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  SINK vs. SOT
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 9:20 AM (EST)
   Category: Kayaks 

I'm familiar with the anatomical differences. My question is more philosophical. Given the user-friendliness of SOTs, why choose a SINK over an SOT?

Here's why I'm asking: I'm going to be introducing a friend to kayaking soon and have two SINKs which come with a steeper learning curve (having to learn a wet exit, the challenge of emptying and reentering your boat, etc.). In this day in age, why do SINKs even exist?

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Messages in this Topic


  For me
  Posted by: gibsonra on Jun-22-08 9:29 AM (EST)
Sun protection, cold protection and paddling in the rain. Also, SOTs tend to be wider because your weight is further above the water line. Wider means slower.
  Why do Sports Cars exist?
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 9:41 AM (EST)
Cause some people want performance over boredom and safety.
  Poor Analogy
  Posted by: seadart on Jun-22-08 1:42 PM (EST)

The sports cars of the kayaking world are open top boats.

For fast paddling on rough water Surfskis out perform any kayak.

For surfing Waveskis outperform any kayak.

When you think SOT and you think of a plastic tub, it just means you have no experience .
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-23-08 12:54 PM (EST)

While these are SOTs, they aren't the kinds of boats the OP was talking about.

The kinds ot SOTs the OP was concidering are wider and slower than many SINKs.
  cold protection & paddling in the rain
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 9:51 AM (EST)
  Hauling all my camping gear
  Posted by: toesnorth on Jun-22-08 10:44 AM (EST)
comes to mind. I like both and I usually put guests on the SOTs.
  good point
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 1:14 PM (EST)
I guess I was thinking about for a beginner (who wouldn't be going on a trip)
  Easier to paddle, handle rought water
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 11:06 AM (EST)
better. I go faster and further per stroke than I ever did on a SOT.
  Posted by: ScupperFrank on Jun-22-08 11:30 AM (EST)
We went to SINKs because they're usually more efficient and therefore easier to paddle and/or faster. The longer the distance, the more the payoff in terms of not wearing out the paddler at paddle's end. And in mixed groups, it's the ability to keep up with paddlers in more efficient boats that recommends the SINKs.

The exceptions are the skis and similarly narrow, long, SOTs. These, however, most often have even steeper learning curves than equivalently skinny SINKs, and while they combine the speed and efficiency of design and energy-saving virtues of SINKs, and the ease of entry/dismount of SOTs, they present unsurmountable balance requirements for some, and unsurmountable size requirements for others. To wit, our 17' X 21" Knysna Isthmus "racing SOT", which, while it doesn't even qualify as a ski, presents many of the same challenges to even experienced SINKers to ride.

We know of one former owner who like us was attracted to them because they were light, fast SOTs (we both came over from SOTs) but who, also like us, gave up on them as an everyday ride (despite adequate below-decks stowage like most SINKs and SOTs have) because they were so eternally twitchy, and presented a virtually constant fear of falling. That owner, unlike us, sold the boat. Another two SINKers tried it, and had problems riding it, despite their unquestionable skills in SINKs; one of them eventually became comfortable enough to, despite tipping off, clamber back on and keepmtrying, while the other just noted how tough it was, tho eventually went with a ski, which I believe proved to be more tractable.

So that leaves two other groups who are attracted to SOTs: yakanglers and raw newbies.

First, SOTs are an ideal fishing platform, especially inshore, most especially down here in South Florida where shallow fish-laden flats can extend for miles, and often preclude even flats boats designe for "skinny water" from entry. The extremely shallow draft of kayaks allows them entry to many areas, and these are mostly silent (or mostly so, depending on the paddling skill of the yakangler) to boot, a great edge to going after numerous inshore and back country species. Kayaks oriented towards angles tend to be in the 30" beam range, which allows a lot of deck to mount depth/fishfinders, GPS units, rod holders, coolers, and gear baskets while still providing a good casting platform. Indeed, there are even fly-fishing practitioners who can stand and sight-cast in some SOTs. Finally, while not exactly light, and in some cases downright heavy by some standards, these are tough, plastic boats that can take quite a bit of punishment, and can stand up to years of abuse.

Second are the newbies. Ah, yes, our friends the newcomers to paddling... Most SOTs, because of their beams and hull configurations, are very stable boats. This makes for a very stable -and therefore attractive to many -paddling platform. It's just plain easy to get in most contemporary SOTs and just paddle off, happy as can be to be propelling yourself along. And because most are also relatively short, in the 10-12-and-maaaaybe 14-foot-long range, most can be relatively easily intuitively turned. So you've got a boat that's EZ-to ride, EZ-to-stay upright in, EZ-to-paddle, and EZ-to-turn, voila!

