KayaLeg & KayaArm Stabilizing devices for launching a kayak

Submitted byKayaArm - KayaLeg onThu, 11/29/2018 - 21:35

My dad an Engineer invented two devices for stabilizing a kayak to make getting in and out of a kayak easier.  The first device KayaArm was invented and patented by my dad after my parents bought kayaks and my mom went for a bad swim and became extremely reluctant to join him for early morning and evening kayak trips (as they say necessity is the mother of invention).   After many prototypes he worked with a specialty aluminum fabrication shop in Canada and started selling them on the internet.  A guy who built a kayak using the information on this forum bought a KayaArm for his dock.  He suggested that I tell you guys about it as not only does it make it really easy to get in and out of his kayak, but with a little bit of electrical tape it significantly reduces the potential to scratch his finish.  He also like the way it stores the kayak dockside without the associated clutter and tripping hazard.  The KayArm is great if you launch and return to the same dock.

The second device is called the KayaLeg and my dad invented it for kayak trippers (who don't use the same dock repeatedly).  It makes getting in and out of your kayak easier than the traditional bridge method allowing you to lean forward (improving the biomechanics - a more natural position and natural stance). The only drawback is that people need to retrofit it to their kayak including drilling holes in the upper deck.  We have an OEM design which can be moulded in and would have a much lower profile however that requires re design of the mould which manufactures are reluctant to do due to the cost.  For custom builder like you guys this is easy.   I would like for someone to build one in to demonstrate the OEM concept and post step by step how they did it along with pictures.  In return I would provide a KayaLeg free of charge.  I'm looking for someone who is an experienced builder and a kayak tripper who launches from challenging rocky shores vs a sand beach.  One day when I'm retired I would love to build my wooden beauty too!!  The pictures and the wealth on information is so inspiring!  Please contact me directly if you have any interest.  Thanks for reading.


mick allen

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 02:21

I’m afraid the KayaLeg [a structural aluminum channel mounted sideways on 2 aluminum angle legs] is too much of a non-aesthetic and disruptive blob to be mounted on kayaks that money or time has been spent on. The function you are trying to solve can be more flexibly accomplished by technique or perimeter lines or dedicated webstraps.  Another inventor has approached the issue with small nubs with two velcro straps vs the one of your system. I think it’s a no-go. . . drysuits will tear,  pfds will hang up and it’s an ugly intervention. . . .

However the Kaya Arm has legs [pun intended]!   I can see this or versions of it being utilized to great effect in many circumstances as it really will make it straight forward to mount from floating docks for those who are intimidated by that situation by limited ability or technique.  I like its flexibility to be repurposed as a kayak wallhanger in off seasonal use – presumably by quick mounts.

The tidal function will probably be limited to low ranges of some lakes, but certainly would be no good for larger tidal ranges that I’m familiar with, but the possibility of fine tuning is presented which would be useful for the variation of loaded and unloaded kayaks.  As well, it sure could be accompanied by an adjacent [or integral for future options] ladder to further increase its appeal.

One issue maybe for future consideration is application to multi-use docks:  A quick dismount option would be a first thought for some situations, but for a permanent mount the high verticals would be no good and the permanently outward protruding leg would not be desired – so a short but strong vertical channel to the top of the dock rail with a folding upward leg to no higher also, would be quite useful and interesting for that situation. Maybe detailed to be flanked or inside a rubber or wood channel so other vessels would not damage or be damaged by the alum verticals.

Anyway, some thoughts.  This option of kayak mounting is of interest as it seems to be a very low intervention approach that doesn’t require changing the detailing  to future or existing floating ocean docks.  This has been a conversation among some of us [with municipalities] and the kaya arm is worth mentioning.

Brian Nystrom

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 08:12

...and I agree that the KayaArm seems like a good concept that could be quite useful. While I personally couldn't use it (I don't live on the water), there's a pretty large potential market for it and it's something I would consider if I did have a need.

