Looking through the online Google's collection of patents turns up no shortage of weird kayaking related inventions.
Here is a quick round-up:
Like kayaking? Like bow hunting? Why on earth would you ever consider looking at them as two different sports when you can combine them for a way better paddling/hunting experience.
This little invention allows you to clip on a trusty crossbow to the shaft of your kayak paddle allowing you…to…well, let's let the patent description do the talking:
The Paddlebow is a bow which can be easily mounted on the shaft of a paddle and used to shoot arrows. The bow is mounted to a paddle shaft by way of a clamp system.
The Paddlebow allows its users to shift from the action of paddling their kayak to the action of shooting an arrow in a quick and comfortable manor.
All I want to know is how the inventor expects you to comfortably paddle with a giant crossbow on the paddle. Also with the weight all forward of the paddle, it would just keep falling down hitting the deck of your kayak as you paddled.
The patent was issued in 2010 so maybe it just hasn't hit the market yet.
Heated kayak canoe paddle shaft
From the patent description:
Patent Description The heated paddle shaft is a heating device integrated into the shaft of a kayak or canoe paddle. The pads are placed on the shaft to keep the operators hands warm. A rechargeable lithium ionized battery source is the charge for these pads.
Maybe it's just me but I certainly don't paddle enough that I thought, “wow, a heated paddleshaft would come in handy right now.”
In 2010 the US patent office issued this idea.
Kayak deck rack assembly
Here is an idea! Let's add luggage rails to the back deck of your kayak effectively making it impossible that you will ever be able to get up on the back deck if you need to be rescued. Also, let's stack as much junk on top of your boat and make it as top-heavy as possible.
Not sure why it hasn't taken off since the patent was issued back in 1993.
Kayak paddle with safety mirror
So this inventor clearly hated looking behind him and felt that there were huge crowds of people who also only wanted to look at their friends via a mirror and felt there was some sort of market for this.
It's exactly what you think it is. A mirror that attaches to your paddle so you don't need to turn your neck.
The patent description is priceless:
A major problem in kayaking is that the user must normally turn the kayak to some extent in order to view the area behind the user, which turning is difficult and time consuming, and also very dangerous in white water kayaking conditions. Also, a busy kayak user must generally keep both hands on the kayak paddle for control of the craft, which is quite tipsy in the water.
Breakaway kayak cockpit and method
Ok, here is one invention that is an interesting idea but there some real world design flaws with it.
The idea with the breakaway cockpit is that if you are kayaking and get stuck in your boat that you could push up and against the front of the cockpit, the panel would release giving you lots of room to escape.
The problem with it is that the deck of the kayak would lose a lot of structural integrity epically in a small whitewater kayak where having the deck of the kayak implode is a realistic scenario. That's why they put those vertical foam pillars down the length of the boat.
Also, it looks like the breakaway panel and by what I can read in the description, the coaming itself is held in place by rubber gasket. That might keep things together while the kayak is on the shop floor but the stresses on these areas of the boat are considerably greater than what a little gasket can stand up against. I'm pretty sure that the whole system would just fall apart.
Looks like the idea never really panned out as a patent was filed way back in 1985.
Emergency air system for kayaks
This seems like an interesting concept in principle but wow, look at the huge number of parts making the simple idea of a breathing tube for whitewater kayaks overly complicated.
I like how the inventor has added a snorkel mouthpiece to make breathing more comfortable (like you are going to be using it all the time).
The inventor got his patent back in 2004.
Any inventor with an awesome idea will tell you how difficult it is to take it from prototype to store shelves. In many cases an awesome idea never gets off the ground because they just can’t find the cash.
Finding that cash has always been difficult but getting easier. In the past year or so, Kickstarter has become the largest funding website for creative projects or inventions.
Here is how it works. You are looking for funding for your project, invention, art piece or documentary. On Kickstarter you create a page to sell your idea and people pledge. If the idea meets the fundraising goal then credit cards gets charged and everybody is happy. You get the funding and project backers get a piece of the action depending on their pledge level.
Browsing through the site, here are a couple of cool outdoor related projects currently looking for funding or were recently successful:
Trolling through the US patent office for kayaking related inventions is a bit like wandering around the Island of Misfit Toys. While some patents have been issued for products that have been introduced to the market, a huge number of patents have been issued for inventions that...well...most likely will name make it to your local paddling shop.
Here are a couple highlights that I found:
In 2004 a patent was issued for this Emergency Air System for Kayaks. In theory it seems like a good idea for whitewater paddlers but according to the filing, it was going to be intended for paddlers who fail their roll the first time and need another breath before trying again.
Here is somebody who invented what could be called the worlds most complicated hydration system for kayaking. It involves a bladder that held water behind your seat followed by a series of tubes through the deck of your kayak and up to your mouth. This was unique because of a squeezable bulb (mounted between your legs) which would be used to pressurize the bladder. No sucking for you!
I don’t know a single person who hasn’t said that they wished their kayak deck came with a set of luggage racks so I have no idea why manufactures didn’t jump all over this invention. Just think of the junk luggage I could have taken on trips if this patent from 1993 had come to market.
Speaking of people who like to bring lots of stuff, here is the perfect accessory for your next camping trip. This Buoyant Storage Vessel comes with its own cooler, gas powered stove and yes, a kitchen sink.
Looking at the filing, I couldn’t figure out how it would work in real life. Picture this, you get to your campsite at the end of a long day and then you are expected to drag it up on the beach to use it as a portable kitchen. Let’s hope that you have the 13-14 feet treeless, flat ground available at your campsite or else the whole thing is pointless. Even if you did have the space, the whole thing seems a touch unnecessary.
And finally the weirdest (so far) that I could find is described as, “an apparatus for use in evaluating paddled watercraft.”
From what I can tell, it’s a device designed to sit on the paddleshop floor that would allow a customer to get a feel for how a kayak would handle on the water without actually needing to be on the water. Not sure exactly how it works but it seems to have a series of rollers enabling you to test its stability side to side. How is this not in all shops!?
Did any of these items ever actually make it to market in a slighty different form? Let me know in the comments.