This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.
Stretching is recommended by doctors, chiropractors and various therapists as means to relief tension from muscles, tendons and the spine, and get the blood flowing better in those tissues. Stretching helps prevent fatigue, relief fatigue, and eventually prevent possible injury and pain, mainly in your back.
In sum, stretching is beneficial for your circulation, your legs, and your spine.
Being unable to stretch your legs and back while sitting in your kayak is an unpleasant feeling that some people experience as a trauma. Many kayak paddlers and anglers feel they have to paddle back to shore or get off their kayak in shallow water once in a while, just to be able to stand up and stretch.
Sit-in and sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks don’t lend themselves to stretching, simply because they are designed to keep the paddler, or angler compacted in the L position so they don’t fall overboard and capsize their kayak. Try stretching in such a kayak and you’ll find you become even more frustrated because of the impossibility to do so.
Some kayak anglers feel a maddening urge to get up, stand up, and stretch, especially those who suffer from yak-back (lower back pain, lumbar pain) and yak-ass (pain in the buttocks and thighs) after being seated for a while.
In contrast with this grim picture, W kayaks offer their users to stand up and stretch anytime they feel like it, in full confidence, and safely – since if they lose balance they’re likely to land on their W kayak’s saddle, in a stable position, instead of falling overboard as would be the scenario in old style kayaks (sit-in and SOT). Furthermore, the new W500 series offer such a high level of stability and internal space that one can fully stretch their back, legs and arms in a horizontal position, while laying down comfortably on the saddle.
Some people even manage to take a short cat nap in this position.