Help - What to choose!?

Help Choosing a Kayak to build!

I have been wanting to build a kayak as a hobby for some time now.  I enjoy Kayaking but am not the most experienced and need some help choosing a which one to build as I do want to be able to use it. So here goes!
I am not an experienced kayaker, I have booted around in one here but I am learning lots (luckily I have a good friend that is a very skilly kayaker that is going to be teaching me that aspect!)

I need something that is stable, fairly quick and be able to carry enough equipment with me to camp for a couple of days.

I would like to be able to fit the kayak with a dry skirt.

A little about me.  I am 6"4, 210 lbs.  I know that lil tid bit should narrow down the choices!

Thanks for all the help in advance!

Phil J

10 replies:

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RE: Help - What to choose!?


Look at the Chesapeake 17. It meets all your requirements; easy to build (a lot of us started with the Chessy series), very stable, still pretty quick and able to carry a ton of gear. There are others that will work but this one will get you on the water pretty quick.

George K

RE: Help - What to choose!?


I am 6'4" with an inseam of 36".  I will not fit in a Ches 17.  If you are similar to me  you will have to do the Ches 18.  Shoe size is important for us.  I have 13s on my feet and wearing shoes is not an option.  Cockpit size is of huge importance.  Even the 18 cockpit is too small.  Legs too long to be able to get out.  Fortunately this is an easy fix.  If you order a kit make sure  you tell the clc folks that you need a larger cockpit.  I made mine 4" longer.  Maybe 6" would have been better. 


RE: Help - What to choose!?


I took a look and see the cockpits and feet room are the same for the 17 and 18.  Whatever you do you still have to make the cockpit bigger.

RE: Help - What to choose!?

Eric Schade, who designed the wonderful Shearwater kayaks for CLC, is your size, as am I. When I found the Shearwater 17 too tight for comfort, Eric suggested his Merganser 17W, which is an inch wider, a bit higher, and fits me like a custom-made suit.

I would suggest you start with a Wood Duck 14 or Shearwater Sport, both of which perform well but have roomy cockpits, can haul camping gear, and will take a spray skirt.


RE: Help - What to choose!?

Wow, quick responses! Those are all great suggestions and I really appreciate it!  Ill take a deeper look into those models.  The big thing aswell is that with my lack of experience, I dont know my preferences either.  One would suppose that if i build it, dont like it, Ill figure that out quick and can always sell the one Ive made and make another.  Anyone on here have any experience having sold a kayak they made?  Is that even a viable option?


RE: Help - What to choose!?

Check this site:

Or you can click on it at the top of this forum.

RE: Help - What to choose!?

My too tight Shearwater 17 sold quickly through the CLC bazaar for close to what I had invested in it, not counting my time of course. -Wes

RE: Help - What to choose!?

I'm not as big as you but the WR18 is a great boat, fast stable, lots of room.  The only drawback is that it does not have much rocker, si if you go into the ocean, you will not have as much maneuverability as you might like in waves.

RE: Help - What to choose!?

Phil, I am 6"0" and 230# with a size 11 shoe and I fit very nicely in an Auk 17. With my older  knees I increase the cockpit by 3" and I do paddle with a spray skirt. Just spent the last week paddling Bodega Bay in Northern California. Just an Option. Hagen

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