sea sponsons

has anyone tried the sea sponsons which are secured to the sides of a kayak at the cockpit? They remain deflated until you need them and can be deployed with a CO2 cartridge. These things seem like a great idea but I have yet to see a kayak using them.

Now may be a great time to change
your screen name. The sponson thing was beaten to death a while back. There is some guy named Tim who makes the sponsons and has gone so far as to lobby Congress to make them mandatory for all kayaks. They are good to add stability for birding, hunting, fishing or sleeping in your kayak.

I’ll bet you and the Tsunami Rangers all
use them for napping in heavy surf.

Tims Tirade
For a laugh, visit “”, Tim is currently on one of his rants.

eg, threads: "More info for the Dreaded Debate ", “Anyone using Sponsons?”


sponsons = Tim Ingram = a maniac. search Google and you’ll find a thousand posts by this jerk with an agenda.

I’ve seen them
attached to a couple kayaks by intelligent people who developed paddling skills alone but didn’t learn how to roll. They also never really practised self-rescues very much so they were inclined to buy safety instead of learn the parameters in which ones skills and judgement determine safety.

Changing the primary stability of a kayak as an issue of safety tells me the person has the wrong boat or is in the wrong conditions for their skills.

They could have a use but so could doing an extra dozen rescue practices or taking a rolling class.

Relying on C02 cannisters in kayak use feels iffy to me. I’d suggest getting a solid paddle float first.

ego versus safety
So a paddle float re-entry is easier and more reliable than sea sponsons? I haven’t tried either yet but I intend to try the paddle float and rolling in my pool when the water warms up. They are first on my agenda. I was considering the deflated sponsons because they seemed like a good idea for back up. I saw that article on line where the guy ranted about traditional rescue techniques being ineffective. That was overboard but, on the otherhand, I am surprised at how strongly so many sea kayakers reacted against these things without any good reason. So far, no one has really pointed out any drawback except that they don’t fit the macho self reliant self image some paddlers may have of themselves. What possible harm could two deflated, straw-thin tubes riding above the waterline do to manuverability? I would venture to say that most paddlers out there cannot do a bomb proof roll and may need assists some times when a paddle float re-entry cannot be accomplished with a kayak that rolls like a log in rough seas.

Relying on Equipment

– Last Updated: Feb-29-04 4:23 PM EST –

vs. Skills. There is simply no faster self-recovery from a capsize than a roll, followed by a reentry and roll. You simply should not be out in "rough seas" without a roll. If you're relying on sponsoons in rough conditions, you shouldn't be out there in the first place (and your judgement is implicitly faulty). Sponsoons will give you added initial stability. However a good wave will defeat that. In deed the best kayaks for rough conditions are those that favor secondary stability over initial stability -- the very type of kayak beginners doen't like. Once capsized, the sponsoons that make a kayak "stable" will make righting inverted kayak harder. You would have to deflate and inflate again. The more time out of the boat, the more time for things to go further wrong.

Emphasizing learning skills and the judgement that goes along with it is not a "macho" thing. But there is no convincing someone who hasn't develop the skills to realize that sponsoons does not help but may actually hinder in a situation.


sequence of events
Ok Sing,

Points taken…But, have you ever tried re-entry with sea sponsons or are you just guessing they would not work based on your experience?

Sea sponsons would be in a deflated state most of the time to keep drag down and speed maximized. Sea sponsons would be employed only to facilitate re-entry and then be deflated and would have no effect on your “secondary stability” after that point. You keep imagining them inflated always…that would not be the case.

And, not to open another can of worms, but boat designers do not use secondary stability as a hull design principal…it is a theory and, from what I have read, a weak one at that. Nobody can accuratley define it. There is only one point at which a hull will lose its stability…not two. Stability is a property of volume, of water displaced by a hull.,…sea sponsons definitley increase hull volume.

Outrigger canoe
If safety is such an issue for you, you should consider an Outrigger canoe (a surf ski with a sponsoon), and it will be faster that any sea kayak.



Hey, jim3727
Remember that a hull or a kayak does not lose stability, but the padder does :>



secondary stability
is a misnomer. I prefer the term “rotational responsivity”.

Have you attempted a self-rescue in 48 degree water?

…without any good reason…
for someone with little experience you sound confident in dismissing the opinions of those with more experience. I suggest you buy them and use them.

Why do you think an outrigger canoe
would be faster than any sea kayak. Do tell us, please.

Sorry, but I don’t need so :>

It’s not that
they don’t work. It’s that if you need them = you shouldn’t be out there in the first place.

The may be OK for sitting in one spot and fishing or what ever else you could as easily do from an inner tube. If you enjoy paddling (not sitting) they’re in the way.

It will all become clear when your new boat arrives. Let me know if you wan’t company learning those P-float rescues. I’ll show you the beauty of clear decks. Roll is best, but I won’t get on you about that until I take time to learn myself!

Hey Greyak,
Why don’t you put one of those to your UX? L



Well, LeeG…I was hoping for some responses from kayakers with experience with sponsons…but what I got instead were a lot of opinions from paddlers with NO experience with sponsons…and that is just fine, I’ll take what I can get as input.

If they work as advertised, I see no problem using them in tandem with traditional skills…it may be a way to get the best of both worlds…the speed of a narrow kayak combined with the stability of a wide SOT on demand…great for when you want a rest at sea or want to snak or take photos.

Funny you should ask
Bruce actually suggested using a couple pool noodles for a while, just behind cockpit.

(Note: For you spnson fans who may mistake this as an endosment - you probably wouldn’t keep a UX upright with 2 noodles each side)

I’ll see how far I get without. I’ll have to throw more braces and will have a harder time getting on. To me it’s called doing it right and paying your dues. Losing some weight would help! I’m in no hurry. Lots of baby steps.

Saw the white UX Seawave paddled when at Bruce’s today. That thing’s seen some use and abuse! Mine looks showroom fresh next to it.

Jim - when you get that new 700 - if you find it to tippy - I’ll put you on the UX. 700 is bedrock solid in comparison.

are you trolling
you’ve got to be kidding me, I think you are the sponsoon guy- posting under another name!

Americans have a cultural malaise where they think they can buy safety. If you want to paddle with sponsoons, instead of learning skills that’s fine. It’s your right.

My suggestion and thankfully the general consensus of this board is that skills and judgement make you safer, not gear.

The reason the posters here have dismissed sponsoons is that they are taking the risks seriously. That’s my take on it.