Adjustable Surfski Cradles

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8 years 9 months ago #20343 by foundwood
I started this thread because I wanted to present my perspective on safely transporting my surfskis to and from the water. I made a mistake by stating that “you need adjustable, wind resistant cradles.” We all need cradles that will fit a variety of hull shapes, and they need to safely hold our boats prior to being secured for the drive home. You do not “need” my system. “Arrogance” noted and adjusted…

Every method of carry has potential for damaging a hull. We should not be defensive when the inevitable occurs. My design can severely scrape or fracture a hull if the padding slips out of place. V- carriers can load the skin and fracture the shell. Upside down on the rails has caused buckling and rail damage. I have seen these failures occur and been asked for repair solutions.

Do what works best for you. Live and learn. The only thing I hope you do is slow down and make sure that you are not hasty or impatient and throw caution to the wind. I value my investment in this sport and hope to keep my resale value as high as possible by reducing damage and repairs.

Here in North Carolina, the law states that the driver is responsible for securing a load. The individual is held liable for property and casualty damages. The manufacturer of a trailer, rack system, kayak, straps, raw materials, or hardware is completely removed from the equation by law in my state.

I post my work to this site because, for the most part, the people here appear to be interested in what each other have to say and appreciate the efforts of others. I do not manufacture products for resale. I define a problem, arrive at a solution, and then post videos of my results. Thank you all for your many comments and fair criticism and please be safe on the road and in the water.

Jim Smith
Wilmington, NC

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8 years 9 months ago #20346 by Stew
Replied by Stew on topic Adjustable Surfski Cradles
I use these Rhino Racks on my car, they work really well.



www.rhinorack.com.au/products/water/kaya...ier-side-loading_580
The following user(s) said Thank You: foundwood

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8 years 9 months ago #20349 by foundwood
Stew: The Rhino cradles are beautiful pieces. Great design in the ability to rotate.

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8 years 9 months ago #20352 by MaxB
Replied by MaxB on topic Adjustable Surfski Cradles
The Rhino cradles are very good. These are a copy of the Rola design released in 2004. Other makers including Thule and Prorack also now market similar products.

These comments relate to the Rola product which I know intimately, but most apply to the other brands mentioned which have similar design. The 3-point pivot design conforms perfectly to almost any hull shape, minimising point loading and providing extremely 'snug' boat retention. The 'flip over' feature allows loading from the side, and from a level below the crossbar - eliminating the need to reach up and over the cradle and the vehicle, which is vastly safer, and easier for shorter people and/or heavier boats. The cradles themselves are aerodynamic when in place without a boat, reducing fuel consumption and wind noise. Alternatively, they are quick to remove and install.

They're not even very expensive. Personally, I don't know why you'd consider anything else. The only other thing I'd add is that your vehicle should be chosen for it's ability to be fitted with a ski appropriate rack set. Most vehicles are not, which is where the issues start.

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8 years 9 months ago #20354 by dynamodale
I can also vouch for the Rhino Racks cradles. I recently upgraded to a carbon boat so have been keen to protect the ski more than the previous fibreglass one.
In the past I have tried cradles from both Pro-rack and Thule. The Pro Racks were absolutely useless and had a serious design fault utilizing plastic underneath to tension onto the aero bar slots, 3 out of the four separate cradle pieces fell apart and the fourth was severely cracked - this was less than 2 months minimal use. They ended up stored in the dark recesses of the garage.
Following this I tried the Thule cradles but there was never enough tension to stop the ski from moving sideways. After this I inverted the ski and fitted Thule loadstops. This did nothing to protect the ski (which was sitting on taped on foam)but did stop any sideways movement. Cracks did develop on both seams at the contact area's after 3 years of carrying this way.
Now that I have had the Rhino racks fitted for a month I am extremely happy. The cradles conform to the hull shape fantastically, loading/unloading is easy with the cradles able to rotate to facilitate removal. There is absolutely no sideways movement with the cradles rock solid in position. Also they come standard with a locking system which wouldn't stop a determined thief but is at least a deterrent.
Of note is that when purchasing the Rhino racks from the local kayak store they sent the old pro racks away which were well outside warranty period. To their credit they replaced them with the latest model that appears to be a great improvement on the old design but as yet are untested.

