Reading Midtemo’s rescue practice thread and watching the rough water sea kayak rescue video in it, I thought, man, that is a pain to recover from a wet exit, even if everything goes right.
Considering only a small subset of kayakers (referring to all kayakers from 8’ rec boats to Greenland circumnavigation expeditions) actually uses storage hatches regularly. This got me thinking…If you just want to be on the water, safe and easy, (i.e. not for camping) why doesnt everyone buy a stable surfski like a Epic V7 or Nelo 510. Both are plastic and can be bought new for less than $1500. The V7 has a nominal hatch (the V6 has ‘real’ hatches) if you need a little storage too.
I had a moment of clarity when I was bucked off my Stellar SR a couple nights ago in 4’ messy conditions (a couple hundred yards out from a break wall with reflecting waves and bi-directional swell-basically a washing machine). It was my first unintentional capsize, but I got back on my first try with only 1 minor hiccup (leashes slightly tangled together). I mean, I have practiced remounting my surfski probably 100 times over the last month in various conditions, but none as big or messy as capsized me. Still, the remount went surprisingly well.
Considering how fast and easy remounting a ski is, I wonder, if you need minimal or no dry storage, why buy a traditional kayak? Get a beginner surfski! The safety margin is significantly higher, they’re more fun to paddle, and beginner boats are 20-24" wide, so its basically a medium-fast sea kayak stability wise that almost anyone should be able to master quickly. True, you wont find them on Craig’s for $200, but if you are considering sopending several hundred dollars on a rec boat, I highly suggest you test paddle a surfski. They are the funnest boats around, and also provide a great safety margin in all conditions. (but you still have to practice remounting )