Kayak suggestions for petite women

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Raj, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    Old school North American: Nimbus Solander or Nyak?
     
  2. red kite

    red kite Paddler

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    Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated with the seller and haven't looked at it myself, but I'm somewhat surprised that it's still listed after more than 3 weeks... (price?): https://comoxvalley.craigslist.org/boa/d/courtenay-wilderness-systems-tempest/6907134536.html


    I'm just short of 5'6" and 125 - 130ish lbs, average / somewhat even proportion between torso and legs, but small-ish hips, and I prefer my kayak fits quite snug. I agree with all the great LV recommendations.

    Tangler, I personally, and with the bias mentioned in the last paragraph, find the classic North American touring boats for "small paddlers" more of a kayak for "somewhat on the smaller side of medium (male) paddler". Most often they still have a relatively high, often peaked fore deck (Solander and Nyaks are classics in that regard) that IMHO are not ideal for a person with a shorter torso.
    Just my humble opinion, of course I know of plenty of women in the 5' to 5'4" range who are perfectly happy in their Solanders, Telkwa Sports, old style Solstice GTS' etc. or even Arluk IVs.
     
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  3. Raj

    Raj Paddler

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    I'm really impressed with the amount of feedback that I've gotten from this forum and wanted again to say thanks to all.

    My partner and I will take a look at what's affordable. Ocean River has some good choices like a Prana LV, and I think that the Tempest 165 @red kite mentioned is worth a look. I think we'd both love to try a Sterling Illusion but as new the price is out of our reach.

    My partner currently paddles a Seaward Cosma thermaform rudder'd kayak which is very light in comparison to my Boreal Design Ellesmere. The Cosma has great stability but is a bit wide overall for her slim frame and the seat is not very comfortable despite plenty of customizations. I'd say hers weighs about 45 lbs while mine seems around 55 lbs, so she is comfortable with the lighter of the two in terms of lifting (as @Redcedar asked). She's always tempted to use (and own!) my Ellesmere so I think a more rigid composite boat is what she's aiming for than her Cosma.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  4. Raj

    Raj Paddler

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  5. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    You'll probably find that the front deck and thigh area of even the LV Prana is quite high (like a lot of Current Design boats). Make sure the footpegs will suit a shorter paddler.
    "Lightweight' and 'Affordable' don't often show up together, unfortunately.
    Be aware that the published weight figures aren't accurate in many cases - some of the 'boat weights' don't include the seat or hatch covers, for example.
    If you are looking for a lightweight boat, you should probably eliminate most of the poly (rotomolded) sea kayaks from your list- I don't think I've ever carried one (or even one end of one) that felt light!.
    If your budget will allow, you could look at the Epic (16X?) and Stellar kayaks as they are lightweight.
    If you can find one, a used QCC might be worth investigating, also.
    The glass Tempest (Pro?) boats handle well, reputedly, but some did have construction problems, and needed 'fixing' even when new.
    A strategy that a lot of people use is to buy a better/easier rack system (Hullivator or Showboat) for the vehicle.

    Going through all the kayak descriptions at KayakAcademy and making a list of their recommendations for smaller paddlers might be worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
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  6. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Just a heads up on the WS Tempest 165 (note h0ld for Necky Chatham 16 also) - both are good smaller paddler boats. But one of the desired goals was a boat that could keep the speed up, and neither of these is known as a fast boat.

    The Tempest 170 and 180, and Chatham 17 and 18 are very different boats, so these comments don't hold for them. Not sure they would fit smaller paddlers.
     
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  7. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Thanks for the clarification. The larger Tempests were the ones I was thinking of.
    'Tripping capable' and 'boat for smaller paddler' is an even more difficult combination..
     
  8. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    The Nigel Foster Silhouette is a "smaller persons boat" that can hold a good clip of speed, confidence inspiring in conditions, and carves nice turns if you're willing to put it on its side. A bit prone to perling in the surf though.
     
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  9. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Chatham 16 paddles like a steam roller compared to a slicey boat like an Illusion. I have owned one in poly for a while and found it very capable and neutral handling boat that can easily be packed for a long weekend trip. It also fit me pretty well at 6ft1 and 190 lbs, comfortably snug (except the back deck was a bit lower than i like). Also owned a poly Chatham 17, much less rocker, quicker than the 16 although that's not saying much, a pretty agreeable touring boat with excellent handling. In poly the 16 was heavy but manageable, the 17 heavy but barely manageable. in composite they are much,much lighter.
     
  10. rider

    rider Paddler

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    I owned a Legend, a 'my size' version of that hull...I will attest that it's a fast boat with a lot of gear capacity and will carve turns (for a touring boat). I am not sure about the 'confidence inspiring in conditions'. I owned it fairly briefly and only had it mild-moderate chop but I found it more wiggly than I enjoy in a non-racer(sure, my Necky Phantom was much wigglier than that,but it served a different purpose). Maybe it would suit a more skilled paddler better, but I have talked to a couple ex-owners that share similar opinion...
     
  11. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    I'm about the same size as you and would NOT call the Legend our size! Try a Shadow (same hull but in our size) some time, I suspect you'd be a lot happier.
    I guess "confidence inspiring" is a subjective term and admit that they don't have strong primary stability. However in conditions it is secondary stability that counts and these boats have tons of it.
    My girlfriend and I sometimes dare each other not to brace in 5' clapotis and just letting our boats find their way with loose hips and always come away impressed at how far they can go over and recover again. It is usually the flexibility of my spine and not the boat that is the limiting factor.
     
  12. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    The Mariner Elan in Tahoe is still for sale. $1200US...
    On Craigslist.