Tag Archive: stand up paddling

Designing a kayak for photography

Some kayak manufacturers claim that certain kayak models they offer are suitable for photography (I.E. wildlife photography).  While it’s possible to shoot pictures out of such kayaks, categorizing them them as suitable for wildlife photography is more wishful thinking than solid reality, regardless of such kayaks being sit-in, SOT, or hybrid canoe-kayaks.
Some fishing kayak models are very wide, and as such they offer a higher degree of lateral stability than similar designs that are just Touring or Recreational kayaks, but other than that, such ultra-wide kayaks fail to provide wildlife photographers with what we consider to be a basic package of services.
Such basic package includes adequate stability, of course, and the ability to paddle standing and shoot photos while standing with no ifs and buts. Needless to say that photographers who spend long hours (and sometimes days) paddling their kayaks and shooting from them cannot enjoy doing so if they use a kayak that forces them to be seated in the non-ergonomic L position, which is the traditional kayaking position in which the kayaker’s legs are awkwardly stretched in front on them, and the lower part of their body is encased between a set of footrests and a backrest that compresses their lumbar spine in a horizontal direction.

Plentiful dry storage space is essential for outdoor photographers who go on a kayak photography trips since they  usually carry a lot of expensive photographic equipment with them, including cameras, tripods and lenses.

It goes without saying that being able to launch, travel and beach the kayak in aquatic environments that are not necessarily accessible due to shallow water, vegetation and all sorts of obstacles is a substantial advantage, because such environments tend to be rich in wildlife. This requirement means that heavy kayaks are out of the question, and this rules out most wide fishing kayak models, as well as other kayak models labeled as touring kayaks that fail to pass the mobility test phrased by Wavewalk as “launch, go and beach anywhere”.
Excessive size and weight make some kayaks irrelevant if only because they are so hard to car top and carry over long distances.

Taking into consideration all these technical requirements as well as others, the only kayak that can deliver an acceptable performance in terms of photography is Wavewalk’s W500.

Additional, in-depth insight about kayaks for photography >

Platform for standing higher on a kayak – for sight fishing, poling, etc.

Here’s yet another example of what unrivaled stability can offer in terms of additional versatility:

Platform for stand up sight-fishing from a kayak

Creating such a platform is easy and inexpensive, and you can design its surface area to be bigger or smaller, according to your needs. Furthermore, you can move this platform fore and aft along the saddle, to fit variables such as your weight and your fishing needs.
The versatility of this platform is also manifested in the fact that you can sit on it with your legs in the hulls, and your feet resting comfortably on the bottom. In this position, you can paddle, or operate an outboard gas engine mounted at the transom.

Naturally, when standing higher on a kayak, you lose stability, which is one of the reasons the W kayak is stabler for stand up fishing than all other fishing kayaks out there, and why it’s recommended to stand in a W kayak with your feet at the bottom of its hulls. The stand-up platform seen in the above picture would place you 16″ higher than if you stood on the bottom of the hulls, so you should expect to be less stable.
BTW, you can pole a W kayak while standing in its hulls, and there’s no real need for you to stand higher for this purpose.

Standing_platform_for_fishing_kayak_01

This stand up fishing platform is based on a pair of saddle brackets, but it’s possible to make one using different structural elements, and extend the platform’s width out of the cockpit. Having said that, one should remember that an adult cannot stand on one side on the kayak, especially not at such height.

Fly fishing sometimes requires scouting, and some fly anglers like to practice sight fishing, which consists of casting a fly at a fish as soon as they spot it. Standing higher adds some visibility in such cases, but reduces the effectiveness and ease of paddling, and increases the likelihood of losing balance and falling overboard, as if you were standing on a regular fishing kayak, and not in a W kayak, in which the saddle and extreme stability enable you to regain your balance and stabilize yourself instantly and intuitively in most cases.

