Dumbest Kayak Product Nominations

-- Last Updated: Mar-10-07 10:57 AM EST --

These are my nominations for the dumbest kayak products currently available for sale. Does anybody have a good suggestion for an award name we could give the winner of the dumbest product award?

My apologies to the companies and egos behind these products, but if you are in the business of making money off of paddlers then you should be willing to face their criticism too.

I am sure there are other products worthy of nomination. So please add your own nominations with a brief description of what it is and why it is so dumb.

1) Kayak Kickstand by Bending Branches: See the various threads around p.net that beats the snot out of any redeeming benefits this product claims to have. Yet someone out there keeps trying to promote the thing here. Its kind of embarrasing. They have no shame. Its like the owner's son built this thing in wood shop class and his daughter is in charge of marketing.

2) Wavewalk W Kayak: A twin hulled kayak(?) paddled while standing. Their website has a video of some googan trying to surf in this thing. He hoops and hollars like Howard Dean as 1 foot waves go rolling past him. Need I say more?

3) The newer seakayak line where the the boats' beam (width) curves inward in the middle near the cockpit and back out wider toward the ends like a big hourglass: I can't remember the brand name (must be a good one), but I did see them advertising on P.net not long ago. I clicked on the banner ad to support P.Net and to have a laugh. They are even offering their hydrodynamically illogical kayaks in carbon fiber for anyone who wants to spend $4,000 to look a fool.

4) The steering system on Epic's new X-series: The X-series boats, 18X & 16X are good efficient kayaks that should appeal to the performance paddler who does not want to move into a surfski. Yet, instead of an efficient rudder-based steering system, they went with a wagging tail. The aft 8" or so of kayak hull literally pivots side to side to provide steering by creating drag on one side or the other. First iterations proved so effective that they had to add a small fin to the bottom to make them even better. I suspect Epic will eventually get it right and drop this concept. I strongly suggest Epic abandon the wagging tail concept and go to a standard rudder system. I offer this suggestion so one of the smaller egos at Epic does not have to jeopardize their job by suggesting it.

That's all I got for now. Does anyone else out there have the attitude to call these guys out?

I think your list is a pretty good start
I’m not familiar with everything, but I’ll check them out.

You might want to add the training wheels of kayaking to your list - what are they called? “Timsons”? :wink:


… I believe they’re called. I’ve used them when working with developmentally disabled kayakers. “Timsons,” I am not familiar with.

KayakPro’s EZ-Vee carrier rack
OK, I admit I haven’t seen this product let alone used it, but it seems to me it might qualify for this list. I can’t imagine trusting two bungees to hold my kayak on top of the vehicle at interstate speeds with a crosswind. Give me non-stretching webbing.

are just an inside p.net joke. I am referring to sponsons, but maybe they shouldn’t be on the list as you have found a good use for them. Some of these products do have one or more good uses, but generally are gimicks for most paddlers. It seems to me that the higher tech you go, you are more prone to failure. I have been working to simplify my gear, which often includes modifications to stock items. Next up will be re-working my waist tow.



I might get an EZ Vee
I was looking at those EZ Vee’s last year and am still considering buying one. I like the idea of supporting the kayak over a longer span. For longer, lighter built kayaks this makes sense.

It just goes to show that one guy’s dumb product may be someone else’s best product.

Anyone want to step and admit that they have a Kayak Kickstand and love the thing?

I’d love to add to that list…
… by introducing one of my own that’s 10x dumber than all those combined!

Something that I could get on the shelf at every paddling shop and some of the big box…

Dumb sells. Quick fixes an questionable gizmos sell. Playing on fears, incompetence, and ignorance sells.

The even the largely negative attention to things like the kickstand here are probably still driving more people to BB’s site - and some of those will buy it. Getting it out there’s the key - so negative sells too.

Well designed quality items for people who actually paddle - that’s a hard sell. These people are too fragmented, opinionated, and few - and already have options.

Still looking for the middle ground…

Too True
You are right Greyak.

I actually gave Epic’s X series of boats a pretty good plug while bashing their wagging tail steering system. If they fix that one thing they would have winner.

But yeah, a sucker is born every minute. It seems a high percentage of them have taken up sea kayaking.

Seaward’s Seat/Float
To which they have pretty astounding loyalty. The seat comes out and doubles as a paddle float. When in regular use in the boat it slides all over creation. Then once you have actually used it as a paddle float and gotten back into the boat again after a capsize, you have to figure out how to stick it back under your butt before you can get the skirt closed to stop the water from coming in.

One of the better encouragements to learn a roll I’ve personally dealt with.

Seat/Paddle Float Combo?

– Last Updated: Mar-10-07 2:03 PM EST –

That's awesome. I never heard of that one.

It really makes you wonder when products that are supposed to be for safety could actually lead to a more dangerous situation. Kayak Kickstand may fall into that category too.

