tippeness, having trouble !

Hello; I ahve been on the water allmy life sailing diving.working in the crab fishery.rowing small boats and on and on.I have been using dive kayaks for 25 years.Done a fair amount of white water canoe has well.Never sat in a sit inside kayak untill 2 weeks ago.I bought 2 used,W.S. epic,sealoution.The first time out the seloution was a handfull the next time it was way better,then i switched to the epic very twichy for me at first then i started getting the feel for it, this was all in bodega bay flat water.Then i took the epic to tomales bayin a little rougher water twichy again and then i started to realy feel good in the boat.Coming accross the bay in 20 knot wind with white caps and 2ft+ wind chop i was doing great the boat felt good and i had control not tippy at all this was with the wind close on the bow quarter,I Was loving it! then yesterday i came across the same water with a new wind direction More on the beam and a little foward of the beam It was very hard for me, not to tip over ,was fighting it the whole way almost went over several times.The boat just felt like it was goin over all the time.When i came up into the wind it was a lot better But by then i was so tired of trying to hold the boat up it was tippy to not like the day before.My wife who was on my tarpon 140 was having a blast the whole way.Her And my buddy who was also on a T 140 both were telling me to get rid of that sit in side.I will not give up its got to get better.How long does it take to get good control of a boat like this?Is this the wrong boat for a begener the sealoution is much more stable but i want paddle the long, low beutifull epic not the big fat sealoution! Any advice or incouragement would be apprecated!!!

Narrow boat and technique or two
the Epic as a pretty narrow boat for a first sit-inside. Unless your pretty light. So, no wonder it’s a handful.

Basic idea if your shoulders are level you will not go over unless waves are breaking. Hips stay loose; shoulders stay level. Do not lean into the backband.

It Will Be Interesting To
read some of the responses you get to your question. The differances between the two boats you have paddled are significant. As you noted the SOT has a bunch more initial stability and the Epic far less initial statbility.

The basic idea is that your boat moves around your hips. Your hips/waist will flex and allow the boat to tip and your torso to remain upright. This takes practice to become completely comfortable with. The Epic will have some initial stability, (less than the SOT) and if moved further off a level keel position will reach a secondary stability point or region. All boats react differantly and you have to learn how yours acts with you in it.

Now, to the stiff breeze on your beam. You will be able to achieve a position using your torso, hips, and boat where you are paddling upright with your hips rotated into the wind balancing the lateral force of the wind. The trick is that everything does not stay static. Your wind strength will change, the direction of the wind changes, waves will change the force vectors, and your boat direction will change. Bottom line is that with experience in your boat and in those types of conditions your body will learn to react without your thinking about it.

The Epic is a very fast boat and one of the upsides, it will enable you to paddle circles around most SOT’s.

Happy Paddling,


Hello; I wrote up my story this morning and did not proof read it untill I read peters reply.Sorry about all the typing mistakes will check the next time!And thank you peter I did notice that keeping myself strait up or alittle foward hepled, leaning back is no good!I will keep at it!By the way the sealoution is an XL so its really big and fat.The epic is so nice i hope I can get controll of this boat in rough water! Are beam seas harder for most kayakers or is it just my inexperince?

Beam sea
Personally, I find beam seas to be much easier than quartering seas. The rolling motion is much easier for me to predict and paddle in than yawing or buryying the bow.

Forgive me if this advice is too basic, but do make sure that your feet and thighs are postioned so that you are firmly braced when you start to feel unstable. If you are "wearing the boat instead of riding around in it, your stability will be much better.

An alternate approach …
is to go for a loose, relaxed fit. I was about to pad out my boat for a tight fit when I took a BCU 3 star course this past spring. The instructor suggested I try a loose fit in the boat so that I can slide my butt and inch or two from side to side to change the balance of the boat for various conditions. I still have good contact when needed, but I am not wedged in. This really worked well for me.

Even though you have a lot of paddling experience, you might find it eye opening if you find a good instructor and take some intermediate kayak lessons.

One possible cause for what you experienced may be that you became very stiff at the point you needed to relax more. As others mentioned, you need to have loose hips in conditions. If you became tense because of nervousness this may have amplified the problem. Seat time in this boat, possibly with some advaned instruction, will likely make a huge difference.


You can edit your original post to fix typos, etc.

Good luck!


Two cures
1. Seat time (No substitute).

2. Learn to roll (Big shortcut with MANY other benefits).

(Outfitting has already been mentioned).

Maybe the XL is just too big for you
Did you demo it before buying?

I have heard/read several complaints about the Sealution’s handling, but if it’s too big for you in the first place that would make it hard to learn in anyway.

If you don’t like a big, stable kayak now you probably will like it less as time goes on.

Again thank you all for the help.Pikabike i got both boats with outfitting for 800.oo so i dont care i can sell the sealoution or keep it for a spare the epic is very nice and it is the boat i am having trouble with 17ft 2in and 21 and 1 half inches wide. I will learn to handle it I hope!!

