COMMON KAYAK INJURIES

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Paddling a common kayak, be it a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak or a sit-in kayak (SIK) involves being seated in the non-ergonomic L position, and paddling it in the traditional kayaking style, the latter requiring typical, repetitive motion that can lead to various injuries.

Lower Back Pain
Traditional kayak paddling technique, a.k.a. kayaking is based on torso rotation initiated from your hips. This motion is impossible to perform while you’re leaning backward (“slouching”) and it’s best performed while you’re slightly leaning forward. The combination of leaning with continuous, repetitive rotation puts strain on the lower part of your spine, known as the lumber spine, as it must support the body even while rotating. What makes matters significantly worse is the fact that while your lumbar spine is constantly rotating, your legs compress it against the backrest of your seat in order to transmit your paddling effort from your paddle, through your body, and finally – to your kayak, so it can move forward through the water. This considerable force is applied constantly on your lower spine, an area that has no other bones to protect or support it.
Regardless of how much padding your so-called “ergonomic” kayak seat my have, you will always feel discomfort to some degree, as long as you paddle either sit-in or SOT kayaks.
Only W kayaks do not require that you be seated in the L position, and only W kayaks offer a wide range of paddling positions that you can switch to anytime you feel like it.The ability to introduce change into your posture offers to reduce stress levels from particular areas in the body, and provide relief. Similarly, the ability to stretch offered by the W kayak’s saddle is highly beneficial in this regard.

Sciatica
The L seated position in a kayak forces the lowest part of your spine, known as the tailbone, down onto the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve is formed by nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord in the lower back, and it runs from the lower back down through the buttocks to the feet.
Prolonged sitting in the L kayak position can result in pinching of the sciatic nerve. As a result, you will feel an acute pain starting deep in the rear that could travel down the leg.
Being unable to stand up, stretch, or even switch to another sitting position will increase the severity of the problem.

Shoulder Pain
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in your shoulder, which connect the upper arm (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula).
In kayaking, the rotator cuff has to withstand a great deal of torque (twisting motion), especially in turning maneuvers and control paddle strokes. Such force applied on the shoulder often results in injury in the the rotator cuff tendons and muscles.
Being able to change paddling positions and paddling styles is beneficial, as well as changing paddle strokes, but only W kayaks offer a variety of options that are sufficiently different from each other.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Wrist Injury
Carpus is a word derived from the Greek word karpos, meaning ‘wrist’. The wrist joint is surrounded by a band of fibrous tissue that normally supports it. The Carpal Tunnel is tight space between this fibrous band and the wrist bone. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel and receives sensations from the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include numbness and tingling of the hand in the distribution of the median nerve, that is the thumb, index, middle, and part of the fourth fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be a temporary condition that completely resolves or it can persist and progress.
Traditional kayaking technique involves repeated, typical wrist flexion combined with torsion, and can often result in carpal tunnel syndrome. In order to minimize the risk for such injury to occur, you need to be able to change paddling styles and paddle strokes as often as you feel like, but the range of change and motion that common sit-in and SOT kayaks present is minimal.
Only W kayaks enable you to switch between a wide variety of paddling styles and paddle strokes, and paddle from totally different positions, including standing up.

Foot Pain and Ankle Pain
When you sit in a sit-in or sit-on-top kayak, your feet are positioned at an unnatural angle, and they serve to lock you in the kayak so that you’re well connected to it. This is especially true when you’re paddling and controlling the kayak, but it’s true for when you’re fishing as well.
This frequently leads to injuries known as Pain in the Arches (I.E. the arches of your feet), Achilles Tendon (in the back of your ankle), and Ankle pain.

How Sit-In and SOT Fishing Kayaks Defeat The Purpose Of Kayak Fishing

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

This headline doesn’t make sense to you if you haven’t tried fishing from a sit-in or sit-on-top fishing kayak, just to find that after some time your legs feel uncomfortable, and your back hurts from sitting in the L kayak position, and you’re unable to switch to any other sitting position, while standing up is just hype that those fishing kayaks manufacturers and distributors promote, but it’s not a realistic proposition – if you intend to stay dry…
In other words, kayak fishing is meant to be an enjoyable, recreational outdoor activity (or sport), and and for many people it feels like torture, while for others it’s just so uncomfortable that they feel they can’t go on with, and eventually they switch to either a fishing boat, or a Wavewalk kayak.

