Sit-Inside or Sit-On-Top?
This is probably the toughest decision you will have to make when purchasing a kayak so how can we make this easier?
To begin with many people who are right for a sit-in might opt for a sit-on because they are petrified of capsizing and drowning. The first thing is to lose this particular fear because it's like being scared of the tokolosh. It won't happen because (a) kayaks are pretty stable and capsizing is extremely rare and (b) you won't be trapped in the event of a capsize because it's easy to get out - in fact most people simply fall out of the cockpit on capsizing. So now that we've killed that particular fear let's get the right boat for you based on logic.
If you want to go fishing then a sit-on is the right boat for you, end of story. If you just want to paddle in the summer holidays on warm and calmish water (rivers, dams, sea, it doesn't matter) then a sit-on can be a good choice. Especially if you will be sharing it with other people who have little or no paddle experience because paddling a sit-on is a no brainer, it's easy and fun for anyone and everyone. A sit-inside can be difficult for extra tall or overweight people and a sit-on suits these body types much better.
If however you want to get a little more out of paddling like going often, further, faster, exploring, getting fit then a sit-inside is the way to go. Interestingly enough a sit-inside kayak is generally more stable because you sit lower in the water. The longer, slimmer models will also be a good deal quicker and less tiring to paddle. They will be more comfortable because they offer back support and because the cockpit is enclosed by a spray-deck they will also be warmer and drier so you can stay on the water all day. Oddly enough they are also easier to carry single-handed as the cockpit area sits nicely on your shoulder - it's very difficult to carry a longish sit-on any distance. Sit-ins also have more hatch storage space so if you want to camp overnight or just spend the day and take, say, cooking facilities then it will cope admirably. Expedition types take weeks of food with them. Another advantage is they handle better, a sit-in is more controlled by your body than you can with a sit-on. There is a saying that goes "a sit-on-top kayak you just sit on top of a sit-inside kayak you wear" which kind of captures the difference.
Your choice should be based on what type of paddling you want to do rather than any irrational fears you may have. Also beware of advice from people who have one type or the other and swear by them only, as they may be a very different paddler from you. Don't think that a sit-in is for experienced and sit-on for newbies. Paddle 4 or 5 times and you're not a beginner any more and you will be a touch pissed off to want to "upgrade" to a better kayak after only a month. You wouldn't buy a "beginner" bicycle or car would you? - perhaps just a less expensive one.
Still confused? Call us, or better yet come on in to the shop.