Have You Been Fishing From The Wrong Kayak?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Statistically speaking the almost sure answer is ‘Yes’: You have been fishing from the wrong kayak, since most anglers do, as most of them still use sit-in and SOT kayak for fishing, and only a minority has discovered W kayaks, and switched to them.

How do you know if the kayak you’re using is bad for you?
That’s easy to tell, and all you need to think about is how your back feels after about one hour paddling it, and fishing from it.
If you feel an urge to get up and ‘unkink’, that is stretch your legs, walk, do some physical exercise, and stretch your back and shoulders, it means that it won’t be long before you start suffering from a sore back, which is the hallmark of sit-in and SOT kayaks, because they force you into the L kayaking position, while not offering real alternatives for operating the kayak.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re paddling your kayak or propelling it with a pedal drive – In fact, the latter means of propulsion demands that your legs push your lower back even harder against your seat’s backrest.
A sore back simply tells you ‘Stop Using This Kayak!‘.
Why? Because if you keep paddling and fishing from this kayak, you’d be risking back injury, such as sciatica and even a herniated disk, and whether mild, severe, or permanent – it’s not worth it.
If you consult with a primary care physician, and especially with a doctor who’s a spine specialist, you’re likely to get both good advice, as well as a detailed assessment of your situation.
If you think back pain and injuries are worth it, you may want to consider consulting with another kind of specialist 😀
And here’s another point to think about: Paddling and pedaling kayaks while suffering from back pain, or any pain for that matter, is unsafe, as this article about kayak fishing with a sore backexplains fairly well.

What Is Kayak Back Pain, and What Does It Mean?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

A new article just got published on this painful subject.
Here’s a quote of a couple of comments made by readers:

1. “Glad you mentioned unmanly and bragging about being out for a long time. Heard that many times and still do on a regular basis. Some folks even comment about how they are in such great shape and it can’t happen to them. Frankly they don’t get the joke, being in good shape does not make up for the fact the body is damaged by the wrong position. Now maybe if they commented how much they could stand pain verses someone else OK. But being out there fishing in pain kinda sorta takes away from the enjoyment.”  and –

2. “Sporting injuries are more frequent among people who exercise on a regular basis than among people who don’t exercise at all. Each sport and physical activity carries some potential problems that people who practice it should be aware of. Some sports and activities are more prone to get you injured, that’s all. It’s not a mere coincidence that kayakers appear in ads for pain medication – Kayaking has become almost synonym with back problems, and people who aren’t aware of this issue learn as soon as they start.
The main point here, in my view, is that physical damage can happen to you over time – You don’t get a herniated lumbar disc the first time you go fishing in your kayak, but over time, your risk of suffering from such a severe injury increases.”

The article explains what kayak back pain is, what are the nerves involved in it, the meaning of back pain when you’re kayaking, or kayak fishing, what to do and what to avoid, and the benefits of paddling Wavewalk kayaks, fishing from them, as far as your back is concerned.

How Does Pedaling a Fishing Kayak Affect Your Back, Legs, Feet, etc.

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

A new, recently published article offers a remarkable insight on pedal driven fishing kayaks.It discusses practically every issue related to pedal drives, from every angle, including Ergonomics, Mechanics, Hydrodynamics and Real Life Performance.
This blog is interested in the ergonomic and bio-mechanical aspects of kayak fishing, and here are the findings on these subjects (quote):

