What are the Fastest Sit-On-Top Kayaks?

I’m basically looking for the fastest SOT I can find. I want to be able to try and keep up with traditional

sit-in kayaks as best as possible. I may eventually try fishing from it, but that is not the priority. I mostly will be paddling.

Does anyone have any recommendations or advice regarding SOT vs. tradition sit-in kayaks. I’ve tried sit-in kayaks for the last few years, but really enjoyed the freedom of the SOT when I tried it last summer.

I’m concerned that the SOTs may be too slow to adequately keep up with others in traditional kayaks or too fatiguing to take on longer trips. I’m also concerned that the self-baling system of SOTs will significantly shorten my paddling season in New England. I’ve heard that you can plug up the scupper holes (drains) to alleviate that a bit.

Any advice or specific recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I’ve not had much trouble keeping
up in a Tarpon 160 as long as they aren’t racing.

Surf ski
Faster than a sink. But not good for fishing.

south african
I have not paddled one of these, but from what I’ve been told Kaskazi Dorado is probably the fastest SOT out there. Followed by the T160. Lots of folks fish out of both of these. In fact, the Dorado, has a built in fish box.

A HopOnTop, If You Can Find One

– Last Updated: Aug-11-08 7:52 PM EST –

HopOnTop, which was bought out by Heritage, made composite SOTs that can easily keep up with Sinks of the same length. But Heritage discontinued the composite boats because they were too expensive. They are relatively dry for SOTs, too.

I just don't think they have made an SOT any faster than the HopOnTop 18 AKA Heritage Shearwater. And it really only weighs 44# in Kevlar

Matter of fact, I have a 16" fiberglass HopOnTop 16(AKA Heritage Nomad)for sale, but I am in California, and I can't ship it cross country.

The trick is finding one. I just happened to stumble upon the 18

I’ve been looking at
Feathercraft’s hybrid folding/inflatable SOT’s - mainly the Java and the Gemini. People say the Java is as fast as the FC Kahuna, with the Gemini being even faster because of its 18-foot length. Unlike surf skis, though, they’re both very stable, can be fished from, and can haul a ton of gear (the Java’s payload is 450 lbs., while the Gemini will hold 600!).

Knysna Isthmus
Can be raced in the SOT class as not quite surfski dimensions. Not much good for anything as some surfskis are more stable and easier to remount but it is the fastest SOT I know of. I had one of these PITAs…


There is a “convertable” model…
…that I can’t seem to remember the name of…I think I saw it for sale here or on Craigslist a while ago? Maybe some others here might know of which I speak? It has a canopy w/cockpit rim that removes and then you have a SOT! this might fill all of your needs for one boat…just put the top on and it looks like a conventional SINK, and you can attach a sprayskirt for weather protection. Not sure if it is scuppered or not. It looks as fast as many conventional composite SINKS…

RTM Disco
As far as poly SOT’s go, I’ve heard good speed comments on the RTM Disco. It’s made in Europe and not widely available in the US…I think most of their dealer network is in Florida. Here’s a link for a review and some pics I found:


I paddled a Wave Witch in S. Cal.
and this kayak was FAST.

View here:http://www.huntjohnsendesigns.com/index.htm#wavewitch

Eric, disagree on the Tarpon 160. I had one as a day rental and found it to be no faster than a Prowler 13 or 15. What a barge to turn…not a good river boat, and the 65lbs is a tank to load.

BTW, that RTM Disco is a beauty.

Ocean Kayak Sprinter
I was in a recreational race last year where there were a couple of folks on Ocean Kayak Sprinters. They had no problem keeping up with sinks and, in fact, were right among the fastest finishers. Other than that, I don’t know anything about them. Have fun!

And the Cobra Eliminator
is probably one of the fastest (short of a surf ski). Won’t be much for anything else, but a plastic 16.5 foot boat at 42 lbs is pretty vool.



Tarpon is far from the fastest

Don’t worry so much about fastest.
I have a Heritage Seadart (an older version, when the quality was better). It’s only 14’ but I go on coastal paddles with folks in full on seakayaks, I keep up fine, but I am working harder. The absolute fastest boats are not going to be much fun for touring, they tend to slice through waves and are often too tippy to paddle in conditions. Get a boat that will paddle well in rough water and still move along pretty well.

South African - Kaskazi Dorado
There are a few guys on a kayak fishing stuff web site that claim these are the cat’s meow.

Tarpon 160
in fiberglass, 35 pounds, keeps up with most.

tell me more about the Vision 170 SOT
any links?

I couldn’t find it at the CD website…I’m interested.

Tarpon 160 in fiberglass?
Where’d you see one of these?

Ocean Kayak Sprinter
Amazingly maneuverable for its length. Must have something to do with the rounded bottom?

Still, 16’10" long, 20.75" wide. Firly tippy compared with other SOT’s, not so much compared to a surf ski. Very fast, great glide. Not imported to the US any more though. I’ve heard that Go Bananas in Hawaii can get them in from New Zealand.

New OK Sprinter here…but you need
to travel down under. Beautiful looking SOT for sure.