canoe seat swap

I want to swap the cane seat out of my Bell Wildfire for a slider tractor style and footbrace. Where can I buy the parts? Or should I consider selling the boat unadulterated and buy another with seat equipped? In that case, any suggestions on what to buy? I use the royalex Bell for solo river and stream paddling and sit more than kneel. The lack of footbrace kills my back on long trips and sitting in the cane seat feels like I’m in a lifeguard chair, high above the gunwales. Yet I like the response and length.

Any thoughts are appreciated.


do it
I put a tractor seat and foot brace in my Merlin instead of the cane seat

I love it!

I put one of the Wenonah footbraces in the stearn of my Northwoods which never felt right without one. I bonded it in with PC-11 marine epoxy.

I would also like to switch to tractor seats in mine. I put in the contoured cane seats from Ed’s, but my leg still falls asleep after an hour or so which never happens in my Wenonah’s (all of which have tractor seats in them).

Ed’s has wooden tractor seats, but they look wider front to back and I didn’t want to drill more holes.

Some solo canoe folks here have reported that adding a backband to the seat made a big difference in control, especially when used with footbraces.

Lowering the seat
I’ve always been a kneeler but the knees are no longer willing to do their part and I’ve looked at the tractor seats but first I’d like to try lowering and angling the seat to see if that helps- any thoughts? I should at least add foot braces, right? Are there any that don’t look like leftovers from old lawn chair? Oh yeah, I paddle a Mad River Liberty. And for those of you that say you can’t do a solo re-entry, I used it to demo a reentry for a Red Cross training- don’t know if I could repeat it, but it worked once.