Raising the Bar in Kayak Design and Performance:
New Standards For The Third Millennium
This article discusses the changes in kayak design, usage and performance over the past century and in recent years.
Ergonomics: From a single, uncomfortable position to the freedom to choose from a variety of ergonomic positions
4. VARIATIONS ON THE L POSITION – TRYING TO DEAL WITH A PROBLEM BY CREATING DIFFERENT ONES
Manufactures of monohull kayaks who tried to depart from the L position by offering higher seats found that they needed to increase their kayaks’ width considerably in order to compensate for raising the paddlers’ center of gravity (CG). This was done only to rediscover the fact that excessively wide kayaks track very poorly and are harder to paddle.
5. THE NATURAL SOLUTION: THE W KAYAK POSITIONS
The W departed completely from both the monohull design and the L kayaking position.
By offering much better lateral stability and a high saddle the W Kayak has enabled a new set of comfortable positions and a wide range of intermediate positions, as well as the possibility to alter your posture anytime you feel like it.
This is achieved without widening the kayak – In fact, the current W Kayak models are only 25″ wide, which is as wide as some sea kayaks are.
The key to improving comfort and performance in paddling and fishing is the new, full role played by your legs: Instead of pushing horizontally against your lower back as they do in the L kayaking position, your legs support your torso vertically – from below, in the W Kayak riding (mounted) position. This is our legs’ natural position for locomotion and other major physical efforts. For this reason the W Riding (mounted) position is not only ergonomically better (I.E. more comfortable) but it’s also better biomechanically, that is more efficient in effort terms and more effective in performance terms of power output and control level.
The four basic W positions are: Standing, Riding (Mounted) with your legs on both sides of your body, Sitting with your legs forward (similar to sitting in a canoe), and Kneeling – a position preferred by some canoeists.
For more information visit Wavewalk’s website Ergonomics section.