Stephen Tapp designed Drift Chute from Viking Kayaks
Stephen Tapp designed the first commercially available drogues (drift chutes) in NZ enhanced particularly for kayak performance, based on a lot of on-water experimentation. The ones sold through Viking Kayaks are based on Stephen’s original design work. Keep in mind there are a variety of designs that will work OK, but here are the key features Stephen found that made a real difference to performance:
1. Heavy duty fabric – the relatively stiff material (compared to lighter nylons and rip-stops) maintains its shape and efficiency better in choppy blustery conditions helping keep drift speeds low.
2. Stiff 8-10mm rim rope – once the drogue “inflates” to shape in the water the stiff rope helps hold the mouth open as the kayak swings and chop batters at the sides.
3. Approx 1m across the mouth measured flat – the larger size is more efficient at controlling drift speeds for a variety of fishing techniques whether bait or lure fishing. We might be small craft, but nearly everything including the paddler sits above the water acting as a sail.
4. Large float on a cord at the rear – keeps the drogue on the surface when conditions are variable, stopping it sinking below the kayak and creating stability issues in wakes and waves (i.e. if the wind dies or a fish tows you towards it, an ordinary drogue may sink and try to hold the end of the kayak under). Having the float swinging off the end allows the drogue to “inflate” rapidly regardless of the way it hits the water (flotation at the rim or sides can occasionally get trapped underneath the drogue until it rolls over, slowing the “inflation” process).
5. Cord bridle with sliding ring attachment – having a free-sliding attachment on the bridle maintains the drogues efficiency by allowing the kayak to move from side to side in choppy/blustery conditions without upsetting its shape.
There are other features that can have a small impact, but the above are the ones that make the most significant difference in Stephen’s experience.