Inspired by the open deck surf ski cockpits, I wanted the performance of a sea kayak but as a sit on top. Learn from my sea kayak DIY conversion to a sit on top for making your own boat.
I like the freedom of putting my legs over the side, jumping in-out anytime and more recovery options in big water.
Kayak fisherman Todd Switzer did the first version of the project removing the top and installing a test interior.  That version had blow-in foam which was too heavy and couldn’t be smoothed out (due to blown in shapes).  The glass leaked making the board quite heavy. We both learned an upgrade should have shaped styrofoam instead.

Sean Thomas of Echo Composites in Issaquah, WA finished the job my removing the old foam and glass and replacing with styrofoam, and two layers of 5 ounce glass. He molded two scuppers and venturi’s and added rail leash plugs to attach the thigh straps.

My first session in the new boat was a success while surfing 5′ wind waves in a 25 kt northerly on Puget Sound. The scuppers worked great, the boat was only a few pounds heavier than the original 37 lbs and it rolled without any differences than the prior version.  The skeg will be converted into a pull up – push down variety off the back deck behind the cockpit since we removed the side slider. The skeg never really worked well as a slider, sometimes breaking (cable got jammed).

Parts Used:
Boat: 2009 Sterling Illusion
Scupper: Home Depot parts
Venturi’s – Custom molded by Sean (he has a cnc).
Foam: Mixture of EPS 1 lb and blue insulation foam
Foot Pegs – Out of production model purchased from NW Outdoor Center in Seattle. They have a box of rudder parts and foot pegs.

Get your Own Sea Kayak Turned SOT

Contact Sean Thomas of Echo Composites for more tech builders info. He’s thinking of creating a plug to more easily place a cockpit in existing boats. Doing so manually was quite a bit of work.  *Sean Thomas in Issaquah, WA

Any questions give me a holler. Join my mailing list! Contact me: rob@ / 206.465.7167 – Check out my SUP classes in Seattle – Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Instructor Certification.



For other articles like Sea Kayak DIY Conversion to a Sit on Top, browse my blog.

Make your own SUP

Salmon Bay Paddle SUP Tips