I want to swim to cool off

My wife and I are looking for first time kayaks. We would not know a great boat from a miserable boat, so we are thinking about getting Old Town Otters as a cheap way to paddle. I am also watching Craigslist, but we have some time off coming and want something fast.We live about 200 feet from a great bayou that empties into Clear Lake/Galveston Bay. There are many bayous on the Texas Gulf Coast we would like to explore, but would start with very short trips.

Can you get into and out of a cockpit type kayak or is a sit on top type necessary if you want to jump in and swim? I race sailboats and look longingly at the water all day long, with never a chance to get in and cool down. I realize that this is such a “newbie” dumb question, but we are, in fact, ignorant soon to be newbies.


Go with sit on tops
SIt on tops are great for warm water and getting on and off and swimming ect.

Try a few boats out before you decide what you want to buy. Spending $30 to rent a boat or two is a good investment to see what you really would like.

A better place for info on SOTs is Tom Holtey’s webpage www.sit-on-topkayaking.com

There are great SOTs and really bad ones. It’s hard to go wrong with an Ocean Kayak or Cobra Kayak brand for just getting started for what you want to do. Be careful about the Costco /Big Box Store POS pieces of plastic.

For what you want a Sit on top is
the only way to go!

It would be next to impossible to get back into, a Old town Otter or any of the other rec boats without filling it with water.



second that about big box
sit on tops would be great first boats as they offer a whole lot of versatility. If you shop around and get something reasonably narrow, you won’t feel as if you are pushing a barge around. My wife and I have two scupper pros (since discontinued) from Ocean Kayaks. they have other models that are very similiar. Cobra also has some narrower beamed boats that are worth looking at. Heritage and Phoenix also.

Sit on tops are great for sliding off and back on but remember that they are big rigid balloons and in wind will take off on you in a hurry if not attached to you somehow so you may want to consider some sort of leash if you plan on jumping off and on (unless of course there is no wind and you are just playing in a pond)

Get a couple of good paddles, good pfd’s and remember that you are more exposed to the elements with a sit on top so dress accordingly. It does get cold in Texas!


Suggest that you still practice re-entering, though especially with two of you it should be fine. Where we vacation, we did have a pretty surprised wife in a Swifty have to tow her husband half a mile back to shore hanging in the water after he was unable to get back onto his SOT after a capsize. Mush! She did great. We liked her much better than hubbie anyway…

So yeah - SOT or learn to roll, obviously SOT more practical right now.

Another vote for a SOT
Check out the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13’. I got a new one 3 weeks ago and it exceeded all my requirements: good speed (yes, I can keep up fine with members of our kayak club in their sit inside boats), very stable, big hatch up front, rear storage (fits my Border Collie fine)is roomy, weight is reasonable at 54lbs, and good glide in wind or calm. I took it down some Class II water and on one tricky rapid, got dumped, climbed on easily and the scupper holes sucked out the water in seconds. Here in N. California, I paddle in winter or on the ocean wearing a wet suit…year around paddling is easily possible with the right gear. I suggest you rent/try at least 3 SOT’s as each boat will perform differently. I’m 6-2/210 and for my size, this 13’ fits my needs for rivers, lakes, oceans just fine. OK also makes a 15’ that I would have purchased if in stock…general rule is that more length equals better speed. Have fun!

Thank you
I will look at SOT for myself and a rec. boat for my wife. Then I can have a summer and a winter boat. he-he

I will check with the local rental places to see what they offer.

Look at the website houstonrowing.com. They are located at pier 25 at the Watergate Yachting Center. Last summer I took kayak lessons with them and most of their boats are siton tops. For $25/month you can paddle their boats anytime you want. Gives you a chance to try different boats and see what you like. You can paddle together with a group that leaves about 8:00 a.m. on the weekends.

I prefer SOT for precisely the things you’re looking for. I paddle in Florida and love to get in and out of the boat. I found the Wilderness Systems Tarpon was best for me: http://www.wildernesssystems.com/wilderness-systems-product-group/sit-on-top .



I can jump in and out of my SINK, but…
it would be easier with a SOT.