Alchemy S Thigh Brace

I bought my wife a Alchemy 14.0 S for her birthday. We unwrapped it today and did the fit adjustments. The thigh pads don’t go where they need to to fit her. She’s 5’-3", medium build.

If I put the thigh pad’s front screw in the second hole from the front and unscrew the back of the pad and pivot the slotted rear of the pad inward toward her leg the pad fits the contour of her leg.

I’m tempted to cut the rear slots off the back of the thigh pads, pivot the rear of the pads inward and secure them with a second screw in the rearmost hole intended for the front screw.

I hope this description makes sense and someone has thoughts about this.

Other than the thigh pads the Alchemy seat fits her well and I think the hull design will take good care of her in the local shallow rivers and will save the gel coat of her composite boat.


Seems like she is the size most others I’ve seen paddling that boat and they are not having trouble. Maybe the store that sold it left something out of the fit kit? Or maybe the put the left in the right so they are in backwards?

I’d think the pads should be able to be adjusted to hit her leg right above the knee. If not I’m inclined to think something else is not right.

Alchemy Fit
I’m half an inch taller than your wife. It’s been a while since I sat in an Alchemy, I took it out at a demo day the first year they were out and had some fun rolling it and turning it around tight corners of a floating dock. (Flat water so I had to improvise.)

My recall is that I had the thigh pads back moer than forward, but fit was fine. And what I had was plenty to make the boat play.

I can only think of two things. One is that your wife has proportionately very short thighs, even for her height. It does happen. The other is that you are trying to place the braces further back than they need to be. I recall that my position was a little froggy in the boat - my legs were out to the side a bit rather than straight in front. This is a normal thing in kayaks for people of shorter stature - it’s really only the taller or heavier guys who can easily find a boat where their legs feel traight out.

The position is fine just behin the knees - this boat responds very easily. Tight fit is not required.

Thanks Celia
A froggy fit explains it pretty well. When she gets her legs far enough apart to get them under the braces the padded rear part of the thigh pads dig into her thighs.

Her composite boat is an Sterling Ice Cap with a mini-cel seat and she recently demoed a Jackson Rogue and I heard no complaint about the thigh braces.

We set the Alchemy thigh braces where they seem to work best and we’ll see how her first paddle goes. I surprised her with it at home so we didn’t have the benefit of the pro shop fitting it for her.

I may get creative with the thigh pads. I was hoping someone else had solved the same problem.

Relax or physiology?
That sounds uncomfortable. It could be that she tends to be locked in too hard to much of the time. Obviously not a comfortable thing to have that digging feeling as a constant for a few hour paddle.

The other possibility is, given the two boats you mention, that she is tight along the inner thighs and the froggy position itself is the problem. I don’t know the Jackson Rogue, but my recall is that the Sterling is more set up for racing, with a higher deck and fairly straight out front position for the legs.

Maybe softer padding? Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

AlchemyS fit
you are an ace for such a fine bday gift.

first, (and don’t take this harshly) did you buy the AlchemyS kayak for her - as a surprise - without her trying it? had she been able to try it these issues w. the thigh braces would have been apparent.

Did you buy this from a third party or a paddleshop? If the latter why not bring the boat and wife to the shop and let them see her sit in the boat.

No doubt you know if you cut down the thigh braces you have ended the likelihood of returning the boat.

And if the boat is that uncomfortable (it sounds excruciating for her actually)how much will she enjoy paddling it? Esp. when you both know she tried a Journey 135 and there were no fit issues.

Celia’s points about paddling in an overly splayed position, differences in thigh metrics, and perhaps a paddler who is overly tense or not as flexible to hold the optimum position in that boat have merit… we just can’t for certain tell over the internet, there may be few subtle factors at play here.

that said
I would like to help you.

Here are two options:

remove the thigh braces entirely and build some out of closed cell foam shaped and sized to her thighs. Brian Nystrom has had some very good step by step instructions on his site. Google Brian Nystrom kayak and they will come up.

That way you increase her comfort yet retain the thigh braces intact should the day come that the boat is sold or someone else uses the boat. Any type of foam customizing is easily removed by tearing it out and using a cloth moistened in pure acetone to rub off the residue.

A second option: Keep the thigh braces but take off that cloth underside(and whatever under them - seems lumpy to me) Then reinstall a layer or two of closed cell neoprene foam (not minicell foam) shaped to her comfort.

The neoprene foam is cushier and as a bonus grips much better than minicell (nice plus when bracing, holding an edge and rolling)

I’ve outfitted three boats w. 1/4- 1/2" neoprene on the seat pad, the pillars (hips) and especially under/around the thigh braces and find it a better material for my fit and uses. It might work for your situation as well. Good luck.

When I got my old Avocet RM I loved the hull and hated the thigh braces. I ended up bolting in some that I scavenged from another kayak. Not pretty, but made me much happier.