Sit on type kayak ..advantages?

What is the advantage to the sit on top kayak as opposed to conventional types??

S-O-T advantages?
If you fall off it’s easy to get back on.

VERY high initial stability.


Swimming to the bottom to retrieve your gear.

Tough to paddle in the wind (though they’ve gotten better over the years).

Paddling around all day with a wet a$$…

I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few since mine was stolen years ago.

More useful information

– Last Updated: Nov-08-05 9:31 PM EST –

Go to the forum at you'll get information from people who know sit on tops.

Sorry, couldn’t resist…
…If you want to know how wonderful a Ford is just ask a Ford dealer!

Seriously, if we knew what you wanted a boat for we could maybe give some advice.

S-O-T’s are great for playing in the surf, fishing, camping, hunting, etc. But all boats are a compromise one way or another. Just depends on the type of water and activities you plan to use your boat for.

SOT shows off best in warm waters-
If you want to look at the leading edge in SOT design and function-Kaskazi Skua in kevlar/graphite. 17’x22.98", 36 lbs. ocean to flats and mangroves. VERY fast, stable enough to fish from, easy to reenter. Lash-it for everything you want to keep in the boat.

Not all SOT’s are good at all things.
Some plow into waves and swamp easily when trying to land on the beach. Others are great fun at that, built for it. Some SOT’s are great fishing machines, others not so good. For fishing bays, there’s probably no better way to go for the money. As for cold weather fishing and kayaking in a SOT, it would depend on how cold and how you dress. There are a number of great kayak fishing sites on the web. Do a google search for kayak fishing. The one I’m most familiar with is Those guys, especially on the saltwater forum, can answer questions about SOT’s, including any specific ones you have in mind. As for speed in paddling, in fishing the bay and flat water, its biggest import is when going to the fishing area and going back in. Speed is relative too.

I think you would do better…
to ask “what are the disadvantages” and the major would be that in the winter with a SOT a wet suit or dry suit is an absulutely must unless you are in the tropics or where it is a constant 80 degrees F.



Simplicity, saftey
Something most athletic people can safely enjoy “right out of the box”. Pretty much all you need for basic day paddling is the kayak, paddle and a PFD.

No need for bilge pump, spray skirts, paddle floats as with a SINK. No complicated re-entry techniques or rolls needed…if you capsize…you just climb back on. Great boats to get non-paddling guests out on the water. Eliminates the fear of “entrapment” associated with traditional kayaks.

Wide variety of sizes and styles…everything from short wide super stable “barges” to long narrow super tender (and fast) surf ski’s and everything in between.

Just add warm water and go…



More Versatile
SOTs are more versatile and user friendly to start. Fishing is much much easier from a SOT. It’s easier to dress for the weather in a SOT. Sitting in water keeps you cooler when dressed for full emersion. In hot weather you can dump a hat full of water over your head and it’ll drain.

I’ve run whitewater in a SOT. It’s safer than a WW kayak. When you dump you go in butt first. You won’t get killed smashing your head on a rock. I happen to own both syles but almost never use my closed cockpit yak. It’s too confining and limited.

I’ve been in conditions where my SOT was driven completely under water. It’s cool to have a boat that can do that and resurface without a problem.

pretty poor analogy
They don’t sell SOTs at You’ll find that most of the forum participants there would be just as interested as those here in helping a newbie make an appropriate choice of 'yak based on there variables that need to be taken into consideration.

I have been in conditions in my Tarpon
160 that I wouldn’t take a 16’ motorboat into and it performed like a champ.To be fair, so did the SINK that was with me.I use it for all my salt water trips.

I have both, and if I had to chose…
just one I would take the SINK.

Nice and cozy in the winter, and yes just a few months ago I had my Eclipse (SINK) in a class III river and it was a ball coming off the top of a ledge and diving completely underwater. Skirts are good!

I guess you have never pitchpoled if you always enter butt first, but believe me when I use the SOT at the beach for playing in the surf I have been catapulted on every part of the bod, and most of the time it is head first.



the other side
I went shopping for a SOT but could not deal with 70# of plastic and no thigh braces. They seem to be very narrow and tippy with a high seat or ridiculuosly wide and slow and heavy. LOve my west side kayak eft at 29#. Very,fast stable and the seat is low for stability. Still shopping for sot. Maybe next year.

More Background?

– Last Updated: Nov-09-05 12:27 PM EST –

A discussion of SOT vs SINK would cover a lot of ground without knowing some context.

Ocean or freshwater?

Do you want to go fishing?

Do you want to go fast?

Just as there are many different types of SINKs, there are likewise many types of SOTs. For example, some SOTs (the surf skis) are amoung the fastest kayaks out there. Then there are some real tubs. There are, however, two comments that would apply to ALL SOT’s. In colder weather, SINK’s do have an advantage. (But this can be remedied by the use of appropriate wet / dry suit, etc. I live in R.I. and kayak year round in SOT’s). Also, all SOT’s have an advantage in that they cannot be (so easily) swamped like a SINK can. All of that being said, as far as the numbers of SOT’s manufactured, there are definitley more produced that are recreational, as opposed to serious performance boats. Four of my SOT’s are certainly within the “high performance” category: a Heritage Shearwater, two Tsunami X-15 Scramjets, and one Tsunami X-2 Starship.

In summary, you got to evaluate the exact boat that’s being considered on its specific merits. The SOT style does say something across the board as far as exposure to cold, and resistance to swamping, but after that, there’s as much variability as there is with a SINK.


Look at these

– Last Updated: Nov-11-05 8:06 AM EST –

Epic GP Sport 12'8"x25"x32 lbs $1600
CD Kestrel 140 SOT 14'x26"x36 lbs $1500
Kaskazi Pelican 15'8"x24"x50 lbs $1600-$1800
Hurricane Phoenix 140 14'x28"x52 lbs $900
Just a few. The kaskazi website has several more boats to choose from.

“I’ve been in conditions where my SOT was driven completely under water. It’s cool to have a boat that can do that and resurface without a problem.”

I’ve done that in a WW boat! What seems to be a problem?

I’ve also been upsidedown and “resurface” in my sit-inside WW boat. THAT, is WAY COOL!

Could you have done that the first time you went out in it?..If you didn’t know how to roll?

Any “reasonably” athletic person can climb back in/on a SOT the first day out. How long did you paddle before you learned to roll your SINK consistently? (smiles)



70# of Plastic

– Last Updated: Nov-10-05 5:53 PM EST –

I would Say that KFSRMN's list is pretty inclusive if looking for a performance SOT under 55#.

One more would be the Epic 12 GP. Very light, but only 12' long.

And the Kaskazi Skua

Finding SOTs that can perform is difficult enough, but finding SOTs that can perform and don't weight 70# is really hard.

I have a 18'4" Shearwater with a 20" beam at waterline in Kevlar thhat only weighs 44#, but they have not made them in years. I can't think of anything in production in the USA that comes anywhere close.

I decided to put a 55# weight limit on any boat in my garage. That is why I traded the Seda Revenge at about 65# in fiberglass.

Thee is a very limited slection of performance SOTs under 55#. They are mostly made in South Africa, and imported into South Florida. No access to them on the west coast.

Less STINKY, WET GEAR after paddling
No sprayskirt, paddle float, pump, or sponge.

Breezes can cool off your whole body in hot summer weather.

I don’t need to repeat what others have said about the other differences.

I have both SINK and SOT and love them all! You need one of each :wink: