller 4wd could be a battle by myself) but then again for my level of experience and planned used plastic probably not a bad idea.

Alliecat
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Alliecat » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:37 pm

I can't comment on the Wilderness Systems boat specifically but I did want to say: don't worry too much about getting it up on a 4WD. There are lots of cunning devices to help you get a kayak onto the roof racks without having to deadlift the whole weight. The simplest is probably the "side loader" - a simple bar that sticks out from the side of the racks. Various people make them (I use the Rhino racks one but there are others and it's probably an easy DIY project). See this thread for some discussion or search the forum. It comes up a lot.

Getting a heavy boat to and from the car is a separate issue and a lot of people use carts or trolley, varying from very simple DIY jobbies to expensive things with balloon tyres. Again, lots of threads about this.

With your boat choice, because your size will be a determining factor, I strongly urge you to try before you buy to avoid the potential for a lot of grief. You need to be comfortable in the boat as well as being able to get in and out with relative ease. It's very difficult to tell from the specs whether or not you'll fit, and impossible to tell if you'll be comfortable or not. So try as many boats as you can before you buy one.

Manufacturers will often claim that every boat they make is fast, light, stable, comfortable, maneuverable, and big enough for expeditions. In reality, every boat is a compromise on some or all of those factors. And things like comfort and stability vary enormously from paddler to paddler, so test paddle as much as you can and although it might take a while you'll find a boat that suits not only your body, but how you paddle.

Good luck.

TheELD
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby TheELD » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:22 pm

Ent, the wife's boat is an older tsunami 175. She finds it reassuringly stable, I really don't notice much difference (stability wise) from the Nordkapp LV, except perhaps at rest. It might be worth a go, but as I keep seeing written on this forum, 'stable' is a very subjective thing :-). I can tell you that I don't remember having to fight the boat in order to capsize it, and it seems to roll up easily. In terms of negatives it has sliding rudder pedals (first thing I fixed). I swim in the boat, but I'm a midget at 5'8" and 80ish kg

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:46 am

Hi

Narrowed down to two at this stage but one is not imported into Australia, and the other, Wilderness System Tsunami 175, does not appear to have a Tassie distributor at this stage. Sure, a few as usual claim to be, and getting the all to typical, "you do not want that that one, but but this one, which I happen have to sell", etc, etc, etc.

Took the Seabird HV out on Lake Barrington and in the wind and chop it was a handful, especially with the wind and waves coming from the rear, and the rudder control is rather poor. Not too bad punching into the wind and waves. But the terrible back rest that just tangles up on me limits the control. Plus the overly stretchy safety cords that tend to pull out from their holding brackets and the absence of rear safety lines confirms its budget price heritage. So becoming firmer in my desire to replace it as Lake Barrington not that rougher place weather-wise.

Cheer

Tom the Dane
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Tom the Dane » Tue Nov 18, 2014 3:04 am

Hi,

Just a suggestion. What about Prijon Seayak 520 or Prijon Kodiak. They both have more roomy cockpits
than the Seabird, better suited openings for long legs, their rudders are more responsive,
bombproof material and better quality than the Seabird.

Or Perception Essence 17 should also be suited for larger paddlers.

Sincerely

Tom the Dane

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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Jonas » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:45 am

Hi Tom,

long time no see, eh? You haven't been posting in the Seekajakforum for some time...

Jonas

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:59 am

Hi

Thanks for the suggestions. I have added them to my research list. Here is a link to someone's experiences with a Prijon Kodiak that I can relate to http://www.mibnet.se/Kayak/MyScareFromT ... odiak.html as with the Seabird Expedition HV, that been the lack of feeling where the upright position is. Hard to explain but when you are tall and barrel chested stability becomes rather important, and more important is a feeling where up is. A few experiences like in the link and doubt creeps in, especially when not skilled or flexible enough to re-enter quickly in cold water.

Cheers

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:16 pm

Choice is narrowing, if only I could get to try the boat. The Wilderness System Tsunami 175 appears to be a good fit in all three construction materials. Now just to test paddle one to see if it is the boat of my desire. Any one of know of one in Tassie, preferably the north of the state?

sthughes
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby sthughes » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:19 pm

Tassie Tackle & Outdoors in Burnie sell Wilderness Systems, but none of that particular boat in stock.

Ent
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Ent » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:42 pm

Yes I noticed their name but want to definitely try before I buy. The hull designed is for stability but having never experienced a multi chime hull no idea how they perform. A second hand pro version is tempting as well.

Martin B
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Re: Kayaks for the bigger person

Postby Martin B » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:43 pm

Ent, on the possibility of the German Prijon craft, I purchased a Kodiak as my first kayak but due the restricted travel time and purchase location, had to take it without a test paddle. I was aged 71 at the time, 1853 x 92kg with Oz size 10.5 feet and 2 synthetic hips.
To start with, everytime I looked around to see or find my wife ( 1550 x 65kg) in her new Prijon Touryak, I tipped the Kodiak over and fell out ! After week or so, swapped boats with SWMBO and tried the slighty shorter craft but same cockpit width, same length, same seat cockpit Touryak and immediately could look around to find her, no tilt, no falling over. The difference in primary stability was amazing despite the hull cross-section shapes being fairly similar.
Long story short, swapped my Kodiak for another Touryak. Probably would be enough leg room in a Touryak to move my foot pegs 100mm forward but could check for you if necessary.

An alternative is to build yourself a Yost fuselage Skin-on-Frame to suit your specific geometry. That's what I did and you would find Tom Yost extremely helpful in pointing you to the correct design and any modifications necessary to get more foot room or extra leg length.

Touryak about 25kg; Yost Sea Cruiser a mere 11 kg - a one hand lift and easy to get onto the top of the Kia Sportage 4WD.
Cheers from Martin B
Mandurah, Western Australia.
mcbunny09@gmail.com

The Surgeon-General warns "Making GPs and SoFs can be adictive".


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