Old or new, sit in or sit on?

Hi guys…
I am looking to buy a second hand kayak and would like input from you who know wayyyy more than me.
Firstly I live really close to a large calm lake but also very close to many awesome surf beaches. So the use would be partly lake relaxation and partly coastal fun in the surf.
I had some experience when I was way way youngers… maybe like 30 years ago lol in sit in Kayaks but only on lake and river use. I would have to relearn everything I imagine.
I would love to learn to kayak surf and take advantage of the great beaches here.
So the question is… is it worth getting a used old school sit in type fibre kayak or am I better off going for a sit on? My only real fear with the sit in is the issues with it filling with water if and when I capsize. But I dont want to be limited to just pleasnt calm paddling around… I want to have fun with this.

Any help greatly appreciated.

You’d probably be pretty happy with a simple, short, sit on top surfstyle kayak. Little investment, lots of fun, could probably do a little fishing and general paddling around in calm waters too.

Depending on where you live, a SINK will extend your paddling season because you are not exposed to the water as in a SOT.

Try both, either in demos or rentals, and see what gives you most control. Add a helmet to your shopping list for surfing.

If you have access to an actual paddling store, that would be where to start. Go look at some boats–maybe sit in a few and if you’re lucky, maybe you could even paddle a few. This is the time of year when some dealerships have demo days. Look into that.

I wouldn’t rule anything in, or out until you get a good idea about what is avaliable and have some idea about how much money you’re prepared to spend. Do not settle on a cheap box store pool toy. The same advice goes for picking a paddle and a pfd. Figure on spending around $250, or more for those two items (combined). Be absolutely sure that the pfd is designed specifically for paddling.

Be sure to go to YouTube and watch some paddling instruction videos. Learn the right way to paddle–how to sit, how to hold the paddle, torso rotation, etc.

Have fun.

Where are you? There is surf and there is SURF. There are large lakes and there are HUGE lakes. Florida has cold, but it isn;t the same as Maine’s cold. This all will impact what recommednations we would make for boats.

First, it would be best to understand the different types of kayaks. You can read a summary article online at http://calkayakermag.com/magazine.html in Issue #10.

If you are considering a sit in style kayak, you really should take one of the ay long intro to kayaking classes that many outfitters offer. The important part is to make sure the class includes deep water recoveries (how to get abck in when you flip over).

There are structural, technique and accessory methods that prevent swamping of sit inside kayaks. Sea kayaks have bulkheads fore and aft that block water from entering most of the hull except for the immediate cockpit area, which you can pump out after righting yourself. If you are wearing a sprayskirt and learn to roll, you can right yourself without taking on much, if any, water. For whitewater and skin on frame kayaks without bulkheads, you fill out the open hull areas with inflatable flotation bags, that restrict the volume that the water can fill and which also add buoyancy to the boat.

Maybe something like this…


It would be helpful to know where you are located to know what to suggest. if you are truly by really good surfing beaches I would probably suggest that you look into finding a used wave ski for surfing or if you are in a cold climate a full on surf kayak. In the US you can get started with used equipment for about $350 - 400, and invest in better equipment s your skills increase. A few years ago you could buy a well designed sit on top kayak to get started surfing like a Cobra Strike, and there were some other passable models. Lately the sit on top market has eliminated real surf oriented sit on tops, you can order a wave witch like drowning dave posted above from Hunt Johnson in Encinitas California, he is getting old and don’t know if he is still making these, also i would not suggest this as the best surf boat for a beginner. You can also look into getting an older planing hull whitewater boat like a Necky Jive, they make excellent boats to learn learn the basics, but if you really want to surf, you want aggressive rails and some kind of fins . Common SOTs sold now are OK for just catching a wave and surfing straight in, but you will be a menace to other surfers and not welcome at good surf breaks. So if you are in the US look for used Infinity, Island, Wavemaster, Macski or Tyler Lausten Wave Skis, in England look for Mega Surf Kayaks, In Europe look for Solamanzi, in Austrailia look for Wavemaster waveskis in New Zealand look for Tsunami wave skis.

I’ve included a link on getting started waveski surfing by Matt Barbarit and Caro Angibuad, this video has been pirated and reposted by someone else and video quality is really poor , but it will give you an idea of what is involved.