Sit on top kayaks are similar in shape to traditional models but rather than sitting inside the vessel, you actually sit in a depression located on top of it. While there are some made from fiberglass, most are made with a durable, inexpensive roto-molded plastic. Not only are they less expensive than other types of kayaks, many people find them a lot easier to operate. They’re comfortable, especially for tall people who struggle with leg room, practical for touring, fishing, etc., and you never risk being trapped inside and underwater if you tip.
As mentioned, sit on top kayaks are surprisingly comfortable, especially for someone with larger legs or who doesn’t like to feel enclosed in anyway. When paddling a traditional rigid or inflatable kayak you have to be flexible enough to slide into the cockpit, not such an easy task for some people. Not to mention, getting out can be harder than getting in. Sit on top kayaks are easy to enter and exit, especially if you are in the water. You never feel trapped or cramped.
Many beginners feel a lot safer in a sit on top kayak until they get a feel for how to maneuver in the water. Parents often find these a safer option for children because they don’t have to be concerned with them tipping, becoming submerged and running into any rocks. Of course, traditional kayaks are completely safe for children as long as they understand how to Eskimo roll themselves out of the water.
You may be surprised to learn that sit on top kayaks offer a substantial amount of stability in the water because they are created with wider hulls to accommodate the increased center of gravity. Sit on top kayaks are great for beginners to help boost confidence in the water when learning how to paddle. Also, if you fish from your kayak, you will find these models are a lot more stable if you need to stand up and shift your balance too quickly.
The only downfall in this department is that although you gain stability, you do lose some control because there is no cockpit. Therefore, they are not necessarily a preferred option for tours.
These types of kayaks are typically much less expensive than their similar counterparts so if you’re looking to use them only a few times a year or for family vacations, sit on top kayaks may be the way to go. Not to mention, since they are cheaper, you can use them while you learn your way around the water like a stepping stone until you feel comfortable to purchase a sit in style.
White Water Kayaking
Learning how to maneuver in rapids can be challenging. If you want to have some fun kayak surfing while learning a trail, sit on top kayaks allow you to bail when waters get rough rather than capsizing and swamping your cockpit.
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