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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:36 pm 
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Can anyone please advise on the relative merits for an average sized person (5'6")?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:14 pm 
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If you're young and lithe of body, the standard cockpit might feel a bit more secure. If you're old(er) and stiff of joint, the longer cockpit will allow you to pull your knees up which I find more comfortable. Also, in a light surf landing the larger cockpit makes for a quick exit.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:07 am 
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Thanks Jake. The longer cockpit is sounding appealing! Is there any drawback to having the large?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:27 pm 
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Several years ago when I bought the Wisper, my first folding kayak, I didn't know much about kayak ergonomics. I thought the narrower small cockpit would be a better fit for my quasi lean body type. I never considered the cockpit length and how to get my knees out. When my legs would start to hurt from sciatica (I also wasn't inflating the seat cushion sufficiently) I remained in that very painful condition until I was able to land.
If instead I picked the big cockpit version, I would have kept the Wisper and not sold it. The Wisper still remains my favourite kayak. I now have issues with assembling my Big Kahuna having to bend into the cockpit to extend the frame - but that's a different story.
My suggestion is, unless you are an expert kayaker and you are into rolling - small cockpits really help there - get the larger cockpit version. But again, everyone is different.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Thank you. I think my self rescues will continue to be more dependent on ease of re-entry than rolling... so a larger cockpit would be an advantage there, but would the large cockpit preclude rolling altogether?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:06 pm 
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Probably not. But unless you are planning to spend a lot of time in learning how to roll, and lots of practice after that, I would not even consider it - I didn't. Perfecting self and assisted rescues is a lot more useful than an aborted roll in rough conditions.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:43 pm 
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I agree but would still like to know rolling is not precluded by the size of the cockpit. Odd that FC give no information to guide customers other than the dimensions - which someone else found to be inaccurate for the Khatsalano, so I don't feel confident comparing it to my hardshell.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:29 pm 
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I agree with Paraglia about the larger, longer cockpit being, in general, a better choice. FC boats are supplied with bracing bars that will help snug you into the cockpit when rolling, if that's your thing. Most of the kayakers I paddle with have twenty or more years experience and not one of them puts much faith in their rolling ability in gnarly conditions. But we all have really mastered our reflexive braces.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:49 am 
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Thanks Jake, it does sound as though there is no downside to a large cockpit then.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:12 pm 
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I have a Big Kahuna (large cockpit) and I'm happy with it because I have long legs. One should know that the larger dimension is somewhat deceiving because access is limited to a degree by the large rib at the front of the cockpit. I can barely get my legs through after getting in butt first. Once in you have the option of the bracing bars (as Jake mentioned) and inflatable hip pads (mine are Feathercraft).
I think learning to roll is a great idea but it is a commitment. Upside down, my Kahuna feels heavy and I can't seem to budge it, but I have a terrible roll and I would have to take classes again. So I keep practicing my self rescues.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:13 pm 
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Selkie,

For rolling the cockpit size is less important than a well fitting spray skirt. A good spray skirt should stay on during rolling and in rough water, but be easy to release. On my hard shells I use neoprene skirts with a bungee edge, my older folders have their stock rubber or PVC spray skirts. For extreme rough water you can go with a randed spray skirt. I feel that the need for a small cockpit is less now that we have better spray skirts.
In general, it is nice to have a cockpit large enough to be able to get your legs in when sitting down (almost essential for scramble self rescues), but small enough for a good knee brace position. A big reason why key-hole cockpits are so popular in hard shells.
Rolling? Easier said than done, especially in rough conditions. But, a very valuable skill to have. It also takes regular practice, some people I paddle with toss in a couple of rolls at the start of each paddle... I on the other hand still have my good days and bad days!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:45 am 
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Thanks Chris, I'd not considered the difference more or less taught spraydecks would make. I found someone similar sized's description of getting into the small cockpit (well, it was standard, but I am assuming thats now the small, and the large was made larger, as opposed to two new sizes...) and that sounded much the same as a standard keyhole, one leg then the other etc, so either seems do-able but large easier to access.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:03 am 
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Chris makes a good point. If I purchased a Feathercraft today I would upgrade to the neoprene skirt as it would have a more "drum-like" fit and I'm sure it would last longer.
To further explain about the two Feathercraft sized cockpits, I'm very pleased with the larger size. For the sake of stability, I can do the butt first, then legs through maneuver. With the smaller cockpit, maybe, but not with that rib in front of me. This may not be a concern if you have shorter legs than mine or if you use a paddle brace as you slide into the cockpit. Hope I'm not beating a dead horse but I know that many people buy a folding kayak without the advantage of trying it out first. That was my situation and I did a ton of research before I purchased my first (a Feathercraft K-Light).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:24 am 
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No dead horses here, I really appreciate the input!! Of the FC range I've only paddled the K1 before and there is no opportunity to try any of the models in the UK.

I'm 5'6" so am hoping if I fortuitously come across a 2nd hand boat with a small cockpit it won't be a huge problem - I enter my lv hardshell butt first, then one leg and then the other and hope that would still be possible. For once glad not to be taller!

I wonder whether the Reed spraydecks would equally be an improvement, they are made here in the UK and very taught, strong and good quality.


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