Critical ergonomic problems such as those associated with sit-in and SOT fishing kayaks cannot be solved by words, and they won’t go away if ignored. Marketing hype generated by kayak manufacturers can lure people to kayak fishing, but it can’t make them keep fishing from sit-in and SOT fishing kayaks once they realize they’re facing a serious problem involving discomfort and pain that ruin their experience, and defeat the purpose of kayak fishing.

Similarly, the notion that you can stand up in one of those fishing kayaks is fallacious, simply because such kayaks don’t feature a ‘Plan B’ – something that enables you to safely and effectively regain your balance once you lose it, because you’re bound to lose it sooner or later, whether your fishing kayak is one of those over-wide models that are so hard to paddle, or one of the many kayaks equipped with some sort of outriggers (stabilizers).
Therefore, there is no fishing kayak out there enabling you to stand up confidently and safely (except W kayaks), which is why sit-in and SOT fishing kayaks effectively force you to remain seated in the notorious L position, and endure numbness and pain in your legs, butt and back.

Great Exercise for Your Back and Legs: Rowing Your Fishing Kayak

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

When it comes to ergonomics, being able to change positions and movements is very important, as it enables using different groups of muscles, while letting others rest and recuperate, as seen in this review of a fishing kayak rigged with rowing oars from Pennsylvania.

This is more good news for you, if you happen to be suffering from kayaking back pain, circulation problems in your legs, etc.
Note that this rowing setup doesn’t necessarily have to replace the paddling setup, as you can carry a paddle on board.

Too Much Comfort in a Fishing Kayak?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

Kayak anglers who normally suffer from leg numbness, leg pain, butt pain (yakass) and back pain (yak-back) will surely think this headline has some error in it.
First because traditionally, kayaks are infamous for the discomfort their passengers must endure, ans second, because comfort is a good thing, so how could a kayak possibly be too comfortable?

Well, discomfort, fatigue and pain in different parts of our body appear as a result of our being forced to spend a long time paddling and fishing while seated in the non-ergonomic L kayaking position, with neither option to switch to other positions, nor the possibility to stretch effectively. So basically, discomfort comes with sit-in and SOT kayaks, and those who paddle W kayaks and fish from them are spared.

But when can a W fishing kayak be too comfortable?
This article named ‘Resting in Your Fishing Kayak‘ raises the issue of falling asleep while lying down to rest on the W kayak saddle. This position is so restful and comfortable, that the kayak angler trying it could fall asleep, and that’s where the danger lies.

Photo: Getting some rest in a W500 fishing kayak

Do You Suffer From Compulsive Kayak Fishing Disorder (CKFD)?

This article first appeared on the PAINLESS KAYAK FISHING blog.

The name of this disorder is self-explanatory, so there’s no need to describe the symptoms in detail. Basically, it’s that urge to take your kayak and go fishing whenever you can, and what could possibly be wrong with that?
People who have Compulsive Kayak Fishing Disorder often describe themselves as as fisholic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a real problem for them, or for anyone else.
So what could possibly be wrong with fishing from a kayak? It’s a fun, relaxing, quiet, non-polluting outdoor activity that disturbs no-one, and unlike fishing from big motorboats, its impact on the environment is minimal.

The only problem is that for many people kayak fishing leads to unwanted physical results, such as fatigue, leg numbness, leg pain, butt pain and back pain (yak-back). Spending too much time fishing from a sit-in or SOT kayak, or paddling such kayaks, can result in acute and prolonged pain, and in extreme cases even in back injuries. These symptoms increase with age and weight, and less-than-perfect physical shape.

But not all fishing kayaks have the same physical impact on paddlers and anglers.
Kayaks that do not require their users to paddle or fish seated in the L position don’t cause these problems, even if you’re addicted to kayak fishing and paddling, and must go on long fishing trips.
The key is to be able to operate the kayak from a different position, and preferably from several positions that can be alternated at will, so when you spend long hours in the kayak, you’re able to relieve stress and tension from your back and your legs by changing positions anytime you feel like it – Stand up, stretch, etc., and such are the new, patented Wavewalk fishing kayaks
 
So if you consider yourself as having Compulsive Kayak Fishing Disorder (CKFD), you shouldn’t necessarily give up your addiction, but rather make sure it doesn’t hurt you.