The Drifter Seat


The "Drifter" seat was designed to be a fix for sit on top kayaks with wet rides.  Many of the "wet seat" concerns were specifically expressed by some of the owners of Ocean Kayak's Drifter.  It was specifically built to address the concerns of those owners (Ocean Kayak's Drifter is a solid kayak for fishing and is one of the preferred kayaks chosen by kayak anglers). Ocean Kayak's Drifter isn't the only kayak out there with a wet seat though.

Surf to Summit's Drifter seat was not designed for touring style kayaks.  Lifting the seat up raises the center of gravity.   The seat performed well in the more stable platforms I tested it out in such as Ocean Kayak's Drifter and Malibu Kayak's Pro Explorer.  Malibu's Pro Explorer doesn't have a wet seat concern.  However it does have a fairly deep seat well.  

This seat can be a good fix for some of the wet seat concerns expressed by kayakers.  Though depending upon which kayak, stopper plugs may still be needed to totally eliminate the wet seat concerns  Though without stopper plugs, the seat does manage to keep you dry by keeping your bottom out of the puddle in the seat well.  The thick cushion also works well as an insulator.

There is another distinct advantage to the "Drifter" seat.  Besides helping with the wet seat concerns, it also helped with my posture.  I found it very useful in taking the load off of my lower back and transferring it into my arms, shoulders, upper back and stomach muscles.  The seat propped me up out of the deep seat well, straightening out my back and allowing for stronger and more efficient paddling.

The seat cushion is fairly stiff out of the box.  It didn't compress more than about a 1/4 inch when I sat down.  After a few paddling sessions I did notice it starting to "break-in".

One of Surf to Summit's calling card features to their seats is a utility pouch located in the back of the seat.  I've found these pouches to be as useful as an extra hatch.  I store stringers, shark gloves, air horn, whistles, granola bars and cameras.

The booster effect you get from this seat is similar to what a lot of kayakers have already been doing with supplemental seat pads and cushions (placed under our existing kayak seat).  Though most supplemental pads I've seen create more cushion than they do support or lift. 

This is also a great fix for some of the "circulation" problems some kayaks create with too deep of a seat well.  In certain kayaks, the rim of the seat well may press up against the bottom of our legs, restricting some circulation.  Even if your legs aren't pressing up against the edge of the seat well, sitting too deep in a seat well can still promote poor circulation and  posture.

Surf to Summit's Drifter isn't for everyone, and it surely isn't for every kayak.  The 3 inch lift does change the way it feels when you're sitting inside the kayak (it took me less than an hour to get comfortable with the feel).  The "feel" of your kayak is an very individual, personal experience.  If  you are experiencing too wet of a ride or just feel you are sunk too deep into the seat well, this could be the seat you've been waiting for.

Visit Surf to Summit online at

You can now purchase the Drifter Seat through Kayak Sportfishing's online store. Click to enter store


Reviewed October 24, 2002
by Jason Morton