Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

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tg
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by tg » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:34 pm

tg wrote:
They seem to be inherently safer; just climb back on.

JohnAllen wrote;
Quite the opposite, since if it's rough you wouldn't have fallen out in the first place - assuming you can roll.
It's quite an assumption that you'll NEVER have to re-enter a kayak!

Tim
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Jersey Kayak » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:08 pm

A huge number of the people I meet would not have started sea kayaking had it been with a closed cockpit sea kayak. Many to tell stories of bad experiences when first introduced to capsizing and wet exits. It is easy to forget how worrying this can be to many potential sea kayakers.

As others note there is a huge range of craft and handling characteristics. A lot depends on what people plan to do and ensuring they get good advice/training. I know quite a few closed cockpit kayakers who also have a sit-on-top and switch between craft depending on what they are plan to do.

For many the sit-on-top meets their needs. They may only want to paddle a few miles exploring the coastline or spending an hour or two afloat.

From a paddle sport perspective the exciting thing is the range of people getting out on sit-on-tops. Many might never have previously considered sea kayaking. The range of people getting into sit-on-top kayaking continues to be far more diverse than I'd expected. This brings some new challenges in terms of the age,gender, size and physical fitness of some paddlers. One of my favourites was our seniors sit-on-top intro course -average age of 70yrs.

Skills tend to transfer pretty well between craft though some of the wider or shorter sit-on-tops are not going to assist good forward paddling technique and the stability of some designs can make the need to develop good connectivity and skills seem less important- that is until they hit a tricky bit of water. That could be said for some closed cockpit designs as well.

The choice of shorter sit-on-tops is influenced by ease of transport and storage considerations as many (but not all) are lighter than some of the longer sit-on-tops. As in all areas of paddle sport it is sad when you see people paddling craft that are not suited to their requirements and have been bought as a result of a lack of knowledge or because it is the one everyone else was buying. Quite a few buy so all the family can get afloat at some stage. I suspect that as people start paddling composite lay ups we will start seeing more “long” sit-on-tops about. There is already a few Epic kayaks being paddled on island.

You can certainly paddle sit-on-tops in “interesting conditions”. The key thing is for any paddler to get a good grounding in paddle skills and opportunity to gain experience/confidence to know their limits.

The huge growth of the sit-on-tops also means a bigger market for manufacturers producing gear/equipment. I see more and more sit-on-top paddlers using quality paddles, dry suits etc which is certainly supporting retailers and manufacturers and is helping to create a wide range of choice.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by mduncombe » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:07 pm

Heres my story

I come from a outdoor background, walking,climbing, skiing and mountain biking and recently decided I needed something new. Having walked a great deal of the south west coast path I knew there was a huge amount of stunning scenery out there for the taking. I have long looked at sea kayaks and thought it looked fun but for years was put off by the though of rolling and wet exits, I have always preferred the water in my sports of the frozen variety. I can think of nothing more unpleasant than my head being upside down in the cold sea, yuk! My mum used to have a pair of 16ft kayaks when I was a kid and I remember her spending hours in the pool practising her roll, so rightly or wrongly I have always thought there would be much pain to get through before the fun starts with sea kayaking, not for me then.

I had begun to notice sit on tops more and more and like many had thought they were just toys for playing around on the beach and not worthy of serious coastal trips. But more and more I was seeing sit on tops that looked more and more like a regular sea kayak, so began to wonder if this might be my way in. Initially I was concerned that such craft would not be sea worthy and I began to read conflicting opinions on various forums and web sites but eventually I was pretty convinced that certain sot on tops would be up to the job. I went on a couple of guided tours and this seemed to confirm things, they were up to the job so went about researching what to buy.

I had a number of criteria

Easy to transport
Easy to store
easy to learn
Sea worthy as in capable of coastal touring
Suitable for use on the sea, Scottish Lochs and English Lakes
Room for the dogs to come too :-)
Enough storage for an overnight camp (I am already a wild camper and can easily get my camping gear into a 40L , 11Kg rucksack)
A dryish ride as I want to use it year round where possible

but most importantly as I was making a considerable investment in the boat, clothing and safety equipment I want a craft that provided the least number of obstructions to getting out on the water and having fun as I didn't want it sitting in the shed gathering dust. Having to learn to roll from my point of view was a major disincentive to getting out on the water, upside down in the water yuk! Interestingly some the requirements in the list above are exactly the things cited as sit on tops not being able to do but actually some of them can.

