Noob Question About Deck Attachments

Hello, so I’ve just purchased my first sea kayak, a used 2018 Eddyline Denali. My question, fellow paddlers, is how would one go about adding cradles for various electronics on the deck of the boat? For instance, I’m interested in installing a cradle for both my cell phone and iPad (for chart navigation), but the only results I seem to be finding are rail systems for the sit-on-top fishing kayaks. Can these items, such as YakAttack, bit fitted to an ocean kayak, or would that be really dumb to start drilling holes in the top of the kayak? I’m open to “just stow your phone and use it sparingly,” I just had the idea of being able to have mounted on the deck is all.

Nice kayak. Congrats.
There are suction cup mounts that will work nicely so you don’t have to drill holes in your new boat. That’s what I use for my GoPro - tethering the mount and camera to a bungee. Also made for cell phones and other electronics.

I installed a NorthWater underdeck bag in my Eddyline Fathom cockpit. My iPad mini fit inside it, but I couldn’t see the screen in bright sunlight so I gave up bringing it. My phone is carried in a waterproof Lifeproof case inside an Aquapac bag, but I’m too cowardly to take the phone out of the bag to use the camera, so I keep it on me. Wish I could figure a way to attach a tether to the Lifeproof case for that safety factor.

Amazon has loads of suction cup mounts.

Having these things on the deck risks their going overboard unless you have them in a plastic whatever that will float. Which makes them harder to read. There is still no great way to solve this that I am aware of.
No one likes hearing this. But unless you are planning to travel in fog, no reason you couldn’t use a paper/waterproofed chart for basic navigation and something digital in a more protected location to track your route and double check. If speed is the thing, someone makes a wrist mounted GPS like a wristwatch that’ll do that part. This suggestion does mean you have to learn to use a compass…

Thanks for the suggestions, much appreciated. I’m most likely going to get the underdeck bag as well, since it seems like a good way to use the empty space by your knees. I’m not sure I’d trust my phone to a suction cup mount, unless there was some backup chord it was attached to. The more I think about it, the more I’m likely going to go “low-tech” and just stow the phone and iPad in an underdeck bag or compartment, and leave the electronics to shore use.

Thanks Celia - I’m starting to think that way as well, that it’s simply not a necessity to have the electronics mounted topside, since too many factors can mean they end up at the bottom of Puget Sound, heh. I just saw all the cool attachments for the fishing kayaks and was wondering why they didn’t offer the same thing for the sea kayaks. A paper map in a waterproof chart sleeve and a compass would likely do me just fine. I’ve already read that adding too much topside to your kayak is a good way to offset its designed balance, handling, etc.

Put phone in dry bag. Put dry bag in pfd pocket. Ignore most calls. Put custom rings on spouse, work and Mon’s number.

There are bigger bags for I pad, Bungee to deck. Boat likely already has “map” bungees. CTers usually do it like that or go with map and waterproof GPS. Note you often won’t get a signal. …or you are in the city and are not really needing that kind of navigation.

PS…be in the moment. Electronics just cloud the moment on most paddles.

Pps…nothing wrong with deck attachments, drilling holes, etc. But sometimes a clean deck is gooder’ than stuff. Like when the waves and wind rise.

Or…think about an assisted rescue with all that on the deck, under water, or on your deck upside down on the deck of the rescue boat.

Or…when waves break on the bow and come back to the cockpit skirt making everything uncovered wet.

For tablet, I would put it into a dry bag from a major brand, like Aquapac or Seattle Sports (e.g. This would both protect from water (there will be water on the deck,even if just paddle drip) and the strap can be used to tie off to your deck lines so the tablet doesn’t slip off and sink. Most are made so you can work the tablet through the material. Might be hard to read the screen in the sun (not related to the bag, but just related to using a phone or tablet in sun).

For phone, I am with Overstreet - keep in dry bag attached to your PFD and in the PFD pocket.

An option for holding things like this would be use a Seals brand skirt and get their Gear Pocket accessory pouch ( I find this spot (on your lap) is out of the way of your paddle stroke. Only downside is that things in their could bounce around when you are out of the boat.

I use a sports watch with built-in GPS and maps. This watch will fit on the deck between my spare paddles where it sits rather protected and visible. I have the screen “auto rolling” through different views - map, heart rate, speed, distance, heading, etc.

This fulfils all my electronic needs, with the exception of communication, for which I have a waterproof phone and VHF, both of which I don’t keep on the deck. (I want a clean deck too, like Overstreet mentioned).

And I don’t need to pack the watch into any waterproof pockets because it is sea water resistant and water tight (intended for ocean swimming).

Often people who are getting in to paddling sea kayaks get sucked into a belief that you have to have a lot of gear to paddle safely on the ocean. When you see a group of paddlers with the latest safety gear, electronics etc etc. it’s very likely most of them have less than a year or two of experience. Sea kayaking becomes very gear oriented for many beginners; an alternative approach is to acquire skills and experience not gear. Spend the money you would spend on gear on instruction and trips that push and develop your skills and experience level. There are many skills symposia now on the west coast. Kayaks are simple boats that probably come to us optimized from mesolithic times, just wood, skins, bones and stones. I know many people who find the greatest enjoyment in keeping paddling simple, body, boat, blade with minimal safety gear and going light while camping or on “expedition trips”. Once you start feeling in tune with the ocean you may find yourself making your own boats and paddles. Electronic gadgets that you have to protect, maintain etc really detract from the experience. I have a GPS unit but have not used it in a kayak in over ten years. Don’t really miss it.

Thanks all, for the suggestions - yeah, I think stowing the electronics and focusing more on being “out there” is the best thing, really. I’m a techie, so my first reaction was to go about putting all the gadgets onboard, but I’ve realized I’m not looking to kayak to surround myself with all that stuff, but rather to keep it simple and in a way get away from all that.