Have you ever gone to load your kayak by yourself, only to find that it's…
Whether you’re an experienced sailor who takes to the water on their kayak every weekend, or you are brand new to the sport,
looking for a new pastime, you need to be aware of how keeping yourself stable is the key to mastering any discipline in the kayak world.
The possibility of tipping over can make anyone nervous and falling in is never going to end well. Luckily, if you ever feel your kayak is slightly unstable,
we have written this article to tell you there are steps you can take to make it stable again. We also look at the factors that can impact a kayak’s stability from shape, hull width, and paddling. Let’s dive right in.
What Affects Kayak Stability?
When it comes to kayak stability, three common factors determine whether you ever fall in the water or stay upright. These include:
The Hull Shape
The shape of the hull should be fit for how you will use the kayak. For example. If you are traveling on calm waters where you call for the kayak to stay upright on its own,
you will need a flatter hull. However, this will be much more difficult to use if you want to ride along waves or through rough currents, or even against some strong winds and tides.
The Overall Width Of The Kayak
The width of the kayak is usually considered the most important factor that determines how stable a kayak will be in the water.
Generally, the bigger the width, the more superior its buoyancy will be and it will take a lot more for the kayak to tip or rollover.
It will have a bigger surface area and the boat will not sway as heavily. Your kayak will also remain upright in the water more easily.
Once you have purchased your kayak, you need to bear in mind how the weight distribution of the items and people in the kayak will affect stability in the water.
Ensure you do not have an excessive amount of weight in one area of the boat as, despite its width or shape, the aim is to balance your kayak and not weigh it down.
This means you should balance the weight from the front and back, as well as side to side.
This will make your kayak much more stable and will also make it easier to paddle and move around in the water, especially if you are a beginner.
How Do I Make My Kayak More Stable?
Even if you have bought the kayak to perfectly suit your needs and abilities, you may still struggle with stability. If this sounds familiar, you can follow the next few steps on how to improve overall kayak stability.
Purchase The Right Kayak
If you are starting in the sport, you need to ensure you are buying the perfect kayak to avoid instability in the water.
We suggest you learn on a wide, touring boat and take a kayaking course with a qualified instructor so you know how to paddle correctly.
If you fail to paddle properly, this not only leads to instability right away but can also leave you sore and aching. It will also cause problems such as pulling your kayak in the wrong direction, which could slow down your whole trip.
Fix Weight Distribution
If you find there is too much weight in one area of your kayak, you might start to notice it wobbling and feeling like it will tip over.
You need to distribute your gear evenly throughout the kayak and this means you might need to add extra weight to one section of the kayak.
If you have purchased a narrow kayak, you could try adding a bag of sand to the bow and stern storage areas to help your craft sit lower in the water.
Be Attentive With Weight In A Two-Seater Kayak
If you have a two-seat craft, you will need to be extra careful when it comes to weight distribution. If one person in the boat is heavier, this can affect balance and leave the kayak feeling unstable.
You can resolve this by adding more weight to the section of the kayak holding the lighter person.
Adjust Seat Height
Adjusting your seat to a lower height might be key to improving stability. Sitting lower in your kayak can create a much stronger center of gravity and a sense of balance.
This will give you extra security as you paddle through the water and whilst sitting in a lower position might adjust how you paddle, the benefits outweigh this.
A different paddling technique is worth not feeling so tippy and insecure in your craft right?
Buy A Stabilizer
You could purchase a stabilizer to attach to your kayak. These have long arms and attach to a floatation buoy on the sides of the boat and they can create excellent balance on the water.
This is a great way to improve stability if you have exhausted all the other options but are still struggling with staying upright.
It can also be a temporary fix and can be used when learning to kayak, before taking them off after you have gained enough experience and feel confident.
Change The Kayak
This is usually your last option, but if you are still struggling to keep your kayak stable, you could consider changing the model.
It’s also possible that a different boat such as one that has improved buoyancy and a wider base will be the perfect one for you and you can have a much more enjoyable kayaking experience in the future.
It’s always better to fix the problem over giving up the sport entirely! If you do decide to invest in a new model, always do a demo before committing to the purchase so you don’t make the same mistake again.
We hope after reading this article you now know what causes the kayak to be unstable and how you can go about correcting this problem.
Remember, kayaking can be a tricky sport to master but to help you on your way, you need to be paddling in a boat that is stable and does not feel as if it is tipping over.
Once you have mastered this, explore the sea far and wide, but remember to always stay safe and let others know where you are heading. Happy kayaking!