Canoe footbrace

I have a Wenonah Vagabond, and would like to have some kind of footbrace. I am also a kayak paddler.

I am debating between the Wenonah footbrace for canoes, and a sliding track footbrace for kayaks.

Advantage with kayak brace; no obstruction in the middle.

Disadvantage, not much of an option for foot placement when bracing.

I will appreciate any suggestions.



The foot brace fell out of my
Wenonah Voyager and was lost at the same time I was reading here about Minicell footbraces in kayaks. I made a MC footbrace at the correct angle for my feet. It is braced in the back by a piece of angle aluminum attached where the footbrace was and is glued in with Marine goop. I really like it along with the MC kneebraces I glued along the gunnels. NOW I can brace in the canoe.

I use
The wenonah footbraces. They give me the option of spreading my legs, or of moving them together. The wing nuts and screws from the wenonah foot braces are cheesey though and I have replaced them with heavier duty ones in two out of three boats.

Having installed Yakima and Keeper
braces in three kayaks, I would recommend that you consider whether you can mount them to the sides of the canoe in a way which does not leak or cause stress and possible damage. I know I would NOT want to attach kayak footbraces to the sides of my Bluewater Chippewa, which has a very thin glass/nylon/Kevlar layup. However it might be possible on my old 85 lb pure glass layup Moore.

Something I found by accident on the Bluewater… I moved the rear seat forward to get the boat trimmed level, and then I found that I could put some pipe foam around the rear thwart and brace the top of my thighs against the underside of the thwart. So I haven’t needed footbraces.

Did that. Like it.
I put a foot brace in my Vagabond (Royalex hull), and like it a lot. It’s a Wenonah brand footbrace, and yes, it’s “cheesy”, but how strong does it have to be? You’ll never push on it hard enough to strain it. Actually, I found that those really lightweight aluminum angle rails that fasten to the hull are nice, because they actually bend to conform to the hull’s curves. A stiffer material would just “dig in” to the hull as soon as the fasteners were tightened. As to those Wenona wingnuts and bolts, I just put a little gasket cement on the threads so they won’t ever rattle loose during car-topping, but they can still be unscrewed and retightened for position changes as needed. Also, I used stainless steel bolts to fasten the side rails to the hull, rather than pop rivits. I figured I had more control over how tight the rails were clamped to the hull that way. Oh, and I haven’t found a single case where having a bar across the full width of the boat got in the way of anything at all. I do a lot of climbing in and out of the boat in tricky situations so I like the floor of the boat to be obstruction-free. I think that some other footbrace design which would require floor space would be a problem, but a single bar never gets in the way for me.

It is easy to make one

Two pieces of aluminum channel, (about a foot or less each).

Attach each one to the side with three aluminum rivits, at the height that you want your brace.

Drill holes about a inch apart in them.

Use two pieces of two different size aluminum tubing, (so that one slides into the other). so they will adjust for the different length when you move them forward or back. Drill a hole in each end, and attach them to the channels with bolts and wing nuts.

A alternate method, if you know exactly where you want the brace, is to just use a short two inch long piece of channel on each side, and one piece of tubing. This won’t be adjustable though.

I used to use the high density foam blocks, but from constant bracing they would eventually start to come away from the cement.

All the parts for the above can be bought at Lowes.

I am out of here in about an hour for a week up at the Adirondack Canoe Clasic, but if you want, when I get back, I can take some pictures of mine and e-mail them to you.



I picked up a Vagabond this spring. The foot brace is great. I only use it when I really want to be moving fast as most of the time I fish. I have had no problems with it and like it so far.

Wenonah has a new footbrace

– Last Updated: Sep-07-04 8:34 AM EST –

No more wingnuts. Everything is captive, and it now slides in an extruded channel. You can check it out at their website ( under "accessories" and "footbrace". Should make you smile...

If you add the new backband, you can really "lock in"

your designs?
Are those your designs, Kevin?

In all humility…
Yep. How’s it going, stranger?

Hey Kevin
do you have any other tricks up your sleeve we should know about before I rebuild my Jensen?(Slight run in with a strainer) I was thinking of setting the stern seat back about 4 more inches so we could trim it out with my bow partner. any super seats yet?


Hi Charlie!
The new tilting, height adjustable seat for the solo canoes is out (don’t think they have any pics on the website yet). Working on adapting it for bow & stern use. More is in the works (this is the start of the design phase of the year, after all), but can’t really say too much yet. E-mail me if you want specifics. Good to “see” you again!

going pretty good
Things are going pretty good. I’m doing a little paddling, a little building, and just enough around the house and yard to keep my wife happy. That doesn’t take much, though, since she and the kids are paddlers too!

It’s good to see someone coming up with new products that are well-designed and meet a need. I’m looking forward to seeing info on the solo seat. It sounds like a winner!

Hope things are going well for you and your family!