5 points of contact

Just watched a youtube dealing with 5 points of contact. This video appeared to be geared for white water kayak. The points were;

  1. Backband

    2.thigh braces

    3 buttocks
  2. hips

    5 feet(bulkhead)

    Does this apply to touring as well.

    Reason i ask is I’m about to buy a kayak. It’s between two boats. In both I have the above contact points except for hips.

    I do have space between my hips and hull. Is it proper to outfit the kayak with minicell so my hips are snug against the hull or is this only done in WW kayak? I’m thinking if my hips were to make contact touring kayaks would be sold with integral hip pads similar to the integral thigh braces.

    Am i missing something here?

I count 5 too
but my five are different

backband (1)

thigh braces (2)

foot pegs (2)

When I’m upside down it’s basically only 2 points of contact – the thigh braces. As I begin to roll, 2 more come into play – the seat and one foot peg. And yes, I’d say this applies to sea kayaking too. Unless you’re just lilydipping in a flat water pond.

Yes, for a sea kayak. No, for a rec

These 5

– Last Updated: Jul-04-12 11:41 AM EST –

Here is the link. They do not count each buttock, thigh etc.


you can add hips pads
Several sources for them aftermarket if you slide side-to-side in the boat.

Except for rec boats and a waveski, those 5 points occur in all my kayaks.

they don’t, but I do
if you’ve ever paddled without 1 foot peg, you’ll understand

Points of contact

– Last Updated: Jul-04-12 11:46 AM EST –

are important to transfer power from your torso to the boat, so when you plant the blade you are actually pulling the boat past the paddle. This applies to whitewater, touring, canoe, kayak and to a lesser degree SUP.

Some of the outfitting is a matter of personal preference, but for touring kayaks and forward paddling you need foot contact and butt contact with the seat (a backband or better yet foam block keeps your butt from sliding back off the seat). For rolling and bracing you need contact with the thigh braces and it helps a great deal to have something to prevent you from sliding side to side in the seat (hip pads). Some touring kayaks come with hip pads, others do not, but is it easy to make some out of minicell. I like to be loose in my kayaks, but at the same time I don't like to be sliding around the seat three inches when I roll or brace. So, I keep hip pads to a minimum and generally not touching me until I start to move. The same is true for thigh braces. I am not in contact with thigh braces until I need them. So, I prefer a loose fit and believe that it helps you to rotate farther and therefore deliver more power to move the boat.

Wear a Kayak - Sit in a Canoe
A kayak is worn - A canoe you sit on

In order for a kayak to be truly responsive

it will be outfitted to a specific paddler.

snug hips more restrictive than good
I leave space between my hips and the side of the seat, and there is good reason for it.

Keep in mind, in a whitewater kayak, you can control your edges 360 degrees. In a sea kayak, you can really only effectively control your right and left edge. Locking hips in snug in a sea kayak ends up much more disadvantageous than advantageous.

A kayak should be an extension of your body, but more like a looser, free-flowing joint. Snugging in your hips would be like a stiff joint. It would take a lot away from forward stroke potential - involving your lower torso and legs. Contact points give effective contact when needed. They are engaged when needed. If you constantly feel them, like a restrictive point or a pressure point, it becomes something of a stiff joint that doesn’t allow full extension, full fluid movement.

Two options
To close the space, you can get hip pads. Either glue in minicell or more flexible add-ons like they have for WW. That will close some/all of the gap.

But - you probably do not want to be in tight contact 100% of the time because it will limit your ability to shift your weight for edging etc. So you want tome room, just not so much that it takes five minutes of planning to get you hip over against one side.

Touring boats work the same as WW when you are in a moment where you need full contact. But in a WW boat that is just about all the time because things move so fast, in a touring boat it is more of an as needed thing.

I agree

– Last Updated: Jul-06-12 11:18 AM EST –

I use the seat back, foot pegs and thigh braces. I do not like to snug a fit on the hips in a sea kayak.

This is different than a WW boat in many respects, not the least of which is comfort for longer periods paddling, but also the nature of the waves you encounter. It gives the boat a little more freedom to ..."wallow" perhaps?..and adapt to the conditions of multiple wave fronts. A simple knee lift or throwing down a butt cheek is more than adequate to control edging in a seakayak unless you like more extreme play in the surf zone.

Hey, now that I think about it, the seat bottom itself is a very important point of contact in a seakayak! Butt cheek control is about as important in seakayaking and used more than any other POC.

different strokes baby
I think you have it right with the five points - although I like knee contact also. You can fit a masik or a knee tube attached under the foredeck with some minicell on the outside of it.

Some people like their hips padded tightly and some don’t. It’s all a matter of preference. I will say I went from a tightly padded boat to a more relaxed setup (allows for the inevitable weight gain)

fun stuff
Ever fool around and try to roll without using the pegs? I got in a boat where they were unreachable and tried to roll, ended up giving myself a really bad hamstring cramp and sunk like a stone.

Painting with much too broad a brush.

– Last Updated: Jul-07-12 1:48 AM EST –

MOST kayakers are in rec boats, and they are only sitting, but they do at least have foot pegs, which as often as not they don't use (feet up on the foredeck seems more popular). Very few serious canoers are not "connected to the boat" to some extent, either by means of a foot brace, or with the knees pressed into the chines. Lots of sitting canoers also place foam on the gunwales so the thighs can be pressed against them for additional contact. A kneeling canoer can lean way out over the water ONLY because the kneeling position is such a secure connection. And of course well-equipped whitewater canoers are "one with the boat" just as much as any kayaker.

I first heard that opinion

– Last Updated: Jul-07-12 1:57 AM EST –

from Steve Scherrer. He said he likes to have room to slide from side to side to use his body weight as ballast