Ralph Wirsig, inventor of the KayaArm and KayaLeg
The kayak launch stabilizing devices for easy entry/exit at your dock and/or at a shore
(KayaArm: Canadian Patent No. 2,706,497, US Patent No. 8,381,673)
(KayaLeg: Canadian Patent No. 2,768,114. US Patent No. 8,915,207)
I am a retired mechanical engineer and live 30 kms north of Kingston, Ontario on Buck Lake where I have developed and patented two kayak stabilization devices which make it easy for kayakers to get into and out of their kayaks at their docks and/or at a shore.
The story behind these developments begins with kayaking on Buck Lake with my wife who would often take a spill getting into or out of her kayak. It became necessary for me to hold her kayak at entry and exit. I thought there had to be a better way and I started working on stabilization ideas. For KayaArm and later KayaLeg I started with a wood construction to demonstrate the principal and then moved to aluminum prototypes and then finally to commercial designs.
In this cottage country area between Kingston and Ottawa I demonstrated the KayaArm to several kayak outfitters. Following my brief demo on how to do it, I ask the outfitter to give it a go. Typically upon stepping into the kayak for their initial test run their response is a kind of an “Eureka moment” spontaneously expressed as a “WOW!” or “I like it — great stability” to “what a great idea!” to “Oh S–t” in a “wow tone of voice”. Needless to say there was much encouragement to proceed with this project. All expressed interest in carrying it in their shops.
While nominally aimed at recreational kayakers who may have difficulty getting into and out of kayaks for reduced upper body strength/flexibility or other physical reasons, KayaArm provides convenience and safety for all kayakers who enter/exit kayaks at their docks. Even seasoned athletic kayakers who can use the “paddle bridge” approach for kayak entry/exit, like the ease of entry/exit using KayaArm.
Dock height above the water level is often an issue for kayak entry/exit for all kayakers. Typically floating docks are too high to enable the “paddle bridge” approach and on fixed docks the seasonal water level fluctuations, if they result in more than a few inches height difference between the top of the kayak and the top of the dock, cause similar grief for kayakers. KayaArm with its adjustable arm height feature eliminates dock height as an issue.
Additionally, it is noteworthy that if the dock space at the KayaArm is needed for other purposes (e.g. swimming or motor boating) the bent arm and shoe assembly, which is tethered by the adjustment chain, may be slid up out of the top of the mast and hung out of the way in the water beside the dock.
Typically KayaArm is mounted to a dock using about 4 deck screws.
There is also a multi-purpose aspect to the design of KayaArm. By installing two KayaArm assemblies separated by about 5 ft at the dock they may be used for kayak storage at the dock by centering the kayak between the 2 arms and then raising and latching the arms one at a time to a level that raises the kayak out of the water. When going out for a paddle one arm is lowered to the desired height for kayak entry/exit and the other is lowered deeper into the water to provide a contact free clearance under the kayak.
At end of season, a third use consists of removing the 2 units from the dock and, by utilizing their attachment points, mounting them on the garage, shed or car port wall to provide for winter storage of one kayak on top of the arms and, with a couple of simple rope slings, a second kayak under the arms.
I would be very interested in any comments/feedback that you may wish to make.
Perth Road Village