I am a returning older paddler member and I would like to know if SOT’s are just considered recreational. Most of my experience is in canoes. But I like the idea of a light smaller boat that might be at least a little moe fun
Not from my perspective.
Wave skis are on the skilled end of surfing. Surf skis are on the skilled end of racing. I think there’s a pretty full set of hull styles in between. I’ve been seeing some SOT’s positioned in the sea kayak category, offering both sea kayak stability and storage compartments. Sea kayaking origins, and still some of the most attention grabbing expeditions are through icy cold waters, and I think that’s where some specific advantages of a traditional sea kayak really come in. A lot more protection from the cold water and wind where it may be necessary.
I’m an open boater,
so this input is worth what you’re paying for it. I think consensus is most SOTs are thought of as “toys” for lack of a more accurate term, but there are some that are quite capable in whitewater. I know several skilled paddlers who like them a lot. Perception Torrent comes to mind, although I doubt if that one’s still made.
If you plan on doing a lot of fishing, the SOT is the way to go. Most are so stable you can sit sideways and dangle your legs in the water if you like. You normally do get much wetter than a sit inside. The smaller ones might be considered toys but something like the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 (16’ & 76 lbs.) is a bit serious to be considered a toy.
Maybe try some different canoes
In comparison to the canoes you remember, you said you are looking for a "light smaller boat that might be at least a little more fun". Well, SOTs will NOT be smaller or lighter than an "appropriate" solo canoe. There are lots of very sporty, "fun" solo canoes, many of which weigh about one-third of what a SOT does, and even the worst of them will not weigh more than two-thirds of what a SOT weighs (Okay, I should mention that both Mad River and Old Town make some small canoes that are roto-molded and weigh the same as a SOT, but those monstrosities really bear no resemblance to canoes, in my opinion). The initial part of the learning curve for paddling a solo canoe is a bit more challenging than that of a SOT (or rec kayak or touring kayak), but if that doesn't scare you and if a solo canoe is appropriate for your expected usage, don't rule out that option.
Here, a picture is worth a thousand words. The average person who remember canoes from their younger days as big, clumsy and slow doesn't realize they need not be like that, even solo, and likely won't picture a solo paddler making this kind of progress when paddling with moderate effort against the stiff current of a river in flood (the first clip is typical, and the second shows failure to see a bit of cross-wise current soon enough to react gracefully):
Oh, accidental paddle contact with the boat sounds really kutzy here and doesn't support the paddling image I wished to convey, but that's because the camera, being clamped to the boat, picked up every little bump and creak of the hull and amplified it. Even the swishing of the water was far more quiet, relative to background noises, than what's heard here.
Still around. Now the Dagger Torrent.
I thought all boats were toys!
All mine are, including a SOT of the fourteen canoes and kayaks that we have.
If you want one get it.
There are some super fast sleek ones along with the big barges, and the surf ones.
If you aren’t making any money from your boat it’s a toy.
(The wind is howling here in the Piedmont, Jack.)
I was just thinking the same thing.
Not much practical purpose for paddling these days.
Unless you count joy as practical.
another single blader here…but I think having fun is the answer and uh…what was the question lol…
Who cares what anybody thinks? It’s you who counts…
Had a visit in the Everglades
from a paddler out on a day trip fishing on a SOT…one of those Hobies that are foot pedaled.
He covered 26 miles. I thought “yah sure”. When he left I swore the boat threw a wake.
Not portable but certainly useful for some if they are strong or have a cart to haul in and out.
All our boats are toys…If it gets you out there, why care what anyone else says? It’s your trip!
Yes, they are all toys, but …
... the rest of the OP's remarks seem to indicate an interest in where they are on the spectrum of efficient function, which really clarifies his use of the word "toy". It sounds like he wishes to avoid something that's heavy and sluggish. Rather than get get too hung up on the terminology, I think people should address the true meaning of the question (or ask for clarification if needed).
There are some truly high-performance SOTs, but they tend not to go by that name (surf skis) and they aren't practical for most people. Some are middle-of-the road but these are usually heavy. Plenty more really ARE low on the performance scale. There's lots of potential for discussion here but not many are going for it (I can't because I don't know many models).
Depends on definition
A sit-on-top can be very sleek, fast and narrow
They can also be very wide barges that float
as some of the fishing platforms represent.
Malibu Stealth 14 Fishing Kayak
they’re all toys
What about a SOT are you interested in?
SOT doesn’t = light compared to most
solo canoes, unless you’re comparing relatively heavy solo canoes and premium light weight SOTs.
Don’t have much to add
Everyone else here has covered it pretty well. There are SOTs of every kind out there, from heavy, slow recreational barges to lightweight, fast racers. From a few hundred bucks to several thousand.
It depends on you. You say you are an older paddler returning to the sport, but you don’t mention how experienced you are or what kind of paddling you did on your canoe (piddling around, flat water tripping, racing, white water, etc.). So it depends on what you want to do. If you used to paddle a nice, efficient canoe and have plenty of experience, then you will probably be sorely disappointed with a heavy polyethylene bargey SOT. Then again, if you have slowed down and just want to piddle around maybe you’ll like it. Best thing to do is go to a dealer demo and try them all.
Are not lighter or smaller. A wider surfski could be an option. An epic V8 or v6 and stellars wide ski are pretty easy to paddle first time out.
Consider solo canoes.
Some are quite light and quite a bit of fun and can be paddled with either a canoe paddle or solo canoe paddle.
I have three solo canoes that weigh 32 lbs or less.
I’m an older paddler, 63, and do not in any way consider my SOT and older OK ScupperPor a recreational toy, its a mean green (actually blue & white) fishing machine for the shallow flats in in sunny South Florida.
Now as an older paddler, recntly having open hear surgery, lost a lot of zip in my physical condition I’m looking for lighter options for lifting, loading, and unloading reasons… and there are no SOT kayak options that come close to matching the less than 30 pound weight 's that canoe manufactures have reached in the past 10 years or so, and SOT kayak manufacturers don;t seem to be trying, Stand Up Paddle boards are getting close by basing the basic design on surf board’s