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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 432
What is the Optimal boat volume to paddler weight ratio?

Hi buzzards,

I am trying to help a friend choose their next creek / river running kayak. Her body weight + gear, is ~ 145lbs.

Which in general puts her at the higher end of the weight range for small size boats.

And the lower end of the weight range for medium size boats.

The question then is which end of the spectrum is it is best to be on the low or high end relative to weight?

I made this google sheet to help model this information for the boats she is most interested in. Have a look if you want to getter a better understanding of the factors in consideration: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing




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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
DriftaBit's Avatar
Hailey, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 16
Don't Get Overcomplicated

Anything in the 75-80 gallons range would be perfect for her. With some manufacturers that's a S boat, and with others that's a M (ie: the Karma M vs. the Burn M are ~16 gallons apart). I would go with a M size personally, because I like to float a little higher on lower volume runs. Past 80 gallons and she'd better be a fairly strong and competent paddler to throw it around, but if that were the case she'd probably not be asking for help during the selection process.

From your list I'd choose the Burn M or the Shiva M, but then again I'm partial to Pyranha boats over any others.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
imo if shes at the high end Id go medium with the small she'd sit deeper in the water gotta factor in gear and supplys just my 2 cents.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 21
She's sounds like she's in the small range for boats. A medium shiva would be way, way to big, that boat is 86 gallons. I'd go with a small mamba or medium burn (which runs small)
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 232
I read a nice article on choosing the size of a boat by Stephen Wright, and he made a good point. Choosing the boat based on volume doesn't make any sense. A boat could add a lot of volume above the parting lines, or have very little volume above the parting lines, yet the kayak will paddle identically. They give weight ranges for a reason.

He also said it's best to error on too big, than too small.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 187
Spread sheet is no substitute for paddling different models in the small and medium sizes. If your friend is from same area (San Jose) you should hook her up with other boaters who have similar boats she'd be interested in acquiring... bottom line is simple: when you sit in/paddle the boat that fits, you know it just about right away. You can try out earlier models (Burn vs Mamba vs Jackson, for ex.) and still get a valid "feel." But there's no way to compare boats in a spreadsheet - you have to paddle them to learn what fits you best. Just my 2 cents...
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 23
As someone who only has 10lbs on her. Get a medium so she can enjoy lower water and still float on a self support multi.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
Karma S

Have her get a Karma S. You can email me about outfitting it to perfection.

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