Tag Archive: kayak paddling

More on the New 2008 W Kayak Side-Saddle Position

paddling side saddle in fishing kayakThe 2008 W Kayak offers two new positions: Side-Saddle, and the Riding-Over.

The side-saddle position is a stable and comfortable but static position for fishing or resting while your feet are cooling in the water.

 
side saddle in fishing kayak
It’s possible to paddle in this position, although not in fast moving water or for long distances. You can paddle on both sides of the boat: The one you’re facing and the one behind you. It’s not particularly difficult, and takes little time to learn. Paddling in this position can be useful when you’re fishing and you need to reposition the boat.

kayak fisherman fishing side-saddle in W fishing kayakThe new side-saddle position adds another option to choose from when you feel like changing positions and relieve your fatigue, and it’s fun!

 

 

 

woman sitting side saddle in fishing kayak

Paddling Over Submerged Obstacles in Shallow Water

Whether you’re on a paddling or fishing trip in shallow water, you don’t want to have to turn back, or worse – get stuck somewhere because of underwater obstacles. Such obstacles may be rocks, tree roots, fallen branches and fallen trees that prevent you from reaching your destination, be it an interesting place to tour or a promising spot to fish in.

If you have to turn back the W solution is either to paddle backwards, or turn the boat, or turn yourself inside the cockpit and face the direction from which you came from: The W kayak is fully symmetrical front and back and it feels the same paddling forward and backward.

Another strategy you can try is poling with your paddle (preferably the Wavewalk PSP), or going over the submerged obstacle – whether it’s top part is underwater or even a few inches above water:
You position yourself at the back of the cockpit, thus raising your W kayak’s bow. Then you paddle forward full speed and try to get the boat to go as forward as possible over the barrier. If you succeeded in getting the middle of the boat pas the obstacle you’re almost there, and you’ll have to move swiftly to the front part of the cockpit and thus make your W kayak tilt forward and go over the obstacle.
It may not be as easy as it sounds, but practice makes perfect, and in this case it’s fun too.
It’s also great to know that you’ve gone where no other canoe or kayak could go…
This video shows how it’s done:

Getting Trapped in a Kayak

Kayakers call this type of accident ‘Entrapment’ (which in regular English is a juridical term…)
However, in the world of kayaking entrapment is described as a situation where the paddler’s lower body, or a part of it (E.G. leg, foot) is caught inside the hull while the kayaker is trying to retrieve it from there during a ‘wet exit’, that is while attempting to leave his or her kayak and swim.
Imagine yourself in turbulent water, your kayak overturned, you’ve been ‘pumped out’ of it (by gravity) or you’re just trying to perform a ‘wet exit’ – and you’re ‘entrapped’.
It’s not merely a stupid situation – it’s actually a very dangerous one.

How can such thing happen?
It’s a fact: Whitewater, sea and surf kayakers who paddle monohull sit-in kayaks (SIK) attach themselves to their boats with a watertight accessory called ‘spray skirt’. This garment is made from strong fabric, usually Neoprene reinforced with  rubber, and it’s tightly secured both to the kayak as well as to the paddler’s body by various mechanical means in order to prevent water from leaking in, or the skirt coming out of its place. Being well secured is especially important during a recovery maneuver that such SIK kayakers perform called ‘Eskimo Roll’ – when their kayak is upside down.

As in other outdoor sports the rule of thumb in kayaking is ‘Stuff Happens’. Since kayaking accidents are by definition events characterized by the reduced control the kayaker has over what’s going on, it can happen that SIK kayakers remain attached to their kayaks against their will, I.E. they are ‘entrapped’ inside to some degree.
Such situations are particularly hazardous if the accident occurs in turbulent water (E.G. big surf) and ‘rock gardens’ (beaches with underwater rocks), which is often the case.

Why am I talking about this?
W Kayaks are not equipped with such spray skirts, and W kayakers don’t perform Eskimo Rolls, and so far no one has ever reported any W Kayak accident involving any degree of ‘entrapment’.
Nevertheless, I feel it’s important to explain this issue and discuss it because it highlights the necessity for accelerating the paradigm shift in paddlesports safety: Most paddlers today wouldn’t even consider using kayaks equipped with spray skirts anymore, and they have chosen to paddle stabler kayaks rather than ones requiring paddlers to have a ‘Bomb Proof Eskimo Roll’ (I.E. 100% reliable under all circumstances).  In other words, people have generally voted against those sit-in monohull kayaks (SIK) that demand a high level of expertise in this overrated recovery maneuver that too few people can actually depend on.  The problem is that too many kayakers out there still use that type of spray skirt without possessing a ‘Bomb Proof Eskimo Roll’, and by that are exposing themselves to the danger of being ‘entrapped’ in their kayaks.

A Picture Tells

This picture of Jane Taylor is not recent but I chose to write about it on this blog because it’s significant to me.

It says “I did it!” and “I can do it!” and “Life is great!” or all of the above – and I really like it.

I think it’s Jane’s husband Charles (Chuck) who shot this picture on their trip to Florida. They went there by motor home and paddled together.

Yoav

Jane T on the Ichetucknee river, Florida

2008 W Kayak Models

(Added May 08, 2008) –

One of the typical things that happen with a good design is that after people actually begin using it they discover new advantages it offers, and new things it enables.

The 2008 model has already exceeded our initial expectations by offering two new positions:

Side-saddle , and Riding-over

————————————————————————–

Original post:

I guess many have asked themselves what made Wavewalk modify our kayak design in the 2008 models.
The answer is a bit long:
First, we wanted to do counter affect the rising cost of shipping, and cutting two inches from the spray deflector’s top resulted in a 10% reduction in the overall nominal volume of the standard package we ship to the customer.
Second, we’ve noticed that some people preferred a more rigid cockpit rim, so we made it broader, thicker and more robust. Now they got what they wanted.
Third, we wanted to help small children (5-6 year old) paddle without having to stand up, and lowering the spray deflector offers just that.
Fourth, we wanted to make it even easier to step into the cockpit and out of it, and that’s really where one can say ‘the best gets better’.
Fifth, we thought that a deep and narrow hull was a perfect place to drag a powerful and energetic fish into while it’s fighting to get free. Lowering the cockpit rim enables the W kayak fisherman to swiftly ‘drag and drop’ the fish out of the water and into a hull with minimal effort, and let the fish calm down a bit before being taken care of – without causing a mess on the deck or worse – in the fisherman’s lap.
Sixth, we realized that although capsize and deep water re-entries are quite rare we’d better offer the paddler a more comfortable way back in, and again – a lower cockpit rim was the solution.
Seventh, a lower spray deflector enables W paddlers to move the paddle faster from side to side whether they’re canoing or kayaking their W.
Eighth, well, we felt we needed to show something new…

To compensate for the 2″ of protection lost we equipped all 2008 models with a preparation for a cockpit cover.
This means that W paddlers can paddle the 2008 models in the surf or in fast rivers as well as in bad weather while being better protected than they were before.

Yoav

kayak cockpit closeup