Tag Archive: pedal drive

Developments in Motorized Kayaks

This article examines the latest developments in motor kayaks, and what these developments mean for anglers.

Origins of the motor kayak

As kayaks became increasingly popular among anglers, some of them started ‘rigging’ (outfitting) their kayaks with electric trolling motors. The need for doing so arose from the fact that paddling alone was insufficient in many ways – Monohull (common) sit-in and SOT kayaks are excessively wide, heavy and sluggish to their very inefficient design [¹], and paddling them to longer distances in not a possibility that’s offered to most people, especially in adverse conditions such as wind and current.

Typically, the motors used for this purpose were weak (30 lbs to 50 lbs thrust) trolling motors, powered by a 12 Volt lead-acid, deep-cycle marine battery. To this day, this is still a popular setup, and it stayed so thanks mainly to its low cost.

In this sense, kayak fishing, which started as a human powered sport, joined other forms of fishing from small craft, namely canoes, dinghies, etc.

More power and less weight: Lithium-Ion batteries

The advent of Lithium-Ion (Li-On) batteries [²] with their more effective power to weight ratio has added to the appeal of the electric motorized fishing kayak, and as these batteries became more affordable, they contributed to the spreading of motorized kayaks as yet another fishing platform in the market for portable vessels. However, besides their high price, these new batteries still present a problem to the user, and it is the fact that the amount of energy they store is still no match for the energy stored in gasoline, which powers internal combustion engines, namely outboard gas motors, or simply “outboards”.

As much as manufacturers of both kayaks and electric motors taut solutions based on the new Lithium-Ion batteries as the eco-friendly and quiet equivalent to motorboats, the fact of the matter is that they don’t compete well, at least when power and range of travel are concerned. Simply, the numbers are not there.

SOT Fishing kayaks with integrated electric motors – “Motor Kayaks”

In recent years, a growing number of kayak manufacturers has been offering fishing kayaks designed especially to work in a motorized mode, with an integrated electric power drive. Typically, the electric motor is inserted in a special compartment in the middle of the kayak, under the area where the user sits, and the propeller rotates under the hull. This design is not effective in more than one way, starting from the fact that it exposes the propeller to unwanted encounters with vegetation that can make it stall, and hard underwater objects and structures that can damage it. This makes such motor kayaks rather useless in shallow water and/or in water where vegetation abounds. To say that this defeats the purpose of kayak fishing may not be an overstatement. On top of this acute mobility problem, the location on the propeller under the kayak’s midsection makes it ineffective for steering, and forces the user to steer with a paddle and/or with a rudder system that adds unwanted complexity and clutter to a small vessel whose deck is already characterized by much clutter and too little workplace and comfort.
No wonder these big ticket and rather lame motor kayaks haven’t become popular.

A few words on the basic problems of matching motors and kayaks

Typically, common kayaks feature an elongated hull that’s pointy on both ends, and a cockpit that allows their user to sit in the middle of the deck. However, when small motors are concerned, having the user, namely the driver operate the motor from a close distance presents a major advantage in terms of safety, comfort, convenience and steering. For example, canoes, which feature hulls that are similar in shape to kayaks, are offered as paddling canoes with pointy front and rear ends, and square-end canoes where the transom is straight rather than pointy, and allows for mounting an outboard motor and for the driver to sit close to it.

Having the driver of a motorized kayak sit in the middle of the boat and operate a motor that’s several feet behind them doesn’t work well, and in case of an outboard (gas motor), it doesn’t work at all, despite attempts from a few kayak manufacturers to create demo videos that would give the impression that it does….

‘Hybrid’ fishing kayaks designed for motorizing

A couple of manufacturers of extra-wide hybrid fishing kayaks have tried to offer models designed especially for effective motorizing. The special thing about these models is that similarly to square end canoes, they feature a straight transom instead of a pointy rear end. The width of the transom varies, and in the models that feature a very wide transom, it makes the kayak fall outside the designation of kayak, per US Coast Guard regulations.
In any case, even hybrid kayaks (namely hybrid kayak / canoe) with an extremely wide transom don’t work as well as square end canoes, because unlike canoes, kayaks do not offer much in terms of free board, and as soon as the kayak’s rear is loaded with a motor and a driver, and it starts moving in the water with its front end pointing upward, its rear end sinks considerably and becomes too exposed to flooding for safe driving. And this happens even while driving on flat water, let alone in choppy water and waves.
Which is why these days the manufacturers of these kayaks are more low-key about them…

