Aftermarket Kayak Seat - What's Good?

Hey kayak brothers and sisters. My seat and thigh pads finally got so nasty that I took them out of my old Dagger Alchemy. I found replacement thigh braces / pads right away. I think they’ll do fine. Now I’m looking at replacing the seat. I’m looking at this Redfish thing -
Also looking at this Happy Bottom Pad - Comfortable Kayak Seat - Happy Bottom Pad - Contoured Closed Cell Foam with Hip Braces

Any opinions on these products? Any other suggestions?
Many thanks.

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Redfish also sells seat blanks which have the worst of the shaping taken care of for you. Just shape to fit your boat and pass on the fancy back and side pads. Not that Joe’s full seats aren’t really nice but I’ve found the back pad restrictive to torso rotation and layback.

Also, something that is worth asking about is whether he still offers random chunks of foam in “kits”. I don’t see them advertised on the website anymore but they were a screaming deal and I made several fine foam seats from those kits over the past years. Padded out my boats and boats of friends, thigh pads, foam foot braces, etc.

You can replace the seat pad of the Alchemy for ~$40. Tom’s Top Kayaker or Austin Kayak should have a replacement pad

Get Outdoors in Greensboro may have a suitable replacement, as well.

I had the Happy Bottom seat pad in my old Greenland S&G. I don’t remember anything extrordinary. That’s a good thing because if I remember it being a PITA, then it’s a negative. What I will say is the S&G was not as deep as a lot of manufactured kayaks. Might mean the need to build up the Happy Bottom seat for kayaks with a deeper cockpit.

The Redfish sounds good since it is fully “customed” and you are paying premium price. But, If you love your Alchemy and it’s your long term boat, why not spend the money (which I assume you can afford since you asking about it). I am looking to seeing how the Greenley (Redfish) seat feels when I get my Sterling Progression. This is the seat used in all the Sterling kayaks.


PS. With the Happy Bottom, I should also say that I am a pretty small guy with a small butt. So, if you are much taller than my 5’2" (I am shrinking), YMMV in terms of the Happy Bottom seat length.


I have the Happy Bottom pad in my Pygmy Coho and have no complaints with it. I was able to cut away some of the foam on the back of the hip pads for a customized fit.


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I’ve used the NDK (SKUK) foam seats and been very happy with them. They’ve been hard to find lately, though.

I have a Redfish in my Mirage. It’s nice but not as comfortable as some other stock seats I have used. The foam is “sticky” which can make it hard to skooch around in the kayak if you need to. For this situation it was my best option as the fiberglass seat that was in the kayak was terribly uncomfortable and to ship a new seat from Australia would have been crazy expensive.

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I have a Redfish in my Epix 18X. I found the one that came with the boat painful. It’s very comfortable and has some R value which I appreciate when its cold.

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I was on the beach a few years ago, when the tribe launched. I remember Greg Stamer had a foam seat of some sort, in his Epic 18. He had a section of Tyvek on top of the seat. He used the slickness of the Tyvek, to help him with hip rotation. Otherwise the foam seat would have slowed him down and set him up for a possible friction issues.


Big block of foam cut down to fit and rasped for comfort. tunnels cut front to back in bottom so water doesn’t dam up and holes in the butt cheeks to prevent pooling

Ridge rest on high back tractor seats with holes cut for pressure points on the canoes

The foam seat. I buy them from Guillimont. More comfortable than the others.

The Happy Bottom…made that part go to sleep. The Sweet Cheeks was nice for an hour then it started feeling like a Happy Bottom.

I have an unused Happy Bottom that I bought for a project and never used. I remembered buying 2 of them because their shipping costs were pretty high and I figured that I’d just get 2. I used 1 in a Whiskey 16 and found it to be a huge improvement over the stock unit. Let me know if you’re interested in the unused one.

Doh! I saw your post shortly after I ordered a Happy Bottom from CLC. Thanks for the offer.

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I’m going to try the Happy Bottom. It’s inexpensive so it belongs in my old plastic boat. If I don’t love it I won’t put one in my better fiberglass boat when it comes time.

I’ve had a couple of the Redfish seat bottoms that I was very happy with… I added my own backbands.

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My wife and I both love the Sweet Cheeks 200.

That was a Teflon pad. Foam is good for long distance comfort but kills rotation. Foam + Teflon or another slippery surface can be a good compromise. Bumfortable and Redfish foam seats have worked for me, but as others have mentioned, the Redfish back support is a problem for torso rotation, so I cut it off or grind it back. Generally I don’t want to touch the back support at all for ultra-endurance or I’ll chafe badly.

The solution to not needing back support is simple but takes effort: work up to 2-3 minute planks and side planks so your core is strong enough that you don’t need a backrest as a crutch. If I have a backrest at all, it’s positioned so that I touch it only when slouching back, during a break. You also need to ensure that your posture is good and that your technique doesn’t fall completely apart when tired (easier said than done). That said, it all depends on what kind of padding you like to do!