Open Water SOT

I appreciate the advantages of true sea kayaks or SinK touring models for open water crossings (bay, ocean), but with that comes spray skirts, bilge pumps, more complicated self-rescuing techniques, etc. And while I appreciate the trade offs vs. SinKs (speed and weight), I like the simplicity of SOTs. I know people frequently use various OK and Cobra models for fishing in rough waters, but my priority would be covering distances at a reasonable pace.

That said, any recommendations for a quick open water SOT?


Sing will chime in soon
For big folks, the Scupper Pro aka RTM Tempo and for smaller folks the RTM Disco. What great names thanks to the French…

ALso look at the new CD Zone and the Kaskazi boats. The Skua is the most interesting to me, but the Pelican is nice as well.

The longer Cobra boats are also possibilities. The Expedition and maybe the Tourer.

There are also some surf ski’s and near-surf ski boats out there, if you’re up more of a challenge.

Look up the Venture Sport web site for other options as well as the research tools on


SOT is usually wider

– Last Updated: Aug-10-09 6:49 PM EST –

SOT kayaks are usually wider (of course, plenty of exceptions, such as surf skis). The Scupper Pro is about 26" wide, which isn't too bad (most touring kayaks are usually 20-24").

Width is not your friend in waves from the side. The wide flat bottom will try to stay flat with the surface, and when that surface is steep due to a wave being under you, you have a harder time staying upright. Narrower boats with more rounded undersides will more easily allow the wave to just roll under without tipping.

Also, SOTs don't allow a good way to easily connect with the boat. SINK boats are worn, now ridden. You can move your body and have that move the boat. You can get some of this effect by added hip straps to a SOT.

If covering distance is a primary concern, you may want to consider something that borders on a surf ski. Though those special recovery methods hold true with these also, as it is challenging to get on a boat that skinny. truthfully, the special recovery methods are not due to a boat being a SINK, but more due to its width, so you may have similar issues with the Scupper Pro.

Beam and waves
Width is not your friend in waves from the side. The wide flat bottom will try to stay flat with the surface, and when that surface is steep due to a wave being under you, you have a harder time staying upright. Narrower boats with more rounded undersides will more easily allow the wave to just roll under without tipping.

That gets said a lot, but it’s not been my experience within any sort of “normal” range. The Scupper Pro is a really, really easy boat to handle in rough water. It’s slow, and pushing upwind gets to be a bear as the wind gets strong, but getting capsized by a beam wave is something you have to work at.

The boat I owned that like beam waves LEAST was the Fenn Millenium, which is about as narrow and round-bottomed as you’d want to get.

Open Water SOT
Thanks guys. I’ll check them out. I don’t know why a surf ski didn’t occur to me, but that would be a distinct possibility. I played with a friend’s Epic V10 this year, and after getting the knack of it (ie. falling over 10 times), it was great fun.

Thanks again

Loving My SOTs…

– Last Updated: Aug-10-09 7:25 PM EST –

my Disco and Scupper Pro and the widest or narrowest at 26". Sort of a compromise between the stable fishing platforms and the narrower, touring oriented SOTs like the Heritage Nomad, Expedition, etc.

I find the Disco to be not much different from the SINK day tourers in terms of speed for effort. Haven't done the Scupper Pro much as I'm just finishing outfitting it (for fishing). In terms of handling, with the thighstraps on the Disco, I can roll and scull it. It ain't like my 18" wide SOF but it ain't bad. Besides, I tried fishing in my SOF. Took a bit of attention not to flip over. Good thing I didn't catch a fish, 'cause I would have to tow it since it wouldn't have fit in the cockpit with me.

If I were going to just go for a touring SOT, it would probably be the 16'x24" Heritage nomad. I see 'em in the want ads every so often. With thighstraps, you can roll and scull it but it won't require the skirt, pump, etc.

