Should I have bought this?

Last Friday Academy Sports had the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 on sale for $499, $200 off it’s normal price. I’ve been wanting a good sit on top for some time now, but I did not want a smaller 10ft as we do some pretty large rivers and lakes. It has great reviews, but almost all reviews are guided for fishing, which I do none of. The kayak is definitely geared for fishing, but it’s hard to find a longer sit on top that isn’t. Does anyone have any input on this boat? Should I return it (I haven’t picked it up yet) and get something else?

If you guys have any input let me know, I already have a 15ft sit in kayak, so I’m just wanting suggestions on sit on tops for exploration/expedition. Link for the boat I snagged is below:

Ocean Kayak is a good quality SOT, and yes, you can overnight with it. Summer before last I bought a Necky Vector 13 for day & multi-day paddling. Necky & Ocean Kayak are both part of Johnson Marine, so they have similar features. The Vector series is no longer made. My Vector 13 was designed as a fishing kayak, but had some touring features. I have done 3-5 day trips with it over the past 2 years. With careful gear selection & packing, you should have no problem. It will be a stable kayak, with average speed & handling. It won’t be near the speed & handling of your 15 foot SINK. I don’t think you’ll regret your purchase, especially at that price. My bet is that you will have a lot of fun with the Prowler. Just know that it has it’s limitations.

After 2 years with my Vector 13, I went looking for a longer, lighter SOT. They are, as you pointed out, hard to find. I narrowed my search to either an Eddyline Caribbean 14 or the Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.3. I went with the Eddyline because I wanted a SOT with a rudder, and one that might have a bit more speed than my Vector, but without being heavier than my Vector. The Eddyline fit the bill better, but at a higher cost.

Fishing kayaks tend to focus on stability at the expense of speed. But SOTs are generally not speed demons in the first place. There is no rule that says you have to fish from a fishing kayak, so if it otherwise fits your needs then why not keep it? It looks like a pretty good deal. I’ve seen it for as much as $900.

My Ocean Kayak SOT fishing kayak was high jacked by my wife. She puts the dog, all 75#s of him in the back and goes for a paddle. She still cruises at around 3-4 mph.

A SOT is more adept at paddles where you have to do some walking in the shallows, moving over dead fall, moving under deadfall, etc. You can camp in it…on it?.. you just have to tie down the gear in big bags instead of a lot of small dry bags inside compartments.

One drawback would be the air chambers. Seakayaks usually have two bulkheads fore and aft thus two air chambers. Some SOT have two hatches but the chamber is all one. Loose a hatch and you loose all the floatation. Put a small thing in the front hatch and it might end up under your seat. Of course if you have a “recreational” sit in it may not have a front bulkhead either.

Most everything I put inside my SOT is in a dry bag, with a leash on it. I use some adhesive stick on lash points inside the kayak and I hook in the leashes with carabiners. That way I can stick stuff inside and still reel it in. I added the leashes after I lost a small dry bag way in the stern and had to lift the kayak and shake it to get the bag out. My Watershed Yukon dry bag fits perfect in the tank well. My biggest issue with my Vector 13 was the small size of the front hatch. I had to be careful on size of gear to make sure it fit through the hatch. My new Eddyline has a much bigger hatch. I hope the Eddyline stays as dry as the Vector. Never got a drop in the Vector…knock on wood.

@Raftergirl said:
Just know that it has it’s limitations.

That’s where I’m a little concerned. I am hoping the longer length that it can handle a few waves. I usually would not take out the SOT in period of high wind, but here in Missouri our weather changes quite a bit without warning, or the occasional barge will drop by. Any experience with the waves on your 13 ft models?

I experienced wind and waves on Leigh Lake in Grand Teton NP last summer, and I’ve done an easy class II river in mine. It did fine, but I was a little nervous both times. The kayak did drain quickly with the scuppers, so any water that I did take over the bow or from the side didn’t swamp me. I did much better in the one easy class II rapid than my friends in their canoes who dumped. That may have been due more to my 20 years of whitewater rafting and picking a good line, than any magical properties of the kayak? Your comfort level and safety skills are probably more important than the style of kayak under normal circumstances.

I was at a seakayak meeting Tuesday and a picture came up on the screen about some members that went on a paddle in SOTs. They carried coolers, big , filled with beer, chicken and other party supplies. Their idea of a paddle, exploration, expedition may need the extra height when packing the yak that us sea kayakers.

The Prowler 13 is seaworthy and can handle ocean winds, waves, surf and chop, it’s a fine SOT for what it’s built for.