How to Outrig Your Kayak

How to Outrig Your Kayak
Sea kayaking gets you into places many other crafts can't go. Dipping your paddles into the water in sea caves or along rocky shores are the advantages to sea kayaking. There are times when having a sponson, or outrigger, for your kayak adds to the stability of the craft. Open water crossings or paddling the open coast often brings large ocean swells, best handled with an outrigger. For adding quick outriggers to your sea kayak, keep some extra gear on your kayak to assemble an on-the-fly outrigger.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sea kayak
  • Two extra paddles breakdown style
  • Two paddle floats
  • Deck bungee cords bow and aft
Step 1
Inflate both paddle floats and clip the quick-clips to the front deck bungee to prevent them from being blown away or floating off.
Step 2
Assemble the two spare paddles by connecting them to their full and open position. Make sure the blades are in the unfeathered position, meaning they are parallel to each other.
Step 3
Slide the paddle floats onto one end of each spare paddle. Slide the non-paddle float side of one paddle into the front deck bungee, so the paddle float extends out and onto the water. Repeat this with the other spare paddle on the rear deck bungees.
Step 4
Adjust the position of the paddle float enhanced spares so you have a full range of paddling from your cockpit. Make sure they do not impede your paddling ability in the cockpit.
Step 5
Test the outrigger by leaning to the paddle float outrigger side and seeing how the kayak is supported.

Tips & Warnings

Using this method of impromptu outrigger lets you bring extra paddles that can double as camping or tarp poles in camp, while providing the stable platform needed for open water or ocean swells.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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