On the other hand, the KayaLeg is simply a terrible design. It encourages poor entry/exit technique that will result in damaged paddles and cracked decks on composite boats. It's ugly and could be easily replicated for a few dollars and a trip to the hardware store (I couldn't see the price, because your ordering system isn't functioning). It reduces the usable deck space for more important items like a chart.It will complicate assisted rescues and potentially injure the rescuer. I can envision several scenarios where paddlers could injure themselves on it while paddling or handling their boat.  The first time someone gets hurt by that contraption on their foredeck, you'll get sued out of existence. On top of all that, it's really a classic "solution in search of a problem", since most boats come with deck bungees that can serve the same purpose without any of the downsides.

If I were you, I wouldn't invest any more time or money in the KayaLeg and would get it off your website ASAP. You have a potential winner with the KayaArm and you should put your resources behind that.

Thank you for your comments Mick.  Regarding the KayaArm we have sold over 1200 world wide and we have added a tide pulley feature to the design for tidal areas that people use in combination with a ladder - see picture below - there are further details on our website - I don't want to violate any commercial rules on this forum.  In fact our largest customer base is from people who live in tidal areas.

KayaArm with tide pulley and ladder from a fixed dock for use in Tidal areas

Regarding the protruding arm:

The protruding arm can be lifted out of the KayaArm mast track and placed on the dock or left submerged in the water.  The arm still remains tethered by the chain to the mast so it is easily retrieved in case it is dropped.

Protective bumpers for wooden Kayaks

Protective bumpers to cover the aluminum are easily fashioned from polyethylene pipe split with a knife along the longitudinal length for protecting beauties like I see on this forum.


Mick Thank you for you comments on the KayaLeg.  I'm trying to find a builder who will incorporate the KayaLeg into the Kayak design to become a much sleeker design than the bolt on top version.  See picture below of it cut into an old polyethylene kayak as a concept :  I believe the built in "OEM" version can address the concerns you mention.  On our website my dad (78 years at the time) demonstrates how it can be used for self rescue.  We have all grown up using the paddle bridge method.  It takes a visionary to challenge our paradigms. 

View from cockpit of OEM Concept


Thank you for your comments.  What I'm trying to find is a builder who will incorporate the KayaLeg into the design to make it much lower profile and sleeker than the bolt on version that should address the concerns you raise.  We have all grown up using the paddle bridge method, we think the biomechanics are significantly improved requiring less physical strength and coordination using the KayaLeg (there are videos on our website).  Furthermore we see it as an asset for self rescue and my 78 year old father demonstrates this in another video.  History has shown that until a visionary comes along to challenge our paradigms we continue to accept what we have always been taught to be true. Our product testing with individuals with reduced strength and mobility tells us we are on to something but we are all agreed that the aesthetics of the bolt on top (especially for the beauties on this forum) are compromised, we are looking for a builder on this forum to take our patented KayaLeg device and work with us to incorporate a much sleeker lower profile version.  We think there is a market for the KayLeg patent to be incorporated into the recreational plastic roto -molded kayak market to get more people of various skill levels kayaking.  Some day we will all be in our senior years and our strength and mobility will naturally decrease, some people will be more affected than others, our goal is to keep people enjoying this wonderful activity.KayaLeg built in OEM concept


I have been trying to replicate the issues you are having with our ordering system on our website - it is our only sales link so it is very critical to our small business.  I can't replicate the issue you are having and the only way to do fix it is to replicate the issue. Would you be so kind to contact me directly through our website with the details. eg what browser you using (what version) and what page etc.  I really appreciate that you have brought that to my attention.

(I couldn't see the price, because your ordering system isn't functioning).


Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:20

When I started kayaking (in typical Canadian canoe tradition, with absolutely no instruction) I used the 'side entry with paddle brace' method.

Once I had some competent instruction, I switched to the 'straddle' entry. On the rare occasions when I use a side entry these days, I definitely don't brace my paddle on the shore.

However, if I did need to attach my paddle sideways to the deck , I'd use the lines/bungees on the aft deck - the ones set up for a paddlefloat self-rescue.

Even better, for beginners would be the straps with quick release buckles on the aft deck. Not hard to DIY, but Seaward sells them pre-made.


Deck straps


Somebody should let the original poster know that most folks on kayak forum regard any 'safety' deck lines as an offense to their aesthetic sensibilities, like "preparation for World War Three" (admin). 


