Tag Archive: balance problems

People who suffer from balance problems have trouble kayaking, and they can be prevented from doing so

Paddling and fishing in Kachemak bay, Alaska

By Pat Irwin

Homer, Alaska

I’m working my way up to a longer trip so the only pics I have right now are random photos around the bay in front of my house. The salmon are running (spawning) right now so my focus is to fill the freezer for winter.

This pic is from a rainy fishing day. The W500 pointing toward Grewingk Glacier and the Harding Ice Field.

BTW, the 500 is helping my MS by allowing me to stay even more fit than if I use my bicycle only. This boat is great!

Grewingk Glacier and the Harding Ice Field viewed from the kayak 1024

 

More paddling and fishing with Pat in Alaska »

 

The W500: my current pros and cons

By Brian Walti

Love it! I’ve had it out 4 times and it has performed very well. It took me a couple sessions to build up the nerve to stand up but once I did it opened a whole world of sightfishing! My friends who had sit in kayaks tried standing in theirs however it wasn’t pretty.

Here are my current Pros and Cons:

Pros:
-easy entry and exit. This is huge for me as a bigger guy. I step in and out easily and without getting wet while my fellow SOT and Sit In kayakers end up clumsily entering and exiting.
-Storage is awesome and all my gear is readily available whenever I want it.
-Tracks well
-highly customizable
-generates a great deal of conversation amongst traditional ‘yakers and canoe owners
-comfortable…the many combinations of sitting positions is awesome.
-Casting is a breeze.
-highly portable via vehicle

Cons:
– None.

The only thing I am looking at now is a DIY wheel system. While the kayak is lightweight, the overall length of the W500 causes it to be somewhat bulky when shouldered (and trying to balance the weight distribution effectively) however it is very easy to drag.

You created an awesome product and I absolutely love it.

Brian Walti
Ohio

I’ve attached some pics, albeit not that exciting.  The pic of the shallows was just before I stood up for the first time. I was able to sight fish as well as use the paddle to push through areas that were only about 4 -6 inches deep.  Amazing!  I really just brought the little zebco dock demon rods in case the fishing mood struck me…which it did!

 

frog-ready-to-hit-the-water

 

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More fishing kayak reviews »

Paddle and Fish Standing

Stand Up Kayak Fishing and Paddling

What makes it possible for you in the real world, and why SHOULD it matter to you?

This article examines what makes stand up fishing so important, and why an increasing number of kayak fishermen are disappointed by kayak designs that fail to deliver adequate stability, comfort and safety. These anglers end up standing and fishing in a Wavewalk® 500 Kayak, often despite potentially problematic factors such as their body size, old age, and even certain disabilities.

Kayak fishing for Albacore standing in a Wavewalk S4

Click images to enlarge

Three big guys fishing standing in the new Wavewalk S4 –

Click images to enlarge. Read the full story »

 

Before going further, please watch this video that shows what we call ‘boat stability’:

The above video shows that the stability offered by the W700 is comparable to the stability offered by boats such as Jon-boats and dinghies, namely that although the W700 paddles better than any fishing kayak or canoe out there, it is no longer a kayak when stability is concerned – It is a boat.
This is why this article about kayak fishing standing is mainly about the super-stable Wavewalk® 500 kayaks in comparison to other fishing kayaks out there.

CONTENT

  1. Fishing from small watercraft – Overview
  2. What about stand up fishing from sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks?
  3. Why is standing in your fishing kayak important?
  4. Stand up fishing kayak demo movies
  5. Are other kayaks safe enough for stand up fishing and paddling?
  6. What about very wide SOT kayaks?
  7. And what about SOT kayaks with outriggers? (stabilizers)
  8. Differences between kayaks for stand up paddling and stand up fishing
  9. What happens when you catch a fish standing up in a kayak?
  10. Motorized stand up fishing kayaks
  11. Stand up fishing kayak pictures, and what they mean to you

