Tag Archive: kayaking injuries

How Does Fishing Kayak Design Address Pain?

It’s a painful question for many kayak anglers!
Sit-in, SOT and hybrid fishing kayaks are sometimes designed with an intention to alleviate the pain felt by anglers who use them, especially back pain, or at least this is what their manufacturers proclaim.
In reality, there’s very little that can be done to take care of this critical problem, and nothing to solve it at its root, which is the way kayaks are in the first place, and the way we are: People who no longer sit on the floor with our legs stretched in front of us, as we used to sit long ago, before chairs, stools, and other elevated seats were introduced to our life.
We are members of modern societies, and as such, we sit on elevated seats, and we’ve lost the ability to sit comfortably with our legs stretched in front of us, which is what traditional kayaks as well as hybrid fishing kayaks force us to do.
More foam in the seat’s backrest doesn’t solve anything, really, and elevating the seat doesn’t solve any problem either, because those kayaks aren’t stable enough to sustain a decrease in their users’ stability as a result of their center of gravity going up. The result is that people who sit on higher seats attached to those mon-hull fishing kayaks (sit-in, SOT and hybrid) feel less stable, and increase the pressure of their legs on the footrests and backrest between which they are trapped. The result: more back pain.

Here’s a quote from an article about kayaking back pain:
“Pain is usually initiated by stimulation of the peripheral nervous system, that is the nerves in various parts of our body. These nerves are connected through the spinal nerve to our brain, where we become aware of the pain.

The Nerves Involved In Kayak Back Pain, Leg Pain, Etc.

The sciatic nerve is a large nerve fiber that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the lower limb. It is the longest and widest single nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve supplies nearly the whole of the skin of the leg, the muscles of the back of the thigh, and those of the leg and foot. It is derived from spinal nerves L4 (in Lumbar vertebra # 4) through S3 (in Sacral vertebra #3) in the lower part of our spine.

Meaning of Back Pain When You’re Kayaking, or Kayak Fishing

Any unpleasant sensation you feel in your body while kayaking or fishing from your kayak, is a sign that something is wrong, so you need to pay attention to it, and do something about it:
Your legs getting numb means you should change positions, stretch, get up, and get things in order.
Pain in your legs, or your lower back means something is seriously wrong, and you’re either risking physical damage, or actually causing it just by being seated in the L position, whether you’re paddling, resting, or fishing…”

Interestingly, the pain created in your back gets exacerbated the more your legs push on the footrests. This unwanted process is increased when you’re seated in a pedal driven fishing kayak, and your legs constantly and energetically push the pedals, for a long time. Since your legs are required to perform this task from the center of the deck, and your feet lose the little stabilizing effect they have when the rest in the footrests located on the sides, the instability you feel increases even more, and so is the pressure…

Is The Common Fishing Kayak An Extreme Design?

Interestingly, most people, including most of those who fish, which count in the tens of millions in the United States alone, perceive kayak fishing to be an extreme form of fishing, and therefore the fishing kayak to be an extreme watercraft.
Of course, this is relative to fishing from shore, or from traditional, bigger boats such as canoes, dinghies and skiffs, and other motorized boats that are popular for fishing, although nearly all of them are more expensive than fishing kayaks, when both purchase price and cost of maintenance are concerned.
In fact, the ratio of kayak anglers to all anglers is about 1:1,000 in the U.S., a figure that tells a lot.

So the question asked in this blog post’s title is not misplaced, and it should be asked more frequently, and discussed openly and thoroughly, as this “Kayak Fishing As An Extreme Sport” article does.
Excerpt from this article:
…”Kayak fishing promised a cheaper, hassle free, low maintenance, lightweight, car top form of fishing craft, and a direct, sporty experience. However, today, out of tens of millions of Americans who fish from boats, merely one in every thousand fishes from a kayak, and this is after a decade of promises that ‘kayak fishing is the fastest growing outdoors sport’, etc. The bulk of US anglers have followed neither the kayak fishing pioneers nor the fishing kayak manufacturers’ hype, and since growth in kayak fishing participation is no longer as fast as it had been several years ago, it is safe to say that the US kayak fishing market has matured. This is partly a result of decreasing enthusiasm from new participants, as well as a high dropout rate that has been typical to this sport since its early beginnings.
Yes, but…

