I am 5' 8", 155 lbs, shoe size 9. The catalog fit guide seems to point to the 16' as the minimum size that would "fit" me. I'm not the world's most flexible paddler, so in my present kayak, I have the seat & footpads adjusted so that my knees are slightly bent. I usually paddle barefoot, and position the balls, not the arches, of my feet on the pads. Will the 16 have enough bow height to allow this position to be comfortable? It would seem that persons with long legs & big feet might run out of foot room in the cockpit before I did. The fit guide seems to focus on Shoe Size, but I have found that shoe size varies between shoe manufacturer.
One the one hand, I want to build the smallest & lightest 'yak I can fit in comfortably, for solo cartopping, portage, and storage considerations,but i also don't want to find that my toes or knees bang into the deck. When is a kayak "too big" for the paddler? Feedback from different-sized Shearwater 16 paddlers? Thanks.