Backband and thigh pad advice

I recently purchased a Valley Aquanaut LV. Although it is a wonderful boat, especially in large waves, the backband really hurts me after an hour of paddling and no matter how much I adjust it, I can’t get comfortable as the velcro lossens a bit and I start leaning backwards. Also at my age, I need a slightly higher back rest for more support. I think I like a regular seat backing rather than a backband.

In addition, the thigh pads are too thick for me which makes me feel cramped in the boat. I’ve tried them in different positions to no avail.

Any advice would be much appreciated. I realize this topic has been previously posted but I am seeking simple advice as I am not mechanically oriented and all thumbs on even easy projects.

Strange as it may seem, the backband is not for back support while paddling. When you are in the normal, slightly forward leaning position for forward paddling in a sea kayak you should not really feel the back band. You will get used to that with time spent with the backband properly adjusted.

As nice as Valley boats are…
IMHO their backbands suck. I own 2 Valley’s. I paddled mine for about a month before I replaced them with After-market bands. I bought NSI backbands, but only 'cause I purchased one about 5 yrs. ago and loved it.

NSI Power Posts
Coronaboy: Do you use Power Posts with you NSI Backrest, and if so it appeasr that the posts come on the back support, but how do you secure the post to the seat?

they come seperate…
I didn’t install them…as I like the band pretty low… If you perfer a higher position, they might be necessary.

Temporary solution
First- thanks to all for the advice.

As I was loading the kayak for a short paddle prior to slavishly grilling for my wife’s family, I found a kneeling pad in the garage. My wife uses this for garden work in the yard.

I used it in multiple ways:

As support between the backband and the coaming (folded in half).

As a cushion on the seat- it is approximately the same size as a backback with more comfortable support.

This is temporary but I think it will suffice until I try some of the ideas that you recommended.

Footpeg placement

– Last Updated: May-29-06 8:03 PM EST –

I thought of you and that backband on my solo Peoria paddle today, Bruce. My back was starting to ache even on the rigid Prijon seatback. I know much of it was left over fatigue in spine muscles from Saturday. Anyhow, I felt ever so slightly that, when I was fully up in my seat with back on the rest, my feet when pointed toes-to-the-sky were not quite on the footpegs. So, I stopped lakeside and moved the footpegs back yet again. I have moved them back a notch on at least two occasions in the past also. For my Prijon, I am now about 3-4 holes in from the short end; leaves about a dozen holes distal to my feet if anyone tall ever wants to use it. Bottom line: I got those footpegs in pretty darn close/short now.

Result: back pain resolved IMMEDIATELY. no longer pushing myself up in the seat, and I believe I have even less pressure on my back rest in this postion. Hit the lagoon and over-shorten your footpeg position. Overdo it, if anything, and just see if it makes a difference.

I will say that even my thighs on the thighpads hit more solidly now that I have the footpegs even closer/shorter. Give it a whril. Couldn't hurt, and might just be at least a partial solve to that lousy backband.

Just as likely…
…is that Bruce has got his footpegs set too close, which causes constant pressure on the back, resulting in discomfort. If you cannot fully straighten your legs when your feet are on the pegs, they’re set too close.

“Back band” is a misnomer.

– Last Updated: May-30-06 12:23 PM EST –

It should be called a "hip band", since what it's designed to do is support your hips, not your back. As others have said, a high back support restricts torso rotation and can cause serious back pain and chafing. Keep it low and it will be more comfortable. That said, some of the Valley back bands really do suck, so an aftermarket model from Bomber Gear, NSI or Immersion Reasearch might be an improvement.

Gee, I’ve never been able to fully
straighten my legs in any of my kayaks, even with the pegs or bulkhead at greatest setting. It IS possible for me, in my Animas, to duck my thighs from under the thigh braces, and then I can rest my legs almost on the bottom of the boat with my feet flat on the bulkhead.

Not really disagreeing with you, as the original poster said his thigh pads were restrictive, which, combined with tight footpeg settings, would make him miserable. I think if one uses a “backband” that is too high, and gets in the habit of bracing with the toes and back against the band, this will wear one out in a hurry. On my best-adjusted boat, the old Animas, I have the hip grip and thigh support so well-tuned that I have taken out the backband, relying only on a low foam wedge behind my be-hind. This allows tremendous range of fore-aft torso leans for boat control, and also makes the boat safer for me if I do have to wet exit, where the original and substitute backbands were inhibiting my ability to pull my legs and big feet out cleanly.