are foam floats enough? plus tie downs

Picked up may axis 12 today. I was looking for some bow floats since there isn’t a front hull. But in the front is a foam divider in between the legs. Is that good enough or should I get bow floats too?

Also the rear hull is sealed along with foam attached to both sides of the hull. I am going to use lexel and give it another seal to make sure it is water tight.

Also there isn’t a bow or stern latch to tie it down during transport. Do you think the carry handles on the bow and stern are strong enough to tie it down to the car?


use handles
The carry handles are fine for tie downs.

I would add float bags for the front.

The foam increases stiffness
I think this is done so a white water boat will delay collapsing long enough to let you get out of it. It really is not enough flotation to keep the cockpit above the water.

They should not have sold you this boat without float bags. Where did you buy it?

You can do without
The stern storage compartment and the foam pillar will provide a good deal of flotation. Since whitewater kayaks have gotten so short, very few whitewater kayakers use bow bags any more since there is no room.

If you intend to paddle this boat in whitewater and don’t mind the additional expense, adding a bag to the stern compartment (as insurance in case the hatch cover comes off, and a pair of bow bags can’t hurt any, however. Only relatively short bags will fit in front of your footpegs, and they need to have long filler tubes so you can adjust the inflation level without removing the bags. Harmony Gear sells them: as does Gaia: and others.

Securing the bags can be a little tricky. What I do is to push a 3" length of 1/2" diameter PVC pipe through the foam pillar just slightly forward of where the central end of the inflated bag will end up. A short length of 3mm nylon accessory cord can be tied to the loop or grommet at the wide end of the bag, passed through the PVC pipe, and tied to the other bag loop or grommet.

Eastern Mountain sports

General comments

– Last Updated: May-21-12 11:48 AM EST –

I agree with above from pblanc - the foam pillar handles floatation. That said, the first time you have to dump water out of this boat you'll be grateful for any displacement that is in there. You may want to add bags all around just for that purpose.

Does the Axis have foam foot blocks where the end of the rod to which they are attached is screwed into the rails on the side? If so, I have found that just going for a float bag that is maybe a little oversized for the space and blowing it up full behind the foot blocks holds things in pretty well. And yes, a long tube because you'll be blowing it up and letting air out on some basis. Easier to do if you don't have to stick your head inside the cockpit under the deck.

Re the lexel around the foam bulkhead (that's what the vertical stuff is) - be aware that there will not be perfection and you'll have to redo it periodically. The nature of plastic boats is that they reshape a little under use or hauling, and adding lexel or similar is a once to twice a year task.

From experience with a similar boat

– Last Updated: May-21-12 9:28 AM EST –

You will not want to be in a situation far from shore with the boat filled-up. I paddled the Perception Sonoma 13.5 that has a similar setup - rear bulkhead and front foam pilar. I never installed additional flotation, but from the few times I intentionally capsized and filled the boat with water, I can tell you it is not a good thing. The bow becomes very heavy and is very difficult if not impossible for a lone swimmer to empty well in deep water. The boat is still usable, but the bow rides low, making the boat hard to steer and less stable. Pumping the huge amount of water takes way too long and is a workout in itself.

By no means an impossible situation if you got the time, but if you are in a problem area where you need to get out of there fast and if the wind and waves are not working with you, you may get in real trouble for the lack of front flotation.

Your boat is a couple of feet shorter but I think is also wider in the front so it probably holds just as much water as the Sonoma did.

You might want to try and see how you feel about it. You might be able to empty it on the water by climbing on top of the stern (boat is upside down) so that the bow lifts-up and most of the water gets out, then flip it, get in, then pump. That's how some greenland or racing kayaks get emptied on the water. Not sure how well it will work if it is bumpy though...

Thanks for all your responses. I ordered 2 harmony mini bow floats for my boat. $50 to keep my life safe.

For the lexel sealant. Should I only do one side of the bulkhead or both?

How did they fit?
I am looking to add floats to my Axis 12 and had questions how yours fit.

How did Harmony mini bow bag fit your Axis 12?

How far past the pillar do they go?