Speed vs stability

We are from NH, and there are 6 of us that have OC 1's.
our question is: what is faster and most stable? our debate has two camps;
1. setting the ikos all the way in and all the way down causes less drag and is there for faster, although it does appear that the boat does not sit level in the water, which causes the paddler to have to adjust his seating to be level.
2. By setting the ikos higher on the ama levels the boat and there fore seats the paddler level, but does this cause more drag.
Thanks for any comments. Jay

Submitted by Hammer on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 5:20am

I know others will chime in. If the iakos are set all the way down...the hull will lean toward the ama making the ama heavier...more stable, more resistance., less speed. If the iakos are set up...ama lighter...less resistance, less stability and more potential speed.

#1 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 8:33am

When I picked up my Pueo, Kaimana Guys told me basically what poidog said. However Jimmy A. told me the opposite, That the iako down low will raise the ama higher, creating less drag.

#2 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 12:27pm

The Pueo has those tabs in the front to adjust the iako at the bow,. They have no side out or in adjustment. The stern has a tube to place the iako. Everyone I know who has a Pueo goes as light as they can in the back...they then use the upper tab hole in the bow. I am 200 pounds...over rated for that canoe...I use a GPS...speed plus feel tells me that in flat water my speed is higher with the top tab hole used and the iako up a few inches. When in large swells I go to the bottom tab hole and less high at the rear so I can paddle harder on the outboard side without having to lean too much toward the ama. When I haven't tightened the hold down on the rear iako and the iako slides to the bottom of the ama tube...feel the resistance right away.

The same concept is in play with 6 mans where closer in to the hull...lighter the ama. Out more...heavier the ama. Then the anal retentives start playing around with shims.

Keizo ?

#3 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 1:01pm

well Hammer at least you're a little closer to the name of the things...Joel on another thread calls them akus,(bonitos)hence the funny kine replies.On a oc-1 you should be able to tell the difference right away,if the wa'a(canoe)is tippy,there is less weight on the ama,so less drag drag from it,so you should go faster,but if you huli(capsize) ,then you're not wikiwiki(fast) anymore,right?To answer your ?, shortening the 'iako and having the back one on the top setting makes the ama lighter.Like Poidog said,the Pueo ama is also adjustable in the same manner on the front.It really makes a difference.If you can fly the ama,zero drag!Hopes this helps.

#4 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 1:27pm

From the first post in this thread there are guys out there removed from the piko and they are trying to figure the thing out on their own,...and they are doing so with totally wrong assumptions. Maybe some product support and some good positive manao will help. Would like to hear from some of the boat manufacturers though as far as iako settings. Seems like they would be interested in doing so ...and should always do so.

#5 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 4:34pm

If canoe leans left (rear iako into ama all the way) = more stable, more ama drag, slowest setting.
If canoe sits upright (rear iako into ama to first position/top hole) = lighter ama, less drag, fastest setting.

#6 Wed, 07/17/2013 - 7:20pm

The only question is what model canoes do these NH Guys have? If we knew, we'd be able to give more acurate advice.

All the above on the settings seem to be true until I came across a HYPR Makia and tried to get it stable for a new paddler. On this particular model, the iako all the way in the hull and the top hole on the ama back actually made it stable.

@ poidog: On my Pueo, I put an end cap on the back iako that goes into the ama. In the ama, I put a 3/4 inch PVC pipe cut to 3 inches that sits in the bottom of the tube. This solves the problem of the iako sliding to the bottom if I lean too hard on the left and the screw wasn't tight enough to hold it in place. From there I just adjust the front of the ama to the conditions, flat on top hole, rough on bottom hole. While sitting in the seat, the hull looks level (not leaning to the left or right).

On my Zephyr and Torrent I also have 1 inch PVC pipes cut to 2 1/4" and sitting in the bottom of the rear iako tube of the ama to prevent the iako from sliding to the bottom. I just have one setting that seems to work for all conditions for these two models which is when I'm sitting in the seat the canoe has a slight lean to the right. Still feels stable and fast for me.

It all boils down to the individual paddlers setup in how they feel is stable and fast for them. What might work for one might not work for others.

