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Old 12-17-2007   #1
 
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 18
Kayak Help

Hey ladies I need some input/advice.

I'm 5'4 and 140 lbs. Currently I have a Wavesport EZG 50.

This was my first summer kayaking and now I'm working on rolling in the pool this winter. During the summer a friend and an instructor attempted to teach me to roll and each time I had a problem where my knees popped out while upside down....multiple things were tried with my outfitting. My seat is as far forward as it goes, I moved the thigh braces inward and I have 6 inches of foam block in the bulkhead of my kayak. It felt a bit better with those adjustments.

Tonight while at the pool I was able to roll my own kayak with a good bit of assistance. The instructor thinks my kayak is way too big for me. He put me into a smaller woman's kayak...it was an older Wavesport design..I believe an Ace 4.something (now discontinued). While in her kayak I was able to roll much easier and got one without assistance.

I could tell right where most of my problem is...the knee bumps in my kayak are far too high for me. It makes setting up a roll difficult...putting the boat on edge is difficult, and I can't reach around them too well.

I guess my question is.......what river runner/playboat would be good for me? The weight specs on my EZG 50 are 130-190 which I easily fall into but it seems the boat is too big for me. Are the weight specs on boats as rigid as they say? I was concerned about getting a smaller sized boat and being more on the heavier end of its weight spectrum as compared to the lighter.

What do you think I should demo?

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Old 12-17-2007   #2
 
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 86
Add padding

You can add padding to the seat to raise you up. This may do the trick to keep you in the boat and make it easier for you reach up while setting up for your role.
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Old 12-17-2007   #3
 
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 18
I was thinking of trying that too before I do get another boat.

I found my EZG very heavy....as soon as I'd get around to the hip snap part of the roll it felt like a massive effort to get the kayak to roll up. I also do feel that the kayak controls me more than I control it. Like in strong eddy lines I have trouble peeling out or ferrying.

I'm not sure if its me as a beginner or if they kayak is really TOO BIG for me. I do know that I find the knee bumps in my way alot!
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Old 12-17-2007   #4
KSC
 
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,104
I'm 155-160 5'11 & have the EZG50. I feel like I'm at the ideal weight and decent size for it. I wouldn't be too worried about the volume as a beginner, but the fit issue could be a problem.

The good news is that's a popular boat and you can probably sell it for a decent price. If you're reluctant to go there, I'd take it into a good paddle shop and see what they think/suggest. I'm sure you could make it work with some outfitting adjustments, but you might be happier in the long run selling it and replacing it with a more natural fit.

Only other thought - be realistic about how committed you are to getting into the sport. There's a high attrition rate amongst beginning boaters, so if you're not sure whether or not you're going to take to it, I wouldn't go too crazy spending $$ on the ideal boat. Maybe you could stick with what you've got for a while and if you're getting into it more, make a trade. Btw - outfitting issues aside, I think the EZG is great boat to learn in (just a great boat period).
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Old 12-18-2007   #5
 
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 674
I think fit is a very important thing in getting your roll. I struggled for two season in a boat that was too loose. First, I didn't think it would be that big of a difference. Second, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get out of the boat if I needed to do so. I'm now to the extreme of a tight fit in my boats. People who are shorter than me sometimes can't get in my boats. I think it has improved my overall boating as well.

I cannot fathom my knees falling out. It's impossible. I do give up some comfort, having a ratchet backband and releasing it during the calmer sections lets the blood back down to my feet.

Fit takes time. I have spent hours cutting foam, taping it in, trying it out, changing it around and finally glueing it in, repeat. My recomendation is to spend some quality time in your living room with your boat over the winter. Maybe bring some extra foam to the pool and experiment. It's amazing how much extra room there is in the feet when you move from being on solid ground to being in the water. I've had to add two or three inches from the living room process to the on water process. Also, try building up where your knees hit with foam. I'm 5'8" and have to put in a few layers, you'd likely need more.

Quick fixes - I'm not a fan as I like the stability of foam, but the Jackson Happy Feet have infinite adjustability on the fly. Just learn how to use them so you don't feel like your feet are balancing on a balloon. Something else I used is the Happy Seat. It's not something you put under your bottom, but something that supports your legs and really gets them up in the thigh braces. I've gotten away from using it as I've worked on the fit of my boat. If you have worries about getting out, it may be a little claustrophobic (you can get out, try in a pool first). Both would be things to try.

Hope that helps if you are in the EZG or a different boat.

Laurie
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Old 12-18-2007   #6
 
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 18
Thanks very much for the suggestions. I am going to try to raise my seat first and see if that makes much of a difference and I am going to try to demo as many boats as possible this winter.

At first I didnt think my boat was too big for me but after I was put into the smaller boat I could really feel my body contact with the kayak and I could tell immediately that I had more control of it.
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Old 12-18-2007   #7
 
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 18
Does anyone have any input on the Dagger RX 6.7? It seems similar to my Wavesport EZG 50 but the deck height is lower which I think may help me.
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Old 12-18-2007   #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 120
Just a quick forewarning... raising your seat can make rolling a lot more difficult. I've paddled a couple boats with raised seats and always felt it harder to roll. (Gives nice leverage though for short folks like myself).
-Claire
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Old 12-18-2007   #9
 
Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 18
Oh no! It seems I can't win!

Why does raising the seat affect the roll?
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Old 12-20-2007   #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by apurcell View Post

Why does raising the seat affect the roll?
I'm not sure - probably has something to do with the center of rotation being thrown off due to raising your body mass higher. But the sensation I had was like wearing platform shoes- easy to feel off balance. I found a fine line with raising the seat a bit (which helped me a lot) and too much (which hindered a lot). When I first tried it, I raised the seat WAY too much, hopped in at the playpark, and immediately almost swam (and I had a bomber roll at the time).

Good luck. If you think you're sticking with paddling, I'd get a new boat that fits better - there are usually lots of used options around if moneys an issue. Fit is just super important!
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