Thanks for the advice.I have been seing what you mean about seat time, every time is better than the last(Except yesterday in the beam sea i felt like i was going backward with my learning) but i will keep at it.Our paddle club has pool practice every week and i will start taking atvantage of this next week!No pool practice was one of the reasons i was having so much trouble,Have never done a wet exit or self rescue and I did not want to try my first one in the winter, on tomales bay in rough water (I know i should not have been there).

When I switched from WW…
…to my touring boat, it was a horrible experience. It was much more tippy than any

of my WW boats.

This is what I did. I’m used to a very tight fit with my WW boats, but I discovered that

an equally tight fit in my touring boat was

exhausting. It amplified every movement.

So I backed off the outfitting.

Then–and here is where I’m gonna get lamblasted—I installed a rudder.

The rudder helped, kind of like training wheels,

then I stopped using the rudder after I was more

used to the tippiness.

Stay loose at the hips and let the boat move under you. --the classic J lean.

yes, inexperience
What are your dimensions? For some folks the “average” person in the “average” sea kayak can get by without knowing how to brace. If you’re a tad tall, heavy or muscular you HAVE TO know how to brace or you’ll go over in 6" waves.

  1. Don’t go paddling until you know how to get back in by yourself. This really is important because you’re putting the folks in the Tarpon 140’s at risk paddling in the middle of Tomales without having rescue skills.

  2. “how to keep from tipping over”…relax your grip and try a forward stroke that has the blade entering the water with the face of the blade facing down a bit on entry(by your feet) then sliding out to the side (just past your hips), releasing with your blade near the surface. If you have any tendency to make the blade dig deep close to your hips you’re pretty much guranteed to tip over until you’ve got better hip control.

    The idea is to take some of the energy in your forward stroke and put it into a bracing stroke where the blade slides out to the side before releasing from the water. Taking the blade out of the water before it travels too far behind your hips. Imagine a stroke starting up near your feet at 1:00 then traveling out about 3’ away from your hips exiting the water at 4:00. 11:00 on the left exiting at 8:00. The important part is to keep your blade from exiting power face up.

    Breath easy and don’t grip too tight.

ebb tide
don’t go up near the mouth during a strong ebb tide!

The difference between the Tarpon140s and the Epic is like the difference between a dirt motorcyle and a SUV. It really does require a basic set of skills that may take a month to a year to learn.

Trail a blade
when seas are coming from behind or quartering, (from the rear/side)take a stroke and flatten the blade a little to the surface and let it drag for a second or two. It will slow you down a little as it adds drag, but you can tune it a bit and reduce that. Keep your hips loose. If you go wobbly use your hips/knees to bring the boat under your head, don’t throw your head over the boat. You live in a very sharky neighborhood, no swimming for you! ; )

Augustus Dogmatycus


It will just take some time…
Don’t put too much thought into it. Relax, that’s the key. Loose hips, a slight lean forward, and good blade placement. In beam seas you find yourself paddling the conditions not the kayak. Find a rhythm with the conditions. This where blade placement comes in; time your stroke so your blade is placed into the beam waves and lean in a little. Lean away from a beam wave and you’re apt to go over.

You just have to realize it will take a little practice, “seat time” to be comfortable, so take little steps and don’t put yourself in a position to fail. I progressed with a 28" wide kayak to a 23.5" to a 21.5" and then a 20" and now a 19". I’m still not a 100% comfortable in the 19" wide kayak but going over ain’t no big deal either.


I’m with Greyak
I cannot agree enough with Greyak’s suggestions. I would expand on them to say that:

1: Learning to roll is learning to brace, and learning where your boat’s capsize point is. A good, instinctive high brace & low brace will make you much more confident.

2: Becoming more comfortable with rolling and bracing will make you much more fluid in your movements = less strain on the body - let the boat rock while you relax.

Have fun with it.

Oops! (redfaced)
Sorry for the non-help.

If you like that Epic, paddle it in easy stuff to start, plus take a lesson or few.

People have told me that a loaded kayak is more stable than an unloaded one but I don’t know if I’d encourage adding ballast as a learning aid.

Off Topic Bradford
One of the most memorable photos I have ever seen is/was hanging on the wall of a bar sandwich shop at Tomalis Bay. The photo shows a boat, about a 40 foot fishing boat, sliding down the face of a monster wave rolling over the bar at the entrance to the bay. For some reason that picture has stuck in my mind and I think of it from time to time.

Good luck with your Epic.


You’ll be glad you did
Rear quartering seas are one of the tougher conditions to hit - until you get more accustomed to the kayaks you may want to try to avoid that. There is a sweet spot where a new boat is challenging you just enough to feel good but not so much that you are tightening up - ideally you want to find those moments.

As above, it’s just time and learning to relax. I suspect that you were trying to “manage” the Epic because it felt like it was going over too far when many times you could have just let it hit its secondary stability point then come back without intervention. It’s not dissimilar to a rocking chair - you need to be comfortable letting it do that. The Sealution hides that motion from the paddler a lot more than the Epic, but I’d wager with the relative ages of the boat that you have a higher safety margin in terms of how far the boat can go and return to upright with the Epic than the Sealution.

other memories
a fuster cluck landing at Dillons beach, a STRONG ebb tide crossing on the inside portion of the channell…Tomales is a cool place. Saw the most gorgeous wooden sailboat there once.