What is "shoulder?"

I’ve seen the term “shoulder” twice lately in reference to kayaks. What is “shoulder?”


Can you give us an example…
…of how you’ve seen the term used?

My shoulder really hurt
when Nystrom whacked me for using a shouldered, feathered Greenland Paddle.

Example of Context
Regarding a Capella 163: “It is definetly not just a smaller version of the traditional Cappella 169, but a different hull design. Flatter hull, lower volume stern and reasonably full shoulder.”

I can’t find the other reference . . .


I had heard it used as a way to define the side wall profile of a kayak. Since you can have a hard chine, soft chine, flare etc. for a side wall it was once explained to me that “shoulder” would be a catch all phrase for that part of the boat. Probably “chine” would have been a better choice.

So then, what did you mean by…
…“reasonably full shoulder”?

I re-read yesterday’s thread where you wrote the sentence that Paula quoted (“P&H Cappella 163?”), and I’m still a bit confused as to just what you meant by the phrase.


Sorry for all the confusion

– Last Updated: Jan-01-06 6:50 PM EST –

The boats I looked at appeared to carry a little more volume towards bow and stern. Less "V" in the hull can equate to higher height to the side walls (chine)unless the boat has a lot of rocker which then could reduce the side wall height. Please understand that this was just my visual interpertation of what they did different in the hull design of the Capella 163 as compared to the older Capella 166. The sales person had paddled it on calm waters and didn't yet want to speak to its' over all characteristics as he hadn't tried it in different waters, but thought time will show that it isn't just a smaller clone of the origional Capella. Better paddlers then I and time will tell.

You guys kill me. Use the K.I.S.S. sys

– Last Updated: Jan-01-06 11:23 PM EST –

to find out what you want to know. Look it up.

Nautical Glossery say:

"Chine (nautical): bottom corner of a boat: the join between the bottom and sides of some boats, especially those with a flat or V-shaped bottom."

Nothing to do with a shoulder at all. When comparing a boat's head on view the shoulder would be ......

"Shoulder: ... something sloped like shoulder: something resembling a shoulder in position or slope, e.g. the part of a stringed instrument between the neck and body or the slope near the top of a hill."

It is oddly enough also the BOW! Yes, BOW!

"Bow: Also bows. The forward end of any vessel. The word may come from the Old Icelandic bogr, meaning "shoulder"

Shoulders are where they should be; at the top outter edges of the boat.

Chines are where they should be; on the bottom outer areas of the boat.

So, the boat's shoulder is where the deck meets the hull.

Now what is that the area of greatest curvature between the bow or stern of the boat and the straighter portion of the hull along the side? There is a name for it, I saw a few weeks ago. Not in nautical glossery.



I don’t believe that
Brian Nystrom would never use a feathered paddle.

take “what are the ledges below your neck” for $500, alex.

so THAT’S what that is …
i’ve always had two of these … one on each side between my neck and my elbow and i never knew what they were. thanks guys. now i can shrug them without feeling embarrased!

McWood Wins
A boats chine and shoulder are two differant things as McWood pointed out. A chine is a turn in the side of a boat most times near the waterline and most times near the bow of a boat. Some kayaks are said to have a hard chine or soft chine. Many times on a kayak even a hard chine looks litte more than a crease.

The shoulder has to do with the form of the boat best seen by looking at a top down view. A boat is said to have shoulders “well forward” when the widest part of the boat is forward of the cockpit.

I forget the differant relationships but if you look at the CD brocher it discusses the various building forms, fish, swed, british, ect and relates shoulders to each.

Happy Paddling,


I shoulder the responsibility

– Last Updated: Jan-02-06 1:25 PM EST –

of this mass confusion I've caused. Therefore I'll try to shuffle my feet foward in an attempt to lay my hand on the mental lapse I've experienced. Unfortunately due to an out of my head experience I've been having, this has been a struggle.

Do you mean shoulder as in this example?
I pulled the truck over to the shoulder of the road. It felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, so I shouldered the gun and got out. I knew what had to be done, and I would be the one to shoulder the responsibility. I shot the wounded animal twice, once in the hindgut and once in the shoulder. Then I walked to the water, and got into my kayak. It was a tight fit as the yak had a very tight shoulder that rubbed my thigh. I grabbed my shoulder-style Greenland paddle and took out for the hidden bay, around the shoulder of land ahead of me. My chest and shoulder ached from the effort.

True but…
…I prefer shouldered paddles. :wink:

My impression is…
…that they would be referring to the hull being squarish, but with rounded chines. The Capella, many of Nick Schade’s designs (Guillemot, Night Heron) and to some extent the Romany/Explorer would fit this description. Another commonly used term that’s somewhat descriptive of the same thing is “full bilges”.

That’s just MY take on it and it’s entirely possible that the designer has something else in mind.

While that may be the definition…
…the phase “reasonably full shoulder” seems inconsistent with that definition.

seems there
are diffrent refences, depending on who you believe. (shrugs ,and heads off to paddle)

Found This

roughly a quarter of the way along the hull from the bow, usually where the boat has its widest point; a reinforcement structure in the cockpit to support the attachment of outriggers

No helmet?
Was checking out your profile. Do you not use a helmet in the surf? Great photo BTW.