The only boat that met my needs was a sit on top and in particular the Feelfree Moken 12 which I am very happy with. I expect as experience increases I may want to do more and may well look again at a sea kayak but for now I am having a blast in , sorry, on my sit on top.

Just as an aside, while initially looking at kayaks I had seen the Helen Wilson DVD "Simplifying the Roll" in a kayak shop, the cover of this DVD was a big turn off, it made me think that a roll was an art form, something for an elite paddler, heck I am not even sure my body is that flexible, I think the black intimidating looking clothing didn't help either, not for me thanks! Of course I probably could learn to roll but at the time I was looking to get into paddling it was certainly a big turn off.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by tarponben » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:38 pm

Interesting thread, I have a Tarpon 140 fishing kayak and Kaskazi Dorado. My Tarpon is my main fishing boat which I use when off fishing not far offshore/rivers and taking lots gear for different species and am spending a long time at anchor - its big, comfy, holds a lot of kit and fairly high initial stability and not bad on secondry compared to other SOT's. My Dorado gets used for going further offshore and is the nearest fishing SOT I could find to a sea kayak that sit well at anchor having said that I have done a week long trip on my Tarpon prior to owning my Kaskazi. I normally go on a kayak fishing website and there a lot of the lads start with SOT's and then move on to sea kayaks just for the paddling performance. I have considered a sit in sea kayak as well but living where I do live (Wolverhampton), I wouldn't get the use from it which is why I went for a kaskazi as kayak fishing is my first love paddling second, so I know get the best of both worlds. I have paddled the RTM Disco but every time I tried to edge it, I ended up swimming but I was informed once your used to them they handle the rough stuff exceptionally well. My kaskazi is the same it excels when its lumpy! Great forum and great thread. Ben

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by pete5508 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:48 am

I also think this is a very interesting thread that also puts to bed a lot of myths about SOTs, yes i have a SOT i use it for fishing and for that i dont think it can be beaten its comfortable relatively stable great initial stability and not bad secondary, as for sea going capabilities its only restriction is the paddler, i have been out in all kinds of conditions,normally if its too rough to anchor up ill go for a paddle, granted ill probably be working harder than a sink and not going as fast but hey im moving along steadily and having fun i think fun is the operative word here we all go out to have fun so whether your in a sink or on a sot it matters not as long as your having fun. I have to admit that i was a little apprehensive at first to mention i had a sot on this forum, due to some of the sink elitist that frowned upon them however i have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of any elitist snobbery and just constructive pros and cons on this thread. Have to admit im looking for a sink sea kayak at the moment to take on some longer sea touring trips, i guess like most things its about having the right tool for the job.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Ceegee » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:52 pm

mduncombe wrote:I had seen the Helen Wilson DVD "Simplifying the Roll" in a kayak shop, the cover of this DVD was a big turn off, it made me think that a roll was an art form, something for an elite paddler, ...it was certainly a big turn off.
Hi M,

You musn't confuse "sport rolling" with sea kayaking. It is a very specific sub-genre. In fact, most of the boats used are not really suitable for any kind of touring or extended paddling - awaiting Sgian Dubh's put-down here ;-)

IMO it grew out of interest from the original heritage of the sport (Grenlandic), the boat design philosophy (SOF and GP's) and it is just plain fun if you like that kind of thing. You might as well compare cross channel swimmers to synchronized swimming. Some people take the black "fetish" look to extremes I admit, but it's not compulsory mind!