1. Fishing from small watercraft – Overview

People all around the world have been fishing from small boats for millennia. Interestingly, many native fishermen like to stand up in their boats when they propel them and fish from them. After all, what could be more natural?  If possible, standing is both a powerful and comfortable position for a person making a continuous physical effort.  It is good for our blood circulation, less strenuous on our back and it enables us to make a good use of our legs, which happen to have the most powerful set of muscles in our body.
It is worth noting that wade fishermen, people who fish from shore and people who fish from bigger boats also like to fish standing, if not all the time at least for a great part of the time.  Standing makes is easy to cast a line or throw a net, and certainly makes it easier to scout for fish and better stops to fish in.
When the native people of the arctic circle developed their kayaks the L position was natural to them and they were not particularly concerned with comfort but rather with stealth, as their kayaks were designed mainly as hunting boats enabling the hunter to get close to its prey without getting noticed.  However, when these people went fishing or whaling they usually preferred to use Umiaks – a type of big, wide and stable multi-passenger seaworthy canoe that offered them the possibility to stand up.

 

Casting a fishing or a shrimping net standing in a boat requires more stability than angling does. Read the article »

 

2. What about stand up fishing from sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks?

Stand up kayak fishing sounds like an oxymoron since most people find it difficult enough to sit it inside or on top of a kayak, especially when it involves fishing.
Some fishing kayak manufactures advertise that their most stable models may enable a person to stand in or on top and cast but there is no real proof to support such claims.  At best, those very wide SOT kayaks may enable a child or a very small and lightweight adult to stand on but certainly not with enough confidence to enable casting and landing fish.  No traditional SIK or SOT kayak manufacturer ever claimed they offer a kayak that may enable a person to paddle standing…
The reality with regards to traditional SIK and more recent SOT kayaks is that these small and lightweight crafts offer good mobility at a low price and for a low cost of maintenance, but at a price of diminished comfort and the inability to do anything standing up.

3. Why is standing in your fishing kayak important?

Besides the fact that standing up improves your chances of catching fish there’s a more important fact related to it: Your ability to stand up goes directly to your comfort and well being, and to your overall fishing experience.  After all, catching fish is fun but not as much when it comes at a price of unnecessary fatigue, serious physical discomfort and even pain resulting from being limited to a single, uncomfortable sitting position, without being able to do anything to change positions and relieve pressure on your lower back.
When fishing comfort is key to both success and fun, and neither leg numbness nor back pain may contribute to either although you’re most likely to experience at least one of them after sitting for a while in the traditional kayaking position.  And don’t let yourself develop hopes in ‘improved kayak seats’…- Adding some cushioning and changing the shape of the seat can’t change the basic physiological facts: You’re stuck in a sitting position to which you’re not used, and your legs are pushing you backwards and creating a pressure point in your lower back.
Even today, most fishing boats are big and stable enough to enable their passengers to stand up while fishing.  So why shouldn’t you stand up in your small, inexpensive and portable fishing kayak?  The patented Wavewalk® 500 twinhull Fishing Kayak offers you to do that, as well as many other things without giving up any of the regular fishing kayak advantages.  In fact, when it comes to the known advantages of fishing kayaks over bigger fishing boats the Wavewalk® 500 Kayak offers you some real, additional advantages such as better protection against wind, spray and waves, better mobility when it comes to ease of launching and take-out, better handling of the surf, better tracking, more dry storage space, and overall a much higher level of seaworthiness.
Kayak fishing may be a sport, but since you’re doing it for fun you may as well have fun doing it.  Kayak fishing is a good idea if indeed it’s done properly, that is without reducing your fishing experience.  The W Kayak can unleash the full potential of kayak fishing and upgrade it to what it’s really meant to be: a challenging, full sport activity that you can practice without constantly thinking of the comfort that bigger fishing boats have to offer.

The Wavewalk™ kayak is the only kayak that was developed for high performance stand up paddling and stand up fishing in moving water, and it’s the only kayak that fits both these extreme applications in terms of safety and comfort.
Here are the facts we recommend you know about stand up padding and fishing from kayaks and other small craft –

4. Demo movies

These two demo movies are extreme, but they show what stability you actually need to get from your kayak when you’re out there in the real world, where stuff happens is the rule, and not a rare exception:

 

We call this unrivaled performance of the Wavewalk® 500 kayak “Super Stability”.

BTW, the new Wavewalk® 700 is more stable than the W500, and the stability is offers is comparable to the stability that one experiences in a Jon boat. We call it ‘Boat Stability’.

