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Thread: Sit on tops

  1. #1

    Default Sit on tops

    I'm in the market for a kayak and will be trying out some in hawaii in the next three weeks. most seem to be sit on top styles. how are these for alaskan waters? i would be using them on lakes and in the ocean. obviously i would have to dress for extra spray but what else?

  2. #2

    Default sit on top

    These types of hardshell kayaks do not get blown around by the wind as much as an inflatable kayak. If you do not want to try an Eskimo roll those types of kayaks are probably your best bet for lakes and ocean as long as the surf isn't to dangerous. If your planning long trips you might not be able to predict weather conditions as accurately, in this case i believe a good roll is a must, if you overturn in bad water the sit ons could be more risky than a roll able boat.
    It is a good idea to at least make sure you can right an overturned boat, and re enter it in less than favorable conditions, or stay close to home.
    And yes they are popular in Hawaii.
    PS there are roll clinics all over the state, done in swimming pools and some of the instructors are great people. Its rather easy to learn and can add to the safety of boating/ no swimming.
    Have fun be safe MO

  3. #3
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default SOT's

    Sit on tops are the rage in the warm climates right now.
    I will also be Hawaii in a week or so, and will be using a SOT to fish from and also to snorkle and spear from..
    In Alaska they are not yet as popular.
    Let us know what you think when you get back.
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years.

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Clearwater, FL


    Like Alaskacanoe said: Almost everyone down here in Florida is going with the sit-on-top models, particularly if they're interested in fishing. Stability is a big reason why. Comfort is another reason why. They're making these boats a lot more comfortable than they used to.

    I use the "Native" watercraft for what I do down here. I'm curious how many people are utilizing them up in Alaska. The Native "Ultimate" is a hybrid, crossing features between a canoe and a kayak. You're not enclosed like you are in a sit-in-kayak but you're recessed down a little bit instead of sitting up higher like the SOT kayaks. I kind of scratch my head when I hear people describe it as a SIK. To me it's more SOT because you're not enclosed but I guess it doesn't matter that much.

    If I was going for speed, as in a non-fishing touring type trip, I'd probably get one of those long slender SIK's. But for the open water/ ocean trip I'd go with the SOT or the Ultimate 14.5 with spray skirts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    The primary down side I see to SOT kayaks in AK is dressing to stay warm. I know that when using a inflatable kayak I have this same issue. For me that means wearing a drysuit with fleece pants & jacket inside. Your legs are constantly getting wet with cold water you can get hypothermia even on nice days around here.

    Wearing an open cell neoprene wetsuit would not be a good idea though. They will retain water, and you will be constantly chilled by the evaporative cooling. Drysuits could be used, but with a good waterproof layer over the top. Another idea that I have used successfully is to cut the feet off of an old pair of neoprene chest waders. Waders use closed cell neoprene that does not retain water, and they act as a good insulator when wet. That and a dry top could make a SOT a nice ride. But a drysuit is best.

  6. #6

    Default Halibut fishing from SOTs

    I don't know if I was relieved or sad when the guide canceled out the day of halibut fishing from SOT kayaks last summer. I was a bit scared. But wanted to do it too.

    The guide spends his winter months doing the same for marlin in the Sea of Cortez. Nice gig, eh?

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    I have an Ocean Kayak, Malibu SOT built for two. I bought this with two ideas in my head, maybe three. 1st off my knees are shot and getting in and out of a SIT was near impossible for me. 2nd was fishing and unparticular was a spot on the Naknek River (where I grew up and was until July 07. In the spring there is a possible slightly under water reef that fishes well and water levels are difficult for an out board. I wanted an SOT to be able to get on and off the vessel without land available. 3rd was stability.

    Now the Malibu is a barge and I guess as stable as one gets but it is still tippy until you get your kayak comfort seat. (Your balance).

    I have it at the lodge and have let friends (not clients) use it for trips down river then I go retrieve them with the big boat. A great way to see the wilds of Alaska even in rural areas.

    Google SOT KAYAK FORUMs there are tons and all through the US. California has some great info for fishing off shore and some are equipping for pulling lobster pots and big game fishing.

    Like Jim shared, cutting the feet out of waders makes for a great low cost weather suit. Although I like cutting the feet out of old breathable waders as you can cool down a little better in the warmer weather.

    Hope this helps a little,


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sierra foothills


    Quote Originally Posted by buhorojo View Post
    I'm in the market for a kayak and will be trying out some in hawaii in the next three weeks. most seem to be sit on top styles. how are these for alaskan waters? i would be using them on lakes and in the ocean. obviously i would have to dress for extra spray but what else?
    I've got an Ocean Kakak Prowler 15 SOT stashed on Kodiak. I find it works very well as a fishing platform, and if/when I decide to do some diving, it will work well for that as well. As mentioned above, you are going to be needing to pay a lot more attention to staying warm than you'd be in the tropics. That said, there are tons of folks fishing/diving year round in NorCal, OR, WA from SOTs, and managing to cope with water/air temperatures that are similar to those found in summertime AK.

    I personally use a drysuit, but others are using neoprene wetsuits under waterproof-breathable waders along with a paddling jacket.

    Check out the forums on the below sites to get a good handle on fishing kayak outfitting, gear, technique etc...:



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