Pedaling anyone? (Just a side note)

In their eternal quest to differentiate themselves from the competition and stay relevant, kayak manufacturers end up offering new designs and solutions that are highly similar to each other. This happens not just in motorized kayaks, but in the market for pedal driven kayaks as well. And while pedal drives for kayaks are not within the scope of this article, it’s worthwhile to mention them since some vendors promote the fallacious notion that pedal kayaks could be an alternative to motorizing, although they certainly cannot, and they don’t even come close, at least when the real world and real people are concerned.
To simplify the ergonomics that apply to pedal drives and to human power in general, an average adult kayaker who is neither old nor impaired can produce around 75 Watts, namely 0.1 Horsepower (HP) at a sustained mode, and only for a few hours. In comparison, the smallest outboard gas engine available today, which is the Honda 2.3, can deliver over twenty times more power, and 6 HP outboard motors that some Wavewalk S4 owners use can deliver up to sixty times more power… and all outboards can run as long as there is fuel in their tank.
Are more words on this subject necessary?

Kayaks with jet drives

These specialty kayaks have been around for two decades, and they have not become popular although their performance in speed terms is impressive. The reason for this lack of market success is not just their price. It is the combination of the fact that they are still just SOT and sit-in kayaks, and this is not a good reference in terms of comfort and load capacity. Besides, jet drives don’t work that well in shallow water, where they can get clogged rather easily. In addition, unlike outboard motors that can be conveniently and inexpensively serviced by professionals at thousands of locations nationwide, proprietary jet drives are hard to fix, and fixing them requires support from the manufacturer, which is expensive and inconvenient.

“Kayak on steroids”

A heavy motorized board described by its manufacturer as a “kayak on steroids” and offered by them as a skiff for a solitary passenger is worth mentioning too, if only due to the fact that it relates to fishing kayaks, despite the fact that paddling it is harder than paddling most barge kayaks out there, namely the very big ones that are excessively wide and heavier than some dinghies. As this craft’s own owner’s manual states, it doesn’t work very well in choppy waters, and it shouldn’t be manned by more than one person. At 150 lbs without a motor, it is not a car-top boat, and it’s not a solution for anyone who doesn’t like to get wet while they engage in fishing or boating.
Enough said.

Fishing kayaks with outboard motors

What is the advantage of outboard gas motors?
As previously mentioned in this article, an outboard gas engine is the only type of propulsion that delivers sufficient power to allow for a kayak to go fast in all kinds of water, to run all day, and to travel for long distances. In other words, it’s powerful and reliable, and therefore safer and more fun.

YouTube features some videos of SOT kayaks outfitted with outboard gas motors. Some of these kayaks are outfitted with an outrigger, because unlike in YouTube, in the real world, SOT kayaks, including big ones, are not stable enough to be driven with outboard motors. Either way, the result is rather pathetic, and makes the viewer wonder about whether our species really deserves to be called Homo Sapiens, namely wise man… The drivers of such kayaks are noticeably uncomfortable, and in most cases wet as well. Not a pretty sight.

Practically speaking, Wavewalk kayaks are the only kayaks that offer full functionality and high performance when powered with outboard gas motors. This is why the company labeled its two bigger models skiff and portable boat. Indeed, they perform perfectly as such, and even better, be it in terms of stability, ease of use, comfort in driving, comfort to the passengers, dryness, load capacity, mobility, speed and seaworthiness.

 

 

The Wavewalk is a patented invention, and it can be described as a compacted catamaran that features the saddle-seat of a personal watercraft (PWC) also known as jet-ski. This unique combination creates the most stable hull while offering the driver and passengers to balance themselves intuitively and effortlessly, in the most effective way possible.
The result is a boat that punches way above its weight in terms of performance, to a point that it rivals much bigger boats.
And indeed, some anglers and other fishers use their S4 instead of much bigger boats that they used to have before.
For example, this crew of two shrimpers used an 18 ft skiff before they switched to the S4:

 

Motorizing options for Wavewalk kayaks are not limited to conventional outboard motors. In fact, it is possible to outfit the S4 with powerful surface-drive motors (a.k.a. mud motors), and by doing so, enhance their mobility and enable their users to go through very shallow water (“skinny water”), rocky streams, and water with abundant vegetation, such as lily pads, grass, and seaweeds.

