Tag Archive: leg pain

No Back Pain

Biomechanical and Ergonomic Solutions in Kayak Design

This article defines the causes of back pain and discomfort that most people feel when paddling kayaks and fishing from them. It also explains how Wavewalk’s patented invention solves these problems, and why people who paddle these kayaks and fish out of them feel neither back pain nor any other discomfort after long hours, including people with various disabilities, back problems and excess weight, as well as elderly people.

CONTENT

  1. Defining the problem
  2. What causes the problem
  3. Search in the right direction
  4. Engineering the optimal solution
  5. The riding posture
  6. The benefits of super stability
  7. Casting and fighting fish
  8. The cockpit 

 

 

 

1. Defining The Problem

Have you ever fished out of a kayak? If you did, you’ve probably noticed that something is wrong… Simply put, you weren’t feeling comfortable, and you may even experienced pain in your back and legs, and after some time, all you could wish for was to get out of that kayak as soon as possible, even if the fish were biting…

The problem you’ve experienced is simple, and sooner or later anyone who paddles kayaks and fishes from them faces it: Spending long hours
paddling and fishing in or on top of an ordinary kayak, whether it’s a sit-in, hybrid or sit-on-top (SOT) inevitably causes some circulation problems and leg numbness, occasional cramps, pain in your lower back, and often fatigue and discomfort in your shoulders and neck.
In fact, kayaking is so closely associated with back pain that kayakers commonly appear in TV ads for back painkillers and pain relief patches.

After you begin seeking information about your problem and advice on ways to solve it, you realize that the only thing that really works is paddling back to shore, standing up, and performing the exercises that physiotherapists recommend for kayakers.
In other words, there is no gear that you can outfit your ordinary kayak with that can provide an effective and long lasting solution to any of these symptoms, because they occur as a result of you being seated in the L position – the traditional sitting position in kayaks,
with your legs stretched in front of you while pushing your back against your seat’s backrest.

 

2. What Causes this Problem?

Being Seated In The Traditional, L Kayaking Position

The problem is caused by a combination of two things:

1.   Being seated in a non ergonomic position to start with, and
2.   Being unable to switch to other positions and release the stress that builds up in the critical pressure points in your body, especially in your legs and lower back.

Have you ever asked yourself why is it that the traditional, L kayaking position is used only in ordinary kayaks and in no other land, snow or water equipment?  The answer is that it’s because although the L position is the worst for you it’s simply the only one that ordinary kayaks can offer.

Double Trouble: The Combined Effect of Horizontal and Vertical Pressure on Your Lower Back:

L kayaking positionFigure 1.  Horizontal Pressure

Figure 1 on the left shows the horizontal pressure that your legs exert on your lower back in the traditional L position used in all ordinary kayaks including both sit-in (SIK) and sit-on-top (SOT).

The pressure points in the lower back region can cause irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve (sciatica) felt as pain traveling from the lower region of your back down across your lower thigh.
Foot braces and other support for your feet actually increase the horizontal pressure that your legs exert on your lower back.
The back support and foot braces may hold you in your torso in place and prevent you from falling backwards or slipping downward, but they also limit your freedom of movement, increase pressure on your lower back, cause leg numbness and cramps and result in increased fatigue.

Native people of the Arctic circle who were the first to make and paddle kayaks used neither back rests nor foot braces simply because they were accustomed since infancy to sitting on the floor with their legs stretched forward, unlike us modern Westerners who lose this ability in early childhood when we learn to sit on chairs.

L Kayaking Position 2

Figure 2.  Vertical Pressure (Weight)

Figure 2 on the left shows the heavy vertical
pressure (weight) applied on the lower part of your spine when you’re seated in the traditional L kayaking position.

The same sensitive area in your spine that’s pressurized horizontally by your legs pushing on it is being pressurized even more by the combined weight of your torso and thighs, that is nearly all your body weight.
Your legs are prevented from supporting your body weight in this position.

