Whetman Equipment Contact Line

After an awful lot of cycling-heavy content… time to get back to that other fun thing to do.. sea kayaking… Now, I’ve learned over the years that there are particular topics in sea kayaking that are almost guaranteed to spark off a lively debate.. one is rudders (yawn).. the other is towing.. methods and equipment. This is not going to be another long winded treatise on what is considered to be right and wrong, you can find as much of that as you want elsewhere around the web, rather it’s to present a rather neat little bit of kit that fits nicely into an oft-neglected niche.. the contact tow.

I’m lucky enough to count amongst my friends a certain Steve Whetman, aside from being a decent chap he’s also a top kayaker with with more than 30 years of experience ..  experience particularly notable for extreme whitewater solo descents around the globe as well as a spell in Latin America as a raft and jungle guide. He’s also a  qualified Rescue 3 International Swiftwater Rescue Instructor.. and has been working in paddlesport manufacturing for 15 years. Suffice to say he knows his stuff. As a friend and someone working hard to build a new business I promised him a little while ago to show you his really rather well thought out solution for those quick extractions from awkward situations that is now available to buy. So here it is. The video below will explain it better than I could so have a watch and then head over to the Whetman Equipment website to find out more.. he also has a bunch of other related and useful widgets available – take a look. Steve is also now the UK agent for the German Lettman Kayaks so someone well worth bookmarking. I’ll try and get some more coverage of the Lettman boats over the winter. They’re really nicely made and a manufacturer you don’t see so often in the UK.


I would just like to point out that I have no financial or business association with Steve in respect of posting stuff like this. I just think it’s a really neat bit of kit that’s going to live on the deck of my kayak for those unexpected quick extractions… I shall be expecting a slice of cake however next time we go paddling…Steve (I’m easily pleased).

Here are some more pics..

Nicely made bit of kit
Neat contact tow solution
Steve.. being Steve

5 thoughts on “Whetman Equipment Contact Line

    • hey thanks for your comment. I did forward your comment on to Steve, his reply is pasted below, but before that…. with regard to aluminium carabiners – I’ve had one (kong) on my current sea towline for 5 years, it gets a dunk in a bucket of cold water after a day on the water (unless on a multi-day trip in which case when I get home) and it’s showing no signs of corrosion so having read your article I guess a lot depends on the quality of the anodizing.. I saw a Petzl carabiner in your article, while I’ve used for climbing I’ve never used for sea kayaking – not through conscious choice – just haven’t – so I guess as far as aluminium ‘biners for paddling goes.. some just aren’t good for that. Anyway, enough from me, here’s Steve’s response:
      I have read your gnarlydognews article on karabiners and notice you have discovered Kong connectors; these are the only connectors that we use ourselves. They are made in Italy with a high quality assurance and of course have the superb snag free keylock gate. For marine use our experience with Kong anodised aluminium connectors has been excellent and with no problems of corrosion of the connector or the spring. We have tested the Kong connectors for a year and are happy to promote them as suitable with a caveat that a regular wash in warm tap water is advisable – as should be done with other critical elements of your sea kit such as radio, knife, pump etc. Kong do make large stainless snag free connectors but they are heavy compared with aluminium karabiners. For those who remain sceptical of alloy connectors we do offer stainless, on the video you will see that we offer three options of Kong connector; Medium Stainless, Med Alloy (Mini D), Large Alloy (Argon). On our Paddle Leash ( http://www.whetmanequipment.com/store/p31/Paddle_Leash.html) you will notice another Kong stainless connector; their smallest.

      cheers for reading!

    • These are climbing crabs so they are anodised to protect the metal, give it a rinse to get the salt off (something you’le want to do for the webbing anyway) and it’le be grand!

  • Consider making a version with double webing with bungee inside on one end to minimize injury and boat damage. Also a sleeve for the binder may prevent scratching on fiberglass kayaks. Nice work.

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