And let us not forget paddling, because the ability to propel a motor kayak with paddles as an alternative or complementary mode of propulsion is very important, to a point where it may be critical in certain situations, such as launching and beaching in tough spots, going in very shallow water where a boat could get stranded, especially at low tide, going through weeds, and in case something else prevents the motor from working.


[¹] See articles about kayak design for speed: The Secrets of the SOT Kayak’s Underside , and Kayak Design for Speed

[²] See article Smarter electric motors and Lithium-Ion batteries – A winning combination for kayak fishing, by Gary Thorberg

Related articles

How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?

Motorized Kayaks

Pedal drive for my fishing kayak?

Again?!..

Wavewalk hasn’t offered a pedal drive with its fishing kayaks because of two reasons, which are that we found neither demand for such accessory among our clients, nor any real advantage in offering such a device to them, regardless of the increased price we would have to charge for it.

Years ago, we published the results of our research on this subject in a 4,000 word Paddle vs Pedal Drive in Fishing Kayaks article, which hasn’t gotten much interest from our clients.

The reason we now publish this new, shorter article on this subject is to make sure that our clients are exposed to all ideas and possibilities, and have a chance to express their views on this subject, as well as their wishes, if any.

Recent developments

Our new 700 series offers to incorporate a pedal drive more easily than the 500 design did. On the other hand, two out of the three pedal driven fishing kayaks manufacturers mentioned in our first article have suffered serious setbacks in recent years, while some of the pro-staffers affiliated with the third manufacturer express themselves with so much zeal that it makes them look like members of a cult, and this is not a good sign, in our opinion. A fourth kayak company recently announced that it was planning to add a pedal drive to its line of SOT fishing kayaks, but a video they released revealed nothing more than a ‘me too’ version of the two existing rotational drives.

Summary of pros and cons

The following tables include some of the main points that we find relevant to this discussion:

1. Functionality

-What can I do?

 Push Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Paddle
1
Balancing
NoNoYes
2
Tracking
NoNoYes
3
TurningNoNoYes
4
PolingNoNoYes
5
Backward Thrust
NoYesYes
6
Forward Thrust
YesYesYes

Practically speaking, none of the kayak pedal drives on the market can be used without a rudder system, and no pedal kayak fisherman goes on a fishing trip without taking a paddle with them.

2. Mobility

-Where can I go without restrictions?

  Push-Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Paddle
1
Skinny Water
NoNoYes
2
Weeds & Vegetation
NoNoYes
3
Fast Streams
NoNoYes
4
Deep Water
YesYesYes

Again, using a kayak outfitted with a pedal drive automatically means that you need to use a rudder system, as well as take a paddle with you, just in case.

3. Ergonomics

-Who can use it?

  Push-Pedals & Flaps Drive
Rotational Pedals & Propeller Drive
Paddle & Ordinary Kayak
Paddle & Wavewalk® Kayak
1
Young & Physically FitYesYesYesYes
2
Middle Aged
LimitedYesYesYes
3
Elderly
NoNoLimitedYes
4
Heavy
NoNoLimitedYes
5
Balance Disabilities
NoNoLimitedYes
6
Sensitive Back
NoNoNoYes

This table refers to typical, several hour long fishing trips, and it does not show the fact that the W700 offers full tandem capabilities standard, at any time.

End of story?

So far, the data presented in this article seems to lead to the conclusion that the reader should stop wasting their time reading it, especially in view of the fact that Wavewalk leads in motorized solutions, which are so practical, fast and ergonomic. But what if we could come up with a better pedal drive? –

 A better pedal drive?

