Are stabilizers on a kayak an efficient aid to balance and stability, and how do they work?
Stabilizers installed on kayaks have often been referred to as “training wheels,” as that is what they look like when added, and that nickname does not do justice to the added benefits they offer.
Like any sport played these days on any level, Confidence is always a key factor to success, fun, and a great overall experience. Confidence allows us to let go a little, experiment and try new things. Kayaking is a water adventure that can be enjoyed by all regardless of shape or size and a little extra confidence will help in going a long way. Having the stabilizers installed correctly will add to the enjoyable water experience as they will create a more stable paddling platform and enhance your overall balance on your kayak. Anglers that need a stable platform to cast using lures that work best with a good wrist and body action will benefit from the added stability.
The above will work provided the initial setup of your kayak stabilizers is correct.
Let us look at the correct way to install your Stabilizer Set and get you out there with confidence and stability, and the best experience whether paddling or angling on your kayak.
Attaching the stabilizers to the kayak requires the correct work surface, which would be your local dam, lake, or sea, but for this purpose, we will use a flat surface so that when you hit the open ocean, setup is easy and hassle-free.
Setting up the Stabilizers
When you receive your stabilizer set, you will need to open the box and assemble the stabilizer, taking no more than fifteen minutes to prep and put together.
Inside the box, you will find the following,
- Stainless Steel Mounting brackets x 2
- Stainless Steel Butterfly mounting screws x 4
- T-Knob locking screws x 4
- Polyethylene pontoons with storage hatch x 2
- Aluminum mounting bars (three pieces) x 1
Let’s get the stabilizers all set up and get you out there.
Assembling the Stabilizers
Assembling the aluminum mounting bars is a quick and easy process. There are two identical curved bars and one straight bar. The two curved bars need to be inserted into the straight bar to form the frame of the stabilizer. On the inside of the bars, you will see pre-milled grooves. These grooves will assist in guiding the curved bars into the correct position, fitting them snuggly into the straight bar.
Take the two pontoons and position them loosely, one on either side of the bar and place them so that they both face the same direction. Use the drainage plug point as an indicator on both the pontoons.
Slide the aluminum bar into the pre-molded holes of the pontoon and line up the brass inserts with the pre-drilled hole positions on the bar. Connect and secure the two in place by taking two T-knob screws and tightening them in the correct position. Do the same on the other side of the bar, remembering to keep both the drain plugs facing the same direction.
Now that both pontoons are attached, it’s time to mount the bar onto the kayak.
Attaching the Stabilizers to the kayak
Standing, Position yourself above the center bar of the stabilizers. Lift the bar and slowly place the bar in the molded stabilizer inserts. These are situated at the back of the kayak at the start of the rear tank well. When you lift the stabilizers up, you will notice a lot of movement and that the stabilizer’s pontoons drop to the bottom. The dropping of the pontoons is a natural movement as there needs to be a lot, “of Play” to accommodate moving water conditions. Place the bar in its place with the two pontoons lined up with the rear tank well. In other words, the pontoons should make it look as if the rear of the kayak has wings. The fastening of the bar to the kayak will require the final two items in the box you received. Take the two stainless steel plates and place them over the bar, Lining them up with the brass inserts on the kayak on either side of the bar molds. The plates will not be flush against the deck as they need to be able to swivel and move. Take the remaining four butterfly screws and secure the plates to the kayak. You have now secured your stabilizer to the kayak.
Take a step back for a second and memorize the positioning of the pontoons keeping in mind the process of assembly as the next time you connect the stabilizers, it will be on the water.
Maintenance of your Stabilizers
Polyethylene, Aluminum, and Stainless steel are all designed to be able to handle the harshest conditions. Extra TLC is never a bad thing and will go a long way to ensuring the longevity of your stabilizer set. After your day on the water, there are a few things that you should do to clean off and care for your kayak and stabilizer set.
- Use a hose with fresh water and rinse off the stabilizers
- Open the pontoon hatches and check for moisture. If there is water, empty and leave to air dry.
- Once the set is dry, remove the screws and disassemble the stabilizer set.
- Take some Anti Corrosive oil (Q20, Tool in a can) and spray it onto the brass inserts, T-Knobs, and butterfly screws.
- Pack away, keeping all the screws together as they are small and will get lost.
Once you have completed the setup a few times, the whole process will not take you longer than a few minutes to complete. The stabilizers are a great addition to your Vanhunks kayak if you are looking for more stability on the water. If you need more information on the stabilizers, ask one of our friendly staff members and we will be happy to help.
By Trevor Marsden