kayak question from a NOOB

yesterday, I drove from Gallatin, to Hilham, to pick up my first kayak. maybe I overspent at 400, but…I brought home an Ocean Kayak Drifter, it’s the first generation I believe as it has the round hole at the rear tip and not a plate or screw inserts, I am 6’4" 300 pounds and plan to carry fishing gear, and reading online this model kept coming up as far as stability goes…and thats my main concern STABILITY…and affordability.

the question is: (remember I am a brand new kayaker) after I sat in it and got out on dry land, I could hear air escaping/entering the hull, it was like a tire valve going off with out its stem a thewwwwsssttt sound. Are these hulls supposed to be sealed? it seemed to come from the left sides fishing rod holder, do I need to seal it? it has scratches and scrapes on the bottom and I dont think the man I got it from was selling me a bad yak, he was an older gentleman, and had a couple kayaks, this one was a little too much to carry as he had recently had a heart bypass. so I dont think the actual hull will leak, this air sound just bothered me as I was thinking the sit on tops were basically sealed like a pool float…and my “dry” storage is inside the hull.

Three things
After drilling holes in them to put in the pole holders, they are not sealed.

Holes above the water line are not a problem.

There is no dry storage in a kayak.

Take it for a couple of short paddles before you start trying to fish from it and see how much water accumulates.

Because you’re a new paddler, you don’t know anything. Remember that before you set out on your first paddle. Keep it short, keep it close to shore, don’t do it in cold water, etc. Use your head and always wear a PFD. Get one that is comfortable and that you will wear, then keep it on from shore to shore.

Be safe. Have fun.

  • Big D

Ocean Kayak Scrambler
I have an old one of these that does get a bit of water splashed inside the hull. The hatch covers aren’t perfectly sealed and the drain plugs (on top) also seep. [could be a reason for drain plugs :wink: My guess is that when you sit on it in the water the hull will displace the water rather than mash down like on dry land, thus holding its shape rather than passing air through non-hermetically sealed fixtures.

Surest way
to find out if you have a leak is to put several gallons of water in the hatch and tilt the yak around so the water sits all over the place.If there’s a leak you’ll see the water dripping out.

Reply to kayak question
First off, I do not know where Gallatin or Hilham are so do not know what kind of fishing you plan to do so can not advise you about whether or not your Drifter kayak is well suited, but it is a fast and stable kayak. It is a wet kayak for a 300 pounder, but where I live (south Florida) that is not a problem 10 months of the year. The wet even feels good.

Air has to get in and out of sit on top kayaks. They go from being in the hot sun to being put into cold water and the air expands or contracts and has to go somewhere or the kayak will become deformed right from the git-go. In other words, they can not really be “sealed”. I have six kayaks and a canoe and my ‘favorite’ kayak is a sit on top and it stays dry inside and I sometimes launch through the surf and even in a rain storm, the inside stays dry, but I did a few things to it so it stays that way. Even so, air has to be able to get in and out and (without seeing it) it sounds like air is getting out around a rod holder. It should be no big deal.

The only way to tell if there is a crack leaking water is to take your kayak into the water and looking inside after taking the kayak through it’s paces. Most kayaks will end up with less than a cup of water inside if it is well put together (hey! there can even be condensation and the water can even be “distilled” and not salty while on the ocean). Cracks can easily be repaired too and some of them will only show up in use (water inside may not come out a crack when out of the water).

For now, and maybe always to be safe, store things that have to stay dry inside a baggie or some water proof bag while inside your hull. Stick a large sponge in there too (not in the baggie - in the hull). Enjoy your new kayak. I feel it will be just fine.

David Andrews

Organizer, Kayak Fishing Club of the Palm Beaches

West Palm Beach, Florida

I agree that you should not be alarmed by the air sounds.

I would also add that it’s really not a good idea to sit in your yak on dry land, certainly do not make a habit of it. On the water, the weight is supported by the entire bottom surface of the yak. On dry land, it’s only supported by the few places touching the ground. That forces the boat to deform particularly with a larger person doing the sitting.