how to gain stability

Greetings, I have health problems and perhaps foolishly decided to get a lighter kayak, I was offered good price on an Airalite Perception Sonoma 10. The reviews in here and the dealer both claim it to be stable but after a quick dip yesterday, I’m not sure it is. It is not as stable as the 49 lb Pungo. I’m overweight due to yeas on Prednisone and genetics so my choices of kayaks are limited. So I have been thinking there may be a way to make the Sonoma 10 act more stable until I can learn to handle it. Any ideas? It is a nice little boat but I am afraid I made a mistake.

Time in the boat!

– Last Updated: Jul-17-05 2:30 PM EST –

You can try paddling backwards, balancing at the end of your paddle by extending alternate arms or paddle to the side like a tight rope walker, paddle with feet on deck, hand paddling, figure eights, turns around bridges and practice leans at the end of your paddle when it doesn't matter if you get wet. Good luck & if time can heal a broken heart, it can sure make you more stable!

stay centered
Short of putting ballast in the boat . .

If you keep your center of gravity over the center of the boat it won’t tip over. It may wobble from side to side, that’s what kayaks do, but it won’t tip.

Stay close to shore in about 4 ft of water and play with the edges. That way when you tip you’ll be able to stand and walk to shore.

Better yet, take a lesson. A decent instructor will work wonders to get you more comfortable in your boat.



Many kayaks …
… that seem to have ‘tippy’ initial stability often have very good secondary stability, so they may be more stable than you think. Read this to learn more:

As Jed suggests, get into some shallow water, preferably with an instructor or even a helpful friend to offer a hand of support, and just play around with your boat. Don’t be afraid to get wet and even sink your boat in waist-deep water. You’ll get a much better feel for what it takes to really tip your kayak.

After goofing around like this, if you still think you need some extra help, you may want to consider something like this:

Notwithstanding the ample and often incoherent hype found on the site, this product seems like it might offer a solution for someone with your needs. The complete set costs about $140.

I recently saw some inflatable, heavy-duty nylon fabric ‘bumpers’, or fenders, designed for power boats, at a marine store. Slightly larger in capacity, and about $40 a pair, I’m considering using them for a similar purpose for a newbie. There’s an obvious advantage in price, but one would need to devise and fabricate a means of securely attaching them to the kayak.

Many paddlers frown on the use of sponsons and similar training aids, and I am well aware of the heated contention the subject often garners. Many insist that if you start off using such ‘training wheels’, you will never be able to abandon the crutch. I’m glad no one told me that when I was 4 years old, or I might still be afraid of my bicycle.

Such sponsons, or similar homemade devices, might be just what you need to get started on the water. Inflatables offer the advantage of being able to gradually DEflate them as you gain greater confidence, so their benefit is adjustable as your skills improve.

Good Luck!

I may be chased off P-net
for making such blasphemous suggestion but… to gain stability in your kayak, you may perhaps want to look at adding sponsons (avail through and other places).

Or maybe look at something more stable like a SOT?

are you too big for the Sonoma10?
just a thought.

Just paddle the boat until you are well
used to it. Sponsons are not going to help. If you truly needed sponsons to manage the boat, then you should sell it and get something which feels less rolly to you.

It’s Like Riding A Bicycle
Once you can relax in the boat it will feel a lot better. Let your hips be loose and be sure you are not tensed up before you paddle off. Once you can concentrate on this the boat will feel much kinder. You will become more aware of where you and the boat are and you will have a lot of fun. The Pungo was my first kayak and it is a great boat. Now you are taking off your training wheels.

its like a wild animal…
the water and the boat will sense your fear and apprehension… and exploit them! if you remain calm, you’ll remain in control.