Size matters. Right?

New kayaker here.  5' 9," 170 lbs, not a former Olympian but I try to stay in shape.  My planned paddling "mission" will most likely be flat water (for now) single day trips.

I have almost settled on which kit for my first build, a Shearwater 16 or 17, though the Petrel Play looks intriguing.

Based on my size and planned paddle profile, what are your thoughts on which size boat?


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RE: Size matters. Right?

I'd recommend looking at the Shearwater Sport. At 14' 6" it is plenty fast. As a new kayaker you will apreciate the roomy cockpit and the 25" width. And it is still relatively light-weight (42 pounds). It is easier to build than the Petrel Play.   

RE: Size matters. Right?

Shearwater's are great first boats.  Relatively easy builds, look great, paddle great, and can be handled by beginners but also perform really well for experienced paddlers.

my key factors i think about, 1) mission - and you seem to understand that, 2) fit - the boat has to fit.  if its not comfortable, it won't work.   in particular you need to ensure your feet fit, your butt fits, and that you have a comfortable sitting position which is effected by things like how flexible you are.....your weight should also be within the targeted paddler range....or else the boat may not perform as expected. 3) gotta look great to you.  

to the extent possible, i would always recommend a test paddle...especially for fit..  not sure where you are.....but if you check out the site's builders club ( chances are you can find the model you want with someone who will let you take it for a ride.

as for me, i am 5' 10" and about 175 (a little bit of pandemic weight gain...but i'm on it now).  i built this shearwater 17 and it was a blast.



RE: Size matters. Right?

Good comments above.

S&G Petrel Play was my third build.  It is a GREAT boat for waves, but for flat water, I'd submit that the Shearwater 16 or 17 would be a better choice.  Either SW will be faster, track better and have more interior volume for gear/camping.  The other issue is that the PP is a tough S&G build, definately not recommended for a first timer.

Picture is my first three builds, Ch17LT, Ch16LT & PP.



RE: Size matters. Right?

   Thanks for the input, guys.  I appreciate the help.  The pictures are most impressive - those look more like art than boats!

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