Sit-IN kayak in the surf

Hey everyone,

This summer I plan on fishing form the beach at free port, TX, USA. I plan on shark fishing and using my kayak to paddle the baits out a few hundred yards.

I have a sit-IN kayak. The seat hole is fairly large. About 21 inches wide and about 53 inches long. It’s a 9 ft long kayak.

Do talk have any suggestions on what I can do to help my kayak make it through the waves and not fill up with water?

I’m looking into spray skirts or maybe a half skirt.

Does anyone have any experience with that? And if so, what’s the best way to get into your kayak at the beach?



There are skirts that size
But the problem is if you look at the surface area, figure in the weight of the water which can lay on that surface area vs the friction force holding that skirting in place, when a wave breaks on that huge spray skirt it’s going to pop off the combing and dump all that water in your lap.

If you have float bags to displace the volume in the cockpit you should be able to paddle out.

Have realistic expectations of how gnarly a surf the boat can handle.

I plan on taking some 9fters to a beach house this month and playing in the surf. Gonna tie floats to the bow stringers. I’ll let you know how many times we land on the bottom.

rec boat

– Last Updated: Apr-07-16 10:19 AM EST –

What you are describing is a recreational style kayak and these are NOT designed for surf and steep waves. Besides the gaping cockpit not being able to support a competent spray skirt, the boat's width and flat hull will make it susceptible to capsizing in steep waves. These short rec boats can also prove to be a real bear to paddle back into shore through breaking surf and strong currents and offshore winds. There are reasons why sea kayaks are long, narrow and vee-bottomed, just as there are reasons why surf kayaks have small cockpits and curved carving and planing hulls. Your boat has none of those characteristics. Would you take a golf cart on an interstate highway?

You may want to consider a different kayak for what you're planning.

incidentally, a half skirt is no safety protection at all. In fact they don't even keep your lap dry from paddle drip in flat water. I only use one to shade my legs on hot days and for the extra pockets.

It's going to cost you $100 to $150 to buy a skirt and bow flotation, even $200 if it lacks a stern bukhead. Might be better to put that towards a cheap sit on top which seem to be common on Craigslist in southern coastal areas. If I was going to be out in shark habitat I would want something I could climb back onto easily, not something that is nearly guaranteed to sink.

Golf cart on the interstate
Surely I’m not the only one?

Don’t look at me
if this person wants to train sharks to associate “bait” with a shape of kayak, let it be YOUR kind of kayak, not mine!

Many sea kayaks are NOT V bottomed
in the center section - look at the Epics, QCCs, some Valley’s and Perceptions (including the Sea Lion and Shadow).

Fishing technique?
Beyond that you’re asking for advice of how to apply the wrong tool for the job I have a fishing question that would help to clarify the picture. Are you taking the baits out several hindered yards to fish beyond the breakers or are you towing lines from surf piles on the beach and then paddling back in once you’ve dropped the baits far enough out?

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

There is no problem going out …
through the surf.

The problem is getting back in!

I have a nine foot long Perception Keowee, that I used to play in the surf at the beaches here in NC.

You need a skirt for starters.

If the breakers are out far enough to get in the boat before they are breaking, just aim your boat straight into them and paddle straight on like hell.

They usually come in sets, so if your timing is good you might make it out through them with out getting dumped on.

If you do get dumped on just keep paddling straight and as long as they are not monsters, you’ll get through OK.

The problem is coming back in. You can try timing it, but most of the time you’ll get trashed until you learn how to ride them in.

If the breakers are breaking in close to the shore, you sit in the boat in the sand or in an inch or two of water facing straight out. have your paddle across your skirt, and then do “kayak push ups” to get your boat floating and once again paddle like hell and keep paddling straight until you are out beyond the break.

Actually it is a lot of fun, and you’ll learn some paddling skills too, but I wouldn’t do it with any fishing gear or anything else in the boat. You’ll end up with it all on the bottom.

Don’t wear glasses, even with croakies!

