Boat for tiny person

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Boat for tiny person

Post by Sealwife » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:15 pm

Looking for a boat which might fit me. I’m 151cm tall and weigh 53kg. Currently paddling a plastic avocet which is ok(ish). Have also tried a fragile looking aged anas acuta which I felt a love/hate attraction to (carved elegant, effortless turns but tippy and ocean cockpit made launching without falling over a challenge).
Have read lots and lots of specs, many LV models still not all that LV really. Not easy to demo small boats either as most dealers don’t have many in stock.
I’m after a day boat which will make keeping up with the rest of the group a bit more feasible (currently the wee lass at the back working like crazy to keep up with the guys in the sleek composite boats).

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:29 pm

Have a look at a Rockfall Isel

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by rockhopper » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:43 pm

Rockpool Isel...

or you could consider something like a Zegul/Tahe Greenland (usually an ocean cockpit but some early ones were available with keyhole cockpit I believe) or a Greenland T (keyhole cockpit).


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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Mac50L » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:24 am

Ironically this is the sized person I designed my present kayak for. If only I could borrow her for a day to see how she could handle it. It is 5 m x 510 cm beam, 18 kg though it was 13 kg in the water for testing.

Me? I'm a foot (30 cm) taller and 17 kg heavier. Has anyone thought of building one? My partner had to build her own. She's part way through a second, lighter one.

The only problem with a plywood kayak is they are light and probably last for 50 - 100 years, not like plastic with maybe a safe life of 20 years and twice as heavy. Toughness? Hitting rocks? I always hit rocks, that's the fun of it. Tough and without fibreglass covering too.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by swagstaff » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:01 pm

Sea Kayak Oban have a Valley Sirona 15.10 which has replaced the Avocet LV.
The Sirona 15.10 is a small boat.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Kevin Cooper » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:20 pm

There are many paddlers of your stature, alas not myself! If you indicate your location local paddlers with potential boats may offer to assist, failing that get along to one of the symposiums where you will see the whole spectrum of boats and paddler sizes.

I know of petite ladies paddling lv Cetus, pilgrim and small sirona.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Irish Sea » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:54 am

The Tiderace Xcite-S is worth a try and designed with rather small paddlers in mind.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by ron-t » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:14 pm


The Avocet RM is really in a sort of class of sea kayak on its own - the shorter length, the very rounded chines, and a lot of rocker means that it is almost a creeking boat for the sea.

Highly manouverable, very easy to roll, not a lot of primary stability but with so much secondary stability it almost rolls itself. A superb boat for big chunky seas.

Its big down side is its speed - or rather - the lack of it. It is very slow. paddling into quite small waves stops it dead. In a following sea it just sits and sulks.

So if you are having difficulty in keeping up with other boats, you can justifiably blame the boat.

The composite Avocet LV is designed for smaller paddlers, and you have to be quite small to even get into it. And bear in mind that the Avocet RM and the composite Avocets are completely different boats, they have nothing in common except the name - why Valley gave them the same name I have no idea, they are just so different. So an Avocet LV may be worth trying.

Another boat of a similar sort of type is the Romany LV - Romanys (Romanies ?) have a good reputation in rough water.

I haven`t ever tried the LV version, but I found the standard Romany quite hard to roll, but that is probably just me.

Also from SKUK is the Explorer LV - and again, you have to be quite small to get into it. But the Explorers are big beasts - they are full-on expedition boats, so maybe not what you are looking for.

They cover distance well, but are not really what you would call manouverable - but one of the more surprising characteristics of the Explorer is how it takes off in a following sea, and there are not many other boats that have any chance of keeping up with it.

You mentioned the Anas Acuta - if you liked the way it performed - and they are very different to so many of the floating armchair sea kayaks that dominate the UK market - at one point Valley would make you an Anas Acuta with a keyhole cockpit instead of the ocean cockpit you didn`t like. I don`t know if they are still doing it, but be warned, I have sat in one, and thought that the keyhole cockpit was huge, far too big for the boat, and maybe too big for a smaller paddler to be able to get themselves a good fit in the boat.

Another boat that has already been mentioned is the Rockpool Isel - suitable for small to medium paddlers - they are good all round day boats, a good balance between primary and secondary stability, easy to roll, longer than the Romany and the Avocet, so have a good turn of speed.

Maybe Rockpool have redesigned them in the last 2 or 3 years, but when I got mine the biggest downside to the Isel was the huge built in skeg at the back - it was far too big. In its standard form the Isel tracked like a train, but was a pig to turn.

However just like some of the older Nordkapps, there was a simple solution - a saw, and a bit of fibreglass. Then move the seat back a couple of inches - it is adjustable.

There was an instant improvement in the way the boat behaved - more manouverable, easier to edge, easier to roll, just generally a lot more fun.

If you are suitably unhinged you can go on and do a lot more modifications to the hull and end up with a sea play boat - but that is maybe a bit off topic.

So there you go, that`s my thoughts on the boats for the smaller paddler that I know about, but there are others I don`t know anything about.

Unfortunately boats for the smaller paddler don`t get a lot of publicity, which is a pity, because there are a lot of paddlers out there who are struggling with boats that are too big for them, and missing out on a lot of fun.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by on the rocks » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:19 pm

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Mike A » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:26 pm

my other half is exactly your size and loves her Isel. The only issue is that the cockpit is massive, it can be a struggle to reach forward far enough to get the deck on.

The in built skeg is big, but she appears to have no problem rockhopping the thing. Perhaps floating considerably higher than me enables her to get through many places I cant, or maybe it is just skill.

Speedwise, it appears fast enough to stick with me in my Aries.

If i was half the weight i would have one immediately as it just looks right and is built to a superb standard. Similar in that respect to the Atlantic, a boat that just works.

Before buying the Isel we tried Explorer LV (too big) and Pilgrim Expedition (too uncomfortable).

From a proud as punch partner, I would say that having a boat that fits and reacts to paddler input has enabled my other half to really progress her sea paddling and to build confidence. So much so that we are off to alaska for a couple of weeks self supported paddle.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by PeterG » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:43 am

The old P&H vela is a really good boat for a small person and surprisingly fast for its length, might still be some around.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Robert Craig » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:48 pm

My wife is 53 kg and loves my Vela.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:56 pm

If you're happy to do woodworking, a Shrike would be a possibility - you can modify the dimensions to make it as small as you like, but retain some length for speed.

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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by Ceegee » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:26 pm

Dont firget the Pilgrim either, myself I would say Isel or Romany, but beware the LV, there are, according to some, issues with the seat placement and fore/aft balance.
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Re: Boat for tiny person

Post by simon64 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:21 pm

Dagger Alchemy S, lovely lttle kayak

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