Just like any other sports, kayaking can also be done by physically challenged people. Don’t let disability dictate how can you live your life. However, we simply can’t deny the obvious fact that kayaking is a physically intensive sport but that does not mean that disabled people should stay away from it. All you need is a kayak which is specifically designed for a disabled person. Alternatively, you can also customize a regular kayak to make it disabled-friendly.
If you can manage to maintain three points of contact while kayaking and hold a paddle, there is nothing in the world that is going to stop you from paddling.
Use prosthetic sockets if you have lost your legs in some accidents. By using prosthetic sockets, amputees will be able to keep themselves stable on the kayak. Now, if you are still finding it difficult, you can always make good use of airbags and foam. When foam or airbags are placed in strategic areas, it can help you maintain balance while paddling. Hammerhead hand can prove useful for Arm amputees. Alternatively, you can mount a one-armed paddling rig on a kayak.
People with Balance Issues
If you are suffering from spinal cord injuries or have some kind of balance issues, you need to find a kayak seat that is designed specifically for that purpose. The seat should be designed in such a way that it will allow you to remain upright no matter what. You should make good use of outriggers to make sure that the seat remains stable in face of extreme odds.
People with visual impairment can also enjoy paddling. All you have to do is to choose a tandem kayak. But if you can paddle independently, you can take a chance and try to paddle solo in a lake where the chance of your kayak getting capsized is next to zero. You can ask a guide to paddle alongside you so that he/she can warn you from approaching obstacles.
Best Kayaks for Disabled People
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Since finding the right kayak for disabled people is like looking for a needle in a haystack, here we have listed some of the best and affordable kayaks that disabled people can use to realize their paddling dream –
Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak weighs just 35kg and it has an impressive 250kg carrying capacity which is more than enough for an average American paddler. Included are 2 storage hatches, 2 fishing rod holders and 2 aluminum paddles. People with visual impairment may find this tandem kayak handy if they are unable to locate approaching objective fast enough to dodge them.
You don’t have to invest in any other fancy kayaking gear if you decide to put your money on Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak. Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak is extremely durable and can easily resist impacts. This kayak is ideal for both beginners and advanced paddlers. Perfect for disabled people, Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak is also UV resistant and weighs around 77lbs.
Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak has got two carry handles attached to each side. Easy to paddle, Vanhunks Voyager Deluxe Kayak is extremely comfortable. It has got multiple hatches to stash your food and numerous storage compartments to keep all your fancy gears. The seat is highly adjustable and is perfectly designed to change its positioning from upright to reclined. The seat also has breathable mesh fabrics. You can even raise the seat in case this kayak gets flooded with water.
Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On Kayak is a rugged built kayak which is just perfect for people with disabilities. It is a no-nonsense kayak that comes loaded with tons of exciting features. Ideal for anglers, Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On Kayak is lightweight and durable at the same time. Its hatches are waterproof which is a big relief.
The dual-position seating system allows you to change your seating positions and that means, you can always expect a comfortable journey ahead. Included are a stand assist strap, Anti-slip decking and more. The maximum capacity of this Sun Dolphin Boss SS Sit-On Kayak is around 500 Pounds and this kayak is ideal for rivers and lakes.
Pakayak Bluefin 14 Ft Kayak is made from heavy-duty polyethylene and allows greater control over its movements. Pakayak Bluefin 14 Ft Kayak is UV resistant and it features an interesting double chined hull. The best thing about this Pakayak Bluefin Kayak is that it can be assembled under 3 minutes and since it does not have too many loose parts, you would not have to keep track of these small parts all the time.
Pakayak Bluefin Kayak is made in the USA and that means, you don’t have to worry about quality. It is a highly stable kayak that rarely develops leaks. This kayak can be disassembled easily and effortlessly. Easy to carry, this kayak is built to last really long. It is nimble and fast at the same time.
Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak cuts through the water like a knife and it does not ease and perfection. It makes paddling so much fun. Designed for both beginners and advanced level paddlers, Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak is ideal for disabled people as well as it remains stable on the water most of the time. Secondary stability of this kayak is a bit subtle but once you get used to it, you will not face any trouble whatsoever.
Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak tracks great on flat water as is evident from its name. It has got both skegs and rudders to control its movement but if you find it difficult to use both the skegs and rudders at the same time, you can just put your trust on the skeg and you will just be fine. Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak has got a nice sleek design that will make people go green with envy. It has got ample storage areas to keep your kayaking gear.
Agile and fast, Riot Kayaks Brittany Flatwater Touring Kayak has got dual-density hatch covers. Included are 3 bulkheads, quick-lock foot braces, pilot rudder system and custom-fit seating system.
Perception Kayaks Pescador Sit On Top is one of the finest and the best all-around kayaks available at this price point. If you are looking for a kayak that offers an unmatchable level of stability without making zero sacrifices on the performance front, you would not have to look any farther. Perception Pescador Sit On Top Kayak is ideal for ponds, lakes and rivers. It has got enough space to store all your fishing accessories.
To increase comfort level, Perception Pescador Sit On Top Kayak has included an adjustable seat and its footrests are highly adjustable in nature.
Tips For Paddling With
There are hundreds of paddler-ability clubs scattered across different parts of the United States. So, if you are really passionate about paddling, all you have to do is to find one that is located nearby and start learning the basics of paddling.
1. Get Suited Up
Before you even think about learning the basics of paddling, you need to get purchase all the essential paddling gears. You will need to wear either a wetsuit or a dry suit in order to keep yourself warm and dry. Put on a PDF as it will help you stay afloat in case your kayak gets capsized. Also, consider carrying dry bags to keep all your essential items safe and dry.
2. Have A Plan Ready
If you want to paddle in a nice and less crowded place, you need to have a plan in place otherwise you might have a hard time loading and unloading kayaks. Moreover, try not to paddle alone because in case, you get into some sort of trouble, you will have a hard time managing all alone. Try to find a location which is frequented by people and where help is easily available.
3. You Don’t Have To Be Swimmer
Nope, it is another myth. You don’t necessarily have to be a swimmer to be able to paddle in Stillwater however, you will have tom wear some kind of floatation device in case the boat gets capsized.
4. Choose Kayak Wisely
If you are scared that in case your boat gets capsized, you might end up getting trapped inside your vessel, you need to opt for a sit-on-top kayak. It is easy to get in and out of a sit-on-top kayak and which is why it makes sense why so many disabled people are opting for it.
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.