SOT vs SINK speed is the issue.

I plan on doing some distance paddling and have a Necky Santa Cruz. I also do a lot of fishing and see the advantages of an SOT. So here is my problem , for my next boat should I get a longer composite SINK or invest in the Kaskazi 15’ composite SOT? I need a boat that can take rough seas and be able to travel distances with ease. Thanks FishHawk

Don’t need to be so exotic
My Heritage Seadart works fine for paddling distances on the ocean. It used to be a highly favored fishing boat, until the marketing people got into kayaking. You can probably pick one up used for $400.

Hi FishHawk…my daughter
paddles the Santa Cruz…darn fine river/lake kayak. If fishing from a kayak is your main focus, I vote for SOT. The S. African kayak has great reviews, but not sure if it’s any more stable is heavy waves than any other SOTs. I do know they are pretty fast…and pricy too. For your kind of needs, I suggest test paddling these: the S. Afican craft, OK Trident 15, Prowler 15, Prowler 13, WS Tarpon 14 & 16, Manta Ray 14, and some fishing kayaks from Malibu Kayaks…although, Malibu’s have the lovers/haters due to leaks. Google some of the kayak fishing forums and you will see lots of great info. SINKs are possible to fish from…but with large cockpits and rough water…not a pretty picture.

I had
the chance to paddle with Doug Connor from Half Moon Bay Kayak Co. and he was paddling a 18’ Cobra Expedition SOT. Since I saw it, my thoughts keep going back to it. I’d like to one pick up. Look fast enough for me…

I think anything in the 14+ foot
range that has the space and speed you want will work.

Longer and narrower give you more speed but can take some stability away. The surf skis are the fastest kayaks, but you’re not likely to use them for much fishing. The 30+ inch wide rec boats are incredibly stable and have tons of room for fishing, but they aren’t known for speed. I think the 14 to 18 foot range is good and there are several available SOTs that are reasonable.

Check the reviews here and check the topkayaker site and the kayak fishing sites as well. The SeaDart, Prowler 15, and Cobra kayak are all good suggestions. The Tarpon and Manta Ray are both good boats, but I’m not sure either are really great in big water. I have a Manta Ray, but haven’t had it on the ocean.


I’ve had my Tarpon in as much big
water as I ever hope to see. 3 to 4 foot confused waves off Edisto Beach, SC. Appropriately called the washing machine. Wind was up to 25 Kt that day.With thigh straps , never once did I feel like we were going belly up. Took an hour to paddle a little over a mile upwind and I pulled a groin muscle, but the boat was fine.

Expedition is good on paper…
… but I’d suggest you read some reviews and ask around a bit.

On water, particularly if not flat, A WS Tarpon 160 beats it in many ways.

What distances? What speeds?
Without a more specific requirement suggestions will be all over the place.

Few are doing much in the way of real decent speed/distance on plastic SOTs. Some do, but not many, and not often.

Sure you can go long distances on a wide 14’ SOT, but it’s going to take a while, and take a toll on you.

Some folks like going 3mph or so for hours on end. Some don’t. Some think 10 miles is long, others 20, 30…

I’ve done close to 30 a couple times (both under 7 hours, and both provided a beating by trip’s end), and used to do 8-18 paddles regularly on a Tarpon 160. Average pace long paddle 4.5 mph+, good exercise/“race” pace 5-15 miles 4.8, pushing it faster than that got counter productive.