In addition, sitting in the L position without being able to change your body position increases your fatigue and discomfort, and reduces both performance and fun.
Cushioning your seat doesn’t really solve any of these problems since all it can do is spread the pressure from a single point to a wider
area, but the combined pressure is still there and it keeps working on your lower back all the time. Sooner or later you feel very
uncomfortable, and sometime it’s too late since you’ve already been injured.
Kayaking in the L position with no adequate support for either back or feet is not a sensible solution for modern anglers and paddlers who have to spend hours kayaking and fishing from this low and uncomfortable position.

Food for thought:

If you had to perform some hard work or other physical activity in any position of your choice, would you even consider doing it sitting with your legs stretched forward like this?
Do you fish or do you know anybody who fishes seated in this position from shore or from any other type of fishing boat?
-The answer is: No.

 

 

More food for thought:

 

Airplane coach seats are fairly comfortable – certainly more than regular kayak seats, but why is it that after some time most people feel uneasy sitting in them?  The answer is that the limited space makes it difficult for you to change positions, which leads to the buildup of discomfort and fatigue to a point where many people feel they must stand up and stretch, and those who can afford it promise themselves to fly first class next time – if only for the extra legroom.

Not all damages are felt immediately.
Sometimes it takes years for the damage to accumulate, and by then it might be too late to fix it.  This is true for back and shoulder problems.

Read more about kayaking back pain and leg numbness »

3. Search in the Right Direction

What do cross-country motorbikes, mountain bikes, horses, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and personal watercraft (PWC) have in common? It’s the fact that their user operates them in the Riding Position.
And what do skiing, surfing, water skiing, dog sledding, snowboarding, windsurfing, skating and skateboarding have in common? -The Standing Position.
This is simply because the Riding and Standing positions are the best for you in both ergonomic and biomechanic terms, which means they offer best control and more power, and result in less fatigue and injuries.
When we need to make long efforts during motion we have more available power and better control standing or sitting with our legs lower than our upper body (biomechanical advantage), and we also feel more comfortable and less tired this way (ergonomic advantage).

4. Engineering the Optimal Solution

Freedom to Choose = Less Fatigue = Enhanced Comfort =  More Fun + Healthier Paddling and Fishing

Only the W kayak solution departs radically from the L position and offers a new, comprehensive and effective approach to all ergonomic and biomechanical issues in paddling and paddle fishing.
The new, patented W Kayak re-distributes buoyancy from the boat’s longitudinal axis all the way to its two sides, and thus offers maximal support to the user’s balancing, control, steering, propulsion and fishing efforts.
The central part of the W Kayak, its ‘backbone’, which joins the two hulls, is shaped like a long, 14″ high saddle.
W kayakers can move back and forth along the saddle, according to their need (e.g. tandem, surfing, paddling in strong wind, launching, etc.). They can also switch anytime between numerous ergonomic positions, as shown below:

 

5. Riding (Mounted)

The Natural Position

Riding is the most stable, comfortable and powerful paddling position, and it offers best control over your boat and the most leverage on
your paddle.
In the Riding position your thighs, legs and feet are positioned directly below your body and take active part in all your efforts: Balancing, Control and Paddling.
Riding is the best position for beginning W Kayakers. It is also the best position in whitewater and surfing applications.

W Kayaking -Riding Position

Note that your legs support your upper body from both sides, and your feet are in a direct vertical line below your body.

 

 

 

 

 

paddling a fishing kayak - top view For Fishing: Riding is the preferred position, rivaling only with standing. When you cast riding you have more power than when casting in the sitting position.
Riding a W Kayak is similar to mounting a pony:
Your upper body rests on the saddle and your thighs hold its sides, while each foot rests firmly on the bottom of a hull, as it would in a stirrup.
This position is similar to the riding position used in other high performance vehicles such All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), Snowmobiles, and Jet Skis.

Watch this slow-motion demo video of the Riding position:

 

 

Sitting

Leisure Positions

Sitting means having your legs positioned in front of your body.

