I have had the same question
Posted by: bartc on Jun-20-12 9:47 AM (EST)
Since I do own an Emotion Glide and live on SF Bay. It's very fine for flatwater and smaller wave situations in the sloughs, but I don't know about the open Bay, much less the open ocean. I am going to test the Bay carefully this summer.
First, in defense of the Glide, all you need is a second air bag for the front (just buy the same one they supply for the back for $25) to get the flotation you need and to keep the hull from filling totally with water. Also, a good spray skirt will help keep you from filling. And eventually you'll need a good pump to get water out if those don't work with ANY boat. These are the same requirements you'd have for almost any other boat without hull chambers, including the Aleut and Inuit designs of skin on frame boats.
When I took lessons in Princeton Harbor (Half Moon Bay) I met skilled kayak surfers using all kinds of short WW and rec and small ocean kayaks, so it's possible. But they were highly skilled and not touring at all.
NO boat is worth a crap to you if you can't rescue yourself. And swimming 30 yards in cold ocean water and surf is a really dangerous idea. Those lessons will tell you what type of boat you do need for your conditions, and don't count on ideal conditions.
Once I took an ocean lesson in more protected water with a 14' smaller sit inside and learned self-rescue, I started to get my doubts about taking my Glide out on open seawater of any kind. The longer boats are made for the sea's vicissitudes, not just for speed.
The truly best bet is to first invest in at least one lesson on the water you plan to paddle in SB with a good instructor. That's a better bet than what you think you'll save on a boat without firsthand info.
This is advice I wish I'd heeded when I bought my boat. Though I love my Glide for what it's designed for, I ended up hungering for a "true" sea kayak for the real ocean. And everybody tells you this same advice for a reason.