I just posted about some sit in kayaks that I’m looking to buy. My wife and I went kayaking on the Salt River here in Phoenix last weekend and had a great time. The concessionaire had ocean frenzy’s and they were uncomfortable to say the least. I’m a big guy, 6’, 240 and my hips didn’t fit in the seat and my legs kept cramping up. I’m looking for an inexpensive SOT that I can take on the river and not worry about scraping up the bottom on the rocks and rapids but still be comfortable in for 2-3 hours at a time. Any recommendations?
The Frenzy is a good starter boat, very, very rugged and is well made and very versatile. I bought one for my son several years ago and although we have bought many other kayaks we still keep it around for playing in rivers, introducing friends to surfing etc. My only hesitation with the Frenzy for the Salt River and river boating in Arizona is the shape of the bottom of the boat. It almost has built in skeg and sponsoons only exagerated, this makes it very stable in very rough water, but the bulging keeline tends to hang up on rocks in shallow water when you go sideways. Never been a problem for us but it could be.... If you've tried one where you are going to paddle it should be fine. I remember the Salt, Verde and Gila rivers as fairly shallow and ROCKY, you might call Aqua-Adventures in San Diego and ask them what SOT kayaks they use for running rivers.
My first boat was also a Frenzy, and it does not do rivers well for reasons cited above. I used a inflatable kayak for whitewater.
No reason not to use an SOT for easy rivers, but you want a flat bottom, and something relatively short
My 13’ OK Mars has a flatbottom, but you might be pushing the capacity.
Tarpons come in several lengths,
have lots of capacity , and roomy cockpits. They do fine in mild whitewater, but really aren’t deigned for it.
H2YO. Great on whitewater (class 1&2), very comfortable cockpit. The only things I don't like:
1. The backrest is actually molded into the boat. Very comfortable, but leans a little bit too much back.
2. No bungies on the deck, but that's solvable.
3. No scupper holes.
Its the same boat as the Dimension Typhoon
Heritage Sea Dart
I think a Heritage Sea Dart is worth trying for the situation you described. 14’2" long, good weight capacity, moderate speed, and manueverable. The website is: heritagekayaks.com.
Even though its shorter than some sit on tops, it will handle your weight without a problem. Comfortable ride, shorter length means more maneuverability on rivers and very important, the scupper holes are recessed on the bottom, so won’t catch on any rocks, like an OK Caper. Not cheap, but less than most sit on tops that are longer. Check out the prices and reviews. If you can afford a Tarpon 120, it would still handle rivers well and be a better all around boat for lakes and saltwater stuff as well…
Not for Arizona Rivers
Seadart is fantastic for Ocean, Lakes and flatwater Colorado River, but too long and tracks too well for rivers like the Salt. I would stick to a boat less than 10 ft.