The KayakArm, the kayak will fall over because home built kayaks usually (not strip built) have a V hull.

The KayakLeg, should be on the aft deck as that is where the weight is as you exit the cockpit. However a thumb round a deckline and paddle shaft will do the same for no cost.

If someone can't get in and out of their kayak by or on the shore, they are a liability when on the water too if there is a capsize.


Sat, 12/01/2018 - 00:07

Mac50L said:If someone can't get in and out of their kayak by or on the shore, they are a liability when on the water too if there is a capsize.

I agree with this.

It may be just a training/instruction issue, but if it's a fitness issue it should be a concern. I hope my paddling buddies will tell me to stay at home when I get too creaky to paddle safely!! (And it may not be that far away, the way I feel sometimes!! :-) )

Perhaps a different type of kayak or a different type of boat, or a different activity would be the safer solution.


Sat, 12/01/2018 - 13:23

Its not easy no matter how skilled you think you are. When alone I place the paddle across the back deck out to the water holding it and the back coaming together and I float the paddle end on my PFD. Its very stable. Retrieve the PFD and put it on. This is on a high dock. You can do this with just the paddle and no flotation device as well but if the dock is high, you have to wiggle around a bit getting your hand and butt low and its not always easy. I have often preferred to launch near by in mud, swamp grass - whatever. I have one spot I paddle once a year that has the high dock for launching. They call it a kayak launch - obviously designed by non-kayakers.

With two paddlers, one holds the boat while one gets in. Then the one in the boat rafts up to the kayak in the water and stabilizes it while paddler 2 gets in.

Most paddlers would just put some carpeting on the dock edge and drag it up.

The KayaArm works fine with deep V hulls.  In extreme cases a pool noodle on either side of the crease of the protruding arm can be used to increase the angle to match the hull however the to most important contact is at the bottom of the hull and for stabilizing the kayak for entry & exit many kayakers will find that sufficient stabilization.


Sat, 12/01/2018 - 18:07

Et said:I can do if off high docks, rocks, and in moderate swell too.

Video, please.

Also, please show the exit from boat on to high dock - it's even  more difficult than the entry, for me. By high dock, I mean 2-3 feet from the water to the dock deck- pretty standard floating dock height (not wharf height at low tide!).

The main problem I've had with entry from a dock, or exiting on to a dock, is that the kayak tends to move away from the dock and threaten to land me in the water between the dock and the boat. 

It's a serious problem - a few years ago, a paddler posted his account of 'almost dying' when he ended up  in the water in a marina in winter weather. Most marinas have very long stretches of dock with no ladder to the water.


Sat, 12/01/2018 - 21:49

Randy said:


The video link is enclosed in Etienne's post

Even I can step into my kayak when the deck is level with 'the dock', and the conditions are glassy calm- like that video clip.

I want to see the video with the rocks, or high dock (like 2.5 feet high) in choppy conditions.

It certainly can be done, just not by me.

Etienne Muller

Sun, 12/02/2018 - 05:10

If I can get someone to video differing locations I shall post them.

With high docks the limitation is being able to reach down to retrieve the boat. Going down on the knees to fetch it looks a lot less elegant, and is more entertaining for onlookers, especially if the quay is slippery. Getting out one also needs to be able to get a knee over.

In this area it is not unusual for groups of kayakers to paddle out to Skelligs, 16km offshore. There are narrow steps, but here even moderate swell equates to three or four foot at ay the quay, and it is very difficult to land or relaunch, even in polly boats. The solution is to bail out, climb ashore and bring the boats in with tow ropes, or leave the boats tied to a rope stretched between two pionts of the landing inlet. For relaunching one has to swim and do a wet entry. All of this is easier in a group and, needless to say, it is very rare that anyone goes out solo, although there are some who do; not me though.


Etienne Muller

Sun, 12/02/2018 - 05:30

Here are a couple of galleries of trips a couple of years ago to the Skellig islands an the Blasket Iskands, off the Irish West coast, for those who have not seen them and may be interested.




My knees are still original but high millage (72) . Hope yours last. You also have good balance. I have done the Muller entree but not always successful so I make sure I'm alone when I get brave. I also make sure the water is warm.

