Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Kayak Theft

In certain parts of the world boat theft is a serious problem and given that most whitewater kayaks are close to £1000 it’s a pretty serious and probably very lucrative business.

My boat storage at home is pretty secure but I do feel that my kayak is at its most vulnerable when it is sat on the car. My current car has a roof rack that securely bolts to the car which means that it is fairly easy to lock my kayak to the rack and know that it is relatively secure.

I have used one of these really simple Playboater Rackguards for a few years. It’s great for quickly securing the kayak to either the cars roof rack or even the cars tow loop/wheel if the boat is on the ground.

The key is to wrap the cable around/through parts of the kayak that are hard to loosen off or remove. I like a loop around the seat pillar and through one of the rescue loops/handles as they tend to be fastened on using security bolts anyway.

The ball can also be trapped inside of the car, although I do know of a couple of instances where doors have been wedged open to release the ball.

Given the thickness of the cable a determined thief could get past it, however if it slows them down and increases the chances of them being caught then it’s worth using.

There are also a number of other products on the market that are worth looking at and centre around the roof rack straps having some sort of inbuilt locking system.


  1. Malcolm Oates

    I use a bike cable with a padlock around the roof rails, it’s slightly thicker than the one shown above, but as you say any determined theif could use a bolt cutters… Keep up the good work, these always make an interesting read

  2. Sean (Gadget) Lynn

    i use one of those “playboater guards” and find it excellent .. ! however, the disclaimer on the packaging card worries me .. ! it asks the end-user “to exercise care when closing your balls in the door” .. ! eh no .. !

  3. Tom

    A word of caution with the playboater guard, I had a boat stolen off the roof of my car whilst using one of these, the criminal genius used a lighter to heat up and melt the plastic where the loop is crimped shut, it was then an easy matter for them to then pull the wire out of the crimp and hey-presto the boat is gone.

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