Customizing touring seat

Hi all,

My husband and I are fairly new to kayaking, and love it! I just bought a fiberglass Necky Eliza with a touring seat. The seat back is a little low for comfort and I would prefer it to be a couple of inches higher for support. I have been unable to locate a replacement seat for this boat, and am wondering if there is any way to customize the seat for comfort? Any suggestions are appreciated.

Do you have a backband installed?
Consider putting one in. I have an old Necky Looksha Sport that came with a high plastic seatback, but I’m putting in a backband. The backband should be set up so that it catches you high on the pelvis, not in the small of the back, or it may inhibit torso rotation.

If that does not seem like a good option, there are a couple of sources for replacing standard seats with custom high sided, high back foam seats. One source is and you can go to their site and see what the seat looks like. A second possible source is a regular poster on this board, onnopaddler. Watch for him and ask him what he can do.

Another thought. Perhaps your pelvis seems unsupported from behind because your thighs are a bit too vertical. If you can work on your thigh braces so that your thighs are splayed outward somewhat, this may indirectly torque your pelvis upward to a certain degree.

It has a backband…
Thanks, those are all good suggestions and I will look into them. The back is already a backband, which is the problem, as it doesn’t give me the support I’d like. I’ll try the posture change you suggested, also.

How long …
have you been paddling this boat/seat configuration?

You might try to strengthen your core torso muscles rather than replace the seat or backband with a high backed seat.

Over time I’ve been able to strengthen my torso so that I don’t normally use any or only minimal back support. I’ve taken the backband out of one boat, and two others never had one. Another of my kayaks still has a backband installed, but it is set very low and used more as a butt stop to keep me from sliding back off the seat.

Of course, this may not work for you, but if you are relatively new to paddling it may be worth a try.



What Wetzool said . . .
If you build up your musculature so that you don’t have to exclusively rely on the backband for support, over time you may come to prefer what you have.

If you learn rolling skills, you may find you prefer to have a lower backrest. Enjoy your new boat!

As others have said…
…you don’t need back support, you just need to have your pelvis supported against the pressure from your feet on the foot pegs. Part of learning to paddle is giving your body time to adjust to the physical demands of the activity. Adding a high back support will encourage poor paddling form, reduce torso rotation and cause chafing. At this point, you’re best off to work on your technique, not your boat.

as others have said, conditioning
it’s like riding a bicycle, there’s a particular posture that is optimum for power output and that posture requires sitting up so your torso can rotate. The more back support you seek the less power output you are allowing yourself. All that said there’s nothing wrong with making a more optimum seat if this one doesn’t provide adequate around-the-butt support. Some folks have taken out back bands and put in minicell back supports but they don’t provide higher back support for leaning back and taking a break.

When you’re at home practice by sitting on the floor/pillow with your back against the couch. Alernate sitting up then slouching back. Do it more until you’re able to sit upright for longer periods of time.

If you do put in a hard seat back with higher support you’re getting closer to the design intention for a rec./fishing kayak than a paddling kayak where rotating your torso around is a prerequisite for effective sweep strokes to the stern and stern bracing strokes.

What is a “touring seat” ??
I am curious



I would guess…
…it’s the seat in a “touring” boat, though that’s hardly very specific.

Thank-you everyone who answered. I’m still learning, so maybe I need more patience with my boat, and need to allow more time to develop proper paddling technique before I make any permanent changes to my seat! Christine

From a female…

– Last Updated: Feb-14-10 6:10 PM EST –

I just demo'd the Eliza briefly - the fiberglass one - but my recall is that the seat and back band were set up pretty well for someone my size. I weigh 135 and have apparently started some slight shrinkage - last doc visit I was 5'3 1/2". That leaves me fairly close to average so there's a good chance you aren't far off of those dimensions, at least the height and associated leg length.

As others have said, if you feel you need more back support it most likely means that you are paddling with an incorrect position and leaning back rather than sitting upright. That seems a minor thing at first, but over time it can tend to cause you to arm paddle rather than using the bigger muscles in your torso. This isn't great for anyone, but for women with usually more vulnerable joints than the guys it's a fast track to shoulder or arm pain that can be a bear to make go away.

I suggest that you get some help with your basic forward stroke before you muck with the seat, mostly to head off damage to your joints. Are you near a local paddling club or outfitter that does pool sessions? While you can't exactly do major laps in a 16' boat in most pools, you could get a start in the basic position and some help with the outfitting. You may want to mess with some of the padding under the thigh braces for example.

Also, I find that if I do lean back for too long it starts hurting my back and kicks off some pain down my leg. The only way I have found to spend a long time in a boat without pain is to stay erect and keep moving my torso.

One thing I do suggest is to get a little bit of padding under your sit bones. If the seat doesn't have any there, like it's a hard shell, you can glue in patches of 1/4" minicell at that point in the seat. But the Eliza may have some padding there - I forget.