I've loaded the kayaks with the Lift Assists (heretofore know as LA's) before when I first got them. I did it just so I knew I could. I did find it really difficult to load the Kona without help though. First, it's just hard to get it into the cradles on my own, and secondly it was near impossible to get it to slide in when it reached the top. The Kona is just a little too flat and wide to easily cooperate.
Anyway, on to the unloading. I have to confess that I did have an assistant after all:
Actually he was more of a supervisor.
I attempted the Maui first. The trickiest part is when you have the straps undone and need to install the LA's.
This step is known as, "Please, oh please, don't fall on my head!"
I decided at this point that I should go get a step-stool, turned my back and sure enough, there was a gust of wind and a THUNK!
No harm done though.
I got it properly placed in the cradles and began lowering it with the handy-dandy ratchet system. (I just pull out on the little rings and lower each side a little at a time).
Getting it from the cradles to the rack I store it on was a bit tricky, but I managed with only a few curse words uttered.
"I must say, job well done."
On to the Behemoth. (Honestly, can anyone verify that a Kona is only 60 pounds!? This sucker is HEAVY!)
I was a little worried about the time between no staps and LA's installed, but the Kona stayed put. (I figured a concussion was in store if it fell on me.) At this point I thought it might be easiest to just flop it over and lower it that way.
Well, it wasn't. Apparently there's a reason they tell ya to unload with the bottom against the car.
Here you see the LA's jammed against the cockpit, and no further progress being made.
My only option was to climb on top of my car and get the kayak in a better position.
This is not it.
Ahh, there we go.
From here on out it was pretty easy and I had better success transferring it from the car to the rack. (No cussing! Woo!)