#7 Thu, 07/18/2013 - 3:55am

thanks all for the discussion,
I will pass on to the guys...... E7M, thanks for the idea with the PVC, that will help to standardize the setting. We have mix of boats...2-Zephyr's, 2-Fuse's, an Osprey, a John Martin and I have a Scorpius XM.. If your in NH, stop by N.Beach in Hampton, and join us for a paddle (we have spare wetsuits!!)...Mahalo

#8 Sun, 07/21/2013 - 8:39am


I don't think the goal should be the boat leaning left for stability, or leaning right for speed. When you're rigging, what you're looking for is the boat sitting flat (no lean left or right) when you are sitting on it. Too much lean left or right means you'll be compensating for it while paddling, and you'll end up with numb legs or possibly pain in your hips.

I rig the boat differently for me at 200 pounds than I do for my 14 year old son at 100 pounds because it sits much lower in the water for me. The OC boats you mention all have adjustable rear connections where the iako goes into the ama. That's the only place you should have to adjust. The iakos, where they go into the boat, should go in completely. I got that straight from Karel when I asked about adjusting how far in/out the ama should be. I put them completely into the iako hole on the boat, then slide them out 1/16 of an inch just so the iakos don't rub/squeak on the bottom of the hole.

Penticton, Canada

#9 Sun, 07/21/2013 - 12:32pm

my limited knowledge from sleeping at a holiday in express tells me that the less stable a paddle craft is the faster it is. this seems to apply to surfkis and prone paddleboards. this is also why oc-1 can be very efficient hulls; they have a stabilizer attached. i realize this has no bearing on this thread but i thought now was the time to add some two cents.

#10 Tue, 07/23/2013 - 9:18am

The theory that the more "unstable a craft is the faster it is" is a theory that is not true and has about as much backing as "it the engine that matters" theory. This is not an attack on JC, I'm just saying that this theory is not true. A theory I once believed until I was taught better.

Here's my thoughts on the ama rigging. First we go with the iako in the hull process. The further you put the iako in the hull the lighter the ama gets when paddling on the right (putting weight on the right side) but when you paddling on the left then your actually digging the ama more in the water. I think this is because closer you have the ama to the hull the lower the "gear" the more leverage you have on the ama. So think of it like a gear, the closer the ama is to hull the lower the gear and the more leverage you get, the further from the hull the higher the gear and the less leverage you get. I think it's sort of like a catch 22.

I believe something very similar happens when you adjust the iako to ama setting. Once again you are just adjusting the leverage and what leverage gives it taketh from somewhere else. I think this leverage isn't quite as simple as the lower gear and heigher gear example I used earlier but for most situations I think it this is true. As you raise the ama out the Iako then you move the leverage point of the canoe to the right of nuetral, so the leverage is now geared to the advantage of putting wieght on the right side of canoe. SO when you paddle on the right side of canoe the ama pops out of water easier, but when you paddle on left side of canoe the ama will have more wight pressing down on the water because the leverage point has shifted slightly to the right on nuetral positioning of the canoe. So now if you paddle on the left side of canoe you start to pressure the ama sooner now since the leverage point has shifted to the right of nuetral of the canoe. Now the exact opposite happens if you put iako further down the ama (sort of). I think this particular leverage calculation needs an actual engineer to disign and explain.

This could all be complete BUSH, but since no real engineers, canoe designers, Echart Diestel's, or any other person who has studied this has commented, I thought I would put this idea out there.

Ultimately what someone commented that Luke said "paddle with the hull rigged flat" is the optimal position for optimal flat water least resistance.

Is anyone else out there find it slightly odd/dissappointing that not a single athoratative figure has enlighted us on the matter. We know you read this, we're told we posters are mostly idiots, here's a great chance to help correct us and move the knowledge base of the sport forward. Just help the people.

#11 Thu, 07/25/2013 - 10:53am

no attack felt. my skin is thick and coated with whale blubber to boot. interesting thoughts. unfortunately your argument doesn't change my mind. not yet... I fall back on the premise of Olympic kayaking and canoeing. all those dudes and ladies would race less tippy boats if they could. right?

#12 Thu, 07/25/2013 - 5:53pm

healthy, i dont know whether to laugh or throw up at basically all of your posts, and while i give your opinion just about as much weight as a hunger strike participant on day 100, i chime in:

(not that i am an engineer by any means)

this subject is merely academic since you can only bring the ama in so far without hitting it on your return. in my opinion, the closer to the hull, the faster you go.

rigging the ama tippy: the canoe should never be rigged so that when you paddle on the left there is increased pressure on the ama. duh. you have to play around with the setting so that there is happy medium. you can still rig the ama accordingly closer to the hull in this manner and you will go faster.

finally, in regards to your leverage analogy, shouldn't how high a person sits in a canoe be considered as well? the lower you are in the canoe, the less pressure and leverage on the ama.

