Sea Kayaks

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Sea Kayaks

Postby Fenrisco » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:58 pm

I require a watercraft with a bit more gear-space, range and comfort than my friend's stand-up paddleboard (which is loads of fun) but which isn't going to attract the government's attention as a "boat" - boats entail all sorts of ridiculous paperwork, licenses, inspection, etc., particularly as a foreigner, so superyachts are out of the question. The intention is to fart about in the Taiwan Strait, fairly close to land, one beach to another, maybe a bit of fishing, river exploration, nothing fancy. SOT kayaks of the Ocean Kayak style seem to be the way forward. Anyone have any experience with them? There are a few local manufacturers/distributors who have some sensibly-priced gear that looks like it would do the trick (and strap on top of the Jeep without fuss).

Also if anyone happens to know why amphibious special forces (SEAL, SBS) don't appear to use 'em, I'd be interested to hear it - the SOT kayak seems to present a few perfect features for stealthy coastal and estuarial use.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby svizzerams » Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:35 pm

Hi Fenrisco - I've owned 5 different sea kayaks...not sure if that makes me an expert, but my current boats are a Current Design Solstice GTS (17'9") made of composite glass and a Perception Eclipse (17') made of aerolite. I have paddled 4 different types of materials - roto-molded plastic (durable, but heavy and if you punch a hole in it it is screwed, but fortunately hard to do); fiber glass/composite - (lighter - easier to fix if you damage it). Aerolite - a hard plastic - feels more like a glass boat, but a little heavier). And Kevalar (very light, very expensive, not sure it makes a boat perform better). IMHO performance is based more on hull design than material used. Both of my boats are rigged with rudders and hatches for stowing gear. I like the option of having a rudder if needed. Although the boat is the most sexy bit of kit - don't skimp on the paddle. Get one that is the right length for you, is light weight and feels comfortable. I've used primarily have used Weber paddles. I have used both straight shaft and the "ergonomic" paddles. On the lakes around here I only use a half-skirt. But for rougher waves a full skirt is superior. I also outfitted mine with a deck bags - very useful. I carry a bailer pump, an air horn and a whistle. I've used mine for camping - it is amazing how much gear you can stow in the hatches and the boat still feels the same (at least mine does to me). Both my boats are considered light touring boats. The little wheeled trolleys are a fantastic accessory. I live one block in from the lake so I don't have to transport anywhere for a quick spin. I like that.

Not sure why special forces wouldn't use them - quite nimble, quiet, can get in close in the shallows, can hide easily in tall reeds. I've always thought mounting a crossbow on the deck would be cool (I don't like rude personal watercraft pilots). There was a guy who posted here years ago that said he used kayaks for black-ops when he was in the coast guard (does the coast guard do black ops????). Hmmm.

Current Design website has some good general info: http://www.cdkayak.com/

Here's me piloting the Current Design (foto courtesy of vlindsay who is piloting the red one)

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Perception Eclipse:

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Bringing them home - someone is trying to catch a runner.....

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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Fenrisco » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:15 pm

Hey Svizz, thanks for the info - greatly appreciated. Nice shots too! Must be nice to have hills you can roam on; everything's so fecund and fast-growing around here one's limited to extant paths or hack-n-slash. As a relative newbie (plenty of time spent on lochs as a kid but that's rather a different ballgame - a fair amount of SCUBA recently but again hardly the same) I think stability and safety are going to be pretty important (that's why I like SOT designs!) and length is going to be a compromise between performance and logistics... I want to be able to carry the thing decent distances if needs be. Good point about the paddle; that's exactly where I'd likely skimp.

I believe special forces have used open-hull kayaks, but nothing I can find about them using the SOT style though. Possibly because one sits higher in the water, although it's only a matter of a few inches. This Aussie nutter shows they're plenty capable on the open ocean:



Actually a kayak is one of the few places where a mounted crossbow would be a sensible weapon, since you're naturally in a braced position to cock the thing; not a bad idea! Like a quieter and more incisive version of the old punt guns.

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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Woodsman » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:39 pm

I have 4 kayaks and all of them are "sit in" and not "sit on top". The ones I have (2 daggers and 2 Prijons) are made out of some form of high density injection molded plastic.

I have been seeing a lot of sit on top kayaks lately and I think they are pretty cool. Good rig for shark fishing out of.

