Buiding a Kai-Rack for Kayak E-mail
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 09:45

on kayak

 

They say that, "Necessity is the mother of invention," but in truth, sometimes a really bad case of cabin fever, combined with watching old Tim Allen’s Home Improvement reruns, is what leads a guy to get creatively inspired.  As our kayaks sit in our garages during the winter with no place to go, except for possibly the occasional downhill toboggan run,  we are given the opportunity to pimp our rides in an attempt to upgrade, or simply individualize them, more to our liking.  The process we use to do this is not unlike that of any other vehicle based sport/hobby as it evolved through the early years of its infancy.

In the seventies when the Japanese motorcycle craze was just taking hold it was very similar to where the SOT fishing kayak market is now.  Back then, the bikes were relatively Spartan and basic in nature and modifying as well.  Accessorizing a standard Japanese motorcycle was a very common practice.  Windshields and cafe' fairings were mounted to the front of the bikes, luggage racks and saddlebags to the rear. All of this was an attempt to make the motorcycle more practical for the all day touring adventures; as opposed to simple neighborhood romps.  It's from my own personal experiences in this area, as well a very bad case of the afore mentioned cabin fever  during the winter of 2006, that the idea for the Kai-Rack System, as I like to call it, of mounting fishing kayak accessories was originally born.  I simply hated the fact that when I was setting up for a day out on the water in the bay fishing, it would take me a half hour just to put accessories on my kayak, one by one until it was fully ready for my outing.   I didn’t really know exactly how I was going to do it, but I was determined to set up my Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 with a fully contained, quick load accessory system that would get me on the water faster.  In addition it would be simple and more efficient too.
 
            So early one cold Saturday morning, in the middle of winter, I went into my garage with a hot cup of coffee, grabbed an empty 5-gallon plastic pail to sit on, removed all of the rigging from my Tarpon.  I wanted a blank slate and just sat there and stared.  First, instead of thinking about what the kayak did not have, I tried to take note of what it did have that could be useful in my quest.  There were a few deck loops here and there bolted on. I felt there had to be a way I could utilize those for my requirements. There wasn’t much else.  I must have sat there for two or three hours with all sorts of ridiculous ideas running through my head.  My typical manly man, guy stuff mentality took over, and for the next week it seemed to always be on my mind.  The light-bulb went off completely by accident.  On the wall of my garage, two large Quick Fist tool holders were mounted that held up a broom and a floor-finish applicator-stick. “Hmmmm, dat could work,” I thought to myself.  With confidence, intelligence and determination (actually it was heart burn from the coffee) I went into the house and spent the good part of two days looking everywhere online for the same kind of tool holders I had in the gorge, but in a significantly smaller size. And then . . . Eureka!  I finally found them.  That’s when I stopped for a moment and beat my chest while calling out like Tarzan.  Granted, I didn’t know what I was actually going to do with the darn things when I first ordered them but I knew I would figure it out.  After all, I am a man; and when a man really puts his mind to doing something, he usually ends up figuring out a way to con his wife into doing it for him.  “Here honey, check these things out”, I said. “Aren’t they cool?”

             I showed the funny looking things to my wife and as usual, she started to totally disrespect and play around with them. Taking one from my hand she clamped the rubber device upon her finger, like it was a huge diamond ring, and just held it there for me to stare at.  A few seconds went by, then another few and then out of nowhere, the light went on again.  Seriously, the kitchen was getting dark and my wife reached over and turned on the light switch.  Now I could finally see what I was looking at and a smile broke across my face!  “Eureka,” I thought to myself for the second time in the same day.  Not because I had a brilliant idea, but because I liked the sound of the word . . . Eur -E - Ka. . Eureka!  Anyway, I had now figured out, a new and exciting ways and means, to attach and detach something to my kayak; both quickly and efficiently.  Exactly, what I was going to attach I had no idea. But, the important thing was, I had indeed, found a way to attach it. I also knew whatever I was going to attach would end up being round; because my wife’s finger was round and other shapes usually have pointy edges!

            Being totally inspired, I immediately rushed out to the garage, went over to the kayak, took out a screw driver and proceeded to remove a few of the deck loops and mounted the rubber tool holders underneath them.   “Perfect”, I thought; as I raised my chin firmly to express my inflated ego.  “Now I have a way to mount something and remove it, and I didn’t have to drill a single hole, cool!”  The rest of it all fell into place quickly.  My first accessory mounted was an Eagle Fish finder on a single L- shaped rail, made from PVC conduit on one side of the kayak, and a hand held GPS using a bicycle hand bar mount on the other.  Everything worked perfectly for the entire season.  So the next winter, after purchasing a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160i, I decided to go completely Frankenstein the poor thing over the winter.  I developed a complete system to hold just about everything I could possibly think about mounting on my kayak.

