First Demo, SOT vs. Ultimate 12 and

Well first if anyone has been in both a Pungo 120 and a Loon 111 - does the Pungo sit “deep” compared to the Loon? I was in a Loon 3 weeks ago so my memory isn’t that great and I tried the Pungo today. The Pungo just felt hard to get in and out of and like I sat deep down in it. I don’t remember the Loon feeling like I was way down in a bathtub. So the Pungo is not for me.

Tried the Tarpon Ultralite 120 and Hurricane 120 and Ultimate 12.

The Ultimate 12 seemed Sooo wide but was faster and turned easier I thought than either SOT which surprised me. Tracking was maybe marginally better or at least the same (this was total flat water pond, no wind).

The SOT’s were disappointingly slow and I thought felt tippy considering their width and slowness. I thought they performed on the water very similarly and being a beginner and not having paddled much…I’d say I didn’t think the tracking was that bad. But I felt that being on one in my recent river attempt might have been hard. Although the self-rescue would have been easier:)

I liked carrying the Tarpon down to the water much better as the weight is centered evenly when carrying it single handedly from the center grip. The HP 120 was stern heavy which made it awkward even though its a shorter kayak.

Uh…I forgot to think about the seat and comfort but I remember that the seat on Tarpon was hitting my PFD and that I kept hitting my knees with the paddle, maybe that was technique or my knees were higher don’t know.

So performance wise the Ultimate 12 would win but…its 55 lbs and I don’t want to spring for the Tegris.

So where I’m at. SOTs - the used Tarpon Ultralite with the old style hatches they had for 975.00 (there are other SOT’s but these are the lightest two).

or possibly still looking for a faster (and cheaper) open cockpit SINK like the Loon 111.

Purpose, recreational river wildlife watching

There might have been a few more I could/should have demo’d but I took along a friend from work and she was ready to go - so for all you other beginners trying to make the boat purchase decision and going to big Paddle Demo Events - go solo or with other paddlers.

As long as I’m reporting - this was Dayton OH’s Metropark Paddle in the Park day and it seemed well attended with lots of people trying lots of boats so good for them. The Ohio DNR was there promoting safety with a pledge program where you get to take home free for a year a CO2 cartridge style PFD which is pretty cool of them.

And I got a very nice free paddle T-shirt!

Was that a Hurricane Phoenix you tried at 12’ … it would likely be a lot lighter and a lot faster than the other two. How did you measure how fast they paddled?

The good old Ocean Kayak Scrambler would not be a bad boat to try too.

One thing to remember is that boats that do well in choppy rough water don’t feel as nice and stable on flat water and vice versa.

Also if you just want a nice paddling platform, you might find a used canoe for very little money.

DId you measure it with a gps? I once had someone tell me that they thought a 9 foot boat was faster than a 12 foot boat. Well the 9 footer got up to top speed easier and it turned faster, but the 12 foot boats speed was actually over 25% faster when we measured it with a GPS.

18 foot boats sometimes seem slow because it takes them a bit to get up to speed and they don’t make much of a bow or stern wave, but in reality 18 foot boats are amoung the fastest for most paddlers.

If you want a faster touring Sit on Top I’d try the Hurricane 14 or 16 footer, the BIC Scapa, and try to find an old OCEAN KAYAK scupper pro. Most other sit on tops these days are really really wide and slower to make the fisherman happy.

Hi Mary
At least you got a free T-shirt for all your effort! :slight_smile:

I don’t know anything about the other boats you tried, but I do have a Hurricane Phoenix 130 which is, I assume, basically a foot longer than the 120. I use it in ponds. lakes and once a stream and never found it to be tippy. However, I did find it rather challenging in learning to do a self rescue. I could not get back in it without the aid of a rescue stirrup. I’m just mentioning this because I think a lot of people hear the words sit on top and automatically make an assumption that they are all easy to self rescue. Not so… In my case, my lack of upper body strength, the particular design of my PFD, and the design of the boat were all working against me when it came time to climb back in from deep water. I couldn’t do it… which was rather disconcerting and an eyeopener for sure. So, I’m just saying… be careful of that.

I started out with a Loon 100 and then went to a Necky Manitou Sport before figuring out that sinks cause me back pain after about an hour of paddling. I moved to a sot after that with no back pain- but several years later my sot is getting heavy. :slight_smile: Now, I’m looking into getting a light weight pack canoe.

It’s all good fun and I hope you find just what you are looking for. Good luck with your purchase. The right boat is waiting for you.