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8 years 9 months ago #20360 by drjay9051
I have tried various methods for my V10 Sport and sea kayaks. IMHO this is great setup:

goodboykayaks.com/

Simple, fairly inexpensive and a clean look. To date has not failed me.

I do not work for the company just like the product.

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #20370 by ilcentaurorosso
The solution of Epic: www.epickayaks.net.au/newepic/shop/boatrack.html
is the same of Rhino racks:



Attachments:
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by ilcentaurorosso. Reason: (clarifications and photos)

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #20372 by sAsLEX
Replied by sAsLEX on topic Adjustable Surfski Cradles
The thing I like about the goodboy model and the Kirton V bar is the distance apart the mounts are which couldn't be achieved with certain standard mounts and some cars.

As can be seen here:


By supporting the kayak a bit further back in addition to the centre with my homemade T bar which can be seen here with the green foam padding, the movement of the ski whilst driving went to almost nil, where previously there was some vertical movement in the bow noticeable whilst driving.



My old man has a RAV4 3 door and a massive great fishing sea kayak, he copied me slightly and has an additional mount coming up off the front nudge bar. He made his out of some scaffolding clamps and plywood. He can now lift the nose of the kayak up on to this mount and then move to the rear of the boat and lift and swing up on to the roof racks. This helps for a heavy kayak.

Here is a CAD drawing of the system

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Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by sAsLEX.

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #20373 by foundwood
sAsLEX: Isn't it reassuring while driving to and from the water with the knowledge that your boat is safe and secure? Great solution on the load bar.
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by foundwood.

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8 years 9 months ago #20381 by ilcentaurorosso
I don't like V bar due to the wrong pressure on th sides. I use V support for static support but zi avoid to push strongly inside. Supports should be follow the shape of th boat. V-bar should be C-bars with the shape of your ski. So I think that Rhino/Epic/etc. is a good solution for many boats.

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8 years 9 months ago - 8 years 9 months ago #20382 by drjay9051

ilcentaurorosso wrote: I don't like V bar due to the wrong pressure on th sides. I use V support for static support but zi avoid to push strongly inside. Supports should be follow the shape of th boat. V-bar should be C-bars with the shape of your ski. So I think that Rhino/Epic/etc. is a good solution for many boats.


Depending on how you secure into the V wrong pressure could be an issue. Obviously if you crank down a pair of straps across the hull your looking for trouble !! In my case i use the aforementioned Goodboy V system. Very simple attachment of ski via bungee cords. To date (inc. 80 MPH highway trips) I have had no problems. My ski is an ultra layup of carbon/Kevlar and i have NOT had any delamination issues.

The bungees simply do not apply enough pressure to damage the layup!

I do use a strap located across cockpit "just in case" but it is never really snug just a bit of pressure. No delamination here either.

As far as loading there is no need to drop the ski into the V system.

I transport on a full size pickup and how I load the ski and kayak is simple:

Support boat towards rear and simply lay the bow into the rear V. Walk the boat forward and than gently lower the ski into the front cradle. I either hold onto rudder as I lower or let it drop the few inches onto the closed cell foam. Clearly not enough to damage ski !

Now if your vehicle is too tall another solution (which I have used when rear loading is not practical due to obstruction) is to cary a $20 aluminum step stool. Load from side. Again no need to drop the boat into cradle.

If C arm system works for you great. In my case the V has been flawless to date. And of course you can adjust length of bungee to accommodate different width boats.

Lots of carrying methods. Use what your comfortable with and be safe.
Last edit: 8 years 9 months ago by drjay9051.

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8 years 8 months ago #20615 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic Adjustable Surfski Cradles
pool noodles, rope, up side down - "SWEET"
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rookie

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #21030 by Selkie
Replied by Selkie on topic Adjustable Surfski Cradles
I have been using Thule saddles for years much like the Epic and Rhino ones shown above. The soft rubber saddle grips and moulds to the hull so no movement through wind before I get the straps on. Before that I make my own saddles and used them for 20+ years with no problems.

I thought about V bars, but was put off as the shape does not conform to the hull and not keen on the extra raised height/windage. Mount the bar below the cross beam seems a better idea though. For a longer rack, I would consider fitting saddles on a beam to replace the V part.

Surfski Kayak on Facebook
www.facebook.com/groups/395803743862021
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Selkie.

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