Perhaps best of all, they're (relatively) cheap, and you can get them at Sports Authority, Dick's, Gander, and other big boxes, or at Costco & Sam's, plus on/over the net, even sometimes at a Wal-Mart, and sometimes, used, in your own area.

And, for many, that's it and that's all they want. Give'em a halfway-decent paddle, a PFD, a seat, and a squeeze bottle of sunscreen, and they're off to an enjoyable 1/2-hour to hour-or-so paddle at the beach on a nice late spring, summer, or early fall day. They don't or won't WANT to be bothered with cold-weather and/or cold-water paddling, they DON'T want to "go to school" to learn the more demanding facets of SINKing, and they're not "paddlers", per se... They're paddling, like they're riding a bike, just for a little fun.

Some will graduate to better SOTs, more efficient designs like some of the old OKs or WSs or Heritage or Hop-On-Tops, or some of the newer French, Aussie, or South African designs, many of which approach standard SINK designs in performance, and are accompanied by SINK-like prices as well.

And some will move to SINKs like us.

And some will have both, also like us -I still use my OK Scupper Pro TW for fishing, and we provide them as a loaner for friends (those newbies we discussed above).

And yes, we still have that skinny, twitchy Isthmus because it's a lot of fun to ride when you 'get it' -and last time out, while our newbie friends were on our SOTs, we took my Valley Aquanaut and the Isthmus (for Sally), and had a ball, enjoying our friends new experiences on the water. Indeed -even I! -took the Isthmus for a spin up & down the beach, and for only the 2nd time in memory, managed a 'no-swim' trip.

So, as I hope you can see, there's MANY reasons why there are both SOTs and SINKs, and other types as well, out there for us, all of us, to use and


-Frank in Miami
  lots of reasons I suppose
  Posted by: paddlemore on Jun-22-08 11:34 AM (EST)
the biggest ones would be personal preference and paddling style.

There is a wide range of sit on top kayaks, so are you talking about something along the lines of 'recreational', surf ski, wave ski, or ...?

Personally, I found learning how to wet exit without a spray pretty easy - I just fell out. Then with a nylon spray skirt I pretty much just fell out too.

One factor often over looked with 'SINKs' is that there are multiple air chambers. This adds a level of safety if the deck or hull gets punctured. If you knock a hole in a sit on top kayak there is not a lot that will prevent the whole kayak from filling with water. In a 'SINK' with bulkheads and hatches, if you knock a hole in the kayak, only one of 3 or 4 chambers will fill with water.

  personal preference :-)
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 1:16 PM (EST)
"What do you MEAN you don't like sweet-and-sour pork?!"
  Posted by: paddletothesea on Jun-22-08 11:57 AM (EST)
The same differences as a convertable car and non convertable. Sometimes its a real bitch driving my mustang convertable in tornados, hailstorms, downpours, and blinding snowstorms.
  it would be a bitch
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 1:30 PM (EST)
paddling anything in a tornado, hailstorm, or blinding snow
  SOT's have a higher center of gravity
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-22-08 2:01 PM (EST)
which usually needs to be overcome with a wide beam.

I actually feel "better" (stable) in a rec boat SINK than a SOT.
  Surf Launch/Landing
  Posted by: Barracuda on Jun-23-08 12:56 PM (EST)
When you wipe out coming back to the beach in heavy surf, its easier/safer to just bail. Its too shallow to roll coming up on the beach
  it's never too shallow to roll
  Posted by: CapeFear on Jun-25-08 11:58 AM (EST)
It has nothing to do with sink/sot, just hopefully a useful suggestion in response to rolling in shallow water. Go find some shallow water where your head or back will be on the bottom and practice rolling up. If you can roll in deep water, you'll likely find it's easy to figure something out. This practice will prove valuable if you spend any time in surf. I'm sure with most whitewater paddlers these skills go without saying. In either case, it can make life easier, more fun, and can potentially give you another added margin of safety.

  in shallow water surf
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Jun-25-08 1:48 PM (EST)
just be sure to wear a helmet if you think you want to roll. When I used to do white water there were more than a few times I was glad I had one on.
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-23-08 1:03 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-23-08 1:05 PM EST --

"Here's why I'm asking: I'm going to be introducing a friend to kayaking soon and have two SINKs which come with a steeper learning curve (having to learn a wet exit, the challenge of emptying and reentering your boat, etc.). In this day in age, why do SINKs even exist?"

Many new paddlers do just fine in SINKs. They aren't that hard to use.

SOTs are quite appropriate for very casual users and for fishing but they tend to be slow, wide, heavy, and a bit harder to manuever. (We aren't talking about specialty SOTs like surfskis.)

