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Are skin on frame kayaks durable? For ocean use?


New Member
Jul 21, 2012
Are Greenland style skin on frame kayaks durable and suitable for an ocean trip?
Re: Are ski on frame kayaks durable? For ocean use?

They're durable, and people here have used them often for tripping.
You have to be relatively careful to not drag them over barnacled rocks, but they can take a beating and like all kayaks, can be temporarily repaired on the go.

The general greenland drawback is that as they are slim kayaks the packing volume is low - and as they also have an internal wooden frame, that low volume is naturally even smaller and much more awkward to slide in (as hatches are hard to make) and take out gear.

I think Dan had gone 1000s of kms (tripping) when he had his SOF.
Hello. I have built 4 SOF kayaks and have done many trips both short and long in them. Depending on the type of skin used they can be very tough and the built in flexibility makes them durable and seaworthy. It's true that dragging them across barnacles or sand stone beaches isn't a good idea but you wouldn't do that with a kevlar kayak either. As for storage space it is totally dependant on the size you build the kayak. The double i made is 20' long by 24" wide, it holds more then enough for a week of camping and the fact it weights less then 40 lbs is a huge plus when it comes to paddling.
SOF material, I here good things about it for ocan paddling, just make sure you carry repair kit.
Construction, make sure it is well constructed. A friend of mine broke a rib from some impact while skin was not damaged. And I heard a story about leeky seams/tread holes sealed less than parfect on the trip around Vancouver Island.

Boat design, I would not use typical greenland style SOF which dose not have retractable skeg on and low volume/low deck unless you are very very skilled strong paddler with parfect draw strokes dialed in. With modern design with higher volume/deck and adjustable skeg ( if there is such a SOF boat w/ adjustable skeg), I might like SOF on the ocean trip.
Brian Schultz of capefalconkayaks, and Kilii Yu from seawolfkayaks (I think) have both mentioned taking trips of 300 to 500 miles in their skin on frame kayaks... how long of a trip are you thinking of?