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10 Fastest Sit-On-Top Kayaks – Paddle Your Way

Paddle Your Way

Getting into kayaking because you want a new hobby and a fun, exciting new activity is amazing. The sport is very rewarding and it has so much to offer to the paddler. Whether as a recreational activity in its own right or as a supplement to other hobbies like camping or fishing, kayaking is the real deal. It is a lifestyle, a different way to understand and go about water-based activity, and something that can be done regardless of the season.

However, picking the right kayak for your needs is anything but easy and straightforward, especially when you realize that there are different types of kayaks out there. Luckily, the basic categorization only includes two types, the sit-on-top, and the sit-inside kayaks. Here in the article, we focus more on the former and talk about the fastest available models.

Two Distinct Types


Sit-on-top kayaks are designed so that the user sits on the very top of the kayak, rather than inside of a cockpit. They are often preferred by recreational paddlers because they are easy to get in and out of and are generally more stable. In addition to this, they are a good choice for paddlers who are new to kayaking or who are concerned about feeling claustrophobic in a sit-inside kayak.

Sit-inside kayaks, on the other hand, are designed with an enclosed cockpit that the paddler sits inside. They are preferred by more experienced paddlers because they offer more protection from the elements, wind, and waves. They are also typically more efficient in terms of speed and maneuverability, making them a good choice for longer trips or for paddlers who want to cover more distance in a shorter amount of time. When comparing sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks, it is important to consider the specific needs and preferences of the paddler.

Differences Between the Two

Sit-On-Top Kayak

Before talking about the fastest sit-on-top kayaks, we have to deal with kayak speed in general and see what determines it. Sit-inside kayaks are generally considered to be faster and more efficient than sit-on-top kayaks and for a very good reason.

This is because they are designed with a more streamlined hull shape that is long and narrow, which reduces drag and allows the kayak to cut through the water more easily. Paddling is therefore easier because the kayak itself cuts through the water better. Sit-on-top kayaks, on the other hand, are typically wider and shorter, but also more stable, which can make them slower but also easier to turn and maneuver.

Speaking of stability, sit-on-top kayaks are generally considered to be much more stable than sit-inside models. This is because of their wider, flatter hull shape and the fact that the paddler sits on top of the kayak rather than inside it, which can make them less prone to tipping over. Sit-inside varieties are narrower which makes them faster but less stable than sit-on-top kayaks. So while they are not known for speed because it is not their thing, they are much better at balance.

In terms of gear capacity, both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks can carry a range of gear depending on the size and design. Sit-on-top models often have open storage areas on the deck, which can make them easier to load and unload. However, they may have less overall storage space compared to sit-inside kayaks. Sit-inside kayaks have more storage space overall due to the compartments that can be accessed from inside the cockpit. While more difficult to load and unload, more space is more space.

Fastest Sit-On-Top Kayaks

As mentioned, speed is not their thing. However, that does not mean that all of them paddle slowly. Far from it, as the following models are actually quick and speedy.

1. Pelican Sentinel 100X

Pelican Sentinel

This is proof that sit-on-top kayaks do not have to be blunt and wide, but lean and narrow too. Lightweight at 42 pounds and 9.5 feet long, it is quick and easy to paddle. It can carry up to 275 pounds of load and it is still stable despite its unconventional hull design for a top-sitting model. Great tracking and agility are also there as it strikes a great balance between the two kayak varieties.

2. Sun Dolphin Bali 10

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Bali

Weighing 44 pounds and with a length of 10 feet, this kayak is basically a hybrid between sit-on-top and sit-inside models. It has a somewhat open front with a closed, hatched back covered with a bungee cord. Green in color with black details, it is very stylish too. It is a light, comfortable kayak with great storage potential and a lot of speed.

3. AQUAGLIDE McKenzie 125


If lightweight properties and ease are your things, how about an inflatable kayak that only weighs 30 pounds? This model is narrow enough to be quick on the water, but also stable enough to never be in danger of capsizing. It fits two paddlers and it is over 12 feet long. It has an amazing load capacity of 600 pounds meaning great storage potential. It comes with two comfy seats and a storage backpack.

4. Intex Excursion

Intex Excursion Inflatable Boat

It is called that because it truly is a team-oriented kayak. It has two seating areas and it fits five people at once. It is inflatable and only weighs 55 pounds. For a 10.4 by 5.5 feet tandem kayak, this is amazing. It holds 1,100 pounds and it can be fitted with a motor. If more than two people paddle as a team, it can go quite fast on the water. Two oars are included, two inflatable seats, grab handles, oar holders, a repair kit, and a pump. Stability needs no mention, just look at it!

5. Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Sevylor Coleman Colorado

Last but not least, this may be the fastest one on the list mostly because of the fact that it is inflatable and very narrow. This combination equals a lot of speed but sacrifices stability. This is a two-person kayak with a lot of handy features like carry handles, rod holders, paddle holders, and mesh storage pockets. The kayak is 9.5 inches long and 20 inches wide and weighs only 44 pounds. There is also a non-slip carpet, bungee cords, and a bottle holder on it. Due to the hydrodynamics, the brand is proud of, the kayak balances stability, maneuverability, and speed marvelously.

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