The latest addition to my fleet of kayaks needed a toggle handle to be repositioned since I deemed it to be attached in a dangerous location.
The kayak’s deck is designed to accommodate an optional rudder and the designer could not attach the grab handle at the stern of the kayak since it would interfere with the rudder.
I have previously detailed the reasons why I regard some grab handles and its position on some kayaks dangerous. After a few pinched fingers and a bruised knuckles I now like to have all of my handles attached at the ends of my boats.
I believe that the best handle on a kayak is the single cord (not a loop) one from SKUK (Nigel Dennis).
handle on SKUK Exporer
While some argue that it is not as easy to use in an emergency towing situation (no loop for a carabiner to be attached to) I prefer that type of set up to prevent injuring my fingers.
One thing that I don't like is the banging that the handles produces when the kayak is paddled in textured waters. Some other set ups (like Valley kayaks) have a bungee cord tensioning the handle back onto the deck which stops the annoying banging.
Then it dawned on me: why not combine the two? Why not tension the single line?
the handle was originally attached on top of the deck
While simple in concept the details of the execution and the quality of materials for this handle set up must be first rate.
I used a sheeted Dyneema core 4 mm line for the cord and quality bungee cord for the retracting/tension section.
Dyneema line through a sleeve in the hull
A knot joins the two and a bit of heat shrink covers the ends to make it look neater. The knot stops the cord from being pulled through the sleeve in the hull. The bungee is attached to the toggle's original anchor point on deck.
The handle has a short stand-off from the hull so it can be grabbed easily when in a hurry (like in the surf).
handle with stand-off
The idea of having a retractable handle came to me after I had drilled and sleeved the end of the hull of my kayak.
If I had to do it again I would position the sleeve on a slant to alleviate the (right) angle of the hole and have it more in line with the toggle cord. That would achieve less friction when the handle is pulled out and possibly reduce the wear on the line.
PS You have seen this set up here first