            For starters, I was thinking about doing more night fishing the upcoming season; so the first thing I thought I would probably need was lighting to be seen on the water.  Also I had always been a strong advocate of safety flags on kayaks and ended up exchanging emails with the owner of Be Seen Wear, a safety Flag Company located in California.  I wanted a way to not only put a safety flag on my Tarpon, but also raise or lower it so it could be out of the way, when I felt the need.  Of course there had to be built in rod holders. That was a must.  I also wanted a raised rail system to mount small lure bags and such on the side saddlebags, so to speak.  This was what I considered the rear luggage-rack part of my project and to most people would have been more than enough to embarrass them publicly. But not me . . . I always like to go the extra mile when it comes to such things.  I wanted to build, what I considered, a front fairing. A structure that could hold such things as my fish finder/GPS , an emergency air horn and VHF radio, dual headlights, side marker lights, etc.  With a vision in mind and a bag full of different PVC connections in hand from a local Lowes (along with about 25 foot of PVC conduit and cans of PVC primer and glue) I marched down into my dungeon and spent the next two days “innovating” as KFS forum member LunaSea and I usually call it .  When, the cussing and throwing of things had all but settled down and the Band-Aids were all applied,  I finally emerged out of the darkness of the dungeon, walked past my wife, and hurriedly made my way to the garage where my kayak was kept.  As I did so, my wife gave me that look that wives so often do as she looked at me running by with the bizarre contraptions I had in my hands and confusingly stated aloud, “What the he__?”  She never got the chance to finish her sentence as I had anticipated it and didn’t want to deal with the cruel jokes and ridicule that was coming.  I cut her off before she could say anything further.  “Can’t talk now . . . Busy . . . I’m innovating”, I yelled as I disappeared into the garage; hearing her laugh mockingly a bit as I did so.

            Flash forward a bit.  A few hours of searching on Ebay for a few different types of inexpensive, AA battery run, waterproof flashlights, a few zip ties clasped here and there mounting a dozen or so Quick Fist tool holders and it was finally done.  The Kai-Rack kayak Accessory Mounting System had officially been born.  (Some people might stand and applaud here, but please don’t feel it’s necessary!) 
            To surmise, without a single additional hole drilled into my Tarpon 160i, I was able to mount six Three watt LED side and rear marker lights, a UV backlight to shine on my retractable, Be Seen Wear fluorescent flag and make it glow in the dark.  I also had a 360-degree emergency light mounted on the rear luggage rack for added safety.  There were raised rails on the side for future expansion, if needed, to attach such things as additional rod holders or saddlebags.  On the front fairing, I installed a camera mount as well as the GPS fish finder.  Just for show, I installed dual 21 lamp LED flashlight/headlights.  The best thing about the entire system was the fact that all of these accessories could now be put on at once in two simple steps that took under two minutes.  I stood back and made intensive, serious manly poses while admiring what I made and did so for about twenty minutes.  Installing and removing the setup only takes a couple.  I have to tell ya, it was a great feeling that first night, rigging everything up and launching my Tarpon 160i for a paddle around Jamaica Bay all lit up like a cheesy corner bar pretending to be a flashy New York City disco.        I sat very low in the seat and paddled with one arm leaning to the side like the cool kid does on the streets of Brooklyn in his father’s Cadillac thinking to myself, “Yup, no one is here to see me, but damn do I look cool!”

            Okay, let’s be honest. My kayak now looked like it had indoor plumbing, but to me, it was freaking cool!  That’s what modifying your yak is all about.  I truly loved having every accessory you could possibly imagine loaded or unloaded from my kayak in less than five minutes.  I get a little teary eyed just thinking about how all of those hours of highly intensive brainstorming and innovating really paid off.  .

            That was until a few weeks later when I decided to buy a new Kaskazi Dorado.  Then it was back to the dungeon and time to start innovating all over again!  Wooooo whoooooooo !!!!  Sometimes I don’t know what’s more fun about this sport; the fishing, the paddling, or perhaps it’s buying a new kayak just to do some ridiculous and off the wall, creative innovating!

 

Comments  

 
+1 #1 survivorman 2011-05-11 10:48
I love it!!
 

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