  Posted by: old_user on Jun-23-08 1:24 PM (EST)
it depends on the SOT, the Tarpon 160, is the match for most equivalent sinks. yeah something like a QCC-600 or 700 is faster, but when I am tooling around the swamp, or surfing waves I love the tarpon, its NOT a surf boat, but still fun in the surf. as for weather protection, you dress the same no matter WHAT kind of boat you paddle. except i put on more sunscreen in the summer when on the SOT.
  That is a LOT of sunscreen.
  Posted by: String on Jun-23-08 2:28 PM (EST)
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-23-08 3:13 PM (EST)
*L* beats getting a sun burn. I lead a trip this weekend, the "Trip-Loop" just barely had enough water to accommodate us.
  Tarpon 16
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-23-08 4:14 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-23-08 4:34 PM EST --

"it depends on the SOT, the Tarpon 160, is the match for most equivalent sinks"

Compared to most SINKs, 28 inches is very, very wide.

Heritage use to sell a SOT that was close to a typical SINK in shape.

I'm assuming that Bohemia is talking about sea kayaks as SINKs, which are typically 21-23 inches wide.

Unless the the new person has particular fears of the water, there is no reason they have to start out in such a boat. There isn't any reason they can't start out in a typical sea kayak.

Keep in mind that Bohemia already has the SINKs.

"when I am tooling around the swamp, or surfing waves I love the tarpon, its NOT a surf boat, but still fun in the surf."

The Tarpon 16 looks like a fine boat.

  Check out the Ocean Kayak 15'
  Posted by: jimx200 on Jun-23-08 4:27 PM (EST)
kayak, it's actually 15'4" and at 56lbs, pretty manageable.

Prices on these run about $850-$900. (more for angler version) and some of the "big box" stores (and many dealers) give 15-20% discounts. Last year I picked up an Scrambler XT (12') on close out for $370. after a 30% off sale at Sport Chalet. I was recently in the Sportsman Warehouse and they have a $50. off coupon on SOT's, their Scrambler XT Angler was $499. and with the coupon $450...fine deal.
  The SOTs are often wider
  Posted by: jimyaker on Jun-25-08 2:10 AM (EST)
but there are a handful in between the 28" rec boats and the 19" wide surf skis that are not impossible for the first timer or too boring for those with a need for speed.

First day out I tried an OK Sprinter and (barely) kept it upright. At 21" wide, it's a tippy boat for me though. I think another couple of inches would help. Recently started looking at topkayaker web site and found the Cobra Expedition at 18' long and 23" wide. From other recent threads it seems there are a few SOTs that are close to what I am looking for.

I have no problems with the SINKs, but I occasionally have a little trouble getting my big frame in and out of them. Even the Manitou 14 didn't have any spare room for my size 12 shoes.

I also like not having to fiddle around with footpegs that I can't see and bags I put in there somewhere. I also like them on small creeks where getting in/out (on/off) of the boat can be a frequent thing.

  Schlepping stuff
  Posted by: angstrom on Jun-25-08 11:27 AM (EST)
With most SINKs, adding gear makes them more stable. Unless the SOT has significant in-hull storage, adding gear will tend to make it less stable because it's adding weight above the waterline.

  Posted by: seadart on Jun-25-08 11:44 AM (EST)
SOTs for carrying gear have hatches just like sinks.
  Sinks tend to have more storage
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-25-08 12:25 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-25-08 12:26 PM EST --

Sinks tend to have more storage than SOTs.

What specific SOT are you talking about?

  yeah but they are smaller and can't
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Jun-25-08 1:26 PM (EST)
hold as much stuff---I can put 7 days of food, water and all my camping gear in my sink---I've never seen a an sot that could hold so much.
  sink vs sot
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-25-08 2:42 PM (EST)
My malibu xfactor can hold 7 days worth of gear, food and water. IT has tons of storage.

For me it was all about comfort and capacity. In our world, lets face facts, people are getting bigger. Some may not like to hear it,but they are. Not everyone is 160 pounds.

Myself, I am 6'5 400#s and a minor league football player. I had to find something that could handle my weight + several days worth of gear. I figured that would equate to 500 pounds. I also knew that you shouldn't max out the weight cap on your boat. I talked to the local outfitter that I buy all my gear from (The Outdoor Source: - free plug)and they suggested a SOT. I was looking at a tandem sink that i could put a seat in the middle of, but they recommended for me being somewhat new to kayaking, that a SOT would be more comfortable (I have the strength to paddle it for hours with no problem), I wouldn't have to worry about learning to roll, it would be more stable (Easier to get friends to go along. All in all, they felt that a sot would be best. They even said that knowing they didn't have a boat that would fit. I did a ton of research and found the Malibu xfactor online at Cabelas and bought it for $1000 including shipping. It is working great for me. I had to buy scupper plugs to keep me drier, but it is a fun boat, I am having fun, my wife is now into kayaking (we bought her a used boat on craigs list - she didn't need the weight cap issues like me). All in all, it has been a win win for the SOT's.
  Seakayak SINK holds more
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-25-08 2:52 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-25-08 2:59 PM EST --

At 33", it's really wide!

It looks like this has access to the interior of the hull for storage. It still looks like you'd have to lash much of what you are carrying on the back (something I'm not fond of doing).

There is nothing wrong with SOTs.

  well at 6'5" and 400 lbs
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Jun-25-08 9:45 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-25-08 9:46 PM EST --

I'm NOT going to tell you that your SOT is no good. Have fun paddling :)

  Sot's vs Kayaks
  Posted by: JayBabina on Jun-26-08 4:06 PM (EST)
In a kayak, your entire lower body is in a protective chamber which keeps it warmer in cold water / weather but it is also below the water line. Being below the water line allows for more stability than being above the waterline for the same width craft. Being below the water line also allows for certain leaning techniques and bracing to be used more easily. I personally like the feeling of being in a kayak more than sitting on a slab. I always feel quite disconnected from the water on a SOT. A lot of people buy beginner SOT's because they fear entrapment. On the other end it seems that paddlers who want to paddle fast often buy a SOT racer. I don't think SOT's are kayaks. They are slabs that paddlers paddle with a kayak paddle. If a person likes the feeling of sitting above the water, than to each their own. As far as more learning curve with a kayak?? - when a group of us do rescue duty at symposiums, the greater % of who we drag out of the water are SOTs.

  So, I should call my
  Posted by: jimyaker on Jun-26-08 4:33 PM (EST)
Manta Ray a paddling slab? How about a "cheapo plastic, foreign oil consuming, wide arse accepting, paddling slab?"

Fine by me. ;)

"Kayak" seems so old fashioned anyway. "Paddling slabs" are the new fad!

  uses for both
  Posted by: Beanboy on Jun-26-08 5:44 PM (EST)
Being a canoe fan at heart, I never liked being IN a boat, but at the time, the Manitou 13 fit my needs and after getting used to it, I was fine.

Looking into getting something in the unlimited class for racing, and I immediately was drawn to the surfkis versus the other options.

  More boats!
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-26-08 7:04 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-26-08 7:06 PM EST --

Everyone who is hooked on kayaking wants more boats!

SINK, SOT, surfski, whitewater boat, playboat, river runner, creek boat, fishing boat, camping boat, dog boat, fast boat, fall-off boat, fall out-of boat, rodeo boat, slalom boat, polo boat, workout boat, surf boat, marathon boat, inflatable boat, for-guests-only boat, for-dummies boat --

We want one of each! Maybe two of each! :-)

  My SOT
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-26-08 7:06 PM (EST)
My SOT has lots of storage. There's the front hatch and behind me is a small hatch that has a.....sock? You can put things in it w/o them falling to the bottom of the kayak, making things in there easily accesible when kayaking.

The rear of the kayak has an opening w/criss crossed elastic string which is great for toting stuff around. I've put folding canvas chairs back there and a small cooler.

I've only had my SOT since last September, so I'm waiting for warmer waters, because I will still practice self-rescue. I don't think that skill is only for regular kayaks.

I did buy it for more stability to match my husband's SOT which he bought a year previous to use mainly for dropping crab traps. He puts one in the front and one in the rear.

I know I may not travel as fast as a sit in kayak, but I don't notice the difference since I've only rented those a few times over the years. Really, everyone has to buy what suits them and what kind of paddling they want to do and how much they want to learn skills which I think are more associated with sit in kayaks. I love my SOT.

  Jaybabs...if SOT's are not kayaks
  Posted by: jimx200 on Jun-26-08 9:21 PM (EST)
but "slabs" (your word), couldn't a sink also be called a tube, chamber, tunnel, tomb, etc.? Lol. You should warn the various search/rescue units and lifeguards across the country who use SOT's on a regular basis for rescue operations that they are using the wrong craft.
  Posted by: tsunamichuck on Jun-26-08 10:57 PM (EST)
a kayak is a boat made of skin over a frame with single cockpit. Made of plastic or composite, it is a canoe. Surfskis are not kayaks and neither are other sit on tops. Not degrading any craft just splitting hairs.
  Damn Straight
  Posted by: seadart on Jun-26-08 11:35 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jun-26-08 11:38 PM EST --

that's why it's called the British Canoe Union...those Brits are always right.

Old Jay is paddling a Canoe.... well I'm off to surf my Slab again tomorrow morning.

Chuck a bunch of us are going Rockgardening Saturday AM (0630) in our tiny covered plastic canoes very early in LJ if you interested.... I may take a plastic slab just to be a contrarian.



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