Sea Kayaking - sit on top?

Recently purchased a Tarpon 160 and would just like to know how these go in the open ocean? Would I be at a disadvantage in a club with members paddling traditional sea kayaks?

could work…

– Last Updated: Jan-16-12 6:24 PM EST –

ultimately your own skill and strength compared to that of your group is what will determine how well you will fit in. But as far as SOTs go the Tarpon 160 seems one of the better choice. Most ocean touring class kayaks are at most 24" wide compared to the Tarpon at 28" so the same person would likely be quicker in the narrower boats. But I've known several SOT paddlers that are strong enough to kick the ars of many sit inside paddlers I know.

You may want to use thigh straps if you haven't already to get some more advantage especially in rougher water.

If you are a relative newbie to ocean kayaking, you are more likely than not will be slower in SOT than in sit-inside. Skill and strength count for a lot of course. You will also have difficulties performing braces and rolling is of course out of the question - a thing to consider if weather is not perfect and/or water is cold.

It would work
Develop proper stroke technique and I’d guess you’d be faster than half of those with the skinny boats who hadn’t (rough guess). Practice your self-rescue and have it down to a reflex before you venture offshore. Consider a couple float bags and pool noodle for inside. On the off chance you blow a hatch out there, an empty SOT completely fills with water and defies rescue.

Learn a good forward stroke
We have a guy in our local club who is purely a go-straight-fast paddler - it’s just how he likes to spend his time on the water. So he worked on his forward stroke above all else when he got his first boat. As a result he was blowing away most of the club from early on paddling a fairly bargey, shorter mostly rec boat. And he was making that speed with a bow wake that was often 6 inches or so high.

He got a Little Wing and I only ever see him at the launch and again at the take-out on evening paddles. He takes off with the really fast group all of whom are in longer, skinnier sea kayaks.

A lot of this is the paddler.

Bring float bags
My tarponhas theoriginal big leaky hatches. When doing crossings I use floatation. When surfing just a few gallons slishing about makes me want to land and pump it out.

I’ve got a picture of my hatch modification at:

eddyline’s new SOT

I know this doesn’t answer the original question, but based on the thread title and folks perhaps exploring the content of the thread based on the title, I wanted to post a link to this new boat. SOTs are typically heavy; if that is a concern, thermoformed plastic can shave some pounds. I have no experience with this boat, but I suspect eddyline has worked towards an efficient hull shape.

What a shame.
Eddyline could have made an excellent paddling craft, but instead they have a slightly lighter fishing barge.

Actually, rolling is not
“Out of the question”. I had a Tarpon 160 once, and a young friend of mine rolled it numerous times. But, not easy, even with the thigh straps.

Tarpons are designed for offshore.
While not as fast as some SINKs , they are very seaworthy boats. I can easily maintain 3.5-5 mph in a 160 and have been in some hellish confused water with mine. The boat had no issues;the paddler was almost worked to death.

Thigh straps are a necessity.

Yet practically no need for rolling
I have taken a Tarpon 160 offshore about 5 times now, max distance ~10 miles, spent all day out there fishing.

(see thread: )

Even dealing with afternoon chop, wave action you sometimes get around oil rigs, awkward movement and being pulled around while fighting big fish, wakes from pleasure craft, container ships, and oil tankers, and surf leaving shore and returning, I have never once fallen out of the Tarpon 160 or turtled it. While reentry is a skill that should be practiced “just in case”, it is quick and easy to do, and almost never needed, so the lack of ability to roll one is a non-issue.

I’ve taken them 9-10 miles out

They handle great, really stable, fast for a fishing SOT. If you are travelling with SINKers of comparable skill, you’re going to be back of the pack, but you are going to have other benefits they won’t have, stability, a good fishing platform, no need for bailing equipment, and more.