Kayak Mounts: Putting the "Adapt" in Adaptive Kayaking
We salute the creativity and engineering chutzpah of our customers!
If you've been following along our journey, you know that Angle Oar uses a variety of kayak mounts to support our Versa Paddle and Gamut Paddle Holder. Though we’ve tried to create base mounts that work with most kayaks, occasionally they just don’t fit. That’s when a little ingenuity and do-it-yourself approach has worked wonders.
In this blog post, we share some of the clever (and dare we say, imaginative) ways our customers have made adjustments to our mounts and/or their kayaks to make it work!
Let's start with an easy one. One of our first customers ever, John, decided to forego using the front coaming to attach the hinge plate of our Hinged Mount. Instead, he fastened it directly over a cup holder. Then, he kicked it up a notch and added a spray skirt with its own custom hole. (Note: we don't generally recommend using spray skirts with our systems.) Technically, neither of these is really an adaptation, but we think they're pretty nifty, so we included them.
One that's a little more common is adapting the Hinged Mount to fit sit-inside kayaks with either elongated cockpits or that come with their own dashboard or console, like the Wilderness Systems Pungo. This particular kayak model works very well with our Hinged Mount, but as you can see in these photos, it requires a little creativity working with the dashboard. Here, the NDAA Adapted Kayaking Program removed the box that comes with the console. Then, they added a small metal plate on top and on bottom of the flat plastic area to add some strength where the hinged plate is attached. They went a little further and drilled two holes into the corners of the consoles and slipped in a D-pin. This allows the console to be easily removed when it's not needed, but secure when it's used with the Hinged Mount.
Side Stabilizing Bracket Modifications
One of the important functions of the side stabilizing brackets that come with the Hinged Mount is that they eliminate any side-to-side movement during the paddle stroke, keeping the stroking pattern very smooth and stable. In many cases, the brackets will fit right on the side coaming, but occasionally, the arms are a little too long for a particular cockpit and they extend over the side of the coaming, or the coaming itself doesn't have adequate surface area to attach the brackets. But for paddlers like Rachel, this design challenge is easily solved. Her husband found a stiff plastic item with a flat surface (it was a cutting board, truth be told), cut out a small piece, and attached it to the coaming with two screws. With the new piece in place, our stabilizing brackets (which include the gasket option you see in this photo) fit nicely!
Jumping over to Nancy and Jean, our favorite mother-daughter paddling duo, we had our first experience of someone adapting a tandem sit-in kayak. Their clever addition of a stabilizing bar in front of the back seat meant that both of them could use the Versa Paddles at the same time!
Stand Up Paddleboard
Not to be outdone, the folks at Florida Disabled Outdoors Association (FDOA) ratcheted up the awesome by adapting both their kayaks and a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board! Founder Dave Jones put to use the engineering skills of volunteer Thomas Weldon, and together they went hogwild rigging up an entire fleet! On the left, you can see how they added outriggers, a chair and our Versa Paddle to a SUP.
Not to be outdone, we had a number of sit-on-top (SOT) kayak owners who put their noggins to the test. One of the challenges of a SOT is that there is no side coaming on which to attach side stabilizers. As you can see here, the owner on the left went all out by attaching two support bars, secured to the front of the kayak. We'd say he ties with the FDOA folks for the most sophisticated engineering!
The photo on the above right shows how another SOT owner didn't let a pesky little challenge like a ridge on the center floor of the kayak get in her way! She took our Plate Mount and molded it right over the ridge, securing it with some rivets.
Another one of our creative customers wanted to fix up a SOT Wilderness System Tarpon 120 SOT angling kayak so his buddy, who had a "bad arm" could go out fishing with him. He started with a black composite board he had on hand. Then, he said, "One thing led to another, and this is what I came up with." He even went so far as to share the parts and the design with us.
We don't know if it really counts as a "specialty" kayak, but Luke's angling kayak is a hybrid between a sit-in and a SOT, and it has a particularly long cockpit area. The forward-facing bar of our Hinged Mount wasn't quite long enough to support his Gamut Paddle Holder, so Luke found the same size PVC bar and coupling piece to merge the two together into one, long piece. (We're thinking maybe he was a plumber in a former life?)
Leon, on the other hand, was certain he could come up with a way to use the Gamut Paddle Holder on his foldable, Oru kayak. And that's just what he did. Using some plastic he found at a thrift store and some inexpensive materials from Walmart, he found a way to stabilize the base of the unit on the floor of his Oru. Now, despite a rotator cuff injury, Leon can paddle with abandon! (You can read more about his setup here.)
One-of-a-Kind Kayak Mounts
Rounding out our examples of cool things you didn't know were missing from your life is Nate's adapted mount. Nate is quadriplegic with c4/5 incomplete and a bilateral above the elbow amputee, so he and a couple of volunteers had to get super creative to meet his needs. What resulted is probably one of the most interesting adaptations you're likely to come across, complete with a repurposed crutch, wooden grips and parts of our Versa Paddle system. How awesome is that?
Kids, Don't Try This at Home
That is, without talking to us first!
If you’re unsure whether our support mounts will fit your kayak, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org Tell us what challenge you’re facing, if any, and we’ll help you figure something out. Mostly likely, we’ll ask you to email or text us a picture of your kayak’s cockpit area so we can better understand what we’re dealing with and then go from there.
If our kayak mounts don’t work right out of the gate, we’ll do our best to find a solution. Our goal is to help anyone fashion a mount that will support their Versa paddle or Gamut kayak paddle holder.