recommendations for a sit on top

-- Last Updated: Aug-31-05 9:01 AM EST --

My wife has for the first time expresed an interest in getting a kayak for herself. She is pretty adamant (for now) of wanting a sit on top. she is between 135 and 145 lbs and 5'8.
I don't know nuffin about sit on tops other than the fact that Frank's scupper pro is a really ugly green. :)

Now being the selfish sort that I am, I would like to have something that I could use also but wouldn't be too much boat for Vera.

( come I didn't win that sit on top tourer on the sweepstakes???)

In theory at least she understands that initial stability will be less important as time goes on and is willing to entertain a somewhat tippier boat at first.

sorry to leave it so open ended but would very much appreciate suggestions.

I am going to get her out to FBO this weekend to demo boats all day long. This is a milestone and I want to get a boat that she will grow to love and want to spend time with. She just recently began expressing a real interest.


Did she try your boat?
Most people are intimidated by SINK until they try one.

Maybe you should rent a SOT and let her paddle both, she might change her mind.

My wife was aiming for a SOT too but, after trying one, she went for a SINK. Still her “priorities” are different then mine and she got a QCC 400, she likes it.

actualy she tried my boat but thought it too big and then she tried the heritage seadart 14 ft one that we have on loan until this weekend. she liked it but I think she is thinking more stable maybe? dunno.

Like I said, we will demo at fBO as much as possible but was just wondering about different boats that may not be there. I don’t mind driving a bit to demo.


As with everything it’s a
matter o checks an balances . A rec. boat or SOT is alot more stable , but then ya got trcing an free-board stuff to consider , as with the shorter hybride yaks on the market - day trippers ? And then I know alot o folk that use SOTS in surf an for fishin in alot o snotty stuff . Matter o fact I think it was a 15 yr. old that nailed a stripper of 68#‘s in a SOT . Most SINKS will handle better an go faster but that is all due to the paddlers abilities . On ocassion I would use a WW yak in the Bay o Fundy to lead 3-hr. trips as we ran out of seakayaks an could not put a guest in a WW yak. Doin a T-X is an interesting affair in a WW boat on a 16’ seayak.-----M

I suspect that
her initial reasons for getting a sit on top may slowly fade away after enjoying it for a while and she will probably go to a sink. I think she is a little intimidated by the whole roll thing and paddle float rescues and feels that it would just be easier to get back on a sit on top. She is probably right but as you get your skills down, these reasons as primary concerns fade a bit. I anticipate that we will be buying a sink for her shortly too.

She is in exactly the same boat I was when I first bought the OT Rush (one step up from an Otter). We still have it and I am very surprised that she wants to upgrade from that one! so progress is being made.


what ended up

– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 9:59 AM EST –

being her priorities? (question for Mario)


Light, high initial stability (no tippiness), rudder, room for a weekend overnight.

She doesn’t want to learn any “advanced techniques”, all she wants is to go out (once in a while) and plain relax, paddle a few miles (usually 5/6), enjoy the good weather (forget about waves).

Oleta, Las Olas area, Fort Lauderdale beach (when ocean is calm) are the favorite destinations.

So far we didn’t do any overnight but the boat is capable of, plenty of storage space. I plan on introducing her to kayak camping this next season. I think Cape Romano or some other place in the area would work just fine.

The Heritage should be a good
boat for her.The initial stability issue will be gone in an hour or two.Most SOT are tanks, weight-wise, like the Tarpons.The Heritage boats are lighter and not made for heavy paddlers.


– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 10:32 AM EST –

We have a Heritage Seadart 14ft on loan from friends in Naples. (it goes back this weekend) While fast, it is extremely heavy..almost more than my tempest 170, has a very pronounced skeg like keel and the hatches leak no matter what I do to them. I went through two large tubes of sealant on the bulkheads and it still leaks through!
I will look at the other models though as I am hearing that they are good boats overall.
And to be fair, it is a very fast boat for a SOT.



– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 10:36 AM EST –

Check these beauty's out!

How about a Futura 2?
She might blow your doors off with one of those.

