Kayak Stabilizer for Tippy Kayak

Love my tippy kayak, and will get more proficient in it as the weather and waters warm, but does anyone know of removable kayak stabilizer that can be used in the off season, frigid cold waters to minimize a dump. Sponsons? I see that pnet advertiser has a kayak stabilizer that looks, well, sort of big and bulky – a big metal thing. I am just looking for something to give that little extra sense of stability in rough winter waters.

I would always dress for submersion, but it’s just nice not to get drenched in the dead of winter.

Any ideas and web links would be great. Thanks

Have you tried looking on ebay?



Stability Aids
Any external device like sponsons with alter the handling of the boat too much and make it handle less like a kayak. This of course is less of a problem with boats that are already quite beamy. What make / model of boat are you talking about? What is your height and weight?

Is your seat removable?

If so you can fabricate a custom seat (out of minicell) to lower your center of gravity (cg). Later as you get more comfortable in a tender boat you can raise the seat to gain greater forward stroke efficiency.

Norwegian Love Trolls?

Place ballast (rocks, bags of sand or bottles of water, etc) in the fore and aft compartments (sealed compartments only) and make sure you use some kind of dunnage (inflatable flotation bags work well) to keep them from flopping around.


When it gets warmer get an instructor or coach to teach you how to get comfortable in a tender boat. Ballast is a pain in the *ss and brings it’s own set of problems to the equation.

Remember that whatever you use to increase the stability of the kayak will also make the kayak harder to right after a flip.

Extra weight really stabilizes a boat quite a bit. Some people tie in lead shot behind their seats, but that just sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I would go with empty gallon milk jugs. That way you can fill them up with water at the put in and they will be neutrally bouyant which is safer. You will want to find a way to securely tie them into bulkheads so that they don’t flop around.

Practice, Practice Practice
I am dealing with learning to paddle very tippy waveskis. My solution is to go to a swimming pool and practice paddling, and bracing where you can tipover with no ill consequences.

There are very few kayaks out there that with a couple of hours under your belt are going to be really tippy. If you want to paddle and are afraid of tipping over maybe you need a Rec-Boat that you could borrow. I don’t think sponsoons or ballast are really a good answers.


DON’T dress for SUBmesion. Just IMersion, OK?

Unless you’re into kayak diving (in which case I’d recommend an SOT) it makes it a MUCH more enjoyable sport as you


-Frank in Miami


– Last Updated: Mar-24-06 5:03 PM EST –

wouldn't a good diving suit and air tanks be even safer? ;-)

I relize this is not what you asked for, but the best way to stay open side up is a solid brace, and a bombproof roll. Not to mention that it is cheaper.


try this link -

keywestpaddlesports.com. Large stabilizers, but they do have the benefit of being inexpensive as these things go - @100.00.

based on that . . .

– Last Updated: Mar-24-06 5:44 PM EST –

Looking at their illustration, I wonder if cooldoctor could just use an I-shaped pvc pipe rig secured somewhere behind the cockpit, with pool noodles over the two ends of the I.

The cross piece would be a straight piece of pvc pipe with a T fitting on each end. A short piece of pvc pipe, plugged on each end, would be glued into each end of the T. The pool noodle would go over those pieces. If the T shape would put the noodles in the way of his stroke, he'd have to go with an elbow and run the pieces back. If he went with that option, he'd have to put a T in the middle of the rig and run a short pice of pipe forward to keep the rig from rotating.

It's been a while since I've been in a Barracuda, but I think something like that might work. It would be out of the water under normal paddling conditions, but would provide some support if he started to go over.

Just one air tank is required…

– Last Updated: Mar-25-06 1:36 AM EST –

for submersion (opps fixed.) But lead weights are needed for sinking. Plus a BCD for floating. Plus a regulator for breathing. Plus mask for seeing and fins for swimming. Plus a really big pointy knife, for fending off great white sharks. Plus a dive camera for documenting my conquest of same. Wait, this is getting to be a lot of gear, almost as much as I need for Kayaking.
I think I'll just go for a walk around the block.

tippy kayak

– Last Updated: Mar-24-06 8:26 PM EST –

I think a tippy kayak is one that is not paddled very much.

Start paddling cooldoctor!
then paddle some more.

"You don't need no stinkin sponsons..."

just like a bicycle or a horse..gotta get right back in (or on in the case of bicycle and horse)

If it's cold then you will remember that and not want to fall back in making you concentrate on keeping yourself upright and before you know it it is no longer an issue.



I had that problem…
…at first. I solved it with a rudder. The

rudder was kind of like training wheels!

After I got used to the boat, I no longer use


Try this…
Drill a hole in the bottom of the hull, then put a lag-bolt through that into the handle of a sledge hammer–hanging straight down.

That sucker won’t flip over then.

If I remember correctly
from another thread, cooldoctor1 already has a hole drilled through the hull. something about a drain plug or something if I recall. should be simple to hang the sledgehammer then…


Pool noodle

– Last Updated: Mar-24-06 11:02 PM EST –

Get a large round pool noodle and slice it in half lengthwise. Angle cut the ends to reduce drag and double face tape it to the sides of your kayak above the waterline. If you tip the foam will supply extra bouyancy. Cheap and readily removable. Kinda like training wheels. They do this on canoes so it should work on kayaks.

Wow, thanks for so many great ideas.

– Last Updated: Mar-25-06 12:17 AM EST –

I knew you'd all have good ideas for me. Ditch the "steenkin sponsons" seems to be the call (I don't own any yet, thankfully). I can see from the Sea Kayaker 2003 review of the Prijon Barracuda, even the testers said the kayak had much improved stability with an extra 40 lbs in it, like schizopak and others mention. So that is a must try. And the lower seat idea I am considering, but it seems pretty low in there now. It would be nice to make a stabilizer out of pool noodles and PVC, if necessary... hmm. And rroberts, I did buy the rudder as you suggested, just waiting for a warm day to work in my yard to put it on. And of course there is always learning to paddle the boat and getting seat time.

The reason this question came up for me is that I did a nice long 4+ hour paddle a week ago in my 25 inch beamed Calabria, and although I loved every minute of it and obviously felt very stable, I did not feel that I was going as fast as I could in the narrower beamed boat and thus did not get to the outermost reaches of the area that I was paddling. Several large freshwater lakes near me of 5000-11000 acre size, so I would like the efficiency. Just not looking forward to a winter dunk, and would even consider bringing my camera and things if i knew I'd be dunkless. The question, and your replies, are my effort to have this peace of mind in the winter waters.

I'm rereading your answers now and appreciate them greatly.

lowering the seat
I’d suggest holding off on lowering the seat until you get some time in the boat. It feels pretty tender at first, but it doesn’t take very many outings to get used to it. I think by my third or fourth time out I was feeling pretty happy with the boat.

kayaking 202…outgunning your peers
Your previous worry won’t be much of issue with sponsons on your kayak.

Excellent point
I can see it now…pool noodle outriggers and the sweet strutter white water helmet.

Very good point Jill.