Good inexpensive kayak

I’m looking for a good inexpensive sit on top kayak to take out in various bodies of water here in Florida. Just to paddle around in ponds, lakes, springs, etc. I think I’d like a 1 seater for when I go out alone and a 2 seater for when I want to go out with someone else.

I’d also like a kayak that I could take out in the ocean - I’m assuming I’d need a different kayak for this?

You need a different paddler for that
A SOT is no more trouble in the ocean than a sit inside, it is just wetter and colder. Both are usually manageable in Florida.

But what ocean? The skill sets change. And the bigger the water, the more it matters whether the boat is sized well so it isn’t a barge to handle.

Used kayak
Good and inexpensive generally means a used boat.

SOT: sit on top

SINK: sit inside kayak

You’ll find most of us on this site strongly prefer SINKS as they are faster, more maneuverable, and comfortable (e.g. not sitting in water the entire time).

That said, if I lived in Florida, I would probably have a SOT in my collection for playing on waves and as a platform for snorkeling.

I would not look at anything less than 12’ feet, but boats like the Malibu 2 and Emotion Co-Motion are OK to paddle and are very fun for when you want to play instead of paddle. I finally broke down and bought a short SOT for my children last year as they love climbing on and off in the water, and that is a bit more involved in a SINK.

One does not "sit in water the entire"
time when using a quality Sit On Top of the appropriate design and size for the paddler and the water conditions it does best in. Not all SOT kayaks are “surf skis” which are basically glorified surf boards with a depression for the rear and 2 foot rests that can be propelled by a paddle.

And even if one does go thru the waves or rapids… haven’t you ever understood the concept of removable scupper plugs and “drain holes?!”

In fact, it’s possible to have a dry butt in not only an Eddyline Caribbean but an Ocean Prowler, (and probably a decent sized Tarpon, too, anything over 12’ length) in moderate paddling conditions, unless it’s so hot you’re deliberately splashing yourself and hanging your feet off the sides, something you can’t do in a $ea kayak wearing a thousand dollars worth of $uits and $pecialty boots to prevent any contact whatsoever with the water.

How far are you from Key Largo
The kayak rental place in John Pennekamp State Park had about a dozen used SOT’s. Some solos and some tandems for two hundred each. Most had minor damage that could be easily fixed. Things like broken straps, or damaged seats.

They looked like about twelve feet long.

If you are down that way, check them out

Jack L


– Last Updated: Apr-05-16 4:07 PM EST –

No Tilley, he must be safe...

Two seater
Tandem kayaks take practice to paddle. It would not be my go to idea for taking a novice along with me unless you’re talking about a young child you’re emotionally attached to.

My wife and I paddle tandem sometimes but that is after both learning to paddle solo and only for trips she doesn’t feel up to on her own.

If you want to take a date get two solos.

also used generally means what you have to choose from and be happy with. With a little luck and good timing ( grabbing the deal before the other guy ) you can find something decent. Be prepaired for disappointment on craigslist, because just like me and many others on this forum, we’ve been beat to the draw. (Sorry, we sold it yesterday)

Tandem issues
Yeah, tandems can cause a lot of trouble with you and your significant other. We tried one at a demo one time, and it got ugly after about a half mile. The one we tried was a Nigel Dennis tandem, and the cockpits are close together. She has a hitch in her stroke, and I don’t. Guess how many times we knocked our paddles together…….

The other issue is who sits in the rear, and has control over direction, especially with a rudder. I weigh more, so proper weight distribution means I sit in the rear. Another uh-oh.

Get solos. They’re good for sanity and good relationships. :wink:

You were in the rear, so…
all you had to do was match her stroke.

The person in front naturally can’t see the one in back, so it is completely up to the one in back to maintain harmony.

If you want the one in front to increase or decrease their cadence, just tell them.

If the one in the rear would only realize this, tandems would never be called “divorce boats” !

Jack L

Stroke mechanics
The real problem we had was that my stroke is a lot smoother than hers, and it was tough for me to become more choppy.

However, if the tandem’s cockpits were further apart, matching cadence would have been all I needed to do. But, solos are a lot better in our case all the same.

no such thing
You can have good or you can have inexpensive.

But quality costs.

Unless you luck out on craigslist.

Other than that, I like the Prowler.

SOTs can be wet or dry…
The Scrambler is stable and wet because you sit lower for that stability but that puts you below the water-line.

The Prowler is dry because the seat is higher up. But that raises your center of balance/gravity to make it tippier.

Scupper plugs are an option but my experience shows that they tent to trap water that broaches the side so the SoT quickly filled with water than cannot drain out.

Wide and short = slow and stable.

Long and narrow = fast and tippy.

There is no perfect boat, just a compromise.

I do not mind sitting in warm water and I never race in my Scrambler so them being slow and wet is no bother for me. Plus my kids would tie them to a drowned tree and use them as a dive-platform. Plus a wet-rentry is easier in a SoT.

So I am willing to give up a lot to get a lot (stability is important to me) and unless I am with people in faster boats, speed is not. I’ll eventually get there and enjoy the trip.

But most of my trips are inland lakes and slow rivers. I never do white water and rarely go into the ocean so I can have different needs in my boat.