And lastly; when you do get dumped, immediately get yourself away from your boat so the next breaker doesn’t slam it against you. It is going to be filled with water and weigh a ton. Just let the water wash it up on the beach

Jack L

If you want to surf
I would look for a sit on top to rent. I have used old school whitewater kayaks to surf in the ocean. These boats tended to have smaller cockpits than more modern whitewater kayaks and, of course, I used a spray skirt.

In a sit in kayak if you are surfing shore break close in and capsize, it can be too shallow to set up to roll and you can take a beating before you wet exit. As Jack pointed out, you then are in the break with a boat full of water and sand that can beat you up some more if you are not careful. Getting the boat emptied out again can take a lot of the fun out of surfing.

With a SOT you just fall off, it doesn’t fill up, and you don’t have to empty it.

If you insist on using your boat, you will need to find a skirt to fit it. You can try a trick that the freestyle whitewater kayakers use. Get a cheap beach ball and put it between your legs under the skirt. Inflate it enough to put a bit of an upward dent in your skirt and it will reduce somewhat the likelihood of your skirt imploding when waves break on it while paddling out. Make sure you can still easily exit if needed.

seat hole
I’ve never seen, nor heard the cockpit referred to as the seat hole before. Now I understand some of the remarks I’ve received from non kayakers who were referring to the ass hole in my boat.

I know that
and didn’t say “all” sea kayaks have vee bottoms. I’ve owned vees and other hulls. But the vees are my choice for strong wave conditions. Was trying to make some points to someone who seems to be unfamiliar with basics of kayak design and function.

I know there will always be somebody on here who will say" sure, take that li’l ole reck boat out in the surf, I do it all the time." An experienced open water kayaker who understands the limitations of that kind of boat and knows how to handle conditions is not the same as a newbie who clearly does not understand what can happen. Come on guys, lighten up.

The Coast Guard and local rescue groups have enough problems already retrieving stranded rec boaters in over their heads. Don’t we have some responsibility to encourage newcomers to be aware of possible outcomes and how they might be mitigated?

some good info
For the OP, this link below has some really good information on selecting and using kayaks in coastal conditions:

dropping in baits

I plan on paddling out with the rods on the beach in rod holders and the baits hooked onto the kayak.

I’m just going to dump the bait and then coming back in.

No gear in the kayak

had to call it something
I didn’t know what it was refered to as, so i called it what it is; a hole with a seat in it.

…sharp hooks, heavy duty monofilament,dangerous conditions, no skills,no sense…is this a troll??? (as it were) or are you the most serious Darwin award contender ever ???

response to blackboat
blackboat…that’s not really the kind of replies i’m looking for.

The hooks are in the rear and are not exposed. I won’t be using monofilament either but that doesn’t really matter. I’m not sure where you got the “no skill” part from… I’ve been kayaking for many years and have gone through the surf on plenty occasions. The reason I was here asking questions is because i haven’t done it in a sit-in before.

I’m just looking for pointers and ideas to help me out.

Not V shaped
but they do have a keel line running along the hull. This rather small feature provides adequate, but not spectacular, tracking.

I used a sea lion for years and still like the hull for it is fun in the surf and even does well in rivers, but for long multi-day trips, I’d prefer a hull that tracks better.


This is a Gulf Coast thing

“do not tether the kayak to yourself.”

See? Safety tips from the Texas Shark Fishing Handbook.

It’s probably okay, as long as they’re not doing it during a named Hurricane or Tropical Depression…

Does not mean the same thing everywhere in the US

Freeport Texas "surf"
Unless there is a hurricane in the gulf there is not going to be much surf there. My surfer friends in that area actually ride tanker waves, they are bigger than the “surf”. You may run into problems with winds, if more than 10 knts. If there are breaking waves more than 2’ it 's not a good idea to take your rec kayak out filled with fishing gear, if you capsize it is really a pain to get it back to shore and emptied out. The advice to rent a sit on top is the best advice here.