Brian Nystrom

Sun, 12/02/2018 - 14:54

In reply to by KayaArm - KayaLeg

I think you missed the point of my post. Your current design is dangerous and you're putting your company at risk by selling it.

This is not a new concept, a visionary idea or any kind of paradigm challenge. Both rotomolded and composite boats have been produced with recesses meant to aid paddle assisted entries and exits for decades. Some have included straps or bungees to hold the paddle, while others were designed to use the paddler's weight to secure the paddle. I haven't looked at the current market, but I'll bet that there are still such designs available. Given that, why would anyone pay you for something they can do themselves - or may have already done - for free?

The only differences between your idea and existing ones are:

  • An aluminum bracket that will likely cause paddle damage and potentially injure paddlers
  • The use of a Velcro strap rather than webbing straps or bungees

How is this in any way new?

I hate to rain on your parade, but it seems pretty obvious that you need to do more research into the kayak market. This is just a slight twist on an old idea and I would say that it's not even an improvement. There are good reasons why nobody has bolted brackets like this on their decks - recessed or not - and I'll bet they have a lot to do with product liability.

Like I said above, I think you have a real winner in the KayaArm, but that success doesn't mean that every idea from the same source is going to be a good one. Enthusiasm is great, but you need to take the blinders off and look at this with a critical eye.

Jay, somehow I never imagined you to be of such a venerable age. Every time I turn around everyone is a decade older. The guy who came fourth in the Wild Atlantic Challenge last year in the sea kayak section was 72. He averaged 8.7kph over fifteen km. he was 20 seconds behind me at the finish. I had to fight him off the entire way. He would walk up a mountain quicker than I would. Some people just have amazing constitutions all their lives. I like to see it. It keeps me hopeful. I am 61 at the moment, but don't feel it, apart from the knees which are stiffer these days, especially if I have been sitting for a long time.

l think it was Betty Davis who said, "Old age is not for sissies." My poor old dad proved that assertion, in spades.


"Jay, somehow I never imagined you to be of such a venerable age. "  me either.

I do Yoga, TaiChi, kayak a lot, push my lawn mower, and all that stuff. I teach at a few places one is a retirement community. They use walkers, and most never exercised. At the Yoga and TaiChi classes the old people can do anything.

I know you all know those things. Stay active and eat vegetables and fruit mainly and be happy. (build boats)

As you kids, JayBabina and Etienne Muller say, keep active. Yes. The knees, decades ago I had problems with one, found it was kicking a football with a bent knee. Physio fixed it and not long afterwards a 3500 km bicycle tour up the length of California and half way back. After Xmas (summer here), I'd do a touring triathlon, cycle north 480 km, kayak for a week, walk to the supermarket and ride home again, over the mountains.

I do admit to laziness now, if it is raining I'll take the van. I'm about to dash off by bike to the library a short 6 km loop, should put in more miles. So, kayaking, upper body, cycling lower bits and maybe a bit of musical instruments to help the supposedly poor hearing and finger dexterity.

I get a pension, I call it working for the government, can do charitable/community projects without looking for the dollars.

So, just been under the desk servicing the computer, a cup of coffee and then off for some cycling exercise and probably the lawn needs cutting again - says the 76 year old.

Oh, forgot, this was about bits not to fit to kayaks or bother using because we youngsters are still active and have a sense of balance.


Mon, 06/21/2021 - 12:54

The KayaArm is not a solution. To install it, I was required to remove parts of my rubber bumper on my dock and it does not work as advertised. I verified the installation was correct via pictures with the manufacturer and they immediately sent new shoes and a worthless small homemade tool to help get the Kayak up, which indicates that this is a KNOWN issue. The new shoes did nothing and the tool broke. It is a metal on metal device and all the lube in the world has not helped at all. For this price there should be rollers or bearings to allow the boat to travel up and down as easily as they claim. Now I have a very expensive stationary kayak rack (no launch), that I had to tear up my dock to mount. The manufacturer's answer was to take it down, repackage it, and send it back...after my dock was numerous holes and two sections of missing bumper because of this huge disappointment. A better answer would be a product that worked.