5. Are other kayaks safe enough for stand up fishing and paddling?

Since many things can and will cause you to lose balance if you choose to stand up in or on top of a kayak, you must be able to react effectively and regain balance even in adverse conditions, and our W-kayak enables you that while no other kayak does.
Our patented twinhull Wavewalk® kayak is the only kayak that offers each of your legs to stand in a hull of its own, and it is the only kayak created especially for stand up paddling and stand up fishing.
Sooner or later you will lose balance (stuff happens – you can be sure about that!), and for such cases you need to have a ‘Plan B’, which would be to fall down on something that’s high enough to stop your fall as well as support you.
You don’t want to fall all the way down on your kayak’s deck since it will cause you to fall overboard. You definitely don’t want to slip either, and therefore your feet must be secure where you stand.
Our Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak is the only kayak featuring a 14″ high saddle that you can fall down on at will, swiftly, and when you choose. The W-saddle has a hull on each side, and you ride it with each of your legs supported by its own hull, and your feet planted at the bottom, several inches below waterline. Being positioned that low is what makes your feet really effective for stabilization and control.
For these reasons you’ll never be truly confident or comfortable standing on top of any sit-on-top (SOT) kayak, even if staged pictures and movies may show you people standing on their SOT kayaks and fishing.
You must remember that neither sit-in nor SOT kayaks were invented for stand up paddling or fishing in the first place.  Some people are capable of pedaling a unicycle while juggling oranges, and others can hop between wooden logs floating on a river. Does it mean you can do it? Would you even like to try?
-What’s the point in taking the risk of falling overboard anytime you go fishing? -Would you feel confident standing up on an unstable platform?

6. What about very wide SOT kayaks?

SOT kayaks with very wide hulls track poorly and are hard to paddle, and they may be stabler than narrow ones, but definitely not stable enough when it comes to paddling and fishing in confidence. This is because most of a SOT kayak’s buoyancy (that’s what actually supports your weight) is distributed along its hull’s center line, where it is useless for effective stabilization. If you want a kayak that’s stable you need to design it with all its buoyancy on its sides – exactly as it is in the Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak. In fact, the W-kayak has no buoyancy wasted along its center line since 100% of its buoyancy is located on its two sides – as far as possible from the center line.

7. And what about SOT kayaks with outriggers? (stabilizers)

The use of outriggers, whether as add-ons or integrated into the hull can improve your kayak’s stability, but not enough for stand up paddling and fishing in full confidence, which is what you really need.
This is because kayak outriggers are located in the back part of your kayak’s hull, and therefore may support extra weight and pressure only if you apply them towards the back. Such outriggers are nothing more than a gimmick if you’re applying your weight forward and sideways, and you can be certain that when you’re standing up you’ll have to do that often.
Remember: stuff happens in real life, and water is always wet, and sometimes it can be cold, and deep.
Between attached and integrated outriggers the latter offer reduced stability because of the fact that their center of buoyancy isn’t located as far away from the kayak’s center line, where it would offer more support. It’s simply a bad idea when stability is concerned, and traditional outriggers offer a better support.
Furthermore, integrated outriggers coming out of the main hull form a Y shaped hull which is probably the most ineffective form ever created when it comes to paddling, or any other form of propulsion. In other words don’t count on such design for paddling.

8. Differences between kayaks for stand up paddling and stand up fishing

Both need to be extremely stable, but there are differences in requirements.
A stand up paddling kayak is required to be narrow as possible, since it makes it easier to move the paddle efficiently and ergonomically, as it is in regular (seated) paddling. A kayak that’s too wide would under perform in stand up paddling, as it would in seated paddling.
A stand up fishing kayak needs to be even more stable than a stand up paddling one because the paddle may help you balance yourself, while a fishing rod would be ineffective for this purpose. This is where the location of the kayak’s buoyancy becomes critical, as does the location of your legs and feet.
The Wavewalk® 500 is only 29″ wide, and yet, due to its revolutionary design that was granted a US utility patent, it is the stablest fishing kayak out there.
This means that once you’ve learned to properly operate the W-kayak, you’ll benefit from its unique features, while other kayaks simply don’t have such a broad performance envelope to begin with, and would never offer you anything that even comes close.
Again, we recommend the you watch our demo movies for a start, and judge for yourself.

