Visit any stretch of water during warm periods of weather and you’ll most likely encounter someone paddling a plastic siton craft.
Siton kayaks have become big business over the past few years as they offer an easy route into the sport without the need to learn advanced kayak skills. Critics may feel this is a negative, but by attracting new blood there’s then a higher percentage of enthusiasts that will stick with the activity and progress further – keeping kayaking alive and thriving.
It’s also possible to do more with a siton kayak than you’d initially think…
Grabbing your boat and heading out into the waves is perfectly achievable with a siton kayak.
You may not be paddling in the most extreme of wave environments, as this requires more specialist tools and skills, but in small to medium size swells there’s lots of fun to be had by dropping into a watery wall and whizzing along at top speed.
Some manufactures produce specific models for this type of activity and you’d be surprised at the amount of engineering that goes into designing such a modest piece of equipment.
If you’re thinking of heading to your local break then it’s wise to understand the basics of paddling and make yourself familiar with surf etiquette.
If you’re a ‘newbie’ then avoid crowds, don’t take on more than you can handle and work your way up in terms of wave size. Pick your days carefully and you’ll be well on your way to kayak surfing nirvana.
For many hardcore kayakers, whitewater is the holy grail of paddling.
Charging down big rapids, playing on massive standing waves and ‘hucking’ (throwing yourself down) huge waterfalls is what separates the men from the boys!
Although you’ll never achieve these levels of extreme with a siton kayak, it’s still possible to take on some form of moving water.
Moderate rapids, small weirs and mellow river waves are all possible with a siton kayak. You’ll need a degree of skill already under your belt to make the most of river environments and your knowledge of moving water should have been developed so as to spot potential hazards. But with enough planning, preparation and paddling experience, rivers are perfectly doable for you and your siton.
Siton kayaks are perfect for sea going adventures and many manufactures build specific boats for this type of activity.
With a narrow, straight hull design, covering distance has never been easier and with most siton kayaks coming built with multiple storage options, heading off on long coastal tours is perfect with your siton kayak.
As most sitons are built from rotomoulded plastic, exploring rocky coastlines, caves and headlands is feasible and without risk of damage to your boat; something that can’t be said for more fragile kayaks.
Kayaking and the NWF
This year’s National Watersports Festival, on Hayling Island, is set to incorporate siton kayaking for the first time.
Hayling is perfect for most forms of paddle craft and sitons are no exception. With the opportunity to explore the island, kayak surf if a little bit of swell should materialise or just mess about with your mates, including this discipline at the event means that everyone should be able to get wet no matter what the conditions.
Tez Plavenieks is a freelance watersport journalist and Digital Content Manager. Participating in a number of different disciplines, as well as residing on Hayling Island, he produces regular articles and features, writing across many different areas of action sports.