Steve
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Chris McDaid » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:02 pm

Being a newcomer to paddling (started Feb 2010) when I bought a Tarpon 140, I have to say its a perfectly acceptable boat to explore offshore, having visited most of the islands off the Mayo coast and used it around Iona and Erraid (Mull) in the Inner Hebrides. I've found it a great introduction to sea paddling, so much so that I'm now looking to further my horizons and will be soon purchasing a Tempest 170. SOT's are a great way to get into kayaking, provided you know yours and the boats limits.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by tg » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:09 am

Ceegee,
You musn't confuse "sport rolling" with sea kayaking. It is a very specific sub-genre. In fact, most of the boats used are not really suitable for any kind of touring or extended paddling - awaiting Sgian Dubh's put-down here ;-)
Why wait .....? :0)

Tim
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Skua » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:27 am

Interesting that the Skua AR(X) has been mentioned...thank you Snapper for mentioning them. It is EXACTLY the same kayak as our standard, sit inside, Skua...the AR stands for Adventure Race and the X for extras...in the early days venturi drains were Xtra! Now they are standard. We were approached by adventure racers to produce the Skua without the closed cockpit. If you have a sea kayak with a cockpit you have to wear a spray deck, in the rules - but if it is an open cockpit you don't. The time saved on checkpoints to get your card punched by not having to take off and put on a spray deck is considerable - probably 30 seconds per checkpoint all told and if there are 25 checkpoitnts, that is over 10 minutes in the race saved. The hull and dynamics of the open or closed cockpit boats are the same, with the centre of action and centre of buoyancy almost over each other, which is why they handle so well.

We have taken the concept a stage further and put an enclised cockpit, weather deck (the AR deck) on the fishing and touring Marlin - creating a very verstaile kayak that is a sit-on-top when you want it to nbe, with its open cocpkit for easy of entry and exit (snorkelling off the kayak?) or having the benefit of the covered deck, with the option to fit the spray deck to complletely weather and wave proof the occupant. The difference is that they are still in the same kayak that they have confidence in. There is the key, the number of people who have stated horrible experiences years ago as the reason they don't even like the prospect of kayaking, i meet dozens of them. With the open cockpit you can instill confidence within seconds of them parking their backside. Then you can introduce the deck once they are confident and capable. The best of both worlds - and more stowage than most kayaks. All we have done is taken one of our sea kayak hulls and open decked it. Some pictures ot show you how it works:
When is a sit-on-top not a sit-on-top?
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Skua » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 am

And a quick video link to show you how the Marlin handles just like a sea kayak...because it is a sea kayak, with the top off!

http://kaskazi.usersboard.com/kaskazi-v ... s-t100.htm

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by mduncombe » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:24 pm

Skua wrote:And a quick video link to show you how the Marlin handles just like a sea kayak...because it is a sea kayak, with the top off!

http://kaskazi.usersboard.com/kaskazi-v ... s-t100.htm
Hmmm, very interesting, will have to check this out.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by EK Sydney » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:53 am

Who says you can't roll them…..

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Selkie » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:13 pm

Interesting thread.

I made my own composite SOT many years ago before you could buy the plastic ones that are so popular today. I say SOT, but it has a deep self draining pod that you sit in more like a sea kayak without a cockpit. This gives it stability without the need for a wider, slower hull. With a lap strap made from a divers quick release weight belt across the thighs it is possible to use all conventional boat and paddle skills including rolling. At 17' 6" she is as fast as any sea kayak. I originally designed her so that I could free dive /spear fish in areas that were unreachable by swimming or long journeys by boat. As it turned out so good to paddle, I ended up regularly paddling long daily trips exploring the stunning SW coast. Although I now also paddle conventional sea kayaks, I still resort to my SOT for paddle and dive trips and feel safer paddling this kayak solo.

So what are the advantages of a SOT? As I become more confident in sit in kayaks there is not much to choose between them except what I am intending to do. The SOT is IMHO a more versatile craft as a tool to do a job (fishing, diving) as well as simply enjoying a paddle. With good breathable dry suits, they have no real disadvantage in principle. Having said that, most SOTs are not like mine :)) They tend to be considerably slower over a distance and many give up their claimed stability by sitting the paddler above the water. Just this weekend I paddled out for a play in the Old Harry Race off Poole with my son. It was a spring tide with some nice standing waves. As we came back in, I witnessed 3 SOT fishermen fall off their kayaks within 30 min of each other. This was on the edge of the race in slightly confused, but relatively flat water. I went to have a chat. 2 Prowler 13s and a Tekport They were all relatively inexperienced and had over estimated the stability of their craft, but at least they were well equipped and dressed for immersion.

