Boats You Wear
Page 5 of 8
Choosing a kayak is a lot like buying running shoes. There are probably a number of models that offer the performance characteristics and features you're looking for, but none of that matters unless they fit. Physical comfort is only the starting point for a great kayak fit - but, of course, it can be a real deal breaker. The sixteen-foot Romany from Nigel Dennis Kayaks is one of the best sea boats ever designed, whether you're a beginner or at the elite level. But it's just plain uncomfortable for a few paddlers in ways that are hard for them to describe. "It makes my back feel funny," says one. "I don't like the way my legs go," says another.
From these comments, you can tell that A) comfort is a personal thing; and B) that it's best judged over the course of a day on the water and not a few moments sitting in the boat at the dealership. What you're looking for in fit is firm contact everywhere your body touches the boat: Your feet will push against the foot braces inside; your knees will be in contact with the hull; the tops of your thighs will be in contact with the underside of the cockpit rim; your lower back will be solid against the back-band; and your butt will have no wiggle-room from side to side. You don't sit inside a kayak, you wear it. And, in fact, many kayaks are designed for paddlers of different sizes.
Atlantic Kayak Tours, Expert Center
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