I know that the “what kayak do I buy” gets posted a lot on here. And I’m going to add to that. So in advance I apologize.
Here is my dilemma. I am 6’6” tall and about 237 pounds give or take a few (usually give ..lol) I would like to get my weight to about 225 but that’s a different topic. We just got back from 9 days in Alaska where I did get the opportunity to do some Kayaking in Resurrection Bay. It was incredible, a great way to spend my 48th birthday. I’ve done some whitewater kayaking in the past as well as some sea kayaking off and on over the years up at Vancouver Island, Monterrey Bay and the Florida Keys and panhandle, as well as some lakes here in Texas – both in Sit inside and sit on versions. Currently I’m looking at getting a couple of sea kayaks. A tandem as well as a single for myself. Plus one for my 14 year old son. I’m looking at sit inside ones.
My plans are for mostly single day trips with maybe overnighters sometime in the future. I live near a lake and slow moving river system as well as not too far from Galveston bay. Our initial plans are from a quick few hour kayaking on the lake near our house to longer day trips in the Bay area as well as some of the lake systems in the Texas Hill Country. There may be some seas to deal with at times but mostly I see myself as a calm water paddler, as my experience grows that will change and at that time I can upgrade kayaks – I have no illusion that my first sea kayak will be my last – do all end all . While I have had some experience I would consider myself a novice / beginner compared to most of you.
My size is the biggest issue. My wife is just 5’1 so she isn’t an issue. I knew this would be an issue in Alaska and so did the Tour group we went with. They put me in the front of their largest tandem (they put everyone in tandems) and my feet were pressed into the foam in front of the pegs the entire time. If I could have carved the foam out it might have worked better. I have a size 14 foot so I initially started out with just neoprene boots (my wet suit booties) and after a short time switched to my seal skinz socks which worked much better.
My legs were pressed tight the entire time which was not comfortable – I would occasionally stick my knees up into the skirt area to get some relief. I’ve had this issue in the past with singles as well. It can be quite maddening.
So I guess what I am looking for is advice on how to proceed. Texas doesn’t seem to have a large network of Sea Kayak dealers so it is hard to try before I buy – I am finding a very limited selection at the few local dealers – of course they can order most anything but not without me buying first. I’ve considered actually flying to Seattle (or somewhere) and shop there and have them shipped home. With my fit issues I really don’t want to buy without trying. I know I can get by with a sit on top – and at this time that is not on my list – maybe as an addition in the future but not now. Cost is not an issue – within reason – I have learned over the years that with my size comes increased cost in almost anything – just because the mass producers don’t cater to my size so I have to go with the higher end quality. I would like to buy a higher quality single for myself, a mid quality tandem and a mid quality single for my son - If that is possible, relating quality to pricing with this reference. His would also be used for loaning to friends if they wanted to come along.
So any suggestions of brands/models to start with? All other advice is highly appreciated. Anything I have left out that would help you recommend – just ask. While I am willing to travel to do this I would like to do all the research before I get there so I am familiar with my options