Sitting positions are less stable and powerful than Riding, and not recommended for beginning W Kayakers, or for paddling in moving water. The sitting positions are good for relaxing on flat water.

Adding a back rest (lumbar support) is not necessary in the W kayak, and few W kayakers choose to outfit their boat with such an accessory.

W Kayaking -Sitting Position - regular

Variations:

1. Regular sitting, which is similar to sitting in a canoe
2. Sitting with both legs stretched forward
3. Mixed: one leg in the regular position and the other stretched forward

Standing

 

The Stand Up Kayak – For Real

Unfortunately, stand up paddling is often described as a feature offered by many kayaks and stand up paddle boards out there, but nothing could be further from the truth – In fact, when it comes to normal paddlers and anglers, who are neither lightweight nor extremely athletic, only W kayaks offer the possibility to paddle and fish standing up in comfort and confidence, and only W kayaks offer a critical safety feature in the form of a 14″ high saddle to fall on, in case you lose balance.

To understand what standing up in a kayak really means from all aspects, including ergonomics, safety, stability and balance, go to this website’s Stand Up Paddling and Fishing section »

You can paddle on both sides of the boat or just on one side- in parallel and with a J stroke.

After some practicing you can try to paddle standing in moving water and in the surf.

6. Super Stability

Nothing Compares

Stability is key to comfort and good ergonomics. The patented W Kayak offers unmatched stability trough a unique combination of three factors:

  1. The boat’s buoyancy is sensibly distributed along its sides, instead of being wasted along its central, longitudinal axis.
  2. The passengers make natural use of their legs and feet to balance themselves by shifting their weight sideways, from one leg to another, and  they apply this weight directly to the bottom of the hulls – below waterline, thus creating an effect of ‘dynamic ballast’.
  • The immersed profiles of the boat’s twin hulls act as multiple ‘Hard Chines’, thus offering maximal lateral resistance, and unmatched initial (primary) stability.

The effect of hard chines on kayak stabilityW Fishing Kayak – Front View

The W500 hulls at a 200 lb load.
Learn More About Kayak Stability »

Watch our demo movies »

 

 

 

7. Casting and Fighting Fish

The W Kayak offers you the ability to throw to longer distances, which presents two advantages:

1.   Being able to cover more water from a stationary position before you need to move  your kayak
2.   Some fish species can sense the presence of your kayak nearby and therefore are better caught from a distance.

For more information visit our website’s Shallow Water Fishing section »

When fighting powerful fish you want to be in full control of your
kayak, and the W kayak offers you all the means for it. Read More »

 

 

8. The Cockpit – A Place To Be In, And Work In

Your kayak’s cockpit has other functions besides protecting you and offering you optimal comfort.  It is also a workplace in which you store your gear and handle it. In W kayaks all the gear you need is within arm’s reach, and there’s no chance of it going overboard since in case it slips out of your hand it would end at the bottom of one of the hulls, where it’s easy for you to find and reach it.

Can I outfit the W kayak cockpit with a seat on top of its saddle?

Most W kayakers don’t add anything to their W kayak’s saddle, because they find it perfectly comfortable.
Some people cover the saddle with a blanket or a thin foam mattress.
Adding a kayak seat to the W kayak saddle is easy, but virtually no one does it. We know of a couple W anglers who outfitted their W kayaks with lightweight swivel chairs, and a couple more who added a DIY reclining back rest because of scoliosis problems.
In fact, you can simply drop a plastic chair or a lawn chair in the cockpit, as seen here in this image, but hardly no one does it, simply because the W saddle offers the best comfort.