9. What happens when you catch a fish standing up in a kayak?

After casting for some time you’ll probably hook up a fish. If that fish doesn’t manage to make you lose your balance and fall overboard you’d need to land it in or on top of your kayak… and then what? If getting up from the seated position and going back down to it is hard to begin with, how does it feel when you have sit down while holding a fishing rod in one hand or both hands, and there’s a good size fish dangling at the end of your line?
Obviously, this doesn’t make much sense, and it’s another example that shows how important it is to have something to fall back on easily and intuitively (a ‘Plan B’), which in this case means (again) safely and comfortably. This is where the W-saddle comes into action: It’s 14″ high, and it’s waiting for you to sit down and drop the fish in one of the hulls, where it has nowhere to go, and won’t cause you any problem.  In comparison, other fishing kayaks feature a seat that’s as low as possible – practically at deck level, and nowhere to park the struggling fish except in your lap…

If you’re interested in learning more about kayak design for better stability, we recommend the following article ».
Never judge a kayak by stand up pictures or movies shot under regular conditions – It may look nice and cool but it’s meaningless for you since it doesn’t show performance in ‘what if’ conditions.
Many things can and will destabilize you, including fish, wind, eddies, waves, wind and your own, inevitable moments of inattention.
What you need to be able to judge is the ‘what if’ performance, and our demo movies will prove to you that no other kayak compares to our Wavewalk® 500 twinhull kayak.

This article would be incomplete without providing more information about what people who fish standing in their Wavewalk® 500 kayak have to say about their real-life experience with it. Our website offers over 200 Wavewalk Fishing Kayak reviews contributed by such people, including full name and state, and in most cases pictures too.

10. Motorized stand up fishing kayaks-

Electric trolling motors vs. gas outboard motors, transom mounts vs side mounts, offshore and inland – and more.

Stand up kayak - motorized
Read the article »
MUST WATCH MOVIE:
Paddling standing in Coot Tunnel, in the everglades
Stand up paddling in Coot Bay Tunnel, in the everglades, a movie by Steve Lucas »

11. Stand up Wavewalk® 500 fishing kayak pictures, and what they could mean for you

Pictures of young, lightweight and athletic fishermen standing in their kayak look nice, but they don’t necessarily mean that you can do it too, and feel confident and safe while you fish.
More about the stability in fishing kayaks »

 

Bob holding his 2nd snook standing in his kayak
Bob Smaldone – Standing carefree in full stability and confidence in his Wavewalk® 500, at 70
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Jeff McGovern – Stand up with no balancing act in the Wavewalk® 500, even if you’re 6’3″ tall, 245 lbs heavy, and middle aged
tandem-fishing-standing-in-stand-up-kayak
Family Fishing Day, by Chris Henderson »
two teenagers and one kid standing up in their green fishing kayak - Arizona
The Sellards – Multiple passengers can stand in the Wavewalk® 500 kayak too
Bill standing and casting in his fly fishing kayak, Eel River, MA
Bill Davenport – 6’3″ tall, sixty something, and with an artificial knee – Standing and fly fishing in
saltwater in his camouflaged Wavewalk® 500
Senior_fisherman_fishing_standing_in_his_kayak WA
Ken Short – 70 y/o – Any fisherman should be able to stand up in their kayak
Stand up kayak - tandem
Stand up paddling is an essential part of kayak fishing standing
Rox_standing_in_her_fishing_kayak_holding_a_3_lbs_largemouth_bass
Rox Davis standing in her Wavewalk® 500 – You should be standing on the bottom of the kayak’s hulls, below waterline, and not on top of its deck
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Gary Thorberg is a big guy whose passion is fly fishing standing in his Wavewalk® 500 kayak. His favorite species are musky, carp and bass
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Norm Craig – Being elderly, heavy and suffering from a bad back isn’t a problem when you fish out of a Wavewalk® 500
Bob_fly_fishing_standing_in_his_kayak_Florida
Standing up is an essential part of fly fishing
big_guy_standing_in_camo_kayak_battling_smallmouth_mink_river
6’3″ 250 lbs John Fabina fishing standing out of his Wavewalk® 500 – Big and tall anglers need to be able to cast freely, and enjoy the same range of motion and stability they are used to when fishing from big boats
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Jeff McGovern standing in his Wavewalk® 500 and retrieving a fishing lure stuck up a tree Standing up in a kayak means having the capability to focus on things that are important to you, and not having to pay attention to keeping your balance
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Bassin thick weed in the stand up kayak »

