Canoe kneeling saddle

Came across this in my wanderings…Looks like a nifty solution for some applications. Unfortunately, it is made in Britain, so the 95 Pound cost would have significant shipping costs attached. Might be a DIY project this spring though.


here are some alternatives

– Last Updated: Nov-30-11 1:49 PM EST –

A pedestal that is not firmly secured to the hull bottom doesn't offer nearly as much control as one that is. Also, the fabric covered pedestal probably wouldn't allow you to custom shape and size it.

Northwater makes a minicell pedestal that can be removed and secures to the hull bottom using daisy chain strips bonded to the hull:

The daisy chain strips allow fore and aft adjustment in saddle position to trim the canoe. The Northwater saddle does not come with adjustable footpegs but you can easily mount a set of Yakima adjustable footpegs to it.

A lower cost alternative is the Harmony TKO pedestal:

The large holes in the pedestal allow 1.5 or even 2 inch wide webbing to pass through it and it can be secured to the hull bottom with a couple of Harmony daisy chain strips like this:

If you attach nylon Fastex quick release buckles to your webbing the pedestal goes in and out of the boat pretty quickly and only the daisy chain anchors remain which are pretty unobtrusive.

Of course, you can get some minicell foam from Sweet Composites or other sources, and glue pieces of plank together with contact cement to make your own pedestal. Or you can take a pedestal like the TKO (which is fairly short) and build it up to a longer pedestal with minicell too.

Thing is, for a shorter, smaller canoe,
having the saddle hard-connected to the boat and the paddler hard-connected too, pays dividends.

But the UK folks (I’m on their board and saw the saddle post) are mostly paddling larger craft like Prospectors. My experience, and that of some chronic racer-heads I know, is that on a larger canoe, you can paddle ww and race ww just as well when “loose” on the boat.

When paddling on a larger base, I like to be able to shift around more. Even on my MR Synergy and my Millbrook, I don’t use thigh straps or toe stops. My thighs are loosely controlled by a padded thwart, and I don’t kneel in cups. This has worked well on heavy water and for running gates.

So, I don’t think that UK users of that pedestal need to spend time bolting it to the hull. The paddlers of shorter, narrower ww boats over there are well aware of the benefits of being tightly related to the boat, and are using straps and other paraphenalia.

Do you want a saddle or a thwart?
For whitewater paddling a secure saddle along with thigh straps is generally the preferred method for becoming one with the boat. If your intention is to use this for kneeling in a “flatwater” boat, I’d suggest a kneeling thwart. The thwart will allow you to move about more in the boat. This greater “flexibility” is generally an advantage in flat water situations and arguably, more comfortable for extended paddling.

I’m completely comfortable on my
saddles for long periods of time. I widen the seat, add knee wedges, and on some canoes add a provision for sitting. I can paddle all of my canoes level or heeled.

I haven’t ever tried to live with a kneeling thwart, though I have a Nashwaak Solo Strap.

I assume you read the article on the moveable kneeling pedestal. The UK folks who have tried it do not report any serious deficiencies. Many of them have used kneeling thwarts.

I think that, if one has to do occasional solo paddling in different boats, adjusting trim as needed, the pedestal under review is a better option than kneeling thwarts. A kneeling thwart often will suit only the one who installed it. With my size 15 feet, I would hesitate to even try some kneeling thwarts.

I can see it being a good option for a dedicated poling boat. For those times when you’d like to paddle back down - without having to give up a clean and open dance floor.

I can see it for soloing various boats
Often I cant bring tandems with me to various spots in the country and have to hope I can lay hands on a tandem with a kneeling thwart that semi fits to teach Canadian Solo.

Sometimes tandems do not come with kneeling thwarts. I use a homemade prayer bench.


Looks good. As with my Solostrap,
one should make sure that there is a thwart not too far away to counteract the inward pull. Maybe a wood-canvas canoe would be stiff enough that thwart proximity would not matter, but on my composite and Royalex canoes it makes a difference.