Lawn chair added to the cockpit of a fly fishing kayakRead more about what it’s like to fish from a lawn chair in your W kayak’s cockpit »

 

 

 

 

 

More reading

 

Children kayak fishing User Manual: Launching, paddling, fishing, recovery

My Wavewalk 500, by Steve Lucas

I live in Southeastern Florida, close to the Everglades, and I fish both freshwater and saltwater.
I have been buying and flipping a lot of different boats in my endless search for a car top, light weight, shallow draft, stand up fishing, flats poling, gas motoring, electric motoring, great paddling, straight tracking, comfortable, gear packing, easy launching, rugged fishing boat that I don’t have to worry about scratching gel coat at ramps and Everglades launch sites.
I knew this was a lot to ask from one vessel but I am nothing if not stubborn.
I kept looking and looking and recently got a WaveWalk W500 Kayak. I am not done testing or learning about this boat but I think I may be able to check off the box that says “all of the above”.

First test

I took the W500 over to Chokoloskee for a test paddle I was well pleased with the boat’s paddling, tracking, car topping, comfort and stand up fishing capabilities.
The W500 is not a “barge”. It tracks extremely well and moves quickly through the water. You can put a really powerful stroke on this boat using a long shaft paddle.
There’s a learning curve to paddling a W500. You “ride” this boat as opposed to sitting in it. You can stand up and feel very stable doing so anytime you feel the urge.
This boat is only 29 inches wide. It’s the same width as my [15.5 ft long touring kayak].

I’m nowhere near done messing around or rigging/configging the W.

In my opinion the W 500 is not a kayak, canoe or catamaran. It’s a horse of a different color. I really, really like this boat so far.  It’s also a dream to carry and lift. I just tip it up, walk under it and let it fall on my shoulders.
Weight is relative. All my boats have been near to 100 pounds. Most of the fishing kayaks that they’re selling now are near to 100 pounds, and therefore 60 pounds for me is very lightweight.
So the W 500 lets me stand more easily at about half the weight of the barges.
I’m not fully versed on the W paddling yet but from what I’ve done so far I’m impressed with the tracking and speed.

The storage on the W is huge but it’s a different kind of storage space. You just need to rethink how you stow stuff. I carried my 8 foot stake out pole in the bottom of the hull all day and never stepped on it.
It’s going to be fun to rig this boat because you can get to every area like a canoe.

Laying down to rest on the W saddle when the rods are in rod holders is a no brainer. It’s something you can do in a W500 that you probably would have a hard time doing in any other paddle craft. You can lay down at will, completely horizontal with no problem. There’s no gear or seat to move out of the way – just lay down. I’ll be watching the next meteor shower stretched out under the stars I think.
You can also easily use the W 500 and not get your feet wet at all, or your butt or your legs or your crotch.

When I got back the launch I figured I try dis-embarking without using the ramp. I stood up and got out on the floating dock. I grabbed the boat and dragged it up on the floating dock without any effort at all. Then I took it one step further and dragged the boat onto the marina from the floating dock. It was easy as pie. No bull. Drag over possibilities with a W 500 are numerous.

Another thing you can do in a W 500 is move forward or backward to lift or drop the bow. It lets get up on obstructions or anything else quite easily. You can’t do that in a regular SOT. I can’t wait to plow into some skinny and just move backwards to get off the flat without ski poling.

I was really surprised at how well the W paddled. I was looking at some video I took while heading in to the launch and I noticed that the W has a lot more glide than my [fast 15 ft long kayak]. This is from a dead stop. Watch the bow of the boat when I drop the paddle and pick up the fishing pole.


Note that I’m 230 lbs.

 

Chokoloskee-park-fishing-kayak

rigged-fishing-kayak-chokoloskee-park

rigged-fishing-kayak-chokoloskee-park (2)

small-draft-for-shallow-water

View of the bottom of the hull – small draft

 

view-from-fishing-kayak-cokpit

 

30-inch-snook

30-inch-snook-in-the-kayak's-cockpit

30 inch snook

docked

my-kayak-on-the-deck

scenic-view-of-the-park

scenic-view-of-the-park (2)

sitting-sideways

sunshine-on-the-water

view-from-the-cockpit

 

More testing

I took the W 500 down to Flamingo to test out paddling seated and standing on the flats. I am really impressed with the way the W paddles. I was going to try poling but it’s so easy to stand and use the paddle that I’ll save that for another trip.