I agree with Svizz on the hull design makes the better boat. You want the hull material hard and the front and aft pointy so they cut through the water. A sea kayak need not be 20' long...a 14' is fine if the hull is right.

1 stroke in a well designed hull is worth 3 in a one not so well designed. Skegs or rudders are not necessary if the hull tracks well.

My suggestion: Try several before the purchase.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby svizzerams » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:54 am

That vid is great. I'm not keen on fishing per se - but I really liked the way those SOT kayaks were outfitted. Another interesting permutation on kayaks are the Hobie Cat line. I've seen two in action on Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming - which has some incredibly wild waves. They were fully outfitted with the outriggers and sails. The pilots were also wearing dry suits. Yellowstone Lake is cooooooold. http://www.hobiecat.com/kayaks/mirage/adventure-island/ You can rig some models with an outrigger(s), sail, foot pedals, or rudder. And it looks like they even have some fishing oriented models now on the website. Cool idea: the foot pedal models leave hands free for fishing and they are SOT.

The outriggers, sail, foot pedals etc are all removable - so you can go with just a paddle. I did see a tandem being pedaled once here on the lake (the photos I posted were taken in the short river which is the outlet of the 55 mile long Lake Chelan that is best described as an inland fjord).

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I think these Hobie Cats are really cool - I've considered getting one just so I can learn to sail abit on those windy days when paddling is less fun :-)


Fenrisco wrote:Hey Svizz, thanks for the info - greatly appreciated. Nice shots too! Must be nice to have hills you can roam on; everything's so fecund and fast-growing around here one's limited to extant paths or hack-n-slash. As a relative newbie (plenty of time spent on lochs as a kid but that's rather a different ballgame - a fair amount of SCUBA recently but again hardly the same) I think stability and safety are going to be pretty important (that's why I like SOT designs!) and length is going to be a compromise between performance and logistics... I want to be able to carry the thing decent distances if needs be. Good point about the paddle; that's exactly where I'd likely skimp.

I believe special forces have used open-hull kayaks, but nothing I can find about them using the SOT style though. Possibly because one sits higher in the water, although it's only a matter of a few inches. This Aussie nutter shows they're plenty capable on the open ocean:



Actually a kayak is one of the few places where a mounted crossbow would be a sensible weapon, since you're naturally in a braced position to cock the thing; not a bad idea! Like a quieter and more incisive version of the old punt guns.

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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Fenrisco » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:55 am

Cheers Woodsman, good points... I wish trying a variety was an option - who knows, maybe it is - but locally these "emerging" and often sorta-illegal sports are often represented by one guy shifting imported gear out of his garage, or loosely-organized "teams" so I'm not sure how much test-driving will be available. It's not too long ago private boat ownership, aside from fishing, was unheard of - and in Kinmen Island floatation devices like beachballs were verboten on account of proximity to the PRC and espionage risk. Things have relaxed a bit in recent years.

Those Hobies do look interesting... But then I imagine lugging one 2k across rough scrub and it seems less fun :-) Luckily the water's tropical round here so no drysuit required - weather can rip up a storm out of nowhere in seconds though.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby svizzerams » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:17 am

I give you: ......the transparent kayak - would make fish spotting extra easy!

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Then there is the nifty foldable transparent kayak made out of military grade urethane cover and a kevlar frame - fits in a backpack. cool.

Specs: (http://www.clearinflatablekayak.com/pic ... ayaks.html)
See it all in this stylish folding kayak with an entirely clear shell. This is kayaking at it's best. Weighing only weighs 26 lbs. this clear kayak will fold up small enough to fit in your hiking backpack. It has a beautiful sleek design that makes long distance paddling a breeze. If you're looking for the ultimate folding transparent kayak, you've found it. But a little spendy at $4300 USD

Not sure that there is a matching transparent paddle ;-)

Dimensions
Length - 13'
Width - 22''
Depth - 11''
Kayak Weight - 26 lbs.
Weight Capacity - 300 lbs. (1 person)
Hull Material - Military grade urethane
Frame - Carbon kevlar
Seats - Closed cell thermoformed hi density foam


Kayaks in all their permutations are a beautiful thing - and I am never so happy as when I'm out on glassy smooth water :-) Hope you find the perfect boat!
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Fenrisco » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:58 pm

I saw those transparent kayaks but apart from the price tag the chance of losing the damn thing is too high, take your eye of it for a minute and, voom - it's gone; the weather can get quite frisky here and visibility adds value... Although they are extremely cool.

