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Sit On Top (SOT)

Sit on Top activity is one of the fastest growing areas of paddlesport. Its stability and ease of use have made it accessible to a wide range of people young and old. The ability to sit on rather than in removes the fear of the capsize and the ability to travel some distance with minimal technique is both an advantage and disadvantage enabling the paddler to get places early on in their learning.

While many participants of the sport undertake plenty of training and ensure they carry all the relevant safety equipment, there has been a significant increase in the number of people that don’t have any previous experience on the water trying out the sport for the first time. You are advised to join a local club and paddle with others or undertake a course to gain the basics.


A Sit on Top is a kayak that has no closed cockpit; you just sit on top of the hull where you will have a moulded seat and footrest to get comfortable on. Like most good ideas they are simple and easy to use.  Some people fear getting their legs trapped inside a conventional kayak but sit on tops are really stable, even if you do fall off you can just climb back on board again.

Watersports have traditionally been quite expensive but this has changed with sit on tops, they are relatively inexpensive with a starter kit costing around £300-£350 from several major retailers.  They can easily be carried on a roof rack and their plastic structure makes them very durable

Even though the boats are very forgiving it is still important that you master the basic skills and safety procedures.

  • Let people know your route plan for your paddle trip
  • Paddle in a groups of 3
  • Be able to self rescue
  • Be able to do an assisted rescue in case a group member is struggling to get back onto his craft
  • Carry appropriate safety equipment