Sit on top question

Question for those with SOT kayaks.

From someone who is 100 pounds less than the rated weight capacity of a boat, how much water is expected / tolerated in the foot well coming from the scupper holes in calm water while paddling?

  1. None, water below scupper
  2. Barely wet, water at top of scupper
  3. An inch above the hole.

    Please mention your make/model if exceptionally wet or dry.


It depends on the boat
I like my feet lower than my butt. Boats like that have very low foot wells and are very comfortable and the ergonomics allow you to paddle quickly without putting in a thick seat pad. Those boat are also going to have your heels below the water line.

Quite often I see that they change a boat to make it dryer and ruin the design. The Kestral 140 is an example of this. The old version is much better than the new version that will keep you a little drier but is certain to tip you over quicker. Wet feet is no indication that the boat is being overloaded. Tiny little 2 foot waves that can blow up in 20 minutes will be tall enough to hit you smack in the face.

If you want to be dry, get a canoe or a row boat and stay in calm water. Kayaking is a wet sport. Even in the winter in a dry suit parts of you will get wet.

All of the above …
It depends on the boat design, and how the boat is being paddled. Sitting still versus moving etc.

If a little water in the boat is a problem, you should not buy a kayak, it’s a water sport and SOTs are meant to get filled with water and drain quickly. For dry flat water paddling with 0 adrenalin factor, get a canoe.

The purpose of the question is related to boat design and how the boat is expected / does perform.

That is: “Should there normally be a fair amount of water in foot well paddeling in calm water”

I did not ask for your advice on how not to get wet or if I should buy a canoe.

Thanks for staying on topic.

Every Boat Is Different
BUT I don’t think there are any SOT kayaks that are designed to be 100% dry. There are some canoe/kayak style hybrid things that won’t have water comming up from the scuppers ( because they don’t have any) but water will still get in and pool on the flool, just like a sit in kayak.

You can minimumize the water in the boat situation by putting plugs in the scuppers. That will keep MOST of the water from comming UP through the scuppers and keep ALL the water from draining OUT of them.

Oh yea, “get a canoe” :slight_smile:

a new answer
OK for your second question, “Should there normally be a fair amount of water in foot well paddeling in calm water”

I’d answer yes for most boats, if you are sitting still. Many of these boats drain once you get moving, and many do not, but I have never been in a boat where I kept my feet dry.

I also forgot to mention the Sit on Tops I’ve used and use:

Current designs - Kestral 140 - Older Style - very dry seat in clam water

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 - Dryer feet than the Kestral but wetter seat.

RTM Disco - Wet Feet but pretty dry in the seat, Wet drains quickly out of foot well with just a little boat speed.

Bic Scapa - Pretty dry boat but not as stable or fast as either of the above boats

Cobra Expedition - Wet feet and wet seat in calm water, Easy to drain lots of water out of cockpit by edging while paddling, also venturi works once you are over 4 mph, small cockpit does not hold a lot of water.

Dagger Kaos - What cockpit? I’t more like sitting on a surfboard. Quite often I’m just happy to be right side up in the thing. Sometimes during a harder bottom turn water jet up in the air from the one large scupper hole.

I’m 230# so your results will be much different in calm water and then we’ll both be wet in any kind of chop.

At 230 lbs
At 230 lbs, I find

Torrent: Wet ride, especially in whitewater

Manta Ray 14: Mostly Dry

Tarpon 14: Very wet, especially legs

Hop on Top 16 : Wet ride

Anything under 14 ft is always pretty wet.

My vote
is for #2. I’m not usually near the max weight for my SOT’s (I have owned a few) but I still get just a little water at the top of the holes regardless. I think it’s the nature of the beast.

By the way, nice job keeping this topic on track. Not sure why, but here on p-net there are always some people who read things into the question, twist your words, or give unsolicited advice, or just treat others disrespectfully in general. Ya done good.

Manta Ray 12 . . .
My Manta Ray 12 stays mostly dry - even in fairly rough water (waves, small rapids) and is also very stable. Now, boofing off a fairly steep bank will get a lot of water through the forward scuppers, but it goes right back out.

I did a lot of research before buying it, reading reviews, etc., and found it to be consistent with those positive reviews. Were it not for the rudder (that came with it in a good deal), I would try it out in bigger whitewater.

My wife and I
both have Hobie Quest 13s and at 225lbs, I find that I get water up through the front scupper holes with every paddle stroke even in calm water. She doesn’t. We usually paddle with the front 4 scuppers plugs in unless we’re expecting rough water conditions, meaning waves or level 2 or 3 white water. I use a sponge to bail out the water that splashes or drips into the cockpit. My seat is always dry unless I’m taking water over the top (providing I remember to keep the two screw-in plugs under the seat tight). When sitting still the water is very near the top of the front 4 scuppers. My wife, being a good bit lighter than me, finds the water about half way up the front scupper holes.

We both or did paddle the same Scupper pro tw. You’ve commented about the Kestral 14 old version and I have one available to me right now that I’m considering buying. I can’t findanythin g on the web about weight stats for this boat and wondered if 160 lbs with very little,gear would be a problem for day touring…