Get on the water with a Sit on Top kayak

You’ll have seen plenty of sit on top kayaks around, but you probably didn’t know their name. Coming in either an inflatable or hard form, the sit on top kayak is a popular choice for recreational paddlers in the UK.

If you don’t like being ‘in’ a traditional style kayak with a cockpit, sit on top kayaks are a great alternative. Sitting on top of the water, these kayaks give you a great experience while you sit on top, rather than in, the craft.

Sit on tops also come in a popular inflatable format. Simply pump them up and deflate by the side of your paddle destination. No roof bars required! Stored them in your car or at home until you decide to go out again.

Popular in the summer, sit on tops are great for people of all ages and abilities. So if you’ve just bought one of these or you’re thinking of getting one for you and your family, take a look at our top tips below!

Top tips for getting started on your Sit on Top kayak this summer

  1. Safety first. If you’ve never been paddling before, think about it like riding a bike. You don’t go straight in with the 2 wheels and no safety equipment do you? Well, in this case, your stabilisers and pads/helmet are your buoyancy aid.
  2. Think about your technique. In different crafts, paddling forwards, backwards and turning can be different, so see what works for you. We’ve got a little section about paddling technique here. Have a nosy and take it from there!
  3. Never kayaked? The best way to learn is to practice, practice, practice! But where and how? You can either try one of the Paddle Trails or local hotspots and practice your kayaking technique. Or if you’d prefer to get a few hours of practice with lessons first, take a look at the Paddle Awards and your local provider.
  4. Sort your paddle wardrobe. Sit on tops are mostly suitable for the warmer months, so late spring, summer and early autumn. You will probably get wet when you’re paddling from the splash of your paddle, so waterproof layers or moisture wicking fabrics like you would wear running are a good choice.
  5. Go somewhere fun! If you’ve just bought your sit on top, make sure you’ve got a licence to paddle (British Canoeing ‘on the water’ membership covers this) and plan a little adventure. You don’t have to start with the epic challenge paddles, start slow and work up. As mentioned earlier, there’s loads of Paddle Trails across the county from steady 3 miles to longer 10-15 mile day trips. The most important thing is to go somewhere fun!
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