Skin on frame kayak performance

i have been looking at getting a kayak. If i am going to get a good quality plastic kayak i might as well buy a car first seeing as how much it costs. one good plastic kayak is half the price of a decent used car. For a while i had been against building a skin on frame, because i thought it would not be a very good kayak, but now i am curious. So i was wondering if a skin on frame kayak can have performance comparable to something like the wilderness systems tsunami 140. all i am talking about is handling, speed, and tracking. i am not too worried about gear capacity because by the time i would be able to go on trips i would need to pack for, i would be able to afford a tsunami 140. also, is it possible to make a rudder to mount up onto the skin on frame kayak? it shouldnt be to difficult, except i do not know how i would mount it. I also was wondering if i could get some links to some good online resources for building and reasearching SOF kayaks.

Most skin on frames
make the Tsunami 140 look like a barge. Here is a good place to start

Are you back?
That’s OK. My first was a SOF.Might be the cost and weight solution you are looking for.

yep, i’m back

– Last Updated: May-25-08 3:34 PM EST –

actually i never left. i went to a demo yesterday, and after my dad saw the price for a good kayak he told me to get an inflatable because it is cheaper, or get a car first, and then see if i can get the money for a plastic kayak. today i was suprised that he was reasearching homebuilt kayak construction, and he mentioned skin on frame as a possible option. he then proceeded to joke about sending me to kill some rabbits to cover my kayak. he was joking of course. what kind to "skins" are good for covering a SOF kayak. the site posted had them covered in PVC, which i think would be rather weak seeing the fact that cheap pool toys are made of it, and those puncture easily. My main concern is sumberged sticks and branches in the shallow 2' deep river by my house. it is a beautiful place to paddle.

advice on choices
i really like the site tsunamichuck posted. i was wondering if anyone who has made, owned, or paddled one could give some advice on what may be a good one. i plan to use it for lakes, possibly lake superior (which is comparable to a coralless ocean) and slow, shallow rivers. i do not plan for multiday trips, but packing a lunch and something to drink would be nice. i also am concerned about stability. seeing as many of them are 18-19" beam and i am a begginer who has not learned to roll. the first kayak i ever paddled was a wilderness systems tempest 170. it was fairly stable even in stronger winds, and i never even felt like i was going to tip. i would also like to be able to turn easier than the tempest 170 because i had trouble avoiding other padddlers at the demo day, and had a minor bump in with someone. also i need to be able to steer easily into a wave to it does not broadside me and flip me. would it be possible to make a rudder and mount it to a SOF kayak?

Paddler skill is a huge factor in
boat handling.The people who developed SOF did not have rudders to my knowledge.

sea ranger
i am thinking about maybe building the sea ranger. my dad seems to be on board with me building a SOF, in fact, he suggested it. He will be a big help in deciphering the instructions on that site since he has done alot of building of things, and is a machinist who can read drawings and all that stuff.

you might want to try paddling a
sof before investing the time and money in building it. Another alternative is building a plywood and glass kayak—lots of kits available for around 1000 dollars or you can make your own from plans.

You can get a used plastic sea kayak for less than a kit. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t exactly right as long as it is in the ball park. That gets you on the water and paddling. Yes, you will sell it in a year or so. But so what? You will have learned more and perhaps have more money by then.

Go here

A few folks there have built Yost boats and Tom also posts on the site.

In addition
There is a Tsunami 140 for sale on P-net for $950.

Check out Brian’s site
lots of good info here

so can a stick puncture the hull of these kayaks? or how about a rock. my dad just geve me the third degree about how if the boat punctures you are sunk, and said to not even bother with a SOF. can anybody offer some proof pertaining to how durable these things are? i really need it.

other skins
i may be able to convince him to let me build one if i can find a stronger skin. i need something that if i run into the tip of a stick on a slow river it wont puncture, and something that rocks wont wear through. Would hypalon sheets work? any other suggestions. i really need some help.

on another note, do you think a begginer who has never rolled can paddle one of these boats?

The current SOF materials are very
tough and easily emergency patched with duct tape.

For guaranteed bouyancy, put an air bladder in the bow and stern. There are bladders made specifically for that.

My old naugahyde-covered SOF took years of abuse, was patched many times, and is still in service. It is 28 years old.

could you reccomend what some of these stronger materials are?

show your Dad this…

what material is that…
kayak covered in being abused in the video?

If you look around the Shaman Kayaks website for a couple of minutes you’ll see that it is 8.5 oz. ballistic nylon with a 2-part polyurethane coating. This is state of the art for SOF construction. My Cape Falcon kayak has the same covering and it is very tough - I don’t baby it at all, it hits rocks, shells, sticks, the rack on my car, whatever. Yost boats can be and are covered with a range of materials, cotton canvas, nylon, pvc, etc. I think you need to spend some time reading up on SOF construction so you can make an educated decision about building one. It sounds like you are a beginner, so I’d suggest a shorter, wider boat like the Sea Bee or Sea Tour 15 for your first boat.

You don’t need stronger
I saw a demonstration at SSTIKS last year:

A frame about 2 ft square was covered as a SOF would be. Several people tried to kick a hole in it, then several tried to poke a hole with a Bic pen, then a 200lb+ man jumped on it. None of this succeeded in penetrating the nylon, wrecked the wooden frame though. Fears of skin failure are mostly unfounded. That doesn’t mean one should mis-treat the kayak though.