I do think that excellent Kayak Fishing Forums such as Anglers Afloat have done a great deal to educate at a time when BCU and traditional channels seemed disinterested and dare I say looked down on SOTs. Years ago, this lead to me often paddling on my own and finding my own way as I did not fit in with the way others did things. Times have changed now of course and I am quite proud of my craft that always raises interest from both schools of thought. There does seem to be an increasing number SOT paddlers moving into conventional kayaks, but keeping the advantage of having both options.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Chris Bolton » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:55 am

Selkie, that's interesting. I was thinking that the defining feature of a SOT is that you have to sit higher than the water, in order to have a self draining seat area - hence, SOTs end up wider for the same stability. But you say yours is self draining, and also imply (by criticism of other designs where the seat is above water) that your seat is below water level. Does it self drain using the forward motion and a venturi, like dinghy self bailers?

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Selkie » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:10 pm

Chris Bolton wrote:Selkie, that's interesting. I was thinking that the defining feature of a SOT is that you have to sit higher than the water, in order to have a self draining seat area - hence, SOTs end up wider for the same stability. But you say yours is self draining, and also imply (by criticism of other designs where the seat is above water) that your seat is below water level. Does it self drain using the forward motion and a venturi, like dinghy self bailers?

Chris
Yes Chris...the seat pod sits you in pretty much the same position as a sit in kayak. The pod is a good fit to the paddler and therefore displaces most water that comes over the side in rougher conditions. In front of the feet I moulded a raised area that sheds water coming over the bow. I used this kayak for many years without fitting a venturi. I even paddled over to the Scilly's. Several years later, Cobra Kayaks were introduced into the UK. As a long standing (sitting) SOT paddler, I was asked to test them and right some reviews. I was then sponsored with an 18' Cobra Expedition (that I still have). The Expedition was fitted with Venturi self bailer. I then fitted a better version to my own design that drains quickly whilst in forward motion. When paddling in relatively calm conditions the pod stays drier than say a Scupper Pro even without the bailer. A trick I learnt from Ocean Ski racers was to fit a tennis ball on the level of the bailer so that you can use your foot to open and close it without interrupting your paddle stoke.

It is a shame that the Cobra Expedition did not catch on in the UK. It is still the fastest production RM SOT kayak out there and surprisingly stable. I guess it was ahead of its time before people were prepared to pay that much for a SOT and handle a kayak that long.
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Selkie » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:57 am

Also thought I should add....

The cockpit is the weakest area of kayak. The moulded seat pod creates a much stronger kayak than an open cockpit rim.
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by johnb » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:47 am

I've thought this beastie looks interesting:
http://www.childsplaysurf.co.uk/test-vi ... duct_id=54
Hopefully that link works to the Knysna marlin "sea kayak".
I've often wondered if this format gives a safer solo option, but not sure if I'm keen on a lap belt.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by dpround » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:10 pm

I think sinks (closed cockpit) are just as safe solo as SOT once the paddler has mastered a re-entry and roll in adverse conditions and sorted a pump that works in adverse conditions. In fact sinks may be safer as you are less likely to be overwhelmed by the conditions or be separated from the boat. For the beginner solo on the other hand a SOT that you can climb back on is orders of magnitude safer than a sink where you will need rescue. I could climb back on the SOT the day I got it, but it has taken more than a year for my roll to be sure enough that I would have a decent chance of doing a re-entry and roll in rough water.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by johnb » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:18 pm

That's two big issues - re-entry and roll is not the easiest of skills, and the best pump arrangement is most likely electric, which means more faff, weight, expense and something else to go wrong. Not sure about the separation issue - a leash should be used for the SOT, whereas not many sea kayakers leash themselves to the boat, and once you are swimming you are vulnerable to separation. I'm still a "sink" snob, but the sea kayak shaped SOTs look as though they have a lot going for them. I might want some form of knee tree/thigh braces to improve the paddler/boat integration to improve rough water handling.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Selkie » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:39 pm