I got great visuals from your description. I laughed out loud, but it sure wouldn't be funny for the guy suffering multiple capsizes with this ridiculous device. I wonder howe many of those things have been abandoned at sea as the paddler limps home sitting on the floor.

suggested name for the award
First, we’ll have “Cleopatra’s Needle Nominees”

Winner gets the coveted “Golden Sponson” award.

Seat Float Discontinued?
Could not find the paddle float/seat combo at Seaward website. I had to see it to believe it.

It has either been discontinued or I have been hoodwinked into viewing all their other product offerings. If so, then I say “very well played.”

I have a concept
a hermetically sealed, clear, ovoid “kayak delivery system”.

It would totally enclose the kayak and its user so that no wind or water could touch them. Special UV tint at the top to protect from sunburn.

With the touch of a button the user could initiate the patented “Sta Dri” launch system using mechanized sliders that would retract after sensing a water depth of 8 inches or more.

At the touch of another button, the Paddle ON!continuous paddling device would emit two paddle shapes one on each side and begin a mechanized, perfectly balanced forward stroke. There would be a kind of joystick inside where the user could simulate leans and edging.

In that way the paddler could come and go and NEVER GET WET! Not even their shoes.

Warning: this device is not designed to ROLL! That constitutes Showing Off and is not recommended lest it hurt the feelings of others.

Standard equipment: Air filtration system, extra high back padded seat, and cup holder.

A wider size will be developed for canoes.

It’s still there.
Look under standard features on any of their composite boats except the Nigel Foster Boats.

"Secondary Paddle float"
Found it. At least they are responsible enough to describe it as a “secondary paddle float.”

It seems to me that this is just slightly more useful than airliners’ seat cushions being described as floatation devices. If the situation arises that requires you to use it then you are probably already screwed.


Track Master Rudder

1 2 7.3.2006 // Epic’s new steering system is more efficient and secure than conventional rudder systems.

With Epic’s Track Master™ steering system, the stern of the boat pivots to redirect flow along the stern of the kayak. Combined with a small fin on the stern, this provides positive and reliable control.

Because the fin is much further forward than overhanging rudders, performance is improved in rough water conditions that may leave overhanging rudders high & dry out of the water. The fin is low profile and does not catch weeds. It’s even suitable for beach launches, provides the beach is sandy and not rocky.

Seems like those rudders found on airplanes for most the same reasons. We all know that man cannot fly in one of those contraptions!

This is the 19th century right?

seat float
I don’t actually see anything wrong with the paddlefloat seat.It’s an emergency use device. If you’re screwed without a paddlefloat, sitting on the bare bottom of the kayak till you get to shore is better than the alternative. i don’t think anyone would be dumb enough to try and stick it back under them.

I’d like to add BoatSlider Trax to the list of ridiculous gimmics. stupid bunch of rollers that take up a ridiculous amount of room on your deck, total liability in a rescue and tanglement haszard. not to mention they’d only work on a beach with tiny rocks.

I’ve tried using the paddle-float/seat

– Last Updated: Mar-10-07 4:17 PM EST –

My negative response to it is based on personal experience. We had met someone who had just picked up a newer Seaward HV Quest, and in the process of trying to roll it (no outfitting and unbelieveably too big for me) I ended up having a chance to test their paddle-float/seat because I couldn't get enough of a grip to get the boat up.

Well, first the darned seat was part of the reason I was sliding around. In order to make it easy to get out, it is loosely anchored in there. Any major pressure and it slid right out to the side. It decidedly did NOT help the roll.

As to putting it back under you - try handling one of these before you decide you can avoid that. It is too big to fit real neatly under the bungies, especially if you had a few expedition things like a chart case, GPS and spare split up there, so it'd have to be flung to hang around loose in the cockpit in front of you. Paddlable yes, but it'd drive me nuts over a distance.

Sea Kayaker magazine discussed this feature in a review of a Seaward boat some time ago - their reviewers, likely much better paddlers than me all around, couldn't find any good way to make this thing work.

Before I end though - Seaward has about the best build quality of anyone out there, and their loyalty to the Foster boats has been a huge boon for paddlers. It's just that they have this seat cushion thing that seems incompatible with their otherwise thoughtful and thorough approach to making kayaks.

April 2007 SeaKayaker
reviews the new Seaward Quantum. They have a few things to say about it which pretty much echo your experience. The good news is that Seaward offers an optional seat.


That’s why I love my Shadow.
It doesn’t have any gimmicks, and as you said, their quality is outstanding.

The only thing I would change is the deck rigging. Nigel and I disagree on how the deck rigging should be, I personally feel there should be no gaps in it.

When I discussed this with him, he didn’t think it was a problem to reach from one part over the gap to the next—my point was what if I was grabbing for the boat as it is being blown away, and all I touch is gelcoat and no deck rigging.

It’s easy enough to fix though and I would by another Shadow in a heartbeat.