Nate, I currently paddle both a Valley Avocet RM and Aquanaut LV (composite). For someone my size the Avocet (RM) makes a great instructor's boat or a guide boat for day trips. However, you have me by roughly 30 pounds, so I don't think it would be ideal for you.
I recently had an opportunity to demo a North Shore Polar. I found this kayak to be much to my liking. It too would make a great kayak to teach from, but it has a bit more storage space for longer trips. The Polar is deceiving. I has the looks of a low-volume boat, but according to specs can carry 30 more liters of gear than the new P&H Cetus LV (350 vs. 320). The Polar is highly maneuverable, yet can maintain a decent pace. The boat's secondary stability is very reassuring. You could probably paddle the Polar, but I suspect that with your gear you would be better served by the Polar HV.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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