Paddle holder while photographing?

Looking for a way to keep tract of my kayak paddle while taking photographs. Ideally, it would be a way to easily trade between the camera and paddle as I position myself for a shot. For drifting in on wildlife, it would help if it involved minimum movement, and did not make any noise. Depending on time of year, and type of water, I paddle with or without a sprayskirt. My old Vesper had a shockcord and hook to park the paddle just ahead of the cockpit, which was handy, but did sometimes make noise. The foredeck on my new kayak has too much of a peak for that approach, unless I would create a cradle for the paddle. TIA for any suggestions.

Paddle Leash
Well there’s at least one more “pro” for using a paddle leash. You can quitely lay the paddle in the water next to the boat. This doesn’t minimize movement however, but it is quiet.


Just rest it?
I take a lot of photos while paddling (big part of why I go out) and I always just set it down so it is resting across the cockpit up against me, which should work fine if you aren’t using the sprayskirt. I recently got a new paddle that has a padded shaft, which just coincidentally worked wonderfully to reduce the clunk sometimes made when I set the paddle down (which then occasionally scared off the photo’s subject). This takes a minimum of movement since you are just basically lowering it from the paddling position. But I’m not sure if a spray skirt would get in the way. Alternatively, you could put a paddle clip on the side of the boat and anchor it to that, which probably could be used with a spray skirt.

Good luck!


Ocean Kayak
You can order rubber paddle holders from Ocean Kayak. Lots of serious fishermen use them.

Read Dennis Spike’s artilce at Coastal Kayak Fishing for placement, or you might find they interfere with your stroke.

What I Do…

– Last Updated: Jan-31-06 5:00 PM EST –

If you're not too concerned with scuffing your boat a little, just wedge a blade under the rescue line up near the bow and lay the paddle a little sideways across the deck. Works for me. And it's free.

A picture is worth...

GPS Holder
Sorry to hijack the thread, but I’m wondering if you’d share your GPS holder info. I was considering buying the commercial one offered by Magellan and drilling some holes in the deck to mount it. Your’s looks good. Got instructions?

Thanks in advance.


Thats what I do also. nm

for sneaking up on wildlife, I’ve found that a single-blade paddle(or a storm GP) used with an in-water recovery stroke seems to work better than a conventional paddle and stroke. I think it’s the other blade waving in the air that’s spooky. The GP seems quieter because there’s no blade/shaft juction creating turbulence.

As for a paddle holder, how about a couple of notched pieces of pipe insulation on the coaming when you’re skirtless?

Mine’s The Simple Version
I just took a knife to a foam block (for cartopping). I cut out the face deep enough so the GPS would be somewhat recessed. I cut the bottom so it would angle back a little. I cut a downward sloping slit in the back. I just lift the deck bungies into the slit and it stays in place pretty good. To ensure the block stays in place I take the GPS lanyard and wrap it around the next forward set of bungies a couple of times. I keep a very small bungie wrapped around the block and the GPS to secure it.

When this thing dies I’ll make a better holder. JackL designed a much prettier one that lashes down like one of those removeable compasses.


– Last Updated: Feb-02-06 8:21 AM EST –

David Blaine and David Copperfield, two reknowned magicians, sell the tricks of the trade and you could learn to levitate the paddle and then grab your camera. Very silent. Might catch a little paddle ring in the pic if you cannot levitate it high enough, but that takes practice. Consider feathering your paddle so that, once up, it is less likely to catch a breeze and konk you on the noggin while you're focusing your Nikon. Oh, and don't buy the Penn and Teller Magic Secrets of Levitation manual... it is too heavy into levitating large objects, like your whole yak, and then splashing it down in a wet mess -- not exactly stealthy. Anyone who knows their show knows what a awful mess they can make of a very basic levitation, and heck, it won't get you even one clean shot of the whooping crane you want to capture. It would be overkill.

You can find cheap old copies of Doug Henning and Mark Wilson magic guides from the seventies, but two problems: sometimes you have to buy the Marshal Brodine Magic Cards that they package along with the manual -- and trust me, cards that come out all Queens of Hearts ain't gonna help you at all out on the flatwater-- and second, the levitation techniques are pre-Harry Potter and the whole leviation boom. They swing toward seance table flights of fancy, and again, not really practical for your photography.

Or you can do like me and just lay your paddle quietly in the water boatside, snap a pic, and then hand paddle over and grab it again.

Telekinesis babay, telekinesis. Signed, The Amazing Kreskin.

PS No, I will not bend a spoon for you no matter how hard you whine. Stopped doing that stunt after the Smothers Brothers show finale, THANK YOU. (Confession: I did it for Oprah once, but I was blotto at the time and I'm a sucker for her horsey laugh. You know, the one where she goes Heeeh heeh heeh like she's gagging on a martini olive or something).

PPS Dick Cavitt, you Pungo paddler you, if you're out there, I swear on my mother's Army boots that I didn't blow on that handkerchief. Let's see you blow a hankie and have it come to rest right on Jonathan Winter's toupee. I moved it with my mind, you ass.

The Mexican Outrigger
I came across this gentleman’s webshots albums. He’s got several interesting idea’s, one he calls the Mexican Outrigger.

Basically he ties the shaft off on one side of the cockpit, and puts the blade in between his thigh and thigh brace. Then uses the paddle float on the other blade for an out rigger.

The other idea he calls the “Mexican Rescue Technique.”

Its an alternate to the paddle float self rescue.

Here’s his discussion on the two items

The Mexican part of the name comes from his heritage.


Thanks for the feedback.
Several good ideas to try. Based on some attempts last fall, laying the paddle on the water may work on still water, but river currents separate you and your paddle, the paddle leash is one more thing to complicate matters, and the paddle can thump the boat. The paddle resting on the gunnels generally works, but if you slightly lean the kayak while concentrating on the camera, the water can grab the low blade (scrambling to hold onto a camera and paddle is not stealthy). A hand paddle may be a good idea to minimize noise and visible motion. That GPS mount suggests a similar device with just enough friction to hold a paddle shaft; quiet, quick access, higher off the water, works with or without skirt. Thanks to all.