building thigh braces

I want to add thigh braces to my boat, which is a Necky, but would rather just make my own instead of shelling out the money if I can. Has anyone built their own thigh braces and had success? I could really use some tips.

Depends on cockpit

– Last Updated: Dec-14-08 11:02 AM EST –

If it is a large keyhole shaped cockpit I would just buy some braces from Necky or another company and install.

If you have a smaller cockpit and your knees brace against the deck.... you shape the braces from mini cell foam blocks... they work very very well for making you one with the boat... sometimes too well and can make it hard to wet exit when you are getting thrashed in surf ...

Mine were shaped like the ones here and are about 8 inch long. After surfing a lot I made them much less aggressive ... a surf kayak is a much tighter fit than most seakayaks however..

cockpit size
it’s a manitou 13 so it has the keyhole cockpit, but my knees come up under the deck right where the knee pads are.


which Necky is it?
the WW thigh hooks worked pretty nifty on my Chatham (2 x $25)

necky brace prices
It’s a manitou 13. I know people have put the Necky WW braces in the manitou, but when I checked Necky’s site they had upped the price on those to $175 for the pair. The regular touring ones are still $110.


A friend built some.
He used vinyl guttering for the frame, lined it with closed cell foam and bolted thru the deck just outside the coaming.

Good luck


custom thigh braces_carbon
I have built some with a friend of mine for a kayak that has a cockpit way too large to effectively brace for rolling.

He created the mould by sitting in the kayak and using plaster over his legs and the rim of his kayak.

Once we had the mould we layered fibreglass and carbon to create thigh braces that are highly effective and removable (if necessary)

The thigh braces were glued in place with polyurethane sealant ( to be able to remove them in case him or somebody else would change his/her mind).

Photos available at

Kayak Builders site
If you post your inquiry on this site you will gets lots of replies and some photos.

Fiberglass? Carbon? Overkill!
You can make a nice set of thigh braces with a pair of minicell hip pads, or any other spare foam that’s vaguely the right shape. Glue the flat sides to the bottom of the deck and contour the foam to fit your thighs. Might take an hour or two.


These work well in my Tern

I’ve done more shaping since I took the photos.


Steve, that depends
on the shape of the cockpit.

While your method has worked at times with rather small cockpits the one that was done with fibreglass/carbon was just way too big to do in closed cell foam (minicell).

Admittedly the carbon was added as top layer for “bling” effect :slight_smile:

easier to buy used
Kayak dealers are often like car dealers. They have a junk yard of scrap boats. I paid $20 for a pair of used thigh braces. And because they screw in, I can slide them forward or out. My problem with foam is that it tends to absorb smelly water and get heavy.

cut & paste

Old Perception thighbraces cut & riveted into another boat.

Don’t know how big the OP’s cockpit is
but I put minicell braces in my Epic 18 because the factory version didn’t grab my thighs well enough for solid bracing or rolling. That boat has a basic large keyhole cockpit, same as my WW boats. If the cockpit is narrow enough to get your knees under some of the deck, foam should work fine.