Are Kayak Stabilizers Worth It? What Are Kayak Stabilizers?

Have you ever heard of kayak stabilizers? If you’re struggling with kayaking and finding it challenging to stay steady in the water. You might be wondering, are kayak stabilizers worth it? What are kayak stabilizers?

Are Kayak Stabilizers Worth It?

Kayak stabilizers add balance to your kayak. They are a little bit like training wheels for a bike; they attach to the sides of the kayak and prevent it from rolling over as easily. They are definitely worth it if you’re having trouble getting your kayak to stay upright in the water.

How Do Kayak Stabilizers Help?

FishingRefined tells us that kayak stabilizers attach to either side of the kayak, making it more buoyant and better balanced. In addition, they help your kayak to float, giving it more surface area, which makes it a lot more stable. 

If you keep capsizing your kayak or you’re planning to head out into a long stretch of choppy water, you may find these stabilizers very helpful. 

Adding them to your kayak before a difficult journey decreases your chances of rolling over, which could save you from an unpleasant and potentially chilly dip.

You may also see kayak stabilizers referred to as outriggers.

Who Are Kayak Stabilizers Best For?

In general, they are geared towards novice kayakers, particularly those who have difficulty with balance and keep rolling over in the water.

It is a good idea to learn how to capsize properly. It will give you some practice on how to fall out without hurting yourself (as well as how to rescue your kayak and get back in). Still, if you’re really struggling to get your balance while out on the water, you may find stabilizers useful.

Like training wheels on a bike, they give you time to focus on other skills, such as paddling, turning, steering, etc. Once you’ve got the hang of kayaking with them on, you’ll feel more ready to take to the water without them.

If you are a nervous kayaker, you may find them particularly useful for helping you to relax and enjoy the sport properly. For days out with more experienced kayakers, this can be particularly useful; you can keep up with the group and have fun without feeling like you’re in danger of capsizing at any moment.

Stabilizers can also make kayaking more accessible to disabled people. If your balance or coordination is poor, you may find it hard to balance your kayak in the water, and the stabilizers can help with this.

They are also great for children who want to take to the water independently but don’t yet have the coordination to keep their boat upright. Very tall people may benefit from stabilizers, as their height makes the boat more likely to tip.

Anglers can benefit from fitting stabilizers, too; these will help the boat stay steady while fishing.

All in all, stabilizers are suitable for a range of people and can make kayaking accessible to many who would otherwise be unable to enjoy it.

Do Kayak Stabilizers Make It Impossible To Flip A Kayak?

Unfortunately, no. There isn’t anything that can make it completely impossible to turn a kayak over in the water. Even the best stabilizers aren’t a guarantee against capsizing, but they will help.

With the right stabilizers fitted to your boat, you are far less likely to capsize, even in rough conditions. There are few waves, currents, or gusts of wind that will be able to turn your boat over. Leaning over the side becomes a much safer activity with the stabilizers in place; they prevent the boat from tipping.

This is particularly nice if you want to look at the bottom of the lake and can be particularly helpful if you have an excitable dog in your kayak that keeps upsetting its balance.

Overall, even though they aren’t a fail-safe method of keeping your kayak the right way up in the water, they can push the worry about capsizing right down on the list of priorities. Usually, kayaking with stabilizers will prevent you from being at any risk of rolling in the water.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Kayak Stabilizers?

So, while all that sounds great, are there any disadvantages to using kayak stabilizers?

There are a few problems, yes. Firstly, they can get in the way of your paddle strokes if they aren’t mounted in the right place. Second, mounting them can be challenging, especially if you’ve never used them before.

They can also make it very hard to turn the kayak back over if you do flip, and they will increase your drag.

Getting In The Way

Usually, this won’t be a problem if the stabilizers are mounted in the right place. But it’s worth thinking about the fact that they may tangle with the paddle occasionally. You should make sure they are far enough back not to get caught by the paddle when you are fitting them, or they will be far more of a nuisance than an asset.

Hard To Right The Kayak

Although they make it extremely difficult for a kayak to capsize in the first place, they also make it hard to get the kayak back the right way up. Often, you will have to tow the kayak to shore in order to lift it out and turn it over.

Increased Drag

Perhaps the most significant disadvantage is that they reduce your speed in the water because they increase the kayak’s drag. This means you will have to paddle harder to keep up with a group or pick up speed.

Reduced Maneuverability

Anything that makes your boat wider decreases its maneuverability. And if you aren’t used to having stabilizers on your boat, it could cause collisions with rocks or other boats. Because you will forget to account for the increased width of your kayak.

Try to practice on open water before you go anywhere else with your stabilizers; it will probably take a little while to get used to them. In addition, they may sometimes get tangled in reeds or other plants. So it’s essential to be aware of this issue and take it into account.

What Should I Look For In Kayak Stabilizers?

There are a few things you should consider if you’re thinking of buying kayak stabilizers. First, think about the kind of material. You may want inflatables that can be easily added and removed as and when you prefer. Or you might want durable plastic ones that can stay on the kayak most of the time.

You should also consider how large they need to be, taking into account the size of your kayak and your size/the size of any other passengers. 

Finally, talk to kayaking stores about your needs. They will help make sure you are getting a stabilizer that is the right size and shape. Or you’ll just be wasting time and money.

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Final Word

Kayak stabilizers are definitely worth it for some people, as they offer kayakers confidence in the water. 

They are especially good for those who are new to the sport, suffer from poor coordination or balance, or people who are nervous. Others can benefit from them too, of course.

While they have some disadvantages over a sleek, unaltered kayak, stabilizers are a great way to help more people enjoy kayaking safely.