I’ve traded away most of my longboats over the years, but I’ve hung onto my two Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro SOTs. Why…? One, I think the Scupper Pro is a great no-fuss boat for beginning paddlers (thus a good “guest boat”) but have enough performance for more advanced paddlers. With thigh straps, I can edge and roll the Scupper Pro like my other touring kayaks. It also have enough storage room for the multiday kayak/camping/fishing trips that I take in the Boston Harbor Islands. Two, I am afraid to let the Scupper Pros go because it was no longer produced in the USA. That is until now…
The next iteration of the Scupper Pro is being built as the “improved” Swell Scupper 14 in Iowa. I see a self draining scupper plug that is interesting (never seen/used one). I also see cutaways of the gunwale area from the hips to forward of the feet. As a shorter paddler, I know those cutaways will reduce my strokes occasionally scraping the gunwales of the Scupper Pro, which has a beam that is several inches wider than my touring kayaks.
They have dropped the center of gravity with a lower sitting area by using the new fangle scupper valves, and narrowed the the beam by less than an inch (from 26" to 25.5"). I like the scalloped down back rest area. They added on a couple of small hatches and adjustable footpegs. These additions increased the weight of the Scupper Pro from 55 lbs to the Swell Scupper 14’s 65 lbs. I am not sure I like that trade off… I can still cartop 55 lbs by myself. Not sure about 65 lbs.
I am a big fan of D rings for attaching thigh straps. That is a feature that is missing in the Swell Scupper! Want to see what happens if you want to take on dynamic situations with a SOT lacking thigh straps?
Carnage!!! If I were to get the Swell 14, I guess I would add on the D rings as I did with the Scupper Pros. (My RTM Disco - another high performance SOT for small paddler - have these standard.)
Not just tried them, but already sold them from our Chicago-area shop (our first shipment last fall was sold out within a few weeks).
It’s an excellent option for someone who wants speed and tracking comparable to a touring boat, at a very fair price. It would be easy enough to add thigh straps if one was inclined (I would, since most of my paddling is on Lake Michigan). A neat update at a very reasonable price.
Waiting on the Scupper Pro 16. It is still in the R&D stage, as they told my father a couple days ago. SP16 should be a nice ride. It may bridge the gap from a Ski to a true performance SOT. Maybe the ultimate replacement for the dc’d Tarpon 160.
Just guessing, but most likely it will be 2024 before the 16 is available. I would imagine the new owners will need to generate some capital with the 14 , before fully developing the 16. But it is something my dad is looking forward too.
PaddleYak kingfisher has semblance to the Scrupper Pro. Specs are (reasonable for me) with a 15.5’x25" @60 lbs. Only thing I would wonder about is whether it is rudder dependent and is the weight of the rudder included in the spec weight (or in addition to the listed weight).
One of the things I really like about the Scupper Pro is that it is pretty neutral in winds. No rudder needed. Turning is easy with thigh straps and edging. To maintain the the lack of helming on camping trips, got to experiment a bit with the gear loading.
Have to be concerned about the weight of a Swell Scupper 16. Heck, if the 14’ weights in at 65lbs (compared to 55 lbs for the Scupper Pro), I am not sure the trade-off of a supposedly longer and faster hull for the additional weight is worth it.
I have a fishfinder/GPS on my Scupper Pro and paddle it with my cedar GP (I like this because the GP floats high in the water in case I drop it). The GPS clocks me at 3.5-4 mph on normal paddles. For me, that is a decent enough speed since I am not out there racing against others.
The discontinued WS Tarpon 160s came in at ~ 75 lb range, depending on the model. So 75lbs for 16ft of plastic kayak seems about right. But hopefully the hull design of the SP16 will make it more efficient, than the Tarpon 160. Hopefully the market will support it. Every body is not built for a ski, but want something that paddles better than a fishing barge SOT. I hope the Swell Watercraft crew finds success. .
I am with you on that. I think there is a niche for higher performance SOTs which could accommodate more athletic types and novices, or those who do not want to commit to the whole spray skirt, pump, brace, roll, etc, etc.
I spent a lot of time wake surfing and knocking around in the weekend weirdness of the Montlake Cut. Much of the time my daughter was seated between my knees and I wonder if her early Scupper Days have anything to do with her risk recognition today. There are a lot of SOT’s out there but Tim came up with a good one way back when.
I’m on my 4th Tarpon 160. The weight was supposed to be 85#. There are days now when it feels like 185# loading and unloading. The last half dozen times I’ve been out, I’ve paddled my Pungo 140.
But when I head for the coast, it will be the Tarpon.
Then there is the S14S.
Ok, didn’t know this boat. Looked it up. My sentiment about the Scupper Pro is consistent with this statement about the S14S:
## Catch the wave with a Stellar S14S
It’s true that as a sit-on-top ‘ski, the Stellar S14S robs you of certain facets that some kayakers consider integral to their experience—rolling, dynamic edging and bracing, extended tripping—but in return this boat offers something different and equally tantalizing: a spare, athletic grace accessible to almost anybody.