Clever Modifications Customers Have Made When Our Mounts Didn’t Fit Their Kayaks
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 a 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 that either have an elongated cockpit or for whatever reason the hinge plate does not fit nicely on the front coaming. A simple cross brace, like Jessica has fashioned here, is a great solution. Just be sure to sit inside the kayak and measure the distance of the mount from your torso to make sure it's a good fit before installing the brace. Also keep the brace as close to the front coaming as possible so that it doesn't pose an entrapment hazard should you capsize. When you're not using the Versa or Gamut, you can simply remove the pull pin from the mount and all that will remain is the hinge plate.
In some cases, a kayak may have a long cockpit that comes with its 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-ring 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 of the mount during the paddle stroke, which keeps your paddle stroke smooth and stable. The brackets distribute the torque across three points so that not all the stress is on the front hinged plate.
In many cases, the brackets will fit right on the side coaming, but occasionally the coaming doesn't have adequate surface area to attach the brackets or is oddly shaped making them difficult to secure. 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 of her Perception kayak with two screws. With the new piece in place, our stabilizing brackets (which include the gasket option you see in this photo) fit nicely!
Another common scenario is that the extendable arms of our Hinged Mount -- even when placed in their shortest positions -- are a little too wide for a particular cockpit. As a result they extend over the sides of the coaming. The Hinged Mount can be used like this, with the arms simply resting on the coaming, but as we just stated, it's preferable to attach them to the brackets if possible. The NDAA Adaptive Kayak program has a wide range of kayaks in their fleet, including the Old Town one above. They crafted a simple block of wood and fastened it to the sides of the kayak to created the level surface necessary to attach the brackets.
The Hinged Mount was primarily created for recreational sit-ins, not necessarily sea kayaks which
tend to have a narrower cockpit. Still, many paddlers, like David, want the benefits of a supported paddle. When he went to install his new Gamut Paddle Holder to his Eddyline Sky 10 kayak, David created a solution that will likely serve as the new gold standard for narrow cockpits. He fashioned a piece of aluminum in just the right length to fit at arms' distance on the cockpit and attached the brackets. Then, to prevent side-to-side motion, he secured two small L-brackets beneath to keep it from moving during paddling. The entire strip is free-standing, meaning it's not attached to the kayak itself (which would pose a possible entrapment hazard). It simply lifts up when he gets in and out of the kayak. Brilliant!
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 Paddleboards
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 hog wild rigging up an entire fleet! On the left, you can see how they added outriggers, a chair and our Versa Paddle to a SUP. On the right, you can see how Selkie Adaptive Paddle. also in Florida, attached our Versa Paddle to one of their stand up paddleboards.
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 decided to add stability to his extra long support post by added straps. They rest under his legs so they're out of the way when he paddles.
One of the challenges with some SOTs, particularly angling kayaks with a raised seat, is that the distance from the floor of the kayak to shoulder height is longer than the support post on our mounts typically reach. As a result, our customers have created their own modifications to raise the level of the post, like this clever adaptation Craig did for his wife, Stacy. He used some of the components of our plate mount, including the track and the vertical support post, but created a wooden lift that nestled in the cupholder in the front and rested on the bottom of the seat rail in the back. Very clever, right? The one side effect of this adaptation is that, due to the added height, our paddle blades were no longer long enough to reach the water, so the couple had to find a compatible kayak paddle and use the longer shafts to fit onto our Versa frame.
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.