#13 Thu, 07/25/2013 - 6:42pm

@jc- I have the old v10 ski and the new v10; different designs same name. The new v10 is not only more stable but per the manufacturer the new v10 is hydrodynamicly faster than the older one which is less stable. I think as a general rule of thumb you are correct.

@numerouno- yes height would matter..... Assuming what I wrote earlier was somewhat accurate.

#14 Thu, 07/25/2013 - 9:32pm

Personally, I have always rigged my OC1 so that when I put a 3' level across the two gunnels the level bubble is exactly in the middle. I do this in flat water with no wind so that I can verify that my weight is offset with the correct positioning of the ama.

With this, I feel that the ama is set up with the optimum waterline and it creates a neutral stance with the canoe, thus giving the paddler the best chance to go as fast as possible.

Just my .02

#15 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 6:57am

Bubble levels on both gunwales, nice idea!

#16 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 7:45am

I was referring moreso to the actual height of the seat rather than the height of the paddler

#17 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 12:40pm

All interesting input to beginning question. I remember an old video of Danny Ching going down the Wailua River on Kauai without an ama...perfect balance. I also know that surfskis without an ama are a lot faster then an OC1. Lets face it...the ama is in many way a hinderance...creates stability but does not add to speed. The lighter the ama on any wa'a...the less resistance ...the potential speed is greater but with less stability it hard to get a better pull on the other side of the canoe. People lean into the ama to maintain balance and usually end up pretty sore for doing so after 6 or more miles. But lets face it...hydrodynamics are what they are...according to ability and conditions...the less resistance...the faster the canoe is going to go.

#18 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 1:00pm

in my opinion, the surfski is not faster, rather, a surfski has superior propulsion.

#19 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 2:14pm

numero ono...talk about semantics. Propulsion vs. speed ..who gets from point 1 to point 2 in a more rapid manner is what I am referring to...
...put a GPS on your canoes....under the same wind and swell conditions...go lighter or go heavier on the ama......what creates the optimum. what ?..I guess we shall call it "propulsion".?..

#20 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 2:45pm

Ilio poi, my comment was in reference to "I also know that surfskis without an ama are a lot faster then an OC1". You are correct but for the wrong reason. Surf ski is not a faster hull per se, but rather powered via a stroke at a higher rate and thus resulting in more speed.

#21 Fri, 07/26/2013 - 10:54pm

Depending on the hulls being compared, an outrigger should be in the same ball park as a surf ski as far as potential speed; you can go with a narrower hull and no secondary stabilility in the outrigger because you have a stabilizer (which then adds back in a bit of drag). Also, if the paddler is more stable/confident, they can lay down more power or more consistent power than if they're feeling a bit timid because of a lack of stability. A couple of us who paddle both surf skis and outriggers have found that paddling our outriggers with kayak paddles yields speeds comparable to our surf skis - or sometimes better (you can charge hard in the outrigger through boat wakes, confused chop, etc.). Using my V2-X, setup to use kayak paddles, I teamed up with a well-respected canoe paddler last year to run an 18 mile race on Lake Michigan. Before the race, using GPS in a calm harbor, we tested the boat with both of us using canoe paddles and then with both of us using kayak paddles. We also put two skilled canoe paddlers in the boat to check the speed with canoe paddles (I predominately paddle surf skis and unlimited-class kayaks). The V2-X was definitely a few tenths faster when paddled with kayak paddles, so that's how we raced. :)

#22 Fri, 08/02/2013 - 12:43pm

Red Pepper ... Where did the speed of the two skilled canoe paddlers fall into the mix ?

Part two curiousity ... Since you mentioned Mi., were these guys used to paddling Jenson, Crozier type boats ? Were they using smaller 7.5-8"ish blades ? Just wondering ... mahalo.