Where are you putting the silicone? If there is leaking on a Seadart it is usually around the hatches, use the sealant on the inside where the rivets go through, as well as over the top of the rivets and make sure you do the surface where the outside hatch bracket matches with the plastic of the kayak, those are the usual sites of leaks. SIlicone all of the padeyes, especially those in the cockpit for the thigh straps. The Seadart is a little heavy but not that much different than other boats in its class, just get a kayak cart to move it, it is going to outperform most other boats you look at. You folks need some paddling lessons to learn how to turn and maneurver the boat. For Florida the seadart would be one of the best boats she could buy. I would stick with a Seadart, Scupper Pro, or Tarpon. If she moves on to a different boat you can resell with very little problem.

response to seadart
you folks need some paddling lessons…

ok I will agree to that. but that is not just directed at me and my wife though is it? I am sure there are many who could benefit from a lesson or two…maybe even you?

the seadart is a little heavy…

the 14 foot seadart is heavier than my 17 foot tempest!

No question that it is a good boat for Florida…but being one of the best must be reserved for a number of qualifiers including personal taste and individual requirements.

Thanks for your information about the leaky hatches though…will go check out the rivets. It seems to collect water in between the bulkheads and I am trying to figure out if it is coming from the rear bulkhead or otherwise…


I 2nd the Seadart recommendation

– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 1:28 PM EST –

After a couple of hours in the seat the stability will seem rock solid.

As to the hatches, are they the old version (secured with "T" toogles) or the newer (2005) version with the tupperware tops.

If you get a new Seadart the tupperware tops might slove the leaky hatch problem. If you want to fix leaky hatches on older Heritage boats you need to look at two things:
1. the bolts and nuts holding the hatch assembly to the 'yak may have loosened over time - tighten them. That's right nuts & bolts with "allen type" or something similar heads NOT rivets. You may even want to remove the hatch assembly and apply a layer of silicone caulk before re-tightening the bolts.
2. the gaskets become less resilient and compressed overtime leading to leaks. Replace them with replacement gaskets - you can make your own with good weather stripping neoprene.

You also may want to hold off and see if Current Designs bring their 14' composite SOT to production if weight is an issue and money is not.

Paul, After rereading your post and noting what you wrote about the water between the bulkheads you might also want to check out the seam in the scupper hole for possible leaks. Leaks in this location can be fixed temporarily with silicone sealant and more peramently with some plastic welding.

If you need more details regarding the possible repairs search the forum archives at, or post a specific question there.

And BTW the Seadart 14 is heavier than your WS Tempest because a. Heritage appears to use a heavier thicker application of poly than WS, and b. because the self bailing cockpit is a considerable amount of additional plastic (and weight) that you don't have on a poly SINK.

Good Luck with your search!

Rear hatch etc etc etc
Most likely the outside rim of the hatch bracket is not sealed tightly to the plastic. put some silicone around here on the outside and on the inside and check the rivets are covered with silicone. Make sure there is not sand on the O ring of the hatch and that it makes a tight fit when sealed, and that the hatch has not been warped or damaged. The rear hatch rides low in the water and gets covered with waves occaisionaly, that is where the water comes in.

IF I remember correctly my seadart does not have water tight bulkheads, you want to be able to drain water that comes into the center section of the kayak by sponging it out through the hatches. If you have sealed up the bulkheads water that comes in through the strap eyes in the cockpit now can not be drained from the boat.

The reference to some lessons was to learn how to turn by edging the boat and doing good sweep strokes. The built-in skeg is one of the best features of the Seadart. you can track like an arrow in heavy wind and seas, but turn easily, if you learn how edge the boat, you can aggresively edge with thigh straps but don’t need to. I’ve never had an issue with maneuverabilty, but I don’t suggest you surf big waves (>4’ until you learn the secrets of seadart.) Two people can easily handle a seadart to carry to the water. I can do it by myself and I am not that strong. A cart makes it very easy.

We can hear so much about people wanting light, fast, seaworthy SOTs, but the difference in 10 lbs really does not mean a whole lot. Learn how to load your boat, how to carry it with a cart, you won’t care that it weighs 65 lbs versus 53. Most of the whining done about heavy SOTs is by people who use them once or twice a month at most.

I have to return the seadart
return the seadart this weekend. If I could buy it from him I would.

