Bell Bucktail seat options?

I acquired a kevlar 1997 Bell Bucktail this afternoon and it has the stock foam pad seat from that era and no pad for the thwart and I’m thinking I probably won’t care for that set up.

I know that some folks have installed hung seats from the gunwales for kneeling, and I’m considering that. I’m 5’6" and 160 lbs.

I suspect that there are low mounted seat options available that are better than the standard foam Bucktail seat.

I’ll likely attempt using a 46" ZRE for starters. I also have a few carbon kayak paddles in the 230cm to 240cm range to try in it.

I’ll install foot braces at the first opportunity to aid either single blade or double blade paddling power and control.

I may not even get to paddle it for another month or two, the way the weather has been around here.

This Bucktail is red with wood gunwales. The wood is in good condition, but a bit dry, so I’ll be trying to find an out of the weather storage option before tomorrow’s snow. This boat does have the foam core in the belly. I haven’t weighed it yet, so not certain of which construction it is.

This Bucktail won’t be replacing the Flashfire or Curtis Lady Bug for their purposes, but it’s a bit lighter and shorter than either of them and may find it’s way to some more challenging put-ins than they have.

Any other observations or insights to the Bucktail are welcome, whether handling related or outfitting related.


If you wanna paddle it like a pack canoe
This might possibly work:

I installed this in two wooden sea kayaks I built and found it to be pretty comfortable. The seating surface is only a couple of inches high, but it could probably be blocked up higher with some minicell or Ethafoam. A length of nylon cord runs through the seat back and would require mounting a small inchworm anchor on one gunwale and a jam cleat on the other to support the backrest and allow its angle to be adjusted.

You might just fashion a seat cushion out of some minicell and shape it to fit. A kayak back band could be mounted for back support. Or you could check with Joe Moore at Placid Boatworks about his pedestals and back bands.

Seat Options

– Last Updated: Feb-04-14 9:27 AM EST –

The Bucktail's "Seat" was the only thing not well thought out. Too bad they didn't make an option like the Placid boats? Even for me, I think the gunnels are wide for a very low mounted seat? I think something at least 4" high would be better for you? Good secondary stability in that little boat, so it won't be unmanageable to elevate yourself a bit. I'll link a few seat options we've tried. My wife loves the stadium seat on 4" minicell best and uses that in her Flashfire. A friend (who we bought the pair from) made a couple that I'll also link. BTW, 48" paddle is the longest I'd use in that boat and you might find a 46-47" paddle better in that boat?

Thanks. That looks interesting.
This is my first exposure to that design. It’s kinda pricey, though. But hey, what price too high for comfort?

Thanks for those suggestions.
I’ve got a couple Sit-Backers, as well as some other stuff I could cobble together for experiments.

Single frame with seat and foot brace?
Maybe one frame with integrated seat and foot brace that could drop into the boat?

Sounds interesting to me.