Pedaling Kayaks’ Ergonomics – How Does It Feel To Operate a Pedal Driven Kayak?
The first and main argument in favor of pedaling kayaks instead of paddling them, is that our legs are far more powerful than our arms are, and therefore it makes more sense to use our legs for difficult tasks such as propulsion, rather than using our arms.
While being generally true, this argument is not necessarily applicable to the propulsion of kayaks. This is because although our legs have the biggest and most powerful muscles in our body, and are best fit for hard, long lasting efforts, using them for propelling any vehicle must be done under certain conditions, which are dictated by our own built, and ability to endure certain types of effort –
Limbs that have bigger muscles are comparable to engines with bigger cylinders – They can burn more fuel, and thus generate more power. The legs of a kayaker pedaling their pedal driven kayak generate considerable force, and this force is transmitted from their body to their kayak through three points:
1. The kayaker’s two feet, which the kayaker’s legs push forward, against the pedals, and –
2. The kayaker’s lumbar spine and lower back, that the legs push backward, compressing them against the backrest of the kayak’s seat, so as to provide support for the legs’ pushing effort in the opposite direction.
The force each leg applies on a pedal when pushing it is equal to the force the leg applies on the kayaker’s lower back. With two legs pushing two pedals, the force the kayaker’s legs apply the the kayaker’s lumbar spine is double the force needed to move each pedal, and here lies a big ergonomic problem.
Pedaling in the L position (recumbent) is essentially different from pedaling in the upright position (e.g. biking). The difference being that in biking, our legs push against our own body weight, and its that weight which supports the legs’ downward push against the pedals, and allows them to move. Recumbent bicycles have been known to exist since the 19th century, but upright (riding) bicycles outnumber them at a ratio of more than a thousand to one, simply because recumbent bikes are harder to use, meaning that they present serious ergonomic issues that upright bikes don’t.
Pedaling common kayaks is done in the L position, which is similar to the recumbent position. The L position is kayaks is known to cause a variety of back problems starting from premature fatigue, acute pain known as yak-back, and other problems including one known as yak-ass, circulation problems in the legs. In extreme cases it may even lead to a painful, chronic condition called sciatica, caused by the vertebrae in our spine compressing the sciatic nerve, which is the largest group of nerves in our body.
These problems are accentuated by the fact that the driver of a pedal propelled kayak cannot switch positions. This means that the above mentioned symptoms tend to occur shortly after the kayaker starts pedaling, and their severity can increase rapidly.
That is to say that if paddling a kayak in the L position is highly problematic from an ergonomic standpoint, pedaling a kayak in that position is notably worse.

Herniated Lumbar Disk, Back Pain, and Long Kayak Fishing Trips

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.
This is part of a fishing kayak review combined with a fishing trip report published on the Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks blog, and on the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing forum:

I bought a Wavewalk kayak  in anticipation of using it for fishing the flooded grass because of the ease of standing in it and also because my lower back had been bothering me after long trips in my [15 ft long SOT fishing kayak]. Since then I’ve actually herniated a lumbar disk and was out of commission for 6 weeks, but although I’m functional now using the [15 ft long SOT fishing kayak] is out of the question in the near future.
I finally got to try out the W for what I bought it for.  We had flood tides over the weekend and I was anxious to pole the boat around the flooded spartina grass in search of tailing red fish.
I was not disappointed, it performed flawlessly.
It poles very easily in the grass, the view is great standing, and there is nearly no balancing effort for standing in it. I actually put a board across the top of the seat and poled standing on top of that. The view there is about 12″ above the water and the perspective that gives you hunting for tails is incredible.
I’ve also used the boat for some short trips fishing, and find that it’s a great little boat to fish out of because it allows you to be in so many positions while fishing and you never feel the need to get out and stretch or get the numbness out of your butt.
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The Wavewalk is a keeper in my kayak herd now and for the near future will probably be the only boat I’ll be able to go out in. It’s nice and compact, stores a lot of stuff easily and keeps it dry, plus allows those of us with non cooperating bodies to fish more comfortably.
I’m also looking forward to staying nice and dry and warm fishing out of it this winter. This is a great boat to own even if my back wasn’t part of the reason I bought it.

Kevin

To read the entire review go to the Wavewalk Fishing Kayaks blog >>

Note: To review featuring on Wavewalk’s blog does not reveal the mentioned SOT fishing kayak’s name and brand, but if you’re interested to know what it is, you’ll find the info in the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing forum version.