I have had no trouble with it and in fact it is really a lot of fun to paddle. This one does have the old hatches on it (not tupperware) and it does not have the carrying handles on the sides either…that would probably help a lot as it is hard to make a good purchase on the thing by oneself. I also did not know that there were thigh straps available for it…As I said, it was borrowed and I didn’t realy look into it until my wife suggested she might want one.

I bet you could roll it with the thigh straps?

Cobra Exedition SOT

– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 2:34 PM EST –

You might check out the Cobra Expedition SOT. It's 18', 23" beam, 48 lbs in plastic, supposedly very fast. I've never tried one, but a kayak guide and instructor in CT seems to love them. Check out her page at

The Cobra Eliminator is shorter (16.6'), even faster, lighter (42 lbs). Neither of these boats are really for beginners. The Cobra Tour is also about 16' and a more forgiving boat. All 3 of these seem designed to be fast and fun, rather than slow barges.

Check this site out. This is a link to a SOT fishing site that reviews SOT’s might help you out.FishHawk

They’re all heavy
and as already noted - not that big of a deal. You figure out ways to handle them (easiest one: have Husband do it!).

My Tarpon 160 was quite a bit to maneuver on land. Kim could not lift it. I solo carried and loaded it no problem. It’s all relative and there are tricks/easy ways to do things. On the water she liked it a lot. More than several other SOTs she tried - which sort of surprised me. Be sure to try out T160s. T140s are popular too. I wouldn’t want to give up the speed and might flood the flat floor too much - but neither is likely to be an issue for your wife.

Kim was set on SOT only too - and wanted nothing to do with being inside, or wet exits or rescue practice and all that. She wanted a light boat too. I found a used Findeisen Venture for her. 13’9" x 23" and about 33 lbs. Definitely in her carry weight range (still usually helped or carried for her), and a fast little boat - but required good balance as it was more like a surf ski and have a very round hull.

It took all of 5 minutes in the Pintail (and it’s a small ocean cockpit one) for her to switch to a SINK. I did sort of set her up by having her on a challenging SOT that made the Pintail feel much more stable (but she picked the Venture - and tested it first so can’t blame me) but it was the feeling of security and control in the SINK that won her over. Same day she tried it I got my first rolls in it - and suddenly she wanted to learn to roll too.

Anyway, SOT is a good idea for now. Have her try out all she can (particularly common favorites like Tarpon 160/140, OK Scupper Pro, Prowler, new Prowler 130) and then look around for something used (FBO will likely hook this up right after the test paddles - but only one SOT on their online list and it’s a tandem).

You could get a good deal on Hex’s Isthmus - and give us all some entertainment!

More seriously - there’s a Malibu X-Factor for sale in Miami listed in the P-net classifieds:



(FL) Malibu X-Factor in white with back rectangular hatch, bow seat (gator)hatch and rudder. 6 month old in excellent shape. Miami. Asking $475 (60% off retail!) – Submitted by: The_French_guy

Boat info:

Usually more SOTs for sale - only other in FL now is an Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT (but it does come with cart, paddle, and PFD). Pretty basic - but for just poking around or playing off the beach it might do.



(FL) Scrambler XT by Ocean Kayak comes with all accessories (paddle, seat back w/bottom cushion, Brand new Kent PFD, kayak cart with 10" inflatable wheels). All for 400! Email or call 954-882-1081 – Submitted by: flipdascrip718

Not recommendations as I haven’t paddled either - just passing along. That Malibu looks OK for general needs and has some interesting features(but 33" wide?!!! Should be stable enough for her eh?).

I’ve also had good luck reselling any used boats I’ve bought with little or no loss of $ - sort of like an extended free demo period! Shearwater, Venture, UX…

Seda Revenge In Kevlar, But Weight First

– Last Updated: Aug-31-05 5:37 PM EST –

At 16'6" long by 25" wide it will not get outclassed by most sea kayaks.

I traded away one in fiberglass at about 65# because it was too heavy. I just don't do heavy boats.

The kevlar is supposed to be 53#, but I would weight it first! Seda is notorious for being heavier than specs.

Due to the recent price increases, you should probably look for a used one.