Primary and Secondary Stability
Primary stability is how stable a boat is when it is sitting flat on the water.
Secondary stability is how stable a boat is when it is on edge.
How to develop and discover the primary and secondary stability of your kayak
1. Sit in your boat with it flat on the water (no edge). This is the initial stability of the boat. The primary stability.
2. Now roll the boat up on to edge. This is the secondary stability of the boat. Note that the secondary stability has a breaking point where it will flip over.
3. Different boats have there own idiosyncrasies. It is good to jump in a range of different boats so you can gain experience in how different boats respond when on edge.
4. You can also play around with the secondary stability of the boat to find out how it handles on edge by trying different paddling positions in the boat. Have a go and see how weighting various different areas of the boat, front to back, side to side, has an effect on its stability and balance.
Every boat handles differently and is designed for slightly different situations. If your thinking of getting a new boat, try out as many different kayaks as you can. Chat to your local store, club or coach to find out which style of boat will be the best for the type of paddling you are planning to do. Then try them. At the end of the day a lot of boat choice is about how it feels. Find out what style of boat you need and then go with the one that feels right.