Back damage from a ski.

First time I paddled it, my back was against the cockpit rim and I lost some hide.

I put a 1/2" thick band of minicell on the rim for today’s paddle and was OK. I’m thinking of reducing the thickness of the minicell to a 1/4" .

Any suggestions for keeping my skin are appreciated.

Perhaps this is why Think Australia and other Pacific Rim companies market the paddling shorts with the compression front and neoprene lined back. Haven’t found them in the U.S. However, neoprene lined paddling shorts (e.g. Level Six) provide some padding but still have a surface slick enough to allow good rotation. An alternative, I suppose, would be one of those inexpensive wide neoprene workout belts. My personal preference would be attire over boat modification.

Seat Pan Chafe
I asked Oscar Chalupsky the same question when he was in town last year and his reply was that you shouldn’t be pressing hard against the back of the seat pan. Instead have your foot-straps adjusted to allow your non-stroke-side-side foot to pull back against the strap (as you push with the stroke-side foot) to help maintain your posture and also use the “pull” of the blade to keep your back slightly away from the back of the seat pan.

This works, but becomes progressively harder after many miles as your core gets tired.

That said, many people do pad the seat pan with minicel or other foam, sometimes covered with a slippery fabric so that rotation is not impeded.

Greg Stamer

2nd This
Seat pan shape does make a difference, and padding may change things a bit, however, the main thing is to not push oneself back against the seat with your legs.

Think about it - if you push so hard with your legs that your back rubs against the back of the seat, this means you are wasting your energy for nothing (and injuring yourself in the process). As Greg explained, push with your legs to generate rotation In-Place, not slide back.

Give it some time. When one feels unstable or seeks extra contact with the seat for rough water, it is natural to push back with the legs more than needed for normal paddling. You will get used to how much is needed over time.

Thanks. And the skin on my back
will get tougher.

I like wavespinner’s point about
a slippery surface in the mix to keep the skin from being subjected to shear forces as you rotate. Maybe if you have more than one layer of fabric between you and the boat, at least two layers can be satiny or slick so they can slip against one another.

Padding doesn’t solve the shear problem, and some padding, like the stick-on neoprene I use in places, may actually grab against clothes and skin rather than allow sliding.

One ww kayak I have, otherwise very comfy, had a backband that I could feel putting shear force on my back as my torso rotated. I took the band out and learned to do without it. I put a minicell slanted lounging pad back on the rear wall, so I could relax when low-angle lilydipping, but for normally aggressive paddling, it’s actually helped quite a bit to have my lower torso free. It encourages me to use more radical fore and aft leans to control the boat.

An admission. I have not been

– Last Updated: Apr-25-14 2:44 PM EST –

Strapping my feet down.As I gain confidence, I'll get there.

tail bone?
In my case it’s the tail bone area that makes contact with the seat and that’s where the skin disappears. A minicell pad on either side will keep the tailbone off the seat and save the skin. Mine are around 4" square, and 4" apart to allow for rotation. They are easily attached and adjusted with velcro tape. You may not know it when you’re losing skin, but as soon as the chlorinated shower water hits it, look out!

Mine is missing where the top edge of
‘seat’/cockpit hits which is on a nasty surgical scar.That may be part of the problem.

body glide
I had some tail bone issues with my seat. Body glide, works well. It goes on like under arm deodorant but is silicone based. It is made not to damage neoprene.

A thin 1/4" foam pad covered in slippery polyethylene is a common solution. I was at a surfski race yesterday and well over half the boats had some foam added to the seat. Greg Barton’s seat had wax paper over a foam pad. Maybe that’s why he’s so fast.

has a bunch of seat pad options.

paddling shorts:

Avoid Cotton Clothing
And go with nylon shorts. Cut the labels off those shorts too and if possible, wear them inside out, so the seams don’t irritate you. The same goes for the tops, wear them inside out too and make sure they’re 100% polyester. I also polish the back side of the cockpit with economically priced Turtle Wax Super Hard Shell Car Wax to make it smooth. In fact, I use Super Hard Shell all over my ski: deck, hull, and seat bottom for the swivel effect. This is the secret stuff surfers use on their boards, and yes it does wear off, but no, from my experience, it doesn’t appear to “reformulate” under water.

Try a Kani small back pad. Usually a good solution.

Amazing that this thread was started in 2014! The ski has long since had a new paddler. Hopefully all your suggestions will help someone.