But kayak fishing feels extremely uncomfortable only if you’re fishing from the old fashion, sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks and sit-in kayaks. In contrast, when you fish from a W kayak, you experience a level of comfort that’s equivalent to that of fishing from a regular size boat, and some W fans would argue that you feel even better…”

What Is The Meaning of Aesthetics In Fishing Kayak Design?

To some people, Aesthetics and Design are almost synonyms, and whether this notion is true is debatable, but when boats and outdoor products are concerned, aesthetics is key. But what does it mean, really, when we say that a fishing kayak “looks good”?
This article published on the Wavewalk fishing kayaks blog tries to decode the notion of aesthetics in fishing kayaks (excerpt):

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Aesthetics and Performance in Fishing Kayak Design

What is beautiful?

According to the dictionary, we perceive something as being beautiful if it is attractive to us (e.g. a beautiful woman) or pleasant (e.g. a beautiful day), or pleasant to look at (e.g. a beautiful dress), or if it’s done or made very well (e.g. a beautiful goal in the second half), or with a lot of skill (e.g. a beautiful roast).
Beauty can be associated directly with sensory pleasure, or with indirect, social value related to monetary value, or prestige (e.g. a beautiful diamond), or with both.
In case of a product such as a kayak, the beauty we see in it is a measure of how much we appreciate its performance in terms of what’s important to us, subjectively, whether as something we’ve already experienced with this kayak, or something we believe we would experience, if we used it.

In this sense, the saying ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’ is perfectly true.

What’s important?

What’s important in a product varies according to what different people are interested in. For example, if you’re into kayak racing, you’d be interested in kayaks that are as fast as possible, and very fast kayaks would seem beautiful to you, but if you’re into kayak fishing, you’d be interested a number of things, including stability, comfort, storage, etc. offered to you by that kayak. In other words, for a kayak angler, the beauty of a kayaks depends first and foremost on its fishability,…. (read the full article about aesthetics in fishing kayaks >>)

Designing Better Fishing Kayaks

We see a lot in common between small boats and beach cats, canoes, kayaks and other personal water crafts and toys including jet skis, surf boards and sailing boards. It is not just their small size, but also the fact that their passengers’ physical attributes (E.G. size, athletic skills, disabilities, etc.) and behavior determine their performance.
We call this field of design ‘Micronautics’, which is part Naval Design but has much to do with Ergonomics, Bio Mechanics, and to some extent even with Behavioral Sciences.

To understand the difficulty that micronautical designers fac,e it’s enough to realize that while a supertanker can cross the Pacific Ocean on autopilot, there is no computerized system that can successfully control a kayak in the surf.

Traditional catamarans of all sizes are wider, stabler and faster than mono-hull boats of comparable size.  The W invention and concept is applicable to small, personal boats of various types and uses, and it offers to increase their stability without decreasing their speed or increasing their width.
In essence, the W invention offers increased stability by width, without paying a price in speed terms.

The W invention also offers to eliminate back pain, leg pain, leg numbness and all other unwanted sensations and injuries related to the L position that’s typical to all kayaks belonging to the sit-in, sit-on-top, and hybrid (hybrid canoe-kayak) types.

There are far more possibilities offered by the W boat concept than shown in this website. Some of these possibilities are presented on the W fishing kayaks website

The W technology is proprietary, and protected by U.S. utility patent number 6,871,608 ‘Twin Hull Personal Watercraft’, which the US Patent and Trademark Office website makes available online.

The Consequences of Poor Ergonomic Kayak Design

Hundreds of articles have been written about kayak related injuries, and we’d like to recommend the latest one, called Common Kayak Injuries, which is more comprehensive as well as methodical in covering these painful subjects, and in offering practical solutions, whether you’re into kayak fishing, or just kayaking.