Newbie looking for some help

I can already here the groans but bear with me for a bit please. I was recently out kayaking on Lake Eerie with a couple of sit on top kayaks (pretty basic), needless to say, had a lot of fun, would like to do it a bit more. With all that being said I kind of have activity ADD and living in the Prairies (Edmonton Alberta) water options nearby are somewhat limited. My main thoughts would be North Saskatchewan river, some of the park ‘lakes’, Sylvan lake and perhaps some Lakes in the Rockies (IE signifigantly colder). Close to shore and shallow water mostly.

So I think I should be okay with a middle of the road sit on top (I know, little more than a glorified pool toy) for ease of use and learning (for myself and the occasional friend who wishs to give it a shot, being able to jump in and out of the water and pack enough stuff for a picnic, cast an occasional line out etc. As I mentioned I have activity ADD and can’t see myself making this my primary go to activity or looking to want to go on touring trips or fast or white water kayaking.

I guess a little back ground, I’m 5’9, 175lbs, 32" inseam and will be likely loading it into the box of a 6’4 truck box with one tip underneath a toolbox and the other propped up against the tailgate and strapped down. Roof racks are an option if I can find a good set that don’t require permanant fixtures and will fit a 2005 ram 1500.

I’ve found a few different options online that I think fills my requirements and am wondering if anyone has had any experience with any of the these.

Ocean Kayak Caper Classic

Castaway 116 by Pelican

Castaway 130

Apex 130 (looks similar to the Castaway and not sure what the primary differenes are, type of water?)

Santiago by Bic sport

Perception Sport Pescador

Tetra 10 Sit on Top by Ocean Kayak

Unfortunately Kayak selection seems pretty limited in my area as far as box stores are concerned so I will likely be ordering online, anything to watch out for?

I had also considered a blow up kayak, any experiences with these?

With the sit on tops that have the holes in em for bailing purposes, I noticed there are plugs for them (the exact name escapes me atm) how well do they work? Just thinking about mountain lakes and cold water.

Sorry for the small novel but looking online and the number of manufacturers and styles and trying to find information is a bit overwhelming. I may be completely out to lunch and feel free to call me a moron haha but its been a little overwhelming and I’d like to take advantage of the season ending price reductions if possible.


Better site for SOT information.
Try , there is a forum there with folks who use SOTs , also some information on the webpage to help you narrow your choice.

To get started any of the smaller ocean kayak boats would work for you except those designed for surfing. I have an old Frenzy and it’s fine for putzing around on lakes and streams.

Good inflatables work very well, cheap inflatables are not so great, and have issues paddling in the wind.

You don’t want to plug the scupper holes, but buy some neoprene shorts or a farmer john wet suit when the water is cooler.

Add two to your list
Jackson Riviera

Ocean Kayak Scrambler

Thanks for the input! The scrambler looks like a pretty good option. Is the locking hatch option a lot of work to install after the fact? I took a look at that site and there have been some good articles and I found a basic course in the city here for safety and paddling strokes on Saturday so hopefully I’ll get to try out a couple different boats.

Activity ADD
I’m just curious because I have never heard the term. What’s “activity ADD”?

I took it to mean…
attention deficit disorder (ADD)

I know ADD, just not the “activity” bit
My fantastically personable 20 year old nephew has ADD that effects his concentration on school work, reading and other tasks, but he is incredibly focused with his hobbies almost to the point of obsession (in a good way – he is a genius and recognized expert in designing, building and racing remote controlled machines). I know other friends and family members with diagnosed ADD who also have no trouble keeping their interests channeled where their hobbies are concerned.

So I am just curious about what specifically “activity” ADD might be and how it would affect someone’s recreational pursuits. The term doesn’t turn up in any web searches. I’m not questioning whether it is a real condition, only want to know more about it since it’s new to me.

I guess the poster might
mean that he delves into a new activity, practices it for a while, then moves on. Alternatively, he might mean that he is interested in many different activities and doesn’t intend to make paddling his only activity.

that makes sense
Been guilty of that myself – got a closet full of gear for sports I don’t practice any more (anybody need a nice vintage ice axe and crampons or a virtually unused pair of snowshoes?) and own several musical instruments I have yet to master (nor have lifted for practice in years in most cases.)

Maybe I can justify my neglected gear stash as “hobby ADD.” Kinda like the sound of that.

I’m North West of you
It’s hard where you live to find certain boats. I think you are better off to check the local guys and see what they carry and then pick from those lines. I’ve found stuff on the net and then been disappointed not being able to find it anywhere nearby. I know Glenmore sailboats in Edmonton carries Wilderness systems and when I phoned there once they said they would order in Perception. I have no affiliation I’ve only called there once. But there are a few stores in Edmonton and Calgary that specialize. Good deal though if you found something that works for you that’s on sale.

The Castaway and the Apex
are essentially the same boat, produced from identical molds, but with better quality (more rigid) plastic for the Elie (it’s heavier too). Outfitting on the Elie line (hatches, seat etc.,) is also superior. does indeed have more info on SOTS and is a good place to check, but other boats you could add to your list might include the Emotion Temptation (I have one; it’s very nice for mucking around, fishing, etc., and not very heavy @ 44lbs), the Emotion Mojo and Feelfree Nomad (a lot of fun in surf particularly, but slower). The Dimension Spirit and Typhoon are no longer in production, but may be available 2nd hand.

I like SOTs a lot, but wonder whether seeing that you are in Canada, might you prefer a more traditional “Sit-in-side” kayak to lengthen your season?

I totally agree when you write…
" I think you are better off to check the local guys and see what they carry and then pick from those lines."

Outside major centers, choice can be quite limited. This also applies to the used market.

Adbass nailed it on the head, I haven’t been diagnosed with ADD, no disrespect intended. I just have a very short attention span sometimes when it comes to hobbies and combined with several activities, snowboarding, gym, geocaching, rollerblading etc etc with work weeks that are anywhere from 40-90hr weeks, I’m looking at this as more of something to do in combination to do with roadtrips and camping trips. I might very well find that I absolutely love it and wish to get more serious, but I think if I find a pretty good solid all round sit on top that will still allow me to jump in and out of the water as I wish (think river floating in an inner tube) there are certianly lots of lakes with some good paddling as I looked in my outdoor books yesterday to get a better idea. There are lots of Class 1-3 rapids closer to the mountains that I might decide later that I want to give a go and I can look at another purchase or rental+ training if that time comes. Ive been hearing great things about the Scrambler 11 from ocean kayak, my only concern would be storage seems pretty shallow on the front end, anyone have any experience on that? Appreciate the input guys!