Sit-on-top kayaks

I’m 6’, 175 lbs., and currently have a Necki Manitou (12’10" (?)). I am interested in getting a sit-on-top kayak, one approx. 16’ long in the $800-900 price range. Any suggestions or thoughts about the Ocean Kayak Prowler?

What do you want to do with it? For
fishing, the Prowler 15 is considered a great boat. Same with the Wilderness Tarpon 160 series. My preference leans toward the Tarpon just from looks and what I hear about it, but haven’t paddled either. Check out these forums for information about sit-on-tops:

The latter is also a mail order dealer in sit-on-tops with a very good reputation.

2 suggestions
tarpon 16 footer and I understand that Hurricane is coming out with a Phoenix 16 footer shortly. Both should fall in your price range.

I will also plug for the Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro which is what I own. 14ft 9 inches but a sweet boat.


1 Like

Cobra Kayaks
I recently purchased a Cobra Navigator…I do like it, but it isn’t 16’. I was looking at a Tarpon 140, they are super nice and retail for about $800. I am not sure what the 16’ runs.

is a great boat. Doubt if you will do better :slight_smile:

Try A Perception Bimini

Prowler is pretty good.

My girlfriend paddles one,we got it used in good shape,about 2 yrs old. Here’s my impression of it.

In flat water, it’s stable enough that i can paddle it standing up.

In choppy water, it’s stable enough that she can relax and take photos of seals while i dont feel comfortable taking hands off the paddle(i paddle an Elaho)

It has plenty of cargo space for a week’s worth of stuff if you pack lightly.

The hatch is a ridiculous design that eats up a lot of potential cargo space

The hull oil-cans easily and is made of pretty thin flexible plastic.

With the backrest, it’s the most comfortable lounge-chair-like boat i’ve paddled.

In flat water speed is actually pretty decent, in ocean swell it slows down a fair bit when my Elaho just glides up and down the swell.

It doesn’t seem to pick up smaller wakes like my Elaho, cape horn or even my whitewater kayaks.

Ok that’s it so far. Overall-it’s a very likable boat,made so much better by the fact we picked it up in mint shape for less than half the price of a new one.

I’d also consider the Tarpon 160 by WS, a couple Cobra models, Adventurer by Hydra kayaks, and Futura 15’ Sport and Futura Spear if you like the idea of a relatively pricey fiberglass boat.There’s also the Easyrider models that are basically sit on top versions of normal sea kayaks, probably fast and rather pricey.

The best thing about the Prowler, to me, is it’s high seat-low footpegs geometry which is very easy on the back.

The biggest bitch about all Sit on tops-A) They’re awkward to handle, B) slower than normal kayaks(except ones designed for speed, like the Futuras.)

Tarpon 160
I got one of these last summer and love it.Mines the old style with the two big hatch’s and it came with a rudder.Mostly I paddle lakes and fish in the Adirondaks but I had it on the bay and sound a few times when visiting my old buds on LI.Good speed/glide for covering distance or fighting the tide.I had a SPTW which is also very nice but overall I like the Tarpon a little better.Ive demo’d the Prowler 13/15 a few times.The 15 is real nice.The 13 just doesnt do it for me.It’s a good yak but I prefer the performance that comes with the longer models.It would be a good second yak for smaller waters.The Tarpon 140 would be my choice over the P13.

Phoenix 140
It may not be as long as what you have been looking at, but I was favorably impressed with a Hurricane Aqua Sports Phoenix 140. Unlike the 120, which I didn’t care for, due to it’s molded in foot rests, the 140 has proper adjustable footpegs, and seems to just be more ergonomic overall, and glides better. I believe a rudder is also an option with the 140. I don’t know how it compares to the Prowler, but thought I’d mention it. The Phoenix 140 seemed to slide through the water much more like a wide SINK than some SOTs. But, I only briefly demoed it, and don’t really know anything else about it, or how it really compares overall.

it was a very tough call
Between the Phoenix 140 and the Scupper Pro. The Phoenix 140 has a hull shape that appears to be identical to the tarpon but is lighter.

since we have the Scupper Pro TW, I just might get the 140 Phoenix so my wife and I can paddle together without me being miles ahead of her in the Outer Island or frustrated because I have to go so slow…

Or I may just get another Scupper Pro…it’s a sweeeeeeet boat.


Tarpon 160
Accept no substitutes.

Tarpon 160
I’ve been paddling a Tarpon 160 on Lake Mead for a year now. Most of my previous experience has been on class I, II, III and IV rivers paddling a Perception Illusion. Lately I’ve been using my GPS to gage speed. Using a Big Spoon 240cm paddle I’m easily able hold a 4.2 MPH average for about 1 hour or a little more. That’s when I usually reach my destination. One time I held it at 4.5 MPH for an hour before slowing down a bit. A couple of days ago I paddled into a strong 15/20 MPH headwind. I carry a Bruton barometer/thermometer/anemometer. I averaged 2.2 MPH paddling a little over an hour. On the return trip I didn’t have too much of a problem catching waves and tracking. My average speed with a tail wind was 5.4 MPH. At times I was hitting over 8 MPH. I was going too fast a few times to look at my GPS. As I got closer to the boat ramp the waves got bigger thus increasing my speed. I had to work harder to turn when I wanted but it wasn’t bad. I should add that I weigh 210lbs and carry about 20lbs of gear, food and water with me.

I’ve found that in the 160 I can cut across 2’ waves at a 70 degree angle without a problem as long as I stay loose and grab hold of the wave as I’m entering it. I’ve also sat at right angles to non-breaking waves without any problems. Just stay loose and keep your torso perpendicular to the plane of the water.

Check out Seyvlor’s new SK17
17’, self bailing, with max load of 800lbs.

Seyvlor has retooled and is building some decent boats now.

Sorry (sic)

Tarpon 160
I’ve ridden 4’ confused water and 20Kt winds and the boat never blinked. Saturday a breaker hit me in the armpit, washed over the Tarpon and it never thought of rolling over. I have run small rapids in it, creeks with hardly any water, and it is capable of keeping up with many sea kayaks. QCC 700 not included.

16’ SOT
If you are looking for a paddling SOT as opposed to a fishing SOT you are about the right size for a Heritage Nomad. Unfortunately they’re discontinued but if you can find a used one in good shape give it a try.

what string said, i have even taken my T-160 to the beach for wave surfing! what a blast!! i got pitch-poled a couple of times but on a sot you just bail. The T-160 is a good do everything boat. Yeah i wish they would make a longer slightly thinner and lighter version, but for now it will do. i have paddled the scupper pro and used to own a Ride, and a necky dolphin. The T-160 is the best of that bunch. IMHO.

Never Paddled A SOT
But I have paddled with String several times. I have seen him paddle slick calm water and fairly sloppy and confused water and his Tarpon never seemed to do anything but go. I paddle a SIT sea kayak and assume that my boat would be faster in an all out race, but the Tarpon never seems to hold String back. He is paddling out in front as often as anywhere else in the group.

Happy Paddling,


lighter T160
wouldn’t it be great if they made the T160 lighter maybe in composite? That is one heavy kayak that’s why I did not buy one.

The new Hurricane Phoenix 160 will be
lighter, you may want to try it.