I suppose the problem about a transparent kayak with a flotation device in the bow and stern is that to spectators you look like you're endlessly chasing a wayward balloon. While being hotly pursued by another.

Speaking of weather, this is what we had to endure today:

http://www.euronews.com/nocomment/2012/08/02/deadly-road-collapses-after-heavy-rain-in-taiwan/

I was supposed to be traveling to Taipei for a networking event organized by a well-known tech/startup blog this evening but it was cancelled. A bit annoyed about that, we're supposed to be fearless entrepreneurs and if we're put off by a bit of rain that's hardly a recipe for success. "Come hell or high water" should be the attitude. These guys need to sit out a supertyphoon on the Pacific coast where they hit about 500% harder and nastier, then they wouldn't panic about rivers in the city looking a bit fuller than usual.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby stealth1 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:52 am

Awesome video and I love the clear Kayak
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby diamondcutter13 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:29 am

I've been wanting to get a collapsible kayaks for years but never got on with it.

Kleppers were what the Special Boat Service et al. used back in the day. Not sure if they still do.

The Kleppers with the sail option also look cool.

http://www.klepperamerica.com/
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Dr. V » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:10 am

Having caught the kayaking bug from Svizz I am just about ( later today in fact) to embark on a sea kayaking course here http://www.seakayakingcornwall.com/courses, which hopefully will make a change from my local river where you cant see the bottom and you have to get out every 20 minutes or so to heave the kayak around the locks.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Woodsman » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:39 pm

I think we are going to go kayaking today as well...still unsure at this late hour. ha ha. Typical.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Fenrisco » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:00 pm

vlindsay wrote:I am just about ( later today in fact) to embark on a sea kayaking course


Enjoy. I've never been to Cornwall but it's always seemed somewhere worth visiting. Like the English version of the Hebrides.

I am trying to figure out whether the necessity of four new tyres for the Heep - 31" Bridgestone ATs at $330/ea. or more likely Maxxis Bighorn MTs at $220 apiece - trumps the desire for ocean mobility... Given that ocean mobility currently = nil whereas the tyres have 3~4 mm of tread left, the conclusion seems inescapable.

Those Kleppers do look solid. You wouldn't believe the kind of gutrippers you find on the beaches here though; fisher folk drive long steel spikes into the sand at low tide to hang nets off. Fair play to them, it's their livelihood. Surfers go out and pull them up on account of not enjoying getting their boards and limbs torn to pieces but that just really means you never know where they'll be from one day to another. They're pretty much invisible from anywhere but the shore itself, in the surf. So anything with a tearable structure is going to get torn - and possibly sunk - sooner or later if taxiing from one beach to another. Hence my attraction to rotomolded plastic SOTs.

On a brighter note we found some dolphins the other day; apparently the breed is quite rare: http://taiwansousa.blogspot.tw/2007/09/taiwan-humpback-dolphin-information.html
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby diamondcutter13 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:30 pm

Fenrisco wrote:Those Kleppers do look solid. You wouldn't believe the kind of gutrippers you find on the beaches here though; fisher folk drive long steel spikes into the sand at low tide to hang nets off. Fair play to them, it's their livelihood. Surfers go out and pull them up on account of not enjoying getting their boards and limbs torn to pieces but that just really means you never know where they'll be from one day to another. They're pretty much invisible from anywhere but the shore itself, in the surf. So anything with a tearable structure is going to get torn - and possibly sunk - sooner or later if taxiing from one beach to another. Hence my attraction to rotomolded plastic SOTs.


Given the position of the posterior in a kayak those spikes would wreck your day. My friend who actually made a copy of the Kleppers says they also were made with kevlar skins which were damn near puncture proof but much heavier and pricier. His work ethic was somewhat lacking so I gave up trying to get my bulletproof folding kayak out of him.
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Re: Sea Kayaks

Postby Haydon 5 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:46 am

I have a Malibu Stealth in 12 foot that I really like. Its a SOT that I use for fishing and duck hunting. It has a lot of space inside, and is really stable, I've taken ducks right from about every angle off it. I don't think the manufacture it but the X-factor has a lot of the same features.

http://www.malibukayaks.com/index.php/kayak#mttab1
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