Another death sadly

That kayak would have filled with water and mostly sank. There is no bulkhead in the front so the stern would have been sticking out of the water…maybe a foot of it or less. The weight of the water inside would have made it impossible to get back in or pump out. Add cold, rough water to the mix and you have an unrecoverable situation.
My first kayak was a ten foot rec boat similar to this one and I deliberately capsized in a warm lake with no wind to see what would happen. There was no getting back in or pumping it out from the water period. I worked like a dog to drag it back to the dock (20 feet) and then still had difficulty to begin pumping out the water while sitting on that dock.
The lesson I learned from that boat is do not take it further from shore then you are comfortable swimming in.


Did he have a full wetsuit? What thickness? Hands and feet covered in what!

Hood if he had one probably didn’t keep his head warm. Doubt he had a balaclava going down back of his neck.

Small craft warning that day I read. Those rec kayaks are pool toys for a warm small lake.


I have spotted that exact kayak model several times in the past couple of years, always at discount outlets. The first one I saw showed up at a TJ Maxx clothing and housewares store and I was so startled to see it there I inspected it very closely. Very poorly made with NO bulkheads and only a sliver of foam in the bow obviously more intended to keep the deck from being caved in when a bunch of these Chinese junks were stacked in a shipping container. The seam along the white/blue contact of the two halves was defective and I could see a crack of light through it when I peered inside (it was leaned against a wall in the men’s clothing department.) I would not have taken a boat that poorly designed and constructed out on a farm pond.


Hi Glen. It would appear that the craft was not up to the conditions. The weak link.
I wish beginning kayakers were not so over confident.
Paddle boarders are even worse.


We’ve had this discussion before on bailers in sea kayaks. Consensus is you have to attain 4mph to get bailers to work properly. That isn’t a likely possible in that boat good or bad weather.

I know there was supposedly a small craft advisory. I was trying to find some historical weather data for Peconic Bay but so far unsuccessful.


NOAA Marine Weather, the correct NY Zone to get Peconic Bay, the Past Weather from the drop down menu on top NOAA's National Weather Service - National Climate

Weather Underground used to do land based historical weather, not sure if that is still so.

To be clear, I’m a decent paddler and I wouldn’t paddle that kayak other than close to shore in calm conditions. (Actually, I wouldn’t choose to paddle it at all.)

Maybe Ruther began his trip on January 2 in good weather, but it deteriorated when he was trying to cross western Peconic (or Flanders) Bay from south to north to get back to his put-in at South Jamesport. Newspaper reports said he began his trip at 8 am, was reported overdue and missing to the police at 4:15 pm, his kayak found capsized at 7:40 pm, and his body at about 8:40 pm. One article said there was a west wind and small craft advisory that “evening”. Nautical charts show a lot of shallow waters in that area. Maybe that made him overconfident in worsening weather.

As to whether that kayak was bulkheaded or not, it looks like there is a black walled bulkhead behind the seat in the stern. In addition, the first four videos on Ruther’s Tiktok page seem to show glimpses of a white foam bulkhead right at the front of the cockpit. This may be why he paddled with his knees so crooked up and carried his day bag on the front deck. If such a front bulkhead is there, either from Pelican or DIY’ed by Ruther, it would have sealed the entire bow.

Notwithstanding front and rear bulkheads, it nevertheless could be very difficult to re-enter in waves and cold water – and, still my best guess, impossible if the kayak had been blown out of reach.

Here’s his obituary.



The black thing at the back of the cockpit is a back band. You can see the straps for it coming forward. Even if there was a stern bulkhead (and there is not) the depressed well tank well for cargo in the stern means there is really very little internal volume behind the paddler.

This is the type of kayak we are talking about: Summit 100X | Pelican Sport

Water is free to flow around the side walls into what internal volume there is in the stern of the boat.

The location of the bolts for the molded foot rest rails indicates that with the paddler’s legs in a normal position there is really very little volume in the bow of the boat not occupied by the legs and feet of the paddler. I have no way of knowing whether the paddler tried to install some makeshift bulkhead in the bow. If so it would have been stupid as it would have been far easier to effect flotation with an appropriate float bag.

Bracing and heeling a kayak of this type in waves is quite difficult because of the enormous cockpit opening and lack of appropriate thigh braces. A bulkhead or some other gear or device that requires the paddler to keep his knees flexed and up out of the cockpit would have made effective bracing nearly impossible.


Reviews for this type of kayak are not submitted by expert paddlers but:

  1. ★★★★★1 out of 5 stars.

· 3 years ago


This kayak is awful. Though it’s lightweight, the centre of gravity seems to be “off” compared with other kayaks so its bow is out of the water; and the keel is very short so it’s tippy and terrible to steer. Would NOT recommend. Canadian Tire has better kayaks for a bit more money but I went cheap… You get what you pay for!

✘ No,

I do not recommend this product.

Originally posted on

  1. Renn

  • Review 1
  • Votes 0

★★★★★★★★★★1 out of 5 stars.

· a year ago

not for beginners

experienced kayak-er, this kayak does track well once moving in the water but getting it to that point is the issue. horrible instability when not moving was very disappointing

✘ No,

I do not recommend this product.

Oh yes. I see the back band now. My eyes automatically saw a bulkhead (because it makes sense to have one). The lack of a hatch cover should have been a dead give away as well. This kayak is of a lesser quality then my first boat by a long shot and mine still was an anchor when it filled with water.

Also notice that as a result of the design of the depressed well tank in the aft portion, with no wall between the well and the cockpit, any water washing onto the stern of the boat will wash directly into the cockpit. This is a design that is totally unsuitable for any type of waves or rough water.


One of the “2 star” reviews mentions that very issue of water in the cockpit.

Pool toy tons of them out there waiting to kill. I have said it before the need warning labels on them .

1 Like

The fact that DC required an NASBLA certificate prompted me to get one for Virginia many years ago, even when enforcement is pretty much non-existent. Technically, anyone renting a canoe, kayak, or SUP is required to have one, although enforcement would probably put rental operations out of business. Enforcement seems to be limited to when you have already pissed off the local authorities.

At this time pretty much all states will accept a NASBLA certificate from another state. Just for fun I took the online Maryland course a couple of years ago, since I now live there. The course is much more difficult now, but does some have canoe, kayak, and SUP relevant content. In many states these courses are free and not a bad thing in my opinion. I would strongly recommend it for anyone new to boating. It may be soon required nationwide for new boaters.