At 185lb at 6'4" with a 36" inseam and large feet, with the seat back on the T165, I actually felt quite comfortable barefoot over a couple of hours active paddling. The T170 is doubtless more comfortable for me, but as mentioned, tracks harder and is more boat to deal with. But my legs are skinny and the main issue with the T165 is the low deck (and it is its a major advantage too). A shorter heavier-set person might have bigger tights and feel less comfy...
That said, years ago when I was shopping for my first "real" kayak, I felt the T170 was barely the minimum I could fit in. I chose the Tsunamy 145. Both feel rather big now and, while I like certain room for my long legs and large feet, I've gotten to be comfortable in much smaller volume cockpits just as well and tend t prefer them over large and lose fitting ones. I think it just goes with the amount of time spent in boats and what you do with them. So, I would not force someone who is at a point where they prefer "biger" to go "smaller", until they feel they need smaller. I would also suggest buying used at this point, as their tastes are very likely to change in the near future. So, a used T170 would seem like a good choice. Or a Tsunami 160? I think they come with the higher seat supports too but can be "upgraded" to the backbands in the future...
Touring Kayak Paddles
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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