NEW TO KAYAKING. HAVE PADDLED ABOUT 10X OR SO.
ALL IN RENTALS AND ALL HAVE BEEN TRADITIONAL
COCKPIT BOATS. MY WIFE AND I ARE READY TO PURCHASE KAYAKS AND WILL BE ATTENDING A PADDLE FEST NEXT WEEKEND IN S/W FLORIDA. WE PLAN ON
PADDLING IN THE BAY, PROTECTED WATERS, LAKES AND
RIVERS IN FLORIDA. IS THERE ANY BENEFIT TO A SOT OR IS A TRADITIONAL COCKPIT BOAT A BETTER CHOICE. WE LIVE IN SOUTH FLA (FT LAUDERDALE) SO COLD WEATHER IS NOT AN ISSUE FOR
US. ANY HELP OR SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE APPRECIATIED.
NEW TO KAYAKING. HAVE PADDLED ABOUT 10X OR SO.
Try Both And See For Yourself
You will get differing opinions here, but in most cases it is a personal perferences, so try both and see which you like better
so many factors…
It depends on so many things.
What size are you looking for? I am going to assume that the rentals were in the 15 to 17 foot range?
did you feel comfortable in them or twitchy? After 10 times out you should have a really good feel for how comfortable you are in a sit inside boat.
A sit on top has some advantages in so far as being able to scramble back into the boat if you capsize but the down side is that in wind, if you fall out, the boat has a tendency to “sail” faster than a regular sit inside. Sit on tops may have hatches but for the most part the construction of a sit on top makes the whole boat a flotation device.
A sit inside recreational kayak may or may not have compartments and hatches which when sealed provide flotation so that you can get back into the boat without it sinking. The ones that don’t come with, you should get float bags for the bow and stern to minimize the amount of water in the boat and provide flotation.
Sit on tops are generally speaking wider and more stable but generally slower. some sit on tops that are faster or more performance oriented would be a wilderness Systems Tarpon 14 ft or longer, the Aquasports Phoenix 14 footer or the scupper pro from Ocean Kayaks at 14 ft 9 inches…I am sure there are others.
A sit inside will necessitate a bit more awareness and skill sets to be able to get into your boat after a capsize and there are many ways to do a self rescue or assisted rescue.
Both provide tremendous fun!
I think you have to ask yourself how you see yourself kayaking? do you want to do excursions or camping trips? Not saying it can’t be done with a sit on top but a sit inside would probably be faster and more efficient.
I put in at George English park the other day and went through the canals and I was in my 18 foot Outer Island and was thinking to myself how much more fun it would have been to be in my Ocean kayak Scupper Pro. I would have gotten a tan, I was in no hurry, and I could have easily stretched relaxed, maybe taking a pic or two.
It really all depends on what you want to do.
They’re all good in S FL
With warm waters year 'round here it really just depends on what sort of paddling you want to do.
Also depends what else, if anything, you like to do when paddling - or might want to use a kayak to get you somewhere to do something else (fish, snorkel, dive, whatever).
I got a WS Tarpon SOT thinking I’d fish from it. I ended up happy just paddling, and that boat served me well for some time as it’s very versatile. I’ve had many kayaks since - everything from a stubby inflatable to surf skis, several sea kayaks, and a narrow Inuit type qajaq.
Pretty fair used market locally. Not a bad way to recycle kayaks as interests change. You can often resell used boats for about what you paid.
SOT vs Closed Deck Kayak
As was already mentioned, its mostly about how and where you’ll be paddling.
If it will be mostly short day paddles in calm / warm water conditions, a SOT works just fine. On the plus side is the relative ease of launching and landing and the ability to get off and back on the boat while on the water. On the down side is that it is a “wet paddle” and most SOTs are not about paddling efficiency
But if you think you might want to do some kayaking where camping out of your craft would be part of the paddling experience, then you should probably be looking at closed deck kayaks with water tight compartments and ones designed with touring in mind…ones where the hull configuration yields the optimum performance for energy expended.
So your challenge is to think ahead and try to visualize your longer range uses. From personal experience, plunking around the local bay or lake is fun… for a while. Once tired / bored with doing that…then the excitement of exploring more remote and challenging multi-day paddling adventures adds a whole new and fresh dimension to kayaking.
my SOT’s. Try them. At The Calusa Bluewater Fest, you can try Tarpons at Estero River Outfitters on Hwy 41 or Emotion Kayaks at Backwater Outfitters in Cape Coral (a sponsor it think). But, it is all up to what you do with them.
Enjoy the Festival!