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Old 10-17-2006   #1
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Boat choices?

Well I thought I would take the opportunity to ask you ladies a question...I work with our club on teaching newbies to roll and paddle. I was wondering if when recommending boats to women do you have to take into consideration how deep you sit into the boat? I mean does the cockpit rim interfere with your paddling if you have a shorter torso? Do most women raise their seat or outfit to sit higher?

"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 10-17-2006   #2
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Not a lady but as a short paddler this is a huge issue for me. It eliminates half of the boats I'd like to paddle (especially creek boats) just because I sit too low to fit well and have good control over the boat. I would guess that a lot of women have this problem too.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 10-17-2006   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 181
Yes, it is a common issue for women and many of us pad up our seat to be able to sit higher in the cockpit. For me, it also helps to see what is coming. I feel like I have a better view of the river when I'm sitting taller. There is a limit to the padding, however...too much can make the boat feel a bit tippy.
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Old 10-17-2006   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 67
boats designed for women

I am a big fan of all equipment designed for use by women. My mountain bike is a women's design, so is my snowboard, as well as my boat (one of them anyway). Small women in particular, I think, have a hard time trying to retrofit equipment designed for men.

I bought a Jackson 2fun this summer and really love it. Prior to it, I paddled a Wavesport Siren for about three years. I wasn't too crazy about the slicy, unforgiving nature of this boat, but it was light, easy to roll... and speaking of rolling, I first learned the c to c, which I think could be harder for women (doing the "thumb up the butt" part of the roll requires a greater deal of arm extension). The sweep works so much better for me. I know that the c to c can be easier to explain/teach... but I was just never real comfortable with it (not sure if this is solely due to the fact that I'm a woman though!) Anyway, like I said, the 2 fun is great. I also have a Prijon Creeker as a creek boat.

Anyway, us small girls don't have a lot of options out there, and I realize someone learning to paddle is typically in a rental boat.. but just putting in my two cents. I'm so glad Jackson came around with so many sizing choices!
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Old 10-17-2006   #5
San Diego and Frisco, CO
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 107
Yeah, but don't over do it on raising seats! I paddled in a slalom clinic with a woman two weeks ago who was trying to use a stock molded seat and it made her sit way too high. It was not until we all looked at video that it was apparent how much this made her really tippy and interfered with her boating. (And the instructors were national level coaches!)

If you get to monkeying around with a seat for a girl, here's a tip (if its possible), find a more experienced boater and have her check it out. HIgh and tippy can really mess with a boater's head and balance and confidence.
And hey this betty corner is pretty cool, especially with the high class moderators!
And if you are between seasons back there in mountain country and going nuts, come out to SoCal for some sun and surfing before its snows.
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Old 10-18-2006   #6
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 140
I too am a smaller woman, and I'm boat shopping. I don't want to be boat shopping, but my 2nd EZG has to go back. I'm beyond bummed, I love this boat. It fits me , I can muscle it and I'm towards the upper end of the weight range. (125-130, depending on time of the year. ) I whack my thumbs on any boat bigger than this, regardless of verticality. I've tried Sirens, fun to play, but too slicey for the real world. Should I try a Fun next? (I'm limited to what the shop will carry next spring, which is currently dagger, prijon and wavesport.) I'd really like another 42, but not holding my breath the shop will carry it again...they're as upset with Wavesport as I am right now.

Any suggestions?

And BTW, thanks so much to the Buzz, Anna, Holly, Claire and Tina. What a great concept.

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Old 10-18-2006   #7
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 67
hey Deb!

I love the 2fun... it seems really small, and it handles much differently than the siren. It's very stable and moves slowly when sitting flat, but as soon as you put it on edge it moves quickly (when you need it to). Really easy to surf. I just started paddling it at the end of the season. I am 5'4" and 120 (you know me, from the CWWA pool sessions . Not sure what the range is, but yeah, i think you should check out the fun, it's a great boat.
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Old 10-18-2006   #8
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The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,134
For the paddler in the Jackson, do you have the "Sweet Cheeks" seat device? I'm not sure what year it started coming as standard outfitting (I think it was 06).

I sat in a Jackson and loved the sweet cheeks so much, I bought one for my boat (I'm a guy, btw). It enables you to sit higher if you want, and/or provide low hip padding through the bean-bag type stuff inside (which is why I like it - makes for a real nice bucket seat type feel).

I'm not sure it suits the needs exactly, but you might give it a thought, ask around if others have found it helpful.
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Old 10-18-2006   #9
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I have a Trigger for sale that you could try out if you like. It's a bigger boat for river running, but turns on a dime. Its a really good design for smaller paddlers. Its got a lot of volume, but the cockpit is made for little people. Just let me know if you want to take it out and give it a try.
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Old 10-18-2006   #10
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Asheville, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 21
Choosing the right boat for women

It's true that small women sometimes sit too deep in a lot of kayaks. Raising the seat is a good option, but like other people have mentioned, it can make the boat really unstable and make paddling a little scary! Luckily most boat models these days come in at least 3 sizes. For beginners I suggest the Dagger Mamba 7.5. It's a river runner, but it's really sized for small people. The Jackson boats are also great, but what I find is happening is that shops are putting beginner female paddlers in the fun series which is more of a playboat than a river runner (I know it's marketed as a river runner, but anyone who looks at them can see that they resemble a playboat more than a river runner). You have to make sure you get the right size for you. If you have a heavier woman who is a beginner she probably won't enjoy the Fun series as much as she would a stable river running boat like the Mamba. I dedicated my last column in Kayak Session Magazine to this issue so check it out if you want more info.

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