Sit on Top Kayaks - Surk Hybrid
Fishing and Diving Favourites
Sit on top kayaks, or open deck kayaks as they are also known, are a bit like souped up surf boards. They’ve got the hull of a kayak but you sit right on top and there’s no need for a spray skirt. Just like sit in kayaks they come in numerous designs and there’s no one design that suits all purposes so it’s important to think about the type of kayaking you wish to do before you buy your own boat.
There are several advantages of sit on top kayaks over sit in kayaks. First of all there’s no need to learn how to roll. If you capsize you fall off and you simply flip the kayak back upright and slide back on. In deep water a sit on top kayak it much easier to right and to re-enter than a sit in kayak.
Secondly, if a wave washes over your kayak the cockpit floods momentarily and then the self bailing scupper holes simply drain the water away. Sit on tops are also easier to get in and out of, this is a real bonus if you like to combine your paddling with some exploring on land.
Sit on top kayaks are a little less stable than sit in kayaks however, because you are sitting on top of the hull rather than in it. To compensate for this sit on top kayaks tend to be wider than sit in kayaks, though of course this also depends on the manufacturer. Ocean Kayaks for example make narrower sit on tops with a very low seating position while Cobra makes kayaks with a high sitting point and wider beam.
Choosing a sit on top kayak
Choosing the right sit on top for you depends on the type of paddling you plan to do and your own personal preferences. The length, width and curvature of a kayak can greatly affect its performance so it’s important top buy a sit on top kayak that’s designed for the type of paddling you plan to do.
If you’re planning to paddle small rives you’ll need a shorter kayak that manoeuvres well, on open water you’ll value speed and tracking more and may want to go for a longer, narrower kayak. Long narrow kayaks are fast but tippy while short fat ones are stable and better at manoeuvring but they don’t cover distance well.
Sit on top kayaks have a seat and foot well molded into the plastic as well as storage hatches and wells. This is one reason why anglers and divers favour sit on rather than sit in kayaks. If you’re fishing or diving you need a stable hull, preferably one you can stand up in to cast and one which doesn’t flip when you try to haul in a fish, get to your bait box or move around with your scuba gear.
If you’re planning to paddle alone you’ll obviously need a solo kayak but if you think your family might like to come along then it may be better to look for a tandem kayak. Either way expect to pay between about $400 and $1500 for a sit on kayak.