Sun Dolphin Sit on Top Fishing Kayaks Review

  • April 4, 2018
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Sun Dolphin Sit On Top Fishing Kayaks review

What will your next adventure be? If you have a fishing outing lined up you should consider purchasing a sit on top kayak. It’s a unique option whether your interest lies with fishing or simply kayaking.

This is generally the most preferred type of kayak among fishermen for a number of reasons including easier ease of fishing with a sit on top kayak versus a sit in kayak. The only thing you need to make sure of is whether your trip will take you to a relatively warm environment. Why? Because in these kayaks your full body will be exposed to the elements.

Over the past few decades fishing kayaks have gained popularity which is why there are a number of manufacturers designing them now. Sun Dolphin is one such company. Below we’ll quickly highlight why their kayaks are worth investing in. 

About Sun Dolphin:

When it comes to experience in the designing of fishing kayaks, Sun Dolphin is among the market leaders. It opened its doors in 1982 with a two person pedal boat being the first product. Now the brand has grown to be America’s leader in producing recreational and fishing kayaks.

Because they have been in the business for a long time they’ve mastered the basic dos and don’ts when manufacturing sit on top kayaks. They offer innovative kayaks and outstanding service with their main draw  being their affordability.

So if you’re looking for a durable and quality fishing kayak, Sun Dolphin may just have a solution to your problem.

What is a Sit on Top Kayak?

With this model you basically sit directly on top of the hull as opposed to being inside the hull as you are with a sit in kayak . This way you’re closer to the water for easier fishing access.

Benefits of Sit on Top Kayaks:

The main reason why this type is more popular is it’s easier to learn basic kayaking skills. Any novice fisherman will appreciate this type thanks to these advantages:

  • SOT’s are generally user friendly. It’s easier to enter or exit a sit on top kayak than a sit inside. This is because most sit on top kayaks have molded seats and feature open cockpit designs.
  • Since you’re not in an enclosed space you have more room to maneuver. Basically you’re less likely to experience a feeling of confinement when you pick a SOT kayak.
  • Scared of being soaked in water at the end of your fishing adventure? Pick a SOT and that’s less likely to be your fate. Most sit on top kayaks have small holes commonly referred to as scupper holes. These help by continuously draining any water that would have entered your kayak.
  • Sit on top kayaks tend to offer more foot rest options so you can find a comfortable position for your excursion.
  • It’s easier to access your gear in a sit on top kayak. It allows you to store your equipment within reach and to quickly retrieve it when necessary.
  • Finally, if you’re working on a budget then sit on top models might be for you as they are usually the cheaper options. This is why a lot of recreational first timers opt for this type as they try figure out if kayaking is really for them.

What Matters When Looking for a Sit on Top Kayak?

Modern sit on top kayaks come with many bells and whistles which will ultimately increase the price. What’s important is to identify which features you’ll need and which ones you can do without. 

You don’t want to pay for things you’ll never use, which is why it’s necessary to look out for the following to ensure you get the most value for your money.

SUNDOLPHIN Boss SS Sit-On/Stand On Top Angler Kayak (Gray, 12.3-Feet)

What Material is Used in the Construction?

SOT’s are made of different materials; Of course you want one that lasts long time. The most popular option is plastic - particularly polyethylene because it’s well known for its durable properties. 

What you must decide is whether it’s single layer or high density. While both are durable the latter is tougher, lighter and in most cases more UV resistant. It therefore comes as no surprise that it’s also the more costly option. However for the extra advantages it provides, it is usually worth the extra money.

How Long is it?

Below you’ll notice these kayaks are available in different sizes. However note this isn’t just an aesthetic issue because the length determines a number of factors including speed. Want to paddle a lot faster? You can consider the longer kayaks as they are faster.

The shorter kayaks, though easier to maneuver are actually pretty slow. But considering the nature of any fishing adventure, you’re less likely to be speeding through the waters right? Ultimately it’s a matter of preference.

How Wide is it?

Not only is length important but the width as well. Wider kayaks are generally easier to board compared to the narrow ones. Naturally the wider it is, the larger the seating area. So you can consider the wider kayaks if you have a larger body size because it’ll be more comfortable for you. Plus it will be more stable.

The only thing you’ll sacrifice with the wider kayaks is speed as they won’t travel as fast.

Is it Comfortable?

Chances are you’ll be seated most of the time in your kayak right? This means seating comfort must be one of your priorities. Taller seats will give your back that much needed support but unfortunately you’ll be sacrificing flexibility. It’ll be difficult to turn your torso making paddling a little difficult. But if you’re travelling for a short distance then picking one with taller seats will work. 

For longer distances the kayaks with shorter backed seats will be better options.

Footrests

While on the topic of comfort, we have to mention the presence of footrests. Most SOTs have built in footrests to place your feet during your adventure. What’s important is to make sure they’re adjustable to provide you with comfortable options. If shopping in store, sit inside a couple kayaks and make sure they allow for a comfortable paddle position before you purchase. 

Now let’s help you pick yours. 