I did some fishing but mostly I wanted to get into some currents and paddle the flats. I really enjoyed the comfort of the W as well. Not being stuck in the L position and being able to stand at will was such a pleasure.

bow-with-two-rod-holders

jack-crevalle-in-hand

scenic-view-of-the-water

stake-out-pole-in-the-water

unhooking-a-fish

 

Speed

I met up with a fishing buddy at Flamingo. We launched early and paddled out to Snake Bight. The skeeters were nowhere to be found and sorry to say so were the fish. We got a couple of hits and jumps from small Snook and Tarpon but nothing boated.
The day wasn’t a total loss because I got to stand and paddle the flats in complete comfort. The W500 is a true flats machine.
It was fun seeing my buddy Pete again and getting out on the water. The weather was very nice early on but we could see the clouds getting fluffy as we were heading back to the marina. I hit three or four storms on the road back to civilization… if you can call it that.

My fishing buddy paddled alongside me in the boat and I thank him for his first hand opinion. I asked him to paddle at a normal pace in his [16 ft long and 27″ wide, fast kayak] to see if I could keep up with him. Of course his kayak is a faster boat but I was able to stay with him. That’s the true test… not racing but paddling normally with a buddy.
I guess the twin hull cat design is the reason the W boat paddles so well although it isn’t even 12 feet long.

W500-kayak-next-to-16ft-long-kayak

beautiful-sunset-on-the-lake

inside-the-cockpit-01

view-of-the-water-and-mangroves

Night fishing

I wound up paddling the W 500 a lot and got to test her in some strong currents and a bit of occasional wind. So far the W has been a dream to fish from and paddle. If any of you ever get a chance to paddle one do yourself a favor and hop in the saddle.

beached-at-the-ramp-at-night

kayak-on-the-beach-01 (2)

kayak-on-the-beach-01

rainbow-on-the-water-between-two-rod-holders

trout-boated

 

About Wavewalk’s marketing…

Before I got my W500 I looked at everything I could find on the internet concerning the W500. I waded through tons of [verbal trash] posted by people who had never tried a W500, and I read all the marketing from WaveWalk. The two things that convinced me that the boat was a great flats fishing design were the videos and talking to Yoav.
Some of the videos are over the top but they don’t lie. The W500 can do everything that you “see” for yourself in the videos.

The bottom line is…

I really like the W 500. The comfort factor is a giant plus for me. I have no back, butt or leg pain after a trip in the boat. The ability to stand or even just sitting higher on the water is a huge advantage.

Steve Lucas (I Fishhead)

Florida

More from Steve »

5 Reasons Why I Chose A Wavewalk Kayak, by Paul Little

I’m 55 years old and very active. I love to hike, camp, fish, hunt and generally be outdoors. I used to do a lot of canoeing and take weekend trips down trout rivers and streams in North Georgia.

Over the years though, my back has really put a stop to that kind of trip. It hurts to stay in a cramped sitting position too long. Kayaks are even worse. I love them, but they were just too uncomfortable to be in for more than an hour at a time.

Then I happened upon the Wavewalk website while internet browsing one day and the rest is history. Wavewalk put the fun back in kayak fishing for many anglers like me. I became so convinced about the superiority of the Wavewalk brand, I contacted Wavewalk about becoming a reseller for Wavewalk.

I recently received my first shipment and they are everything I expected…FANTASTIC!
The Wavewalk kayak comes closest to perfect for me. Here’s why:

1. I want the most stable kayak I can find because I like to stand up a lot while fishing. The Wavewalk puts your feet below waterline in the twin hulls of the kayak. This flat out makes for the most stable standing position in any kayak. There’s just no arguing about that.

2. I am 55 years old and the ole back ain’t what it used to be when I was twenty something. The sitting position in a Wavewalk kayak resembles sitting in a saddle. It has a 6 foot bench seat that you straddle. You can move around on it and put your feet and legs in a variety of positions that keep the blood flowing and prevent numbness and aching pain in your feet, legs and back.