Azland straps work best with open
gunwales. I have seen adaptations for closed gunwales but the attachment is not as secure.

Dats wat ah’ use…
on me WC Prospector


My application is in a Freedom Solo
used for class II-III max. And then only on occasion. My knees ain’t what they used to be (everything from backpack to skydiving injuries) so I cannot kneel for long periods. My fantasy is to fab up a pedestal that allows kneeling when needed and an easy transition to sitting for comfort.

I do not need to be lectured about “being one with the boat” - How many of you ever paddled a Lettman Mistral IV with the integrated coaming & thigh braces? I have paid my dues. I value as much comfort as I can attain now.

Jim :wink:

I’m sure you’ve thought of this … but
Isn’t that what the Perception molded saddles were for? I’ve never used one.

Perception saddle
Yeah, my memory of that saddle is that it had a nice “tractor seat” at the rear. Water-tight storage compartment as well. Discontinued as I recall. I have several ideas floating about in my head for a design. I need to come up with something in case Shaver’s fork happens this year.


Advantage of loose saddle over thwart…
… is that you can shift it fore and aft.

Like a thwart, you can slide it side-to-side in order to sit in the bilge to heel the canoe. Of course, you can also use it in multiple canoes.

The Perception Saddle has a tractor seat, but it is really too high for stable paddling in a narrow WW or FW boat.

It’s easy enough to shape a saddle out of minicell with a saw, knife and dragonskin. The fabric cover adds nothing and would be a wet detriment, IMO.

Perception saddles

– Last Updated: Dec-02-11 7:34 AM EST –

I have two of the old Perception rotomolded polyethylene saddles, one currently installed and one not.

Also an old Bob Foote Grand Canyon rotomolded poly saddle that until recently was in my Prophet.

Some folks liked the Perception saddles which had one or two Sea Dog watertight hatches and an integral bulkhead-like pair of wings which served as thigh restraints. Most folks did not, however.

The drawbacks are significant. The hatches frequently cracked and/or leaked. The dry storage compartment was not nearly as voluminous as it appeared, and small items tended to disappear into the aft recesses (in the one hatch model) and could be difficult to retrieve with the saddle installed in the boat. The saddle was quite heavy and, of course, could not be cut down or shaped to fit the user. The "wings" required one to keep the knees closer together than many preferred for optimal control. And I agree with Glenn that the rear tractor seat placed one's center of gravity too high, although it could be used on placid water if one paid attention.

The Bob Foote saddle was also too heavy. Unlike the Perception saddle, it secured to the hull bottom with 5 nylon straps which fitted through vinyl anchor patches bonded to the hull bottom. It did not have wings but came with a set of padded thigh straps.

Jsaults — See if these links work for
you. The first shows a Mohawk saddle in my Guide Solo. It is set up for kneeling or sitting.

The second link shows a Mohawk triple saddle in my MR Synergy. The center thwart controls my thighs, but prevents easy changing to seated paddling.

Thanks for the pics!
Nicely outfitted. Gives me some more fodder for my final solution.


another option…fwiw
Cut own(or buy) pedestal and glued it to foam flooring, wide enough & flexible enough on the edges to bend with your boat. Stiffer under the pedestal for a solid feel(or whatever density agrees with knees) but glue softer foam to edges as you want for performance fit against chines/edges… One can often add some graduated foam in appropriate areas at/against pedestal’s base for super solid feel(if desired). With everything “on-the-block” you can tailor ankle blocks & toeblocks, knee padding…and just carry it all, plop it in and paddle away…will also all float as one if you flip. In ww boat I glued in side blocks with a routed style essentially to act as the “brick wall” to slide & pseudo-lock the foam into for performance…

Sorry no pics…sold that boat, but just takes different width foam at the edges to fit new hullsize.


bob foote grand canyon saddle
I am looking to buy a bob foote grand canyon saddle. Do you have one for sale?

Thanks, Zach