After 12+ years of paddling a Perception Dancer, it was time for my wife and I to get into playboating. At 5-9 170 pounds with size 9.5 feet, I expected to end up with a "compromise" boat - part river runner, part playboat, something like an X or Outlaw.
Surprise! Not only can I fit into an Ultrafuge, but it is more stable and easier to initiate than its competition. We demo'd the XXX (closest to same size), and the ForPlay and Centrifuge (next step up in size). While I am above the maximum recommended weight for the Ultra, I found that to be an advantage in initiating bow and stern moves. And despite my "extra" weight, the Ultra is still very managable in moving water, eddylines, ferry crossings, etc.
The ForPlay and Centrifuge were good boats, too. But once it became obvious that I could fit into an Ultra and a XXX, the larger boats lost out to the smaller ones. We believe the smaller boats will ease our learning curve for the "the latest moves". And while I probably would have been entirely happy with a XXX, the Ultra just felt more "integrated" with my body movements. As it turned out, my feelings were echoed by my wife and her friend on that same demo day... we ended up buying three Ultras!
Coming from the prehistoric "Dancer" era, it's nothing short of remarkable how someone my size can fit into boats as small as the Ultra and XXX. If you're considering a playboat, definitely go "one size smaller" than you'd otherwise expect, and see if you fit. I started off expecting to need an X, ended up with an Ultrafuge, and couldn't be happier.