3. The Wavewalk has many times the storage space of any other kayak on the market and yet weighs only 59 pounds. And what fisherman or camper can’t use more space. It’s a superior feature of Wavewalk Kayaks.

4. Your butt doesn’t get wet in a Wavewalk. The only way you can keep your butt dry in a traditional or SOT kayak is to wear waders.

5. Price. I will admit. I’m cheap. I vacillated back and forth for two years before making up my mind to buy a Wavewalk kayak. I kept seeing kayaks cheaper everywhere else. But I never bought one of them either. The more I thought about SOT fishing models, I saw how cramped I would be. I have good balance, so I’m sure I could stand on one, but getting up to the standing position is what worried me. And it was quite obvious the wet butt problem. Standing in the sporting goods store looking at that thing, I could only visualize a wet butt. So in the long run, stability, no back pain, easy sitting and standing, lots of storage and no wet butt won out for me. I feel kind of foolish for taking so long to decide. Some of the best SOT models cost A LOT MORE than the Wavewalk, and once I was convinced of the benefits, the price objection disappeared.

I’m extremely happy with my Wavewalk, but hey, it’s what’s right for me. I’ll never criticize anyone for what they prefer. We’re all individuals and have good reasons to justify our purchases. Hope to see you on the water soon catching lots of fish. Hope you keep your butt dry. I know I will.

This is a video that I shot while trying out my Wavewalk kayak on the Pumpkinvine, just a few miles from my house. The water was very shallow, but had a decent cruise. Just mute the music if you don’t like it. Enjoy!

Paul Little

Allatoona-Wavewalk-kayak-beached

Read more kayak reviews »

Stretching my legs while in my kayak and catching plenty of flounder and red drum, by Steve Anderson

My fishing buddy & I left on an early morning trip to fish some marshes along the ICW in Beaufort. The fishing was slow until the dropping tide. We then moved to a creek mouth and met success catching 6 flounder & 7 slot size red drum. My friend who was fishing from a sit on top style kayak periodically had to beach his kayak to stretch his legs. Not necessary for me in my Wavewalk Kayak! Great morning in a beautiful place!

Steve

 

Tidal marsh, Beaufort, SOBX, North Carolina

My kayak’s bow with fishing gear stored in the hull tips

More fishing with Steve »

First Wavewalk – Kayak Review By Mike Moody, North Dakota

When I first saw my Wavewalk it was love at first sight. I have to mention that I’ve been researching and reviewing the Wavewalk for about 18 months and finally decided to buy one. If anyone reading this has hesitated, please do yourself a favor and just get a Wavewalk. It’s worth every penny!

Well, when I first took it out the wind was blowing so I had to wait until the next day for my maiden voyage. At first I thought the Wavewalk was a bit tippy but then I realized that was just me, not the Wavewalk. I’m not a small guy (265 lbs) and after about 20 minutes, I was standing up fishing from my Wavewalk. Yeah, I got a bit off balance but as I had read, I just sat down and I was instantly fine. Then a boat went by threw a wake at me, and I was a bit worried but that was easy too.
I’ve listed some items that make the Wavewalk wonderful:

· The ability to move your leg position at will

· The ability to stand and stretch when needed

· The ability to lay back and relax when the mood strikes you

· The way you can rig the Wavewalk to your own liking. I will give some advice here, don’t do anything permanent until you’ve been out a handful of times

· The peace and quiet of a day on the water without a motor

· How easy it is to launch and beach the Wavewalk

· How easy it is to paddle into the lily pads and ambush largemouth bass with topwater lures!

I’ve attached a couple pictures for you.
Oh, I forgot to mention, my wife and my dog love the Wavewalk as well!

Mike Moody
Grand Forks, North Dakota

kayak fisherman from North Dakota

a fishing kayak with a passenger and dog on board - North Dakota

view from a fishing kayak - North Dakota


More kayak fishing from Mike »


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