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Your Yak Or Mine? Use It Up, wear It Out, Or Do Without

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On: Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 12:15PM | By: Mel The Guide

Well, we still have not had a chance to paddle as we are up in N.J. and recovering from shoulder surgery. However, we did get a chance to see my oldest granddaughter, Cassie Barber, graduate high school and see her in her last dance recital before she is off to college. My wife Adele and I also went to Hershey, Pa to see my other granddaughter, Brielle, play in four intense point-for-point basketball games. They did not win, but came close; maybe next year. I have been going to Accucare, a rehab place in BrickTown at the Jersey shore. No, not for my drinking or overindulgence of food but for my shoulder. For my Jersey paddlers and readers, if you ever need rehab, this is the place to go. The owner, Pam, really runs a class place; she gives you a good rub down and stretch after the p.t. The receptionist, Mary, kept my workouts on time and is friendly and pleasant. Stacy and the rest of the help are very friendly and you feel like one of the family. In addition, the therapist, Nicole, is without a doubt the icing on the cake. After the workout Nicole puts on her gloves and puts some cooling lotion on the shoulder and just gets in there and kneads all the soreness out. Then some stim vibration and ice packs and I feel like I could go out for an all-day paddle. We have just a few weeks of therapy left, then to the surgeon back in Florida to be released.

So, that all said, how about kayaking? Kayaking has come along way from the days of the Eskimo and the Calusa Indians of Florida. There are so many different kinds and materials that they are made of and things that are added to or on them that cost a lot of money. So, when I see some thing that has been recycled from something discarded, then made in to something for a yak, I say, “Now that’s a GREAT IDEA.”

The first one is the old milk crate. Sure you can buy a nice tackle bag with rod holders, fasteners, and space for all your fishing gear, and easily spend close to two hundred dollars. I know because I have one. Yes, just one. However, the rest of my sit-on tops have milk crates. I put PVC pipes on the side of the crate with some hose clamps and cut a slit halfway down the side of the pipe so it holds the rods in place. Some bungee on the side hold the rods in place and the crate to the kayak. I can put a tackle box in it or a small softside cooler with lunch, water, and a snack. Now that’s a GREAT IDEA.

Another thing you can put in the crate is an old play cooler about a six-pack size, hang a battery-operated bubbler on a screw on the side, and you have a poor man’s livewell. GREAT IDEA.

Do you have a sit-on top and lost the scupper plugs? Don’t spend $19.95 for a new set. Look around the hood for some kid with an old nerf gun, or go to the dollar store and pick up a pack of four nerf balls. With Philips screw driver poke a hole in it, take some old crab line or thin rope and stick it through the hole, tie a knot on one end and a loop on the other. You now have a set of scupper plugs. Just stick the ball in the hole with the loop side up and you can pull it out, should you take on a wave, so it empties. Just secure the set to the seat backrest and you will have them when you need them. GREAT IDEA.

Being we are on the subject of scupper holes, how about a quick anchor for the yak? Just take an old ski pole and stick it in the scupper hole and the yak will not move in shallow water in the mangroves or back bay. Have half a broken cinder block with rope? Anchor. Great Idea.

Need to pump out some wave that wound up in the yak? A fabric softener bottle is cheaper than a pump. Tighten the top and cut the bottom off; makes a great scoop.

Do you have a kayak rack on your car? How about when you rent a car or use a friend’s which has no rack? Here’s one idea we use at Gulf coast kayak at least once a week. For folks who want to rent a kayak and take it to different places to paddle. Different racks for different cars is too expensive. We take a foam pool noodle and cut it in half so we have two foam logs. We then take about 6' of rope, run it through the hole in the noodle, lay the noodle on the ground and place the kayak on top of that. We tie the rope around the kayak. If you’ve done this right you now have a kayak with two noodles tied to it. Space them so that one is on the front of the roof and the other is on the back. Then run two straps over the yak and through the car doors. You now have a roof rack, and if you want to drive at highway speed, just tie a rope to the bow and bumper and one from the back to a bumper, and off you go.

I saw a roof rack someone had made. An older car, it had only cross bars on the roof. He had taken the back rail of the rack apart and slid a piece of pvc about two feet long over the rail, then put it back together. He then had a roller to put one end of the kayak on and then and pick up the yak and slide it on the roof. Reverse the slide direction to get it down. GREAT IDEA.

Here’s a real recycle deal. Need a paddle leash so it doesn’t float away. Don’t spend twenty bucks for one. Just take the wire from an old cell phone charger you don’t use any more. Cut the plugs off. You now have a rubber coated curly wire. Make a loop on each end and you have a paddle leash. GREAT IDEA.

Well, I have saved the best for last. Have a hard plastic kayak hatch cover? Measure the width and the depth to the yak bottom. Find an old plastic jar that fits inside the hatch hole, then get some lock-tight glue (epoxy), spread some on the top of the jar lid, and put it on the underside of the hatch cover. When it dries you have a safe water-tight jar you can put you car keys, a small camera, and a pair of binoculars in. Now that’s a GREAT IDEA.

Well, this has just been some GREAT IDEAS I have come across over the years of kayaking and I am sure you have a few also. So send in your GREAT IDEAS to and I will share them with my readers. It feels good to save a few bucks now and then and it can’t hurt the planet to recycle either. Thanks for paddling with Mel, the Guide. Hope to see you on the water.


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