#23 Mon, 08/05/2013 - 10:42am

Hey Pat,

The two canoe paddlers typically paddle Jensen/Crozier/Savage River C-1's and C-2 ProBoat's (and now C-4 as well). Both are veterans of the AuSable Marathon (one has placed as high as 3rd overall) as well as numerous other races. I can't tell you what size paddles they were using, other than they were ZRE bent-shaft carbon paddles. In terms of speed, the two canoe paddlers came between me and the one canoe paddler (the faster of the two) using canoe paddles and the same two of us using kayak paddles (wing blade for me, standard blade for the canoe paddler). The differences were only a tenth or so mph. Of course, this isn't an all-defining test by any means, but it was an interesting comparison. This year the canoe paddler I partnered with last year and another kayak & canoe racer will be using my V2-X for the race (using canoe paddles), while I'll be paddling a surf ski. It will be interesting to see how they place overall (the course last year was a 19.3 mile loop by my GPS measurements; this year it will be all down wind). I did notice that in the just completed San Francisco US Surf Ski Championship race two OC-1's placed fairly well (51st and 90th out of 122).http://www.webscorer.com/racedetails?raceid=11161 Not sure what they were using for paddles.

#24 Mon, 08/05/2013 - 12:46pm

Good info !

#25 Mon, 08/05/2013 - 10:47pm

red pepper : I wonder how you managed to paddle a wing blade on an OC ? These paddles are designed to slip away from the side of the hull, compared to the straightly vertical stroke of the single paddle.
You might be hiting the ama on every left stroke.
Did you take a shorter paddle than the one you would use on a surfski ?

#26 Mon, 08/12/2013 - 4:19am

Fabrice: Our Huki OC-2 was setup by Jude to allow the use of kayak paddles. Actually, the only non-stock difference is the front iako has a large hoop built into it to lessen the possibility of hitting it with the paddle. The ama is far enough out we've never hit it with the paddle, but you do need to keep a proper stroke (bringing the paddle out by your hip) to prevent taking the blade too far back and hitting the iako in the rear. My paddle is the same length as what I use on my surfski (an Epic Mid-Wing, 215 - 225 cm, usually set between 215 and 221) I've attached a couple of photos of our outrigger from the 2012 Ride the Wave Regatta on Lake Michigan.

#27 Wed, 08/14/2013 - 4:19am

I like the comment about using the level- makes a lot of sense. A person's weight and the volume of the canoe are vital factors. A person at 100-150 lbs will probably do better in a smaller canoe such as an XS, Naia Iki etc vs an XM or Pueo, everything else being equal. And of course stroke technique and strength are so critical that all the balancing etc won't matter. Mainly have fun and play with your rig to get it comfortable for you. And play with the seat position fore and aft for the same purpose to get the correct balance.

#28 Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:43pm

I am sorry...I don't get it. Outriggers paddled with double blades?. So an outrigger paddled with a double blade only a bit faster then an outrigger paddled with a single blade.? Propulsion? Resistance of the ama? Problems with iako setups making full "propulsion" possible? How light was the ama adjustment?...with a double blade could have been to the point of huli.

I guess since it would be very difficult to paddle a surfski with a single blade...and supposedly a surfski is faster not so much due to be being free of the resistance of having an ama...but due to the "propulsion" gained by use of a double blade...and since the discussion first started with a question about lighter or heavier ama adjustment ( less resistance through the water versus stability (often a matter of paddler proficiency and balance) ))...I remain confused but then probably comparing mai'a to uala.

#29 Wed, 08/14/2013 - 1:42pm

Poidog: Interesting you should mention paddling a surfski with a single-blade paddle. Someone did that at the USCA Nationals a few years ago in an Unlimited Canoe Sprint competiton - and won. :)

#30 Fri, 08/16/2013 - 4:58am

Red Pepper...he should enter an outrigger world sprints race...make the ama as light as possible...and would probably do real well. Balance means a lot...power with balance means more.

#31 Sun, 08/18/2013 - 5:33pm

Hammer I am from Concord NH and have an OC 1 and paddle in Maine mostly. Where do you paddle?

#32 Thu, 10/03/2013 - 8:53am

Here is an excellent article on rigging the ama: http://www.kamanucomposites.com/2013/ama_rig

#33 Fri, 10/04/2013 - 1:28pm

Kamanu did a real good job with that rigging discussion. Very helpful and answered a lot of questions. I think the info. can be applied to most outriggers as far as iako/ama adjustments.

#34 Fri, 10/04/2013 - 3:44pm

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