How to Build Your Own Kayak Stabilizers

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Stabilizers for kayaks provide a sponson which helps prevent tipping and rolling. Because stabilizers are bulky items, they tend to be left behind during long trips with kayaks laden with provisions and gear. You can use standard rescue and safety gear which should already be on your kayak to fashion portable stabilizer sponsons. This method provides stabilizers within minutes of starting the process and breaks down just as fast.

Step 1

Store two spare paddles under the rear kayak bungee deck straps and two paddle floats under the kayak's front bungee cords. Pull one paddle out and one paddle float out when you're ready to make the stabilizer.

Step 2

Put the paddle together so both blades are at the same angle. Do not feather the blades. Grab one paddle float and slide it over one blade of the paddle.

Step 3

Unscrew the inflation hose cap and inflate the paddle float. Reach behind the cockpit and slide the non-paddle float end of the paddle under the deck bungees so the paddle float blade extends out and touches the water. Pull the other spare paddle out and bring it to the front. Grab the other paddle float and slide it onto one blade of the paddle. Inflate the paddle float.

Step 4

Push the non-paddle float blade under the front bungee cords so the paddle float is on the same side as the other paddle float. You now have a one-sided stabilizer system. Place the stabilizers against the wave side of the kayak. For turbulent and confused seas, place one paddle float on the right side of the kayak and one on the left to provide stabilization.

Step 5

Deflate the paddle floats and tuck them under the front deck bungees. Break down the paddles and slide them under the rear deck bungees when you're done with the stabilizers.


About the Author

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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