Kayak Suggestions for Petite (110#), Short Paddlers - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-13-2018   #1
Mariposa, CA, California
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
Kayak Suggestions for Petite (110#), Short Paddlers

Here are the stats:

110#; 5' paddler
River Runner Category (would feel better not in something with too much "play")
Class III max.

Here is the conundrum:
Wife is looking for a boat to get back into the sport. Most boats put her under the specified weight category (i.e. boat is 120-165ish).

Only boat that she is inside the spec is a Remix 59. (just get that...because numbers...)

Found a used Mamba 7.5 at a decent price. (but again--specs start at 120#). Don't know if buying, trying, reselling is worth it?

Question: What do other short, petite paddlers use or prefer?
Do short, petite people just suck it up and use boats a little larger than what is specified?
Are there any "oldies, but goodies" that have proved perfect for these body types?
Do I just make my wife wear 20# of sand around her waist? Start her on a diet of Stout Ale and donuts?

Looks like "kids" boats are too small, "small" grownup boats are "too big..."

Any helpful opinions/suggestions are thanked in advance.

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Old 01-13-2018   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,804
I am partial to Pyranha, so my suggestion would be the Burn III in a small. I paddle the large at 5'6" and 155 lbs. The small is rated for a suggested paddler weight of 88-143 lbs.

Pyranha Burn III
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Old 01-13-2018   #3
Mariposa, CA, California
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 3
Duh. Pyranha--forgot about them.
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Old 01-13-2018   #4
bobbuilds's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,706
id Recommend a Jackson kayak zen, small as well as pyrhana or any boat maker.

Keys for a small person. Low deck hight. Narrower boat, although not too narrow, and volume.

All boat makers should have something, and if you really take the time to outfit the boat and move the seat, add padding etc, all things that get done at some point, she will enjoy the boat.

Keeping it short, I’d recommend anything small from pyrhana, except a nano, big potato.

Jackson has the zen in a small, antix,

LL has the remix and mullet

And if your really inclined, Wakas,zets, and lettmanns all run smaller, with smaller specs in some cases.

It’s not easy, time with outfitting will help the most once you find a d cent boat fit.
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Old 01-13-2018   #5
brenda's Avatar
bc, CA
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 325
I wouldn't put too much thought into suggested weight ranges but rather the boat volume and width. Manufacturers will tell that themselves. If you can get a mamba 7.5 for a good price - they are very forgiving and run on the small size. I sold my 7.5 to a young boy 90# who loves it. They are very easy to roll as well. I opted for the new 7.6 which has more volume. I am 125#. I personally find Pyranha boats very edgy and a tad harder to roll. A 2fun would also fit her perfectly but would be a bit more playful.
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Old 01-14-2018   #6
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 96
The Mamba 7.6 is a tiny boat. I am well within the weight range for that boat (5'8", 135 lbs, woman) and I paddle the 8.1, even though I'm way below the weight range for it which starts at 150. Their sizing seems to be way off for the mamba. If you can get the 7.6 at a good price, go for it! My friend is almost the same size as your wife (5'2", 120 lbs) and she tried the 7.6 and felt it was too small. It is so much better to have a boat that's slightly too big than slightly too small- it will give her much more confidence.
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Old 01-16-2018   #7
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 326
I have a 2fun for sale. It would fit her. Caveat, if she is "getting back into the sport" she might be better with a Mamba or similar. Depends on how one with the water she wants to be. A bigger, floaty boat is not a bad idea. Reaching around a boat to roll is something to think about. Some boats might feel too deep (deck is high). Pad the seat.
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Old 01-16-2018   #8
The Fort, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 108
Don't fret too much about the suggested weight ranges. those numbers aren't a precise science. fit is more important for small paddlers. as a smaller paddler myself, i've learned it's more making sure you've got a good fit.

That said, the burn, zen, and LL Remix should all be good choices. i owned a remix 59 and loved it.
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Old 01-16-2018   #9
FatmanZ's Avatar
Northern Utah, Utah
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 685
Another option not yet mentioned:

Jackson SideKick: It's not a high performance kayak in any way, but it excels at getting new paddlers down the river easily and great at building confidence along the way. It's forgiving, it's very easy to paddle, and it's also really easy to roll, and it's easy to adjust the outfitting. It's not as "deep" as some river runner kayaks which can be harder to roll and it certainly won't feel as long. With the planning hull it turns easily. You can find them used on the cheap and easy to resell as well. Based on the specs you provided it should fit your wife, and my own kids have paddled it weighing up to around 120lbs without issues.

Note: I would NOT however recommend the Little Hero (next size up).

Use the SideKick to get her back into the sport and when she's ready there are lots of good choices to move up to.
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Old 01-21-2018   #10
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 127
A Jackson Funrunner 60 is a great boat, easy to roll, quick and surfs anything. It is longer than a 2Fun, more for downriver. Definitely a fun boat.

Super comfortable outfitting and easy to set up. You should be able to find one for a good price too. My son grew out of his but loved it while it lasted. Weight range is 90-150 for beginners and at 5' will fit great.

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