large paddler ?

Hi i am looking to start my first kayak this winter but i am unsure which to go for .

I am 6ft 250lb relatively fit and quite worried about choosing the wrong size boat i currently paddle a sot trident 13 which is very very stable but i want something faster to eat up the miles in comfort and allso stable enough to use my falcon sail..

My first choice is the shearwater sport  followed by the chesapeake 17lt and then the chesapeake 17 , stability is the main concern due to my weight and the weight specs of the mentioned kayaks so if there is any similar sized paddlers out there i would really appreciate your opinions allso i really do like the shearwater 17 s beatifull lines but because of my size and inexperence is that totaly out of the question.

I look forward to any replys .

thankyou  Don


14 replies:

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RE: large paddler ?

   Well, I'm getting old, 5'10" and 245#. I went to one of the demo paddles in Melbourne Fl last winter and tried both the Shearwater and the Cheasapeak 17. I found both stable enough. The Shearwater was able to cut an edge better, make turns. The C17 likes to go straight. I wouldn't go any smaller. I'm building a Cheasapeak 17 but secretly I like the Shearwater better.  Maybe the next one.

Best thing would be to find a demo paddle nearby and go try them out. It was fun. You can try any of the 20 or so boats they bring.  Get into one of the more rounded Greenland like boats and the hard chine boats will seem real roomy and stable.

RE: large paddler ?

   Thanks Grumpy thats the sort of reply i need to hear sadly a demo day is out of the question for me but thanks again for taking time to reply.

                        Cheers.      Don

RE: large paddler ?

   You probably do not want the 17lt. I believe you would fit the boat o.k. once you were in, but getting there is the hardest part. Both the Shearwater and the Chesapeake are very nice to paddle. Good luck!

RE: large paddler ?

mr man,

i would begin by looking at the specs for the boat.  a key data item that is important to large paddlers are the design paddler weight, foot size and cockpit size. all of these are published by CLC for the boats you are looking at.

if you are 245lbs, the shearwater 17 and chesapeake 17LT are out.  consider the regular chesapeake 17, the chesapeake 18 or possibly the shearwater sport.

the folks at clc used to make an 18LT....or so i remember..which was a real nice boat. i would not hesitate to call them.

you don't want to go beyond the design guidance, in my view.   the boat will not perform well at can be dangerous and unstable at worse.

i see from your note that demo day's appear to be out.  you could try looking at CLC's builders club...they have listing of people, their approximate location and maybe there is somebody close by who would let you demo or at least test fit a boat.   again, don't hesitate to call CLC....but for recommendation is read the specs and at least ensure (if you can't take a test ride) that your body fits the specs.

good luck



RE: large paddler ?

   Don. I also am a large paddler. I ended up building a Nick Shade Auk 17 from plans. I know it maybe outside your desired criteria but it fits me well. I'm 6'0'" size 10.5 foot and 260#. Hope this is helpful. Dave

RE: large paddler ?

   Thanks for the replies and you all sort of confirmed  what i thought but as i have been browsing through the photos of the shearwater 17 (old main gallery) i noticed Radu from rumania having fun in his shearwater and he seems a big lad .As i dont intend doing anything too adventurous e.g sea crossings  or carrying extra weight of any significance is the shearwater 17 definitely out of the question .

Thanks again Don

RE: large paddler ?

   "Is the Shearwater out?" .....well if you follow the specifications recommended paddler weight of max 220# , yes.  Note max pay load is 270#. Would it hold?....probably. Might it be less stable?......perhaps.  But for a "play" boat that might be desirable. 

RE: large paddler ?

since the designers of the boats you are curious about are available....i would reach out to them.  they will have more insight into what happens to a designs behaviour when a boat is loaded and/or has a center-of-gravity outside of their specifications/assumptions.

the attached link has a good discussion of fit and sizing:  and what happens when boats are driven past their recommended loadings.

what you will see when you read it is that it is that for a person like you, who is asking what will happen, is that it is rather unpredictable to know unless you consult the designer or perform tests.

in some cases, it's not a big deal.  in other cases, may be downright hazardous.

my general recommedation is to stay in the designers sweetspot for paddler weight (be neither at the high or low limit).

RE: large paddler ?


I am 6'5" 250lbs.  I am less concerned about stability than I am about fit and comfort.  Cockpit size and Front Deck Height (Knee and Shoe) make a big difference.  I can't comment on CLC's Kayaks (I am a Skerry builder).  But, I paddle a Current Designs Gulfstream  The 13.75" depth is fine.  But, I have found that the 16.5" cockpit width seems to have shrunk since I first started paddling it at 230lbs.


RE: large paddler ?

   Thanks to everyone for the replys and advice .

My mind is settled now on the chesapeake 17  which i hope to start very soon once I've built an extension to my shed (that wont please the wife but hey ho)

And one last thing am i right in assuming chesapeaks now have puzzle joints.

Thanks again for the help. 


RE: large paddler ?

   Great Boat!  My first build was a 17LT  and I love it.  The Chesapeake kits do have puzzle joints. 

RE: large paddler ?

   Puzzle joints vs scarf joints.............yes. Cheasapeaks now have puzzle joints. Be prepared to do a little sand to fit but don't make it loose. Be sure to use a bond breaker, ie wax paper, to the bench.

RE: large paddler ?

Go for the Chesapeake 18.  I built one and I only weigh 180 and I have found it to be faster than my 17' fiberglass touring kayak due to its extra foot of waterline length.  It doesn't weathercock as bad either. 

If you order a kit definately get the optional larger cockpit opening because if you weigh 250lbs  you are probably going to have a hell of a time squeezing into the standard Chesapeake cockpit opening.     




RE: large paddler ?

   I prefer smaller cockpit for rough conditions, bracing, skirts, etc.......... Of course my "bulk" is not in the seat area.

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