Site On Top Kayaks, What are they about?
Sit on top kayaks came about as spin offs, the original sit on top is the surf ski as it was sat on rather than in a bit like a high volume wider surfboard. Nowadays these sit ons come in many variations from easy-going surfskis to expedition touring kayaks with lengths over 16 feet! In the middle we have the UKs favourite style, the leisure sit on tops. Nowadays sit on tops can be use on the sea, on canals, on rivers and not to mention lakes & lochs due to their safe nature and ‘unsinkable’ design.
Leisure sit on tops are normally between 8 and 14 feet depending on what you want to do. Something shorter like the 8 and a bit foot Islander Hula would be very manoeuvrable due to a reduced waterline, ideal for kids and adults to share due to the compact nature of the boat. The longer the kayak is typically means the faster and straighter it will go. If you are looking for a kayak to tour down rivers, 12 foot ones are a popular choice such as the Wilderness Tarpon 120. Fishermen to are very fond of the kayaks over 11 foot.
Ocean kayak make a very comprehensive range such as the Trident and Ultra series available from 11 foot to over 15 foot! The reason sit on tops are chosen is due to the stable nature of the kayak, the unsinkable design which is much safer when out at sea, also the scupper holes which run through the kayak from top to bottom just let any wave water that may splash on the top just flush through. In terms of load space, there is loads! (pardon the pun) as the sealed centre of the boat allows storage within via access through hatches, but also the stern will usually have some form of tankwell. Ideal for anglers, divers and multiday paddlers.
As I have covered one end of boat size to the other, what about those 9,10,11 footers? Well this is where they get very popular, a 10 foot sit on top will have easy turning, easy straight line paddling, ample storage for a day or overnight boat, will be able to surf. I mean they really are the most versatile of them all. Whether you want to do an 8 mile trip down your local river/canal or you want to plonk it in the sea and go surfing or cove exploring they are capable of it all. Obviously if you have no intention of surfing as such and feel that touring is more your bag you should look at the longer boats. Popular 10 foot sit on tops include; the Perception Scooter, Islander Calypso Sport, Feelfree Nomad, ocean kayak frenzy/scrambler and Wilderness Tarpon 100.
Have a look here for a handy guide as to ideal boat for you:
|Expedition/Long Touring Trips||Wilderness tarpon 140/160, Ocean Kayak
|Middle Distance trips, camping river
trips & coastal exploring
|Perception Triumph 13, Wilderness Tarpon
120/140, Ocean Kayak Tetra 12
|Kayak Fishing/wildlife watching||Perception triumph 13 Angler, Wilderness
Tarpon Anglers, Ocean Kayak Trident, Ocean Kayak Ultra,
Ocean Kayak elite, Islander Strike Angler, Islander
Calypso angler, Feelfree Moken
|Shorter River trips/Multi Purpose/ Family
Friendly/ Surf Capable
|Islander Calypso Sport, Perception
Scooter, Wilderness Tarpon 100, Ocean Kayak Frenzy, ocean
Kayak Scrambler, Feelfree Nomad, Robson Kona
|Seating for up to 2 or 2 adults and a
child – Multipurpose kayaks
|Perception Scooter Gemini, Feelfree
Gemini, Wilderness Tarpon 130, Ocean Kayak Malibu II or
Malibu II XL, Robson Kailua
Although the chart shows up to 3 person boats, there are models out there capable of carrying more, also it is not a comprehensive list, merely popular kayaks and the uses they are purchased for, hopefully it will help you get looking at the right kind of sit on tops for you.
Weight wise there isn’t always a lot in it between brands. All those above are reputable Brands and market leaders, there are some out there that come in with cheaper prices but the names are not well known and the quality is not as high as those listed above. You can find out more info about Sit On Tops Kayaks at http://www.hbcanoekayak.co.uk/108-sit-on-tops. If you wish to discuss anything in this article, please visit the leisure section of Haba Forum.