Is there still an SOT in my future?

I very famously bought a cheap Pelican SOT and hated it because it felt very unstable.
But, I concluded that it felt unstable because I was balanced on top, with no way to stabilize my body not because the hull shape was unstable.
After gluing on mini cell blocks, that I could press my knees against, the boat no longer felt unstable.
But , instead of looking for a better SOT, I decided I’d be better off sticking with canoes, and ordered a pretty expensive solo, which I won’t get till next winter.
I still wanted something to paddle this summer and I started warming up to the idea of, also, getting a sit-in kayak.
So, I now have one sit in kayak and another sit-in kayak coming next week.
I don’t really have room for any more boats, and have surpassed my boat budget, so I’m not really planning on buying another boat, but I think I’ve left a question unanswered, and that bugs me.
Are there any SOTs out there that I’d be happy with?
The reasons I was looking at SOTs in the first place are still valid. Self draining, no feeling of entrapment, easy to re-enter.

Already answered. Wilderness Systems, RTM, Eddyline

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No, I’m not going to buy another SOT or no, there aren’t any SOTs that I’d feel stable on?
If you are saying the first. Maybe I won’t. But I really have a hard time leaving a question unanswered.
If you are saying the second, well, there are an awful lot of SOTs out there and I’m not sure I wouldn’t find one I liked. At the very least, if I found one that didn’t freak me out enough to stop paddling it, I might get used to the way it feels.

The only way to know for certain is to buy one after the other and try them until you figure it out.

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Try other people’s boats, or demo boats, and your butt will tell you

Just don’t buy the cheapest smallest one that won’t match your weight (think pool toy). There are great SOTs out there just can’t buy on price…

Try a fishing SOT. Know anyone who fishes? Maybe you can borrow one. People stand up on them to cast so I think they’re pretty stable.

I have a feel free 13.5 fishing kayak, total stable and I can stand up on it with not much effort. stable SOT are out there, find a dealer and hope they have stock to demo or go to a kayak meetup /fishing trip and ask to try theirs.

I think, for me, the issue isn’t finding a stable hull, it’s finding a kayak that has sides high enough that I can brace my knees against them, or foot placement is wide enough that I can stabilize myself. Imagine sitting in a chair, in the bed of a pickup, with your hands and feet tied together, while it’s being driven. You would have a hard time stopping yourself from falling over. That’s how I feel on most SOTs.
One thought I had is a pedal kayak would free up my hands so I can steady myself with them.
Your idea of going to a club outing is a good one. But I think I’d feel pretty nervy going up to a bunch of guys, that don’t know me, and asking if I can paddle their kayaks.

Just add some pad eyes and thigh straps to any SOT to secure you in the boat.

I’ve thought about that. I’m not sure what glue would work best.
I even came across some thigh straps when I was looking for my old spray skirt. I had bought them for a whitewater canoe I had.
It would increase my feeling of entrapment, but considering how stable may SOTs are, I don’t think it would bother me.

Sometimes too much information is a negative. Paddle more, read less. Focus on techniques and destinations rather than gear.


Imagine sitting in a chair, in the bed of a pickup, with your hands and feet tied together, while it’s being driven. You would have a hard time stopping yourself from falling over. That’s how I feel on most SOTs.

“Most” or just the one you have? This just sounds like it’s too small for you.

Balance shouldn’t come from only lateral contact between body and hull, or from only the feet and footrests. Those help.

But the main problem is probably lack of core strength and balance. Your butt is always on the seat no matter what kind of kayak, so that is always a locus of balance. In SOTs with no straps (either thigh or lap) and not tight against hips, you’d better develop that central/core balance or you will be SOL.

More time on the water instead of on the keyboard (or buying boats) is the real fix. But you already knew that even if you won’t admit it.


Indeed, every boat is stable with the right paddler. I’ll agree with the rest and say developing your balance is more important than any particular boat and you should just start building your balance.
Thigh braces are helpful but are far from necessary for good stability.

The triangle of stability is feet, butt, paddle. If you don’t believe this look at an Olympic K1. They are the most unstable boat around and do not have any thigh contact at all, only feet butt paddle. So to equate stability with thigh contact is a false premise. You just need higher stability skill, which only comes from seat time.

That said, you may look at a beginner surfski like an epic v5. The surfski bucket is sunken enough that you can get good thigh and calf contact if you spread your legs (but even then, this is not proper form. Legs together is much more powerful posture than legs apart and you are able to react more quickly with narrow legs. Again, look at Olympians for the perfect form to copy to various degrees)

So stop worrying about the boat and focus on getting out 3-4x a week. After consistent paddling for a couple months any boat will feel ok

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If you in the southern NJ area feel free to try out my feel free lure, by maybe a dealer demo day would work for you to get seat time in several.

A long time ago, a local shop sponsored a demo day at the local res. It was fantastic. I got to paddle several boats and paddles. I even got to try a wing paddle.
Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but I haven’t heard about another one since.
There is a store in Denver that is on a river and has demo boats, but I’ve never been. Partly because I’d rather get a hot stick in my eye than drive into downtown Denver.