Yes, we can design a pedal drive for the W700 that would be considerably more functional than the existing kayak pedal drives in terms of turning and tracking, and therefore it won’t require the use of a rudder. Such pedal drive would offer some advantages in terms of mobility, although it won’t match paddling, and it would be somehow easier and more comfortable to operate than ordinary pedal drives are, although not as easy as paddling. Such pedal drive would require installing a seat with a backrest, which many of our fans are unlikely to appreciate, and it would limit the usability of the boat for tandem crews. And last but not least, such pedal drive would add an estimated $1,500 to the W700 retail price, a point which cannot be ignored, especially since such sum is enough to equip a W700 with both a powerful gas outboard motor mounted at the stern, and a small, lightweight, front mounted electric trolling motor. Did we mention the fact that the 6 HP Tohatsu outboard can be outfitted with an alternator that would charge the battery of such a trolling motor?…

So, this time we managed to keep our article under 800 words, and we hope it would serve the visitors of our website as food for thought, or at least as entertainment…

My all-water electric fishing kayak

By Pyt Rotary (Thrac)

Ontario

Best Motorization for fishing –

After playing with my Wavewalk 500 kayak for 5 years in various bodies of water (rivers, shallow rivers, lakes, swamps, and big lakes such as lake Ontario) I did reach these conclusions –
IMHO, for fishing, the best motorization is the electric motor at 24V with a Digital Maximizer.
Advantages:
1) Silent
2) No smoke
3) Low maintenance
4) The Wavewalk is stable but once you deploy the electric motor down it becomes rock solid stable.

I am having fun on the big lake when I see big boats with V profile having sway (rocking side to side like hell) and my kayak with the trolling motor deployed is stable like a rock (no sway).
5) After trying over 5 trolling motors I did finally settle for 24V with 70Lb thrust. If I have the chance I will go for 100Lb.
There are some important advantages of 24V with the Wavewalk.
a) You need two batteries that will have the weight nice distributed in the twin hull for balance in the front.
b) 24V is more efficient than 12V (draws less Amps) therefore you don’t need heavy batteries. Two batteries of 22Ah (6kg each) are sufficient for over 24h or continuous trolling at 3km/h or 1.5mph
c) 24V does not need thick wires as 12V (less Amps draw)
d) 24V motor has a heavier coil than 12V (12V has 11Kg, 24V has 15Kg). The center of gravity moves low, than means more stability. A gas motor raises the center of gravity, so it’s not ideal.

The only drawback for an electric motor is that it does not have the power of the gas outboard, but with 24V I can cruise for more than 24 hours on penny in comparison with gas cost.
Plus the torque is instantaneous. And for trolling with 1.5-2mph there is plenty of thrust. You just need to dial around 15-20% of the throttle.
At full throttle the speed is 8Km/h.

I did prefer a simple mount for the motor, I just use a 2×4 regular wood from Home Depot.
There are many times when I don’t need the motor on the kayak, therefore simplicity is the best.

electric-fishing-kayak-lake-Simcoe-Ontario-09-2015-01

Last performance of my motorized kayak was on 29 August trolling around 15 boats on Lake Ontario 3 km offshore at night chasing salmon.
Imagine how much gas those guzzler burn and in top of that with a slick W500 I can dance around those boats that steer like snails.
Actually after 10PM there were no boats around just me and another few kayakers in [fins and push-pedal driven kayaks] that were tired of pedaling and were close to shore.
A [fins and push-pedal driven] kayaker can’t match the advantages of a W500 electric motorized since pedaling for hours is not easy. Pedal drive is dead in shallow water or swamps with vegetation. I do use the Wavewalk in a rapid stream that has sometime just few inches of fast water. The pedal drive is useless there.

The best sprint on water is electric: instant torque at fingers tips.

I own two W500 looking to get one W700 to have more fun with the kids. No other craft has such open design.

I also got a 2HP Honda outboard for the W, and I will start to use it in Spring.
Here is already cold and fishing days are limited now.

Have fun, tight lines.

 

electric-fishing-kayak-lake-Simcoe-Ontario-09-2015

Lake Simcoe, Ontario, September 2015

 

More about Pyt’s electric fishing kayak »


 

More fishing kayak reviews »

Wavewalk Fishing Kayak Rescues 2 Women in a Pedal Boat

By Michael Chesloff

I took a potential customer to a nearby lake to test paddle a W5oo. A few yards away, 2 ladies were launching their new paddle boat for the first time.

As this guy was returning to shore we heard a cry for help from the middle of the lake. The pedal craft was in trouble; the drive mechanism on their new boat had failed and they were stranded. As soon as my kayak reached shore I got in, paddled out and towed the grateful castaways to safety. I captured a few moments of the event using the camera on my phone. Of course, the lake was small and I don’t think they were in any great danger, though they certainly were grateful for the tow.

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.