Custom foaming cockpit?

First, the bad news: I am a first time fiberglass boat owner (Valley Skerry XL). I need to make a few small repairs, don’t know how, and live in an area where there are verrrrrry few open water paddler types.

The good news is I’ve lost some weight since I bought my boat. Now I need to add some foam under the thigh braces so that I can edge effectively. I would also like to put foam in the cockpit instead of using the footbaces (the foot angle is twisting my knees a bit) I have not done this before, and don’t know where to start. Is there a specific type of marine grade foam? Where do I purchase it? ( I live in West Virginia, so may need to find an on-line source) What type of adhesive do I use on a fiberglass boat? I know not to use silicone.

Is there such a thing as a “Sea Kayak repair for dummies” book? I also need to repair the skeg cable…

Thanks much for any tech advice!!

Some links to get you started…

Also check the archives here on for specific repair/outfitting topics.

Tons Of Info Available
here is a link to some information which I found helpful in terms of the how to and what to use.

Happy Paddling,


My first time outfitting
I used the info at the website and did a great job my first time. You can see my pictures at

Made some fairly agressive thigh hooks and can really lock in when I need to.


Along the same…
I was just going to post a similiar topic. I’ve searched the archives and found some info, but I’m having some trouble with the details regarding foaming out foot braces with a 15 degree forward angle.

What do people typically use to copy the hull/bulkhead shape before they attempt to cut the foam. I just can’t get it right. I’ve already screwed up some pieces of 4" foam attempting to fit the bulkhead around the footpump.

Any suggestions/tricks to getting it right?

Avoid Thick Pieces
while minicell is sold in 1"-3" thickness. I found getting one inch thick is best. I take a layer approach to fitting the bulkhead – fit one piece, then another on top of that, and then another – until it’s the right length. Only then do I glue them together for the final insert in.

In terms of adjusting the angle of bulkhead, I usually judiciously hacksaw and/or shape with sureform the last piece or two. Generally the last piece of foam (closest to you) is a half height piece that provides support for your heels and angles forward. The piece behind that needs shaping around the top to accommodate the balls and toes of your feet angling forward.


I Installed My Pump In the MiniCell
I first cut and shaped two 3" layers of minicell that would fit against my forward bulkhead in front of my pegs. I then mounted my pump in a square of thin plywood. Then I cut out a cavity in the minicell to accept the pump and hoses. The plywood is flush with the minicell and the pump button is positioned correctly.


thank you
Thanks for those links. Seeing pics of what others have done really helps. That’s perfect timing for me.

shaping minicell
Get some solder wire, double it up so it’ll stay put, and wrap it around the outside of the hull at the bulkhead. Cut 1/2 inch inside the outline. Cut progressively larger forms as you move forward. I use 3" minicell and then 1" to fine tune. Kayakoutfit sells a dragon skin tool that makes the final shaping very easy. You’ll love it.

thanks to all!
Thank you, thank you, for all the replies and links. What great help! hat a great community!

That makes alot more sense. It did seem near impossible shaping the larger pieces to match. Thanks!

One more source
if you need lots of Minicel…

there is a useer on eaby that is selling off foam kayak fit kits…cheap!

they have a bunch of them…

Doesn’t Do Anything About
bulkhead outfitting.

Actually, I used those things in my first year thinking it was an easier way. I found that even these I have to shape like heck. Since then, I just always have 1" and 3/8" sheets around at all times and it works out cheaper. But then I also have a “fleet” that I tinker with.


book of tips
Lots of good information in Savvy Paddler by David Alderson.

I used
sheets of cardboard to make the template for my foam footrest. 2- 3" thick pieces of mini-cell worked perfectly for my boat & leg length. Cut the mini-cell about an inch larger than your template as you don’t want any gaps. Then take your time! Shave small amounts off at a time- test fit over and over until everything fits properly. Once you get close with the mini-cell size, put the saw away and use the sur-form tool to get the final fit. Don’t glue it into the boat. Make it just big enough so that it will hold itself in the boat with no danger of it coming loose during a capsize. Don’t make it too tight as you do not want excessive pressure pushing out on your deck or hull.

Really nice thigh and hip pads
…puts mine to shame. Seems to me that all you need are the links in the first respone and thistle_back’s photos.

Minicell is funstuff. I just did the seat in my Chatham 18 from a block I bought from Joe at Redfish. While I was at it I ordered one of his $10 “Outfitting Kits”. There was a large enough piece in the $10 kit to cut in half, glue together and carve a really fine seat. My effort is here: