Yes as I said in my post. There are some performance sit on tops. But here I have to agree with jeff and your statments that the avarage sit on top is not a performance boat. The original question was what boat to buy for a beginner. That would infer someone not looking for a performance boat. And also not likely to put out the big bucks for an excelent sit on top. The issue should be more about the typical use this prospective boat will have.
Now about the thigh bracing. I find that I have a much stronger stroke when bracing my thighs aginst the top of my sit inside. Which allows you to use your abdomnial muscles more/better. Thigh straps can compensate somewhat. But I have never seen anyone use them with any consistancy. Besides being pricey they add complications to the boat. And after all I like kayaking because of the simplicity. There are usually only 2 parts, the boat and the paddle. I come from a sailing background so I know what having a lot of gear can be.
About sunburns. This is a real problem. The tops of a persons legs do not get the direct sunlight they recieve when streached out in a sit on top that they usually get in a normal day. Unfortunatly I have had members in this club badly sunburned when using a sit on top.
----- Original Message ----
From: Jim <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, November 27,[masked]:40:56 AM
Subject: Re: RE: [kayaking-166] sit on top or sit inside?
Thanks to Kayak Jeff for a cogent and thorough post. I know Jeff personally - as a BCU certified instructor (and there are darn few who carry this respected cert) he is very concerned about safety. So much so that I asked Jeff to moderate my Forum section on safety.
I own 11 kayaks including both SIK's and SOT's, have tested and reviewed many more. Although it's fair to say SIK's have a longer learning curve, it would be highly misleading to portray SOT's as so inherently safe as to be a "jump in and paddle" craft.
Indeed, I find that SIK drivers are far more safety concerned and prepared. SOT buyers tend to be less experienced and less concerned, mostly due to the "jump in and paddle" mismarketing of these craft. Only a very few attend safety and paddling classes, understand weather, have practised rough condition launches, returns and reentries.
Although I have many kayaks, I very much favor my high performance SOT's including a glass Kaskazi Skua (17') and especially my plastic RTM Disco (probably the best performing plastic SOT available). And of course my 19' high performance Fenn Mako XT surfski.
I will take issue with the observation that SIK's allow more power transfer. Effective paddling technique used by top paddlers depends on maximum rotation in which the legs actually "pump" - actions that are inhibited by the SIK's cockpit. OTOH, there is some truth that the SIK cockpit and thigh braces, properly fitted, add to turning, edging and control - still, thigh and/or lap braces/belts can achieve this in higher performance SOT's.
Similar control is also achieved in high perf SOT's/surfskis by the addition of hip and back padding for a perfect fit, high control but retaining the performance paddling advantages of the high performance SOT/ski.
Sunburn in SOT's: never been a problem. The anal retentive can wear long sleeves and loose, light long pants with a high SPF rating.
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