Cut out knee braces?

I have often recommended the thermoformed Delta 12.10 here. I have a new one and it doesn’t fit me that well. The 32" cockpit and knee braces mean I can’t lift my knee up to change my position and relieve certain pains. I’m thinking of cutting out the knee braces and covering the sawed edge with neoprene. I did this once on an Eddyline and it helped immensely. My hesitation now is (1) lowering the resale value of the kayak if it doesn’t work out or I botch it, (2) the cockpit will still be a couple of inches short for me, and (3) the cleat for the seat adjustment cord is molded into the top of the knee brace, making the job a bit more difficult. I think the confinement will be worse in the fall trying to exit with mukluks. Without the knee braces I will still have adequate contact.

I have the kayak listed for sale here, but I would keep it if I could make it work for me.

I posted about this years ago and got some good input: Replacing thigh braces My biggest doubt this time is the short cockpit—32" is unusually short on a 12’ kayak.

You’ll lower resale value (a lot!) by taking a saw to it. Resale aside, do I understand correctly that even if the mod works as you envision, the cockpit will still not meet your needs?
If that’s the case, then it’s an easy call as far as I’m concerned … sell it and look for something that fits without having to break out the power tools!


Yes, that’s my fear, that the cockpit will be too short and that the day hatch will also impede entry and exit. I owned this kayak some years ago, the previous model, which didn’t have the front day hatch. I got along OK with it, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve developed some joint and muscle issues and need a roomier cockpit.

There should be good demand for your 12.10 on the used market if in good shape. That’s the way I’d go.

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you’ll create a FRANKENSTEIN :flushed:

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It’s brand new.

it’s like buying boots that are to small and trying to make them fit properly, they never will. Did you try sitting in it before purchasing?

How much are you cutting of thigh brace? Might be better to have someone else cut it who has more experience or better tools. It can’t take long to cut and shouldn’t be that expensive. Should be able to cut and sand it smooth.


Can you remove the factory seat and just foam it out? Might give you the extra room you need without permanent modifications to the boat.


big project to remove Eddyline seat.

Yes, I can. The seat itself isn’t bad, but the setup wastes 4" behind the seat. The seat can be lifted off the stops on the adjustment rail in the bottom of the kayak and moved all the way to the back. Then I would have the full 32" of cockpit length, which is 2" to 3" short of ideal for me. That wouldn’t solve the knee brace problem—I still can’t raise my knee at all.

It’s a Delta.

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I agree with your boot analogy. I would cut out the whole knee brace, which would free up two inches on each side, letting me lift my knees. I did sit in it; I even owned this kayak previously. But (1) I developed new muscle and joint problems in the last couple of years and (2) I couldn’t demo the kayak due to recent flooding. You might fit in a cockpit but you don’t really know how it’s going to feel until after an hour or so on the water. I’ve cut out knee braces before; it went pretty well. I just don’t know if that would solve my whole problem given the short cockpit.

I would go with a better option if I had one. The closest thing to a Delta 12.10 (in thermoformed) is the Hurricane Sojourn 135, which fits me quite well and has removeable knee braces. I already own the Sojourn. I bought the Delta as an addition because it has better plastic (thicker and/or stiffer). Both are very nice kayaks but neither is perfect, as often happens.

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Correction: It turns out that the cleat for the seat cord is NOT molded in. They’re just screwed into the knee brace. That eliminates one problem.

So this comes down mainly to material versus cockpit fit. My choices are:

Hurricane Sojourn 135: cockpit fits great, but material is softer/thinner than the Delta. Paddles better than the Delta.

Delta 12.10: Thicker, stiffer plastic but I would need to cut out the thigh braces.

I try not to make mods that are not reversible if only to preserve value in the used market. If you prefer how the Hurricane fits and how it paddles, then why would you not sell the unmodified Delta for a good price and go with the Hurricane?
Who knows, after a couple of years you may have your eye on another boat anyway, regardless of your choice today … it’s an experience shared by more than a few contributors to this forum! :roll_eyes:

I have the same problem you have with the most expensive boat I’ve ever bought, a Stellar S14S. My lower body is just too long.
I violated the #1 rule of buying a kayak, get in it and paddle. I have tried to sell it but have only had one slightly interested inquiry.
I’m fairly sure I can modify it to fit by removing the foot braces but they are also the rudder control. I don’t need a rudder but that might hurt resale value.
It’s a pretty boat but not much good if it doesn’t leave the garage.

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[quote=“Buffalo_Alice, post:14, topic:124904”]
If you prefer how the Hurricane fits and how it paddles, then why would you not sell the unmodified Delta for a good price and go with the Hurricane? [/quote]

Because the Delta is made of a sturdier material and I cracked the bottom of the Sojourn once—my fault but we can’t be 100% aware of obstacles. I have a fear of cracking it in a remote place.

Understood. I use a rotomolded poly boat when rocks are a worry for that reason.

When I cut out the thigh braces on my Eddyline Journey, it actually didn’t affect the resale value at all. If I recall correctly, I paid $2200 for it, used it for 7 years, and sold it for $1800. I suspect the Delta 12.10 might keep its value sans knee braces because it’s a popular kayak and it’s impossible to find a used one in my area. It would end up looking like this, with foam covering the coaming where the brace is cut out:

Screenshot (399)

Swift does this also:
Screenshot (400)

That’s the Kiwassa 12.6. The Tampico and the Kiwassa show that most manufacturers use a larger cockpit and no knee braces on short kayaks in the 12’-13’ range. I hope Delta is listening.

OK, having found a way around the cleat and the knee braces, that leaves me with just one remaining obstacle: the short cockpit. One way I know of to overcome that is to loosen the straps on the seat back, slide the seat forward