 

The Ozello boys on Kayak Angler magazine

Congratulations and thanks to Gary Rankel and his friends, who feature on ‘Grip and Grin’, Kayak Angler magazine’s online section dedicated to self submitted stories and pictures.
The story is named ‘Grip and Grin Wavewalk Snook’ after Bob Smaldone’s memorable catch 🙂

About Kayak Angler magazine

Kayak Angler magazine is published by Rapid Media, a company based in Ontario, Canada, which started as a paddle sports media company.
Kayak Angler first appeared in 2007. It is published online as well as in 4 paperback issues per year.

The kayak fishing media

The kayak fishing market in North America is covered by hundreds of online magazines, various websites in forum and blog formats, and paperback magazines. This plethora of media include online outlets that are specific to kayaks and fishing from them, as well as other media that primarily cover recreational fishing in a broad angle. The latter media allocate parts of their online and printed production capabilities to the kayak fishing market.
Like several other online and printed paddling magazines and websites, Kayak Angler’s publishing company diversified into fishing as the kayaking market matured and slowed down while kayak fishing was on the rise.

And last but not least on this list of kayak fishing related media are company blogs and websites such as Wavewalk’s Fishing Kayak Blog, which is considered by many of its fans as the best source of information for sensible kayak anglers, which are people who like to stay dry and comfy…  These people are perfectly aware of the fact that our blog is edited and published by a kayak manufacturer, but they also appreciate the fact that it exposes and discusses in depth the severe problems that many anglers suffer from when they try to fish from kayaks.
The latter can’t always be said about other media that depend on revenues from various advertisers, of which some offer over hyped kayaks that are suitable for neither fishing nor paddling, precisely because of such problems as our blog highlights. These ergonomic problems get critical as the angler gets older, and in case they suffer from physical disabilities, especially ones related to back pain, balance, arthritis, joint replacement in the legs, overweight, etc.

Sponsored kayak fishing media

Some other kayak manufacturers have become involved in the publishing business as well, but in a different way: They ‘sponsor’ kayak fishing websites directly, or through ‘sponsoring’ their owners. This way, the commercial affiliation is covert, or partly covert, which is an important thing for someone who’s concerned about their credibility…
In these cases, Sponsorship is a term used to describe financial support in return of the sponsored party endorsing the manufacturer’s brands and products.
It happens that sponsored individuals and their websites don’t stop at the endorsement stage, and they actively promote these brands and products, both overtly and covertly. Sometimes they even bash other brands and products, although this is usually done under alias 😉
In contrast, when we bash other brands and products, we do it here on our blog, under our own identity, and out of courtesy we don’t publish the name of the bashed brand or product  😀

How effective are outriggers for your fishing kayak’s stability?

What is an outrigger?

An outrigger is defined as a framework supporting a float extended outboard from the side of a boat for increasing stability. In kayaks, outriggers usually come in a pair mounted at the rear, so as to interfere as little as possible with the kayaker’s paddling and fishing activities.

Why are fishing kayaks required to be so stable?

A fishing kayak is required to be stabler than other kayaks for a number of reasons –

  1. The first reason is because the kayak’s operator is often busy fishing, which means they cannot pay much attention to balancing their kayak as they scout for fish, operate their fishing gear, and handle a fish they just caught.
  2. The second reason is that people who paddle sit-in, SOT or hybrid kayaks do it while being seated in the L position, with their legs stretched in front of them in a way that prevents them from being effective for balancing. This is the reason why the paddle is the principal means such paddlers have for stabilizing these kayaks, and this means that it’s easier for them to keep their balance while they’re holding their paddle and preferably using it for paddling.
  3. The third reason is that people who pedal a kayak find it even harder to balance it, as their legs activate the pedal drive from the kayak’s center line, with their feet l moving high over the deck. In this awkward position the legs are prevented from contributing even the little help in balancing that they could have contributed in a paddling mode. This makes the notion of a hands free pedal fishing kayak part of the realm of fantasy (a.k.a. hype).
  4. The fourth reason is that some people who believe sit-in and SOT manufacturers’ hype try to fish standing in or on their kayak, only to find out that in reality they don’t feel stable enough, and balancing their kayak comes at a price of a continuous effort, both in physical and mental terms, i.e. micro-adjustments and focus.
  5. The fifth reason is that some people have balancing problems resulting from a deficient sense of balance, a neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS), artificial knees or hips, or simply because of old age or just because they’re big and tall.
  6. The sixth reason why people look to outfit their fishing kayak with outriggers is because when they outfit it with a powerful motor the higher speed increases the chance of accidents, which calls for improved stability.