Stand Up Fly Fishing Kayak With Outriggers – Florida

I bought my Wavewalk fishing kayak a couple of months ago at High and Dry Kayaks. Gene met with me at a boat ramp where he showed me how to launch the “W” without getting your feet wet.
And the demo went on from there and he let me paddle his yellow boat and I stood up my first time in less than five minutes.
I fly fish on the Indian River Lagoon in South East Florida where I live and the “W” fit my needs almost perfect, but at 64 years old I wanted more stability and such a higher vantage point when I needed it.
It really makes it a one man fishing machine and I absolutely love it.
I had labored over my decision to buy a stand up fishing Kayak for months reviewing almost everything including the [build-in outriggers kayak] line of boats that are sold at our local fly shop here in Stuart Florida.
I knew I wanted the stability of “W” and I wanted to be able to take a passenger on occasion.
I’m going to outfit my W kayak with the cockpit hooks and bungee as I don’t think there is a better more affordable way to keep my boat dry will it is sitting on the floating dock waiting for me to use it. Plus I love the idea that I can deploy it when caught out here in our rather numerous summer rain storms and hide under it until it lets up.
I paddle the boat standing on the platform, and use it that way a lot in the back creeks and small mangrove lagoons.

Pictures of my “W” outfitted with a leaning post and outrigger pontoon system:

fly fishing kayak with high standing platform for sight fishing

paddling a stand up fly fishing kayak with passenger on board (2)

Read an article and discussion about this stand up fly fishing kayak with outriggers >

Standing On Top Of A Fishing Kayak From A Stability And Safety Standpoint

Some fly anglers practice sight fishing: They paddle their kayak standing up, and scout for big fish. They prefer to to stand as high as possible, because it expands their range of vision. Once they spot a fish, they cast a fly at it as fast as they can.
Many fly kayak anglers and reel anglers sight fish while standing comfortably in their W kayaks. However, Ted, the kayak fly fisherman seen in these pictures, wants to stand higher, so he can look further.
Unlike Kevin, another fly fisherman who fishes the flats standing on top of his W kayak saddle without using outriggers, Ted added both a pair of outriggers and a frame to his fishing kayak. This setup puts him about 15″ higher than he would have been if he stood on the bottom of his W fishing kayak hulls, and this way he’s perfectly stable.
The drawback of paddling from such a high level is that you lose some leverage on the paddle, so you can’t go very fast. However, if the water is shallow enough, you can push pole – It’s slow, but what’s the rush?

fly_fisherman_standing_on_top_of_his_kayak_with_outriggers_Florida

stand_up_fly_fishing_kayak_with_outriggers_Florida
This setup calls for an electric trolling motor, or an outboard gas engine, but those are not allowed in some areas, which leaves stand up paddling and push poling as the only solutions for propulsion.

Safety Concerns, and Solutions:

Standing as high on top of such a tiny vessel as a kayak means that sooner or later, the fly fisherman is going to lose their footing, or lose balance, or both – It’s a statistical fact, and every experienced angler, paddler, surfer or sailor knows that “Stuff Happens” is the rule on the water.
So the real question is not “What if” but “What happens when” –
When you stand up on top of a conventional fishing kayak (SOT, sit-in, or ‘hybrid’), you need to somehow manage to fall on your knees, or on your behind, and regain your balance immediately. It’s almost impossible, and although it doesn’t hurt to try, you’re more likely to find yourself swimming.
However, things are considerably different when you’re standing high on top of a W fishing kayak, as Ted does: He can drop on his kayak’s saddle, with a leg in each hull, and stabilize himself while he’s in the ergonomic kayak paddling posture known as Riding, which is similar to riding a jet-ski, a snowmobile, an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) – or a pony. In other words, it’s the most stable, and most powerful position you can hope to be in when you’re trying to regain balance and control in your kayak. When Ted wants to switch from standing to sitting, it’s just a matter of hopping down –

fly_fisherman-sitting_in_his_kayak_waving

The pictures in this article were contributed by Ted Stevens, courtesy of Gene Andrews, W fishing kayaks dealer in Palm Coast, Florida.