Having paddled my red baby above for over 28 years mostly solo and in bigger seas than I have attempted with my sea kayak I have never had a problem. I have occasionally chosen to exit the kayak when caught out trying to land in big dumping surf but have hardly ever been thrown out or capsized by surprise. since getting into sit in sea kayaks I have sought quality instruction as despite my years of self taught experience, I did not feel so confident being inside a kayak. Having taken courses I made note of how many exercises were not needed or much easier to perform in with the SOT. I think the availability of good dry suits have also removed most of the disadvantages of SOTs that are built more along a sea kayak design. Having said this, I am really enjoying learning to sea kayak the conventional way and paddle my sea kayak more at the moment. I have undoubtedly improved my skill level in all aspects of paddling since taking up sea kayaking. We have some excellent teachers in the UK.
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by maryinoxford » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:05 pm

Can someone link to a website explaining how a venturi bailer works? I'm having a problem visualising a self-bailer where you don't have to sit above the waterline.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:10 pm

I think they're the type you have in rowing boats - wildly speculating here but I think they require the boat to be moving, creating a vacuum that then allows water to be sucked from inside the boat.

See Garry Hartshorn's posts here:
http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/techn ... ctors.html
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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Selkie » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:26 pm

Here is a side photo of the old self bailer in my Cobra Expedition SOT. This is in the closed position. The black lever with the ring is pushed down at various degrees to lower a chamber beneath the hull a bit like a very small skeg with a drain hole. This then drains as you paddle forward. This has no one-way valve, so if you stop, you need to close the bailer. The better model I now use (sorry no photo yet) has a longer lever that has enabled me to fit a tennis ball so that I can open and close with my foot. The bailer is fitted into a sump moulding at the lowest part of the pod just in front of the feet. This enables it to drain completely. They are not perfect, but they do drain the water fairly quickly whist you concentrate on paddling. They rely on a gasket flange to seal the fitting. I have just replaced mine after 12 years use, so they last quite well.

Actually...I guess you could fit one in a sit in kayak, but I guess most would feel uneasy about cutting a hole in the hull :))

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Mike Summersong » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:36 pm

Just came across this old thread and thought it really needs bringing up to date.
There's now a range of inexpensive rotomoulded sit on tops that have their design based partly on SurfSkis and partly on traditional sit on tops.
Nelo and Epic both have rotomoulded fast yet stable sit on tops that are very capable sea boats.
In particular the Epic V5 and V7 are incredibly capable and suitable for kayaker with limited experience.
We did a 3 day course in With Jersey Kayak Adventures on V5s and V7s and enjoyed the boats so much we bought a V7.
Since then I've toured extensively along the Dorset coastline and enjoyed catching waves along the way ( surfski style ).


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It's been really versatile and well worth considering if you're in the market for a new sea going boat.

Mike

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by mcgruff » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:09 pm

And there's also the V6 with a front hatch creating 170l storage capacity in a fast hull to compete with sit-inside touring sea kayaks.

My own SINK v SOT theory is that Greenland's kayak builders arrived at sit-inside designs because of limitations of materials and clothing and of course the challenges of the Arctic environment. Being fully-exposed to freezing seas in an open cockpit with only sealskin clothing seems like a poor choice compared to being sealed in to the boat with a watertight tuliq. They didn't have self-bailers to empty water out of an open cockpit. Creating the moulded shapes of SOT cockpits would have been a challenge - and anything less sculpted would create spaces to take even more water onboard which they couldn't bail out easily.

But with modern materials and milder UK waters I'm not sure what the argument is for SINK v SOT. With modern clothing keeping warm shouldn't be a problem. Easier launching & landing is a big plus for a SOT design. The ergonomics are good for an efficient paddling style: knees together leg-drive and unrestricted rotation.

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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by EK Sydney » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:32 am


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Re: Why don't we ALL paddle S.O.Ts .. ?

Post by Beryl » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:10 pm

I’m fresh to kayaking and by a happy accident found myself with two within a month of starting properly this year. SOT is a 13’ Perception Freedom; SINK is a ‘stitch an glue’ Bill Thomas Willow. I enjoy the latter most as it’s more demanding and therefore holds my interest more. But it’s a relief at times to get on the former and not fear a capsize. I’ve plenty of skills to learn without devoting rather a lot of time to complicated rescue techniques when, by many accounts, there is no need. I’ll keep both formats I think as I enjoy both plus a little fishing.

This guy does thousands of miles at sea, mostly solo, he rates highly both the Disco and Cobra Expedition mentioned previously.

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