Yeah, I'm enjoying the simplicity of the SOTs more. I got to the point of finding it really burdensome/irksome to do sinks with all the paraphernalia, etc. To the point that I didn't bother paddling. For me, it was too much trouble for not a lot of fun (nor a time efficient exercise), especially compared to to adrenaline rush and simplicity of waveskiing -- have waves, paddle and waveski ready to travel.


I have a hunch I can handle my Disco better in waves than most folks in the SINKs. It ain’t just about equipment, although I haven’t found the Disco to be a particular handicap in handling waves. Found it pretty fun to surf – as far as a longer boat is concerned – in waist to chest high several weeks ago.


Hello ???
Hmmm I seem to be banned here?

Also look at the Futura site
if you are interested in surf skis. And I think Cobra has added a surf ski to their lineup as well as their Eliminator which is technically a SOT, but more of a trainer for moving to skis.

I recently found an old Shearwater surf ski on eBay for less than $150. Looked like crap, but it was worth a test paddle at 20’6" long and 18" wide. The Mako skis turn up every now and then in the classified here.


I’ve got a Cobra Eliminator and for a SOT it’s fairly narrow but I can’t imagine trying to paddle this thing in open water, can’t imagine how you’d stay on top of that thing.

They are ok for protected waters, not great for open water, unless you’re talking about a ski.

Bill H.

Kaskazi Marlin
I have the Kaskazi Marlin and love it. It’s a great boat , handles confused seas and is very fast. Venture Sports carries them. FishHawk

Tarpon 160. Certainly not a ski, but
capable of SINK speeds and will handle a lot of rough water.Wind doesn’t bother it.

Check out these
Plastic surf ski’s. They’re in Austin, TX.

Open Water SOT
Thanks again to all. Boats I’ve never even heard of! Choosing the right boat is always hard, but half the fun. And, if somehow you don’t make exactly the right choice, it’s not like you’ve chosen the wrong heart surgeon.


Good Attitude…
Unless you have a very “specialized” application in mind, requiring a very specific design, most middle of the road (compromise of different design attributes) boats will serve well. Bottom line is getting seat time and developing skills. With skills you can make most boats do what you need it to, without getting into nit picking/whining it to death.


Tarpon 160i
I paddle a Tarpon 160, the older version not the newer 160i version. It makes for a decent open water boat and is fairly fast, especially if you are larger sized (my real seakayak is an Eddyline Nighthawk 175 Modulus, a big guy boat if there ever was one!). There are likely other boats out there much faster if you do not need that carrying capacity, but it isn’t too bad a performer for stability, moderate conditions or speed.

did you pee in someone’s cereal lately…? LOL!

Just stay away from topics with brit boats, skegs, rudders, pfd’s, paddle surfing, rough water skills, kayaking gurus/heroes… Oh, wait… doesn’t leave much reason to be here much, eh? :wink:


18’ SOT
I paddled with a guy from Half Moon Bay that loved this SOT. It moved pretty well from what I noticed, compared to my Chatham 17.

Had one years ago

– Last Updated: Aug-12-09 11:16 PM EST –

Turns into a bathtub in conditions--it fills a lot faster than it drains. I remember it as being a pig downwind, but my skills were pretty limited then, so I dunno.

Should add: but it was my first kayak and I paddled it in all sorts of conditions without major mishap and had a good time doing so, so I don't really mean to pan it. I like the Scupper Pro a lot better for use around here, but if you were going to be using it mostly in mild conditions the Expedition could be a reasonable choice.

Tried one years ago
Guy that owned it loved it, but I had to wonder what else he’d paddled. As nice as it seems to spec out on paper there are reasons you don’t seem them much…

I agree on the bathtub comment, plus bear to turn even with rudder, get hung up in chop/waves, and is heavier, less stable, and no faster than my Tarpon 160 was (if you are big enough for it, and want a touring type SOT hull - try the 160. If you want faster, don’t limit yourself to SOT or get a surf ski and deal with the learning curve).