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New Member Question....SOT Friendly?


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Hello all yak fans!

I'm new to the board, and eager to join this club - I found out about the club on a site called topkayaker.net, which listed North Shore Paddlers as a "Sit on Top Friendly" club...

I know the traditional yak for excursions are the sit-in's, which I have ready access to however, I actually (please hold all gasps and shock) prefer SOT's -

I'm looking to join a club which would be willing to welcome my glorified surf board and I into their membership...As mentioned before, I do have access to sit-in's which could be used for some of the trips, but I simply love paddling my Malibu 2 XL solo...And yes, I have had a few years of kayaking under my belt and am well aware of the barge I'm driving... :) -

Can a club member please advise me as to whether or not my silly mix of sit-in and sit-on use would be welcome? If so, I'd like to take the next steps in joining the group...I'm only over in Worcester so I'd love to join!


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Generally, NSPN trip leaders are looking for seaworthy boats. SOTs are fine as long as the paddler and the boat can handle the conditions. Some SOTs are suited for ocean conditions and some are not, so there is no "yes or no" answer to your question.

Some of the questions I would have are:

Can you control the boat in wind, waves, surf and current?

Can you keep up with the rest of the group?

Can you perform a self-rescue?

Can you assist in rescuing another boat?

These are the same questions we ask of any paddler and are all dependent on which trip you paddle. Most SOTs would do fine on Level 2 and most Level 3 trips where the conditions and the speed are not challenging. (See the Trip Level page for details of conditions at http://www.nspn.org/play-trip-levels.html).

NSPN trips emphasize staying together so you won't be left behind. However, depending on the goals of the trip, if you cannot maintain the intended pace of the trip, you will be affecting the other paddlers.

Bob's comment on rescues relates to the expectation that any paddler on a Level 3 or higher trip should be able to rescue another kayak that has capsized. Many kayakers in wide SOTs have difficulty doing this because they cannot lean their SOT over enough to perform a T-Rescue. (SOTs with thigh straps can do this.) If you can do T-Rescues or other assisted rescues, you're fine. If not, you should discuss it with the trip leader.

One advantage of SOTs is that they are tough to capsize and easy to re-mount. They are used by the Tsunami Rangers in some of the roughest conditions for that reason. But on our trips, most of your fellow paddlers are in conventional boats.

So, welcome to NSPN in your SOT.

Any further questions, post them here.

Scott Camlin

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I took a look at the Malibu XL online. Another concern I'd have is outfitting. The lack of perimeter grab lines could be a problem in a rescue situation, since it is difficult to hold onto a boat in bouncing waves without them. That's why we pretty much require them for all but the most benign conditions.

Also, we expect basic gear including food, water, safety gear and spare clothing. So you'd have to strap a dry bag on the Malibu 2 since the on-board storage is limited. See our required gear page for details at http://www.nspn.org/play-what-to-bring.html.

Best Regards,

Scott Camlin

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as far as recommending which sit-insides (sinks as we sometimes call them), there are too many to mention but we basically start with the following basic requirements:

1. Length: If you are a very strong paddler length won't be terribly critical, but most paddlers need a boat of at least 15' to be able to keep up on most trips. I did once have a paddler insist that his 12 footer would be fine. It was, he was still one of the fastest in a fast level 3 group.

2. Flotation: You've got to have either bulkheads, or float bags that are secure.

3. Perimeter lines: These are non-stretchy lines around the perimeter of the boat that you can grab if you fall into the water.

4. Cockpit rim for sprayskirt: If it is a level 3 trip or higher, you will need a sprayskirt and therefore a place to attach it.

5. Storage: Enough storage volume for a drybag with an extra set of dry clothes.

Finally, you must be able to paddle this kayak in the conditions listed for the type of trip you are planning on going on.

I hope that this is helpful.


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Thank you!!!!

That is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for - I do have access to sinks 15'+ - I just happen to prefer the SOT's, but have no problem paddling a SINK - Especially if it means joining a group of paddlers :)

I have access to a Nigel Foster Fiberglass Shadow 17' in length - so that's not a problem at all :)

Thank you again

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In a general sense, I think the Shadow would be the preferable boat for most NSPN offical trips, especially on open ocean. However, we have a wide membership and a variety of skill levels. I'm sure if you post a private trip on the board, you'll find paddlers who love to paddle slow and on protected waters, a perfect situation for the Malibu. Also if you kayak fish, you'll find members in NSPN that share that passion. You are definitely welcome to the club.

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