The new Cruise from Jackson Kayak doesn’t come with a paddle keeper of it’s own, so I needed to install them. A paddle keeper not only makes a handy place to store a paddle while on the water, but for kayak fishermen it is the perfect place to stow a stake out pole. It’s super convenient making it quick to anchor and out of the way in that spot. Well I just so happened to have a paddle keeper kit from Yak-Gear sitting in my garage. It was a raffle prize at a tournament I was in and now I could finally put it to use.
There is a set of instructions that come with the kit. They are adequate at best, not very detailed, but most folks will manage to get the kit installed with them. I’ll offer my help (and pictures) below.
1. Besides the parts included with the kit, you’ll need to gather these supplies:
– Drill with 7/32 bit (5/32 if you use the stainless screws and lock nuts)
– Pop rivet gun (or a Phillips head screw driver)
– Tape measure
2. Next you’ll have to put together the bungees. You’ll start by sliding a sleeve over the end of the provided bungee cord.
3. Then you shove the end into what they call a terminal end. Depending on how fat the bungee cord end is it might take a bit of squeezing and pressing to get the bungee to fit in the terminal end.
4. Once the terminal end is on you can take the pliers and squeeze the sleeve over the terminal end.
5. Next you’ll want to pick out where your paddle keeper will go. On the Cruise I decided that right under the Jackson Kayak logo was the best place. Mark one of the holes with the sharpie.
6. Next, drill the hole with that 7/32 bit
7. Pop rivet one end of the bungee to set the cord.
8. Rather than trying to stretch the bungee and mark both sides with the sharpie at step 5, it’s easiest to set one side first, then stretch the cord a bit and mark the other side. Pull the bungee snug, not too tight, and not loose. Then you can repeat steps 5-7.
9. All you have to do now is find a good spot for the lash hook. Use the tape measure to find the middle of your bungee and go at least 3″ up. I went a bit further than that and placed the hook on the inside side of the yak, much like the paddle keeper on the Coosa. I had to use an ultra fine tip sharpie to mark my spot as a regular sharpie tip was too fat to fit through the lash hook hole. With the hook on the inside I can lash things either to the side, or on top the rails. I used my measure board to make sure the hook didn’t protrude above the rails, I wanted to sit them either flush or slightly below the top of the kayak.
10. After you drill that hole and pop rivet the hook in place (steps 6-7), you are done. As you can see a paddle keeper is very simple to install, anyone can do it provided they have the right tools. To me it brings the Cruise one step closer to being a fishing machine, along the same lines as the Coosa, Cuda, and the rest of the fishing line up.