Sun Dolphin Journey 10 SS Review

SUNDOLPHIN Sun Dolphin Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Olive, 10-Feet)

The Journey 10SS is worth considering if you want to go fishing in rivers or lakes. Also you won’t be breaking the bank to own this product as it comes at an affordable price.

Key Features:

All Sun Dolphin kayaks are made of quality materials and this Journey 10SS is no exception. It’s made using high density polyethylene meaning it’ll last longer than lower end models. 

Though it’s made of heavy duty material it’s not all heavy; On the contrary it’s pretty lightweight making it easy to carry. Also, you can make use of the carry handles for increased carrying comfort. The best part is these handles are retractable so they stay out of your way when not in use. 

This kayak tracks & paddles easily so you’re guaranteed stability. You won’t have to worry about capsizing if you pick this one. It has a weight capacity of 250lb which in our opinion is pretty impressive for its shorter length.

What we can’t promise is you’ll be dry after your adventure. Though it has scupper holes and water proof compartments, unfortunately it still takes in a bit of water. You can consider plugging the holes to avoid getting really wet. Also note, it doesn’t come with a paddle so that’s an additional cost to you. 

A few users have noted it might feel a bit wobbly at first however with practice you’ll discover that it’s pretty stable.

On the up side you’ll find a relatively large bottle holder conveniently placed in the center— between your legs when seated. This means you can enjoy a drink comfortably as you fish. 

PROS

  • Lightweight design
  • Reasonably priced
  • Adjustable foot pegs
  • Adequate storage space

CONS

  • Water may enter
  • Stability questionable 
  • Seat is a bit hard

Sun Dolphin Journey 12 SS Review

SUNDOLPHIN Journey Sit-on-top Fishing Kayak (Sand, 12-Feet)

This lightweight sit on top kayak will easily get you to those secluded fishing spots. Like the Journey 10 it’s also ideal for use in rivers or lakes. This is thanks to the narrow width which allows for better tracking. If you’re looking for a kayak that moves well through the water when paddling then this one is for you.

Key Features

One of the best features of this kayak is it only weighs 48lb making transport and storage of the kayak very easy.

It also comes with a flush mount and a fishing rod holder to conveniently store your fishing equipment. What sets it apart from the Journey 10 is that it has a higher weight capacity of 395 lbs. This means it can accommodate heavier built persons and more equipment.

For your comfort it comes with an adjustable back rest so you won’t be complaining of back fatigue after your trip. However we can’t say the same about the seating area which only has a very thin cushion. Nonetheless it’ll still provide you with some level of comfort. Also you’ll find it seats lower than the average kayaks but it’s still relatively comfortable.

It comes with paddles which you’ll find useful however they’re not the most durable on the market.

When compared to the Journey 10 this model does a better job at keeping water out which is a definite plus. However you’re likely to get wet from paddle drips because it doesn’t come with scupper holes.

Unfortunately the dry storage space is not as big but then again that’s common among most sit on top kayaks. 

PROS

  • Pretty stable
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Durable
  • Easy to carry
  • Paddles well

CONS

  • No scuppers
  • No side handles
  • Small storage space 

Sun Dolphin Boss 12 SS Review

SUNDOLPHIN Boss SS Sit-On/Stand On Top Angler Kayak (Gray, 12.3-Feet)

This model is one of the latest releases from Sun Dolphin and most anglers will appreciate its impressive functionality. The Boss 12 SS was specifically built with fishermen in mind. Its versatility means you can either sit or stand on the kayak.

Key Features:

Similar to the other two models it’s also made of high density polyethylene which guarantees durability. What’s different about this kayak is it’s loaded with a number of features normally found on the high end models. However this in no way pushes the cost up as it still comes at an affordable price. 

It has all the accessories any angler would need from the adjustable foot rests so you sit in a comfortable paddling position. A unique feature it has is the comfort cast dual position seating system. This allows you to adjust the seat to either a high or low seating position depending on your preferences.

The catamaran hull is designed to allow you to walk comfortably on this kayak. You don’t have to worry about accidental slips thanks to the anti slip decking. Your stability is further improved by the stand assist strap located on the kayak. Water will be kept out of the storage hatches which are waterproof.

You’ll have more than enough space to store your equipment by making use of the gear well which has bungees. You can either use the one located in the front or at the back depending on how you want to access your items.

Our only major concern is the oar is too short compared to the length of the kayak. Also, it’s a good idea to coat the oar it as it tends to be a bit slippery.

PROS

  • Stable
  • Plenty of storage
  • Sturdily built
  • Wide stable design

CONS

  • Oar too short
  • Seat stability questionable

Final Thoughts:

Overall, here’s our most important advice: Before picking a sit on top kayak make sure it’s stable. The last thing you want is to spend the trip worrying about capsizing. Also if it tracks well, all the better as it means your sole concentration will be on fishing - not keeping it straight. 

With that said, of the three we’d highly recommend the Boss 12. It’s a step ahead where performance is concerned. Not only does it have an impressive weight capacity of 500 lbs. but it also features a flat and stable platform. We think it’s worth paying the extra cash for. Is this how you’ll catch that big one this year?

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