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Looking for advice and guidance


New Member
Aug 12, 2013
I tried to search the forums and read other folks posts before posting a topic already covered.

Some back ground then my question.

I am 49 years of age, 5'10" and 350 lbs. I am 28 inches in the shoulders and 18 inches across the "beam". I started SOT kayaking Sept 2012 and have lost 25 pounds and recorded over 73 miles of distance.

My purpose of posting here is to get some advice on how to proceed.

I currently own a Wilderness system 2012 Ride 135. I do fish out of it any chance I get. I also own a Necky Vector 13 and 14. Wife has claimed the 14 and I have yet to try it out. I can use the 13 but to me it does not track well. I may end up putting a rudder on this thing, it would be far cheaper then a new boat.

My question is: Do I stay with the SOT boats until I lose more of the weight or is there a large cockpit SINK I can look into for long distance paddling. I am strong and paddling the 135 is ok but I long to find a SINK I can do distance Lake/Marsh/Bay and eventually open water.

Thank you for your time and opinions.
At your dimensions, cockpit fit, adequate beam, and load carrying capacity will likely be the critical parameters. Current Designs has one boat with sufficient volume that may be in your ballpark: http://www.cdkayak.com/products/templat ... db91d50e73

Other manufacturers likely will have similar boats for big guys. Seaward used to have one, but I could not locate it. You might use the specs on the Titan as a yardstick to see which ones to consider. One caveat: beam greater than the Titan's is hard to find in a touring kayak. If your body mass is concentrated above the waist, you are going to need a large beamed boat for sufficient primary stability.

I paddled a 24.5 inch beam boat for years, and at 220 lbs, loved it. When I moved to a sleeker boat of beam 22.5 inches, the increase in twitchiness was remarkable.

Good fortune in your search. The right boat is out there. You will find it.
Another choice would be the Current Designs Isle - I have paddled one for 3 years. I am 6'4" and 240 (ish) lbs. Lots of leg room, and space for my size 12s.
You are in a good position to take your time since you already have boats to paddle. At your weight I would be looking at boats 16 feet and longer for going any distance. By going longer you can then get a narrower more efficient hull while maintaining a decent water line. I would look for a rental place that has a wide selection of models and then spend some money there trying them out a few hours at a time. You might even find you like some models that aren't considered big guy boats. Ones that I would look for to rent, SOT: WS Tarpon 160, Sink: Perception Essence 17, Delta 18.5 and 15.5, Eddyline Nighthawk, WS Tempest 180, WS Tsunami 165, 175 (maybe the 160 depending on fit).

You can find more models by going to paddling.net and searching out "Big Guy" boats. There are many threads there that I found quite helpful when I first started. I've had 350lbs in my Delta 18.5 and you could barely tell it was loaded. Renting will give you a feel for what you like and allow you the time to see where you might end up size wise. Have fun searching.
Renting first is the best advice you can get.

I'm trying to picture your physique and procedures you use to get into a kayak. My impression is that you need a good size cockpit and fairly deep central area. It is the depth that makes it easy to get in and out. Deep cockpit however creates awkward paddling position, unless you rise the seat. Rising the seat moves the centre of gravity up and makes kayak less stable. So, it is all about compromises, but at least you can control some of the factors to a certain extend.

That said, I'd recommend that you try Nimbus Telkwa and Nimbus Telkwa HV. Both kayaks have exactly the same paddling characteristics, but HV is about 3/4" deeper. I'm 225 lbs, 6"4", and paddled both kayaks. They feel nice and safe in bigger water and maneuver well. HV catches more wind and if you can fit into regular size Telkwa, choose that one.

Here is the link to both kayaks: http://www.nimbuskayaks.com/telkwa.htm

Asked some buddies on a Portland, OR sea kayaking group for recs, and the Nimbus Telkwa HV and the WS Tempest 180 both came up again. Link to specs from Nimbus below. Take a close look at depth and cockpit specs, for comparison with other boats. Nimbus does not give a capacity in weight. BTW, you want a boat with a rated capacity well in excess of what you weigh, probably in the 450 lb range.


One other thing, when you test boats, mentally prepare yourself for perhaps removing any seatback and replacing it with a low backband. Anything back there projecting above the coaming will probably really be in your way, entering the cockpit. Some folks dispense with lower back support entirely, perhaps an extreme measure.
I owned a Telkwa HV and my wife has a Telkwa. They are very well made. Extremely stable and very manoeuvrable because they have lots of rocker. Track well thanks to the rudder.

BUT - the seat is in my opinion (though not my wife's) terribly uncomfortable and it made my left leg go numb after 30 minutes of paddling. Give it a good test - at least a couple of hours, more if you can. It would be very simple to replace, however.