How do outriggers work to increase a kayak’s stability?

An outrigger’s float is a buoyant object who’s much lighter than water. As such, an outrigger can resist downward pressure that’s pushing it into the water. Being attached at a considerable distance from the kayak’s longitudinal center line gives the outrigger’s float a mechanical advantage over whatever that pushes the kayak’s main hull downward on the same side, such as the kayaker’s own weight. This mechanical advantage enhances the outrigger’s effectiveness in stability terms.
I other words, the bigger the outrigger’s floats are and the further away they’re attached from the kayak’s center line, the stabler that kayak is likely to be.
In contrast, small outriggers that are attached close to the kayak’s hull, or outriggers that are part of the kayak’s hull and are deployed sideways by a lever system have a small effect on the kayak’s overall stability.

How effective are outriggers in terms of increased stability?

Small outriggers offer some initial (primary) stability, so they can have a psychological effect of diminishing the paddler’s fears and boosting their confidence. But when push comes to shove, that is in case of an accident or even a common case of lost balance, small outriggers offer too little secondary stability to prevent the kayak from seriously tilting, which is enough to dump its passengers overboard. This is especially true if the kayaker happens to be standing up or elderly, big and tall, suffering from balance disabilities etc.  – In other words, people who have a better reason to use outriggers in the first place are also more likely to lose balance and fall overboard because the outriggers they use are not big and buoyant enough. This is to say that between using small outriggers and using none, the latter option has some advantages…

Folding outriggers that are integrated into the rear end of the kayak’s hull and deployed outward by means of a lever have the same effect as small outriggers. Such kayak offers little stability when its folding outriggers are not deployed outward, and when its outriggers are in the open position the overall stability it offers is comparable to the overall stability offered by a regular wide SOT kayak with no outriggers. This means that if you have no intention of fishing standing on the deck of a big regular fishing kayak, you shouldn’t even consider a kayak that features outriggers that are integrated into its main hull, even if the manufacturer of such kayaks is seen stating in a promotional video that their product offers (quote): “the buoyancy equivalence of an 8 ft wide boat” (end quote)… BTW, the beauty of such a statement is that because it’s so obviously and ridiculously false, it probably fails to mislead anyone.

Light rigs – Outriggers built from thin, small-diameter aluminum tubes might bend or snap when exposed to strong pressure. This is especially true if the floats are big and located at a big distance from the kayak itself.
Outriggers made from thin steel rods can bend, and outriggers made from thin wooden beams can break.
Outriggers poorly attached to the kayak could get torn out of their place in case of an accident.

Can outriggers create problems in paddling and fishing?

Indeed they do, and these problems are worth consideration:

1. Extra drag

Typical outriggers are several times shorter than the kayak’s hull itself. This means that as the kayak moves, the outriggers move at speeds that are many times higher than their own hull speed (Froude number). This generates a disproportionately large amount of Residual resistance (Rr) as well as extra Frictional resistance (Fr), and the kayaker feels their combined effect as extra drag on the kayak, which makes it slower and much harder to paddle.
But this is not the end of the drag story, since the outriggers also generate their own wakes, which interact with the wake generated by the kayak’s main hull in a manner that increases turbulence and works to further increase drag. This additional unwanted effect is especially strong in outriggers that are mounted close to the kayak’s hull.
And if this wasn’t enough, outriggers also increase the kayak’s exposure to the wind, and this tends to reduce the kayak’s directional stability. In other words, it’s almost impossible to paddle a kayak outfitted with outriggers if you don’t outfit it with a rudder as well. But since rudders reduce the kayak’s speed by 10% in average, it’s possible to say that a kayak outfitted with outriggers is not one you’d like to paddle simply because paddling it would prove to be to hard for you, unless you’re out for a short trip on flat water.

