Tippy feeling

Paddling my new CD Sirocco in small surf, I was a bit uneasy about the lower intitial stability. I am used to paddling a shorter, much more stable kayak and hope the Sirocco will soon feel better to me on water other than flat calm water. As a newer paddler, should I expect to feel more “at home” and stabler in this boat after more seat time?


Nope, it just gets worse from here
(sorry couldn’t resist) ;.)

You will gain confidence with each paddle. And, the Siroco is a fairly stable boat that will go beyond what most of us will want to visit. There were three Sirocos on an offshore class I took earlier this year. We were in what I considered bad conditions and they did fine. Also earlier this year during a race I noted that one of the committee boats was a Siroco and it stayed just beyond the mouth of the Inlet in the sloppiest water, just bobbing around and watching, for the duration of the race.


Happy Padding,


Did you ever paddle you old boat in small surf to have a comparison. My experience is that a well designed sea kayak, and I’ll inlcude the Sirocco here, feels less tippy in waves than a flatter, wider boat. I don’t like my Epic too much in small chop, but as soon as the swells and breaking waves get over 2’ it feel much better.

And of course more time in the boat cures tippiness most of the time.


Only gets better
if your not already typsy of course


cd sirocco
Funny I had a thread on this a little while ago. I found through advice here that balast makes a huge difference on a boat like the sirocco. I added bags of sand. 12lbs. in back hatch and 8lbs. in the front hatch made a big difference. Suddenly it felt rock solid for initial stability. Lost some speed though with the balast. Now I adjust the balast to the conditions. The rougher the conditions the more balast. The more I get use to the sirocco the less balast I have been using.


I am not a sea kayaker, but was curious as to what effect the sand bag balast would have on your boat if you found yourself needing to roll, or even after a wet exit?


ballast &rolling
I thought the lose sand bags woud cause a problem. But to my surprise I didn’t really notice them. They were not anchored to the bottom of my sirocco. I added and subtracted weight to see what the difference would be. Didn’t seem to be that much of a factor. I didn’t go overboard with the weight. Just what I thought the maximum I would use for balast.

If the ballast is secured
and located properly rolling is easier.

What time in the seat accomplishes
At some point you discover that you are not going to tip over because your boat is edging a bit left and right. Then you begin to relax more. This goes back and forth and at the same time your body learns to make micro adjustments that you don’t have to think about. Before long you can just go with the flow, let your body take over, and pay attention to the scenery. The Zen of low initial stability.

From what I read, less primary stability means more secondary stability and vice versa. Is that correct, folks?

I have that tippy feeling all the time
but now I don’t care, paddle more care less about feeling tippy. if you learn to roll, you will care even less about tipping.

Thanks for all the advice and comments; I feel better about having this boat already.

You’ll Get Used To It…
relaxed your hips and let the boat do what it’s designed to do. Keep using small waves for practice. Ride parallel to to the wave lines, paddle with hips relaxed and you’ll find the boat staying upright even on the front or backside of the wave.


It’s a common misconception - in general it’s the other way around. Kayaks with high initial stability also typically have high secondary stability.

It’s not obvious that “initial stability”(slope of stability curve at 0 degree) is a good measure of how we feel the stability of a boat just sitting in it. There was a lengthy discussion on Paddlewise on that topic a year ago. I think it was John Winters who suggested using the area below the stability curve from 0 to 5 degrees as a more natural definition.

Anyway here’s a good description of what stability is all about:



sing~ Your post is interesting; I have been paddling that thing in the small waves with my body tight to the max against the thigh braces and foot braces. I am sure my hips are locked up, too, trying to balalnce the boat. I will try loosening up next time and trust the boat.

Wait !
“Relax the hips” has to do with staying loose and becoming one (very zen!) with your boat. You stay nice and strapped in, not tight so that it hurts, but snug so that you can gently move the boat with your feet and thighs and hips. If you “get loose” by losing contact in those places, you WILL feel tippy – in fact, you will feel wet and submerged. Stay snug in the boat and flexible in the body. As someone else wrote above, this will become second nature as you spend more time paddling and you won’t even think about it. Go out and paddle!

You should be making good contact with the boat, but your hip/torso connection shoud be loose so that the boat can move under you while you stay centered. Try this:

Sitting on flat water, loosely hold the paddle about shoulder high, parallel to the water, elbows down and relaxed. Now try slowly rocking the boat from side to side using your hips and legs. Keep the paddle horizontal. As you get more comfortable with this, you can put the boat more on edge, and try holding it on edge for a few seconds at a time.

This is good as a warmup when you first get in the boat, or anytime you feel yourself becoming tense.

It’s a bit like riding a mountain bike, or a horse, or skiing bumps. You want control and contact while staying loose enough to flow with the terrain.