Bulkhead footrest does...what?

I’ve read a number of mentions here of people seeming to be fans of a full-width surface to place your feet against, rather than just foot braces. I haven’t had any particular complaints of the foot braces in my Caribou, but this weekend I cobbled up a wood 2x3 as a full-width bar screwed to the existing braces, to see if it would be better. I made it to be tilted at about 15 degrees, as I had read here.

I’d assumed the idea was to allow feet to be placed a bit closer to the middle and more vertical rather than splayed outward like penguin feet. However, on the first paddle today I found I didn’t like it much at all. Felt awkward and seemed to strain parts of my hip joints that didn’t like being strained, especially when doing knee-hangs and so forth. Pretty quickly I was right back to the splayed position, it was convincing enough to me to remove the bar after I got home, particularly because one of the tradeoffs was loss of free space in the middle to stretch out into once in awhile.

So I guess now I need to ask, what is the reason some of you make this modification? Maybe my assumption was bad.


I foamed my Caribou…
It is a trade off of sorts. Rather than with wood brace I have full foot contact with the foam. I paddle with bare feet or very thin water shoes and the foam is more comfortable than the pegs. I can move my feet to any position. I sometimes center my feet and bring my knees together for a change when on a straight line. I can’t stretch my legs out straight but find I don’t really need to if I can reposition my feet…The foam is soft and feels good. I lost storage space in front of the pegs. I kept the hardware so I can put it back to stock, but don’t think I will…

I tried a 700 with the foam before I did mine and it felt so good I did mine…

Just doing what feels good… :wink: GH

Bulkhead footrest

It is really interesting, because I made a foot board since I could not stand the standard foot braces that came standard with my kayak. I come from a flat water kayak and surf ski racing background, and the first time I set foot in my new Current Design kayak, I felt my hip joints screaming at me. I prefer to have my knees together so I can properly push off at each paddle stroke. Having my legs in a pinguin position really hurts me.

Like a bicycle saddle, it’s very specific to ones liking. If you are a cruiser, and I don’t mean anything bad in that regard, use the standard foot braces. If you are a speed demon, then give the closer foot attitude another chance. The key is to have your knees rub against each other as you rotate your upper body in each “powerful” stroke. Again, I D’ONT one style is better than the other, but personaly, I can do without the leg appart system.


well now…

  1. more posture options. Put your feet in differnt positions.
  2. More room in fwd compartment
  3. less volume of water in cockpit in case of a flooding.
  4. No one else can use your boat unless they have equal length legs.
  5. No mechanics involved


  6. Has to be custom ordered or re-done
  7. No one else can use your boat unless they have equal length legs.
  8. Re-sale is more difficult


I will add: distributed pressure
on your foot. Rather than pushing on only about 6 square inches you can effectively triple that thus less stress on any individual point

Comfort and floatation.
The full contact of the mini-cell foam feels great on my feet, gives a little when I need it to and reduces cubic space for water in the cockpit.

Steve’s and Peter’s lists are pretty good.

I find that while bracing against foam on the forward bulkhead that most times I’m on the balls of my feet with my legs bent locked into the thigh braces. The distance is such that I can stretch my legs out flat and place my feet flat against the bulkhead to stretch.

I’m 6’ tall. My bulkhead is set at 33" and I brace off of a 1" block. As average height for males is somewhere around 5’10", I would think bulkhead placement of 33 or 34" should not greatly harm resale.

I have the added advantage of also having a 3" foam block for guests who are shorter. I’m going to use a friend’s band saw to make that block into a 2" and a 1" for greatest flexibility. I also had the holes drilled for the rails for pegs so as to not greatly inhibit resale - I also have the rails and pegs. Right now I have pan head machine screws and domed nuts (I don’t recall the proper name)with neoprene washers in the holes. I’m using white plastic screws as they are less distracting. This winter I will paint stainless steel ones to match the hull.

there’s a bunch of us who have fixed b/h’s and we exchange foam blocks till we get a good fit when we loan boats. mostly it’s pretty EZ.

We have done a few that were on the limit of ‘average’. One woman had it done on a 170, she was 5’1" and I TRIED to talk her into waiting for a 165 but she insisted. Well after the boat came and we installed the B/H, literally 6" beyond the cockpit, she decided to sell and buy a 165. bummer! My glass guy will remove and re-install a b/h for about $150. a messy job, fo’ sho’.


Foam footrest
Also makes the reentry and roll much easier. No more groping for the foot peg. Just jam your foot forward, and go for it.

for the insights, tells me more than I knew before. And yes, watching the Olympic flatwater kayak racing one could readily see they keep their knees pretty close together. Of course, that’s a pretty specialized activity.


the resale value needn’t be impacted.

if you wanted, you could easilly aftermarket the rails for the footpegs and the foam, if cut snugly, can be forced in and not cemented and can be removed at your leisure if you do decide to go with rails/footpegs.

i’ve foamed out the rig and it is tight, comfy and i can’t imagine going back to stock anything at this point.

lotsa contact point, lots of distributed force and what i do inside is now transmitted nicely into the hull.

my 2 cents. good luck with whatever you decide!

And roll too
As I often end up displacing or pushing over foot peg when working on my roll, bracing against foam on the bulkhead eliminates that problem.

part of the discussion
When my wife and I were ordering our boats from MIKCo, part of the discussion with Tom Bergh was the best placement for the bulkhead that would still allow for eventual resale. As a result my wife, who is 5’4", braces against far more foam on the front bulkhead of her Explorer LV than I in my Aquanaut.