2. Extra weight – problems with transporting and carrying

Let’s face it – fishing kayaks are the heaviest kayaks out there.  Many fishing kayaks weigh over 70 lbs, and the most barge-like of them weigh up to 120 lbs. Such size already makes it impossible for many anglers to car top their kayak, and forces them to transport it on a trailer, which clearly defies the purpose of kayak fishing in yet another way.
A pair of outriggers can weigh over 20 lbs, which transforms even a kayak of reasonable weight into a barge in terms of transportation and carrying it to the beach and from it back you one’s vehicle.

3. Mobility problems

Kayaks equipped with outriggers simply don’t move as well as other kayaks do. This is true for shallow water with obstacles, seaweed or grass, for rocky beaches (‘rock gardens’), and for moving water where the outriggers make the kayak harder to steer and control.

4. Fishing problems

When you fish out of any boat including a kayak, you strive to get out of your way any object that could interfere with your fishing lines, whether when you cast, reel in a fish or land it.  Outriggers are large size and intricate structures that are located close to the kayak, and as such present a constant threat to your lines – In fact, people who fish out of kayaks with outriggers are always careful to cast as far as possible from their kayak’s rear end, and since most kayaks already present typical restrictions on anglers, any additional limitations are not welcome, by definition.

What is the best type of outriggers for my fishing kayak?

Ideally, you’d want your kayak outriggers to be as long as possible, so they generate as little drag as possible when the kayak moves in the water. After all, you want to go places, which is why you got a kayak in the first place.
You also want the outriggers to be as big as possible so they have more buoyancy, and thus work better to provide the required additional lateral stability. As far as you’re concerned, outriggers are mission critical!
You want the outriggers to be attached to the middle section of the kayak, so they work to provide stability on its sides and not just in its rear, where you don’t necessarily need it – As they say: Location, location, location!
You want the outriggers to be as small as possible, so they don’t weigh too much. Kayaks are supposed to be lightweight, remember?
You want the outriggers to be attached to the kayak’s rear end, at a good distance from you, so they won’t interfere with your fishing activities… After all, fishing is what got you to buy the kayak in the first place, right?

Bottom line: There’s no such thing as ideal outriggers, which is why you need to carefully weigh the whole idea before you go forward with it.

Are outriggers even necessary with a W500 kayak?

We recommend outriggers for a W kayak being sailed, and by this we mean real sailing with a large size, powerful upwind rig (i.e. not merely a ‘kayak sail’). This is because of the considerable destabilizing lateral forces produced while sailing such a big rig in strong wind, and because we think that most recreational sailors lack the experience and skills needed to sail a W kayak under such circumstances.  Furthermore, we recommend that such outriggers be sturdy and of large size so they may provide enough support to compensate for the sailor’s lack of agility, experience, etc…

Otherwise, people who suffer from a severe balance deficiency that prevents them from sensing the kayak or reacting effectively (e.g. multiple sclerosis) should consider the benefit of adding a pair of outriggers to their W kayak.

Anglers who want to stand on top of a poling platform stretching over the cockpit of their W kayak may gain stability by adding outriggers to their setup, but they would gain more stability, convenience and safety by standing inside the cockpit, on the bottom of the kayak’s twin hulls, with their feet located below waterline – like all other stand up W kayak anglers do. The W design works better than anything else as far as stability is concerned.

When it comes to motorizing (i.e. outfitting the kayak with a powerful outboard motor), outriggers might complicate steering because of the high speed involved, meaning that an outrigger hitting a wave at 8 mph would affect both the kayak’s directional stability and its lateral stability (balance). This in itself is an unwanted effect that could have safety implications. As for outriggers that stay out of the water, their effect is limited to begin with, since they are rather ineffective for adding initial (primary) stability, and by the time they come in contact with the water and start preventing the kayak from further tilting (i.e. provide secondary stability), the kayaker may have already lost their balance and gone overboard.  Attaching large size flotation modules to the kayak’s sides seems to be a preferable solution.

Outriggers are impractical for paddling a W kayak in tandem, because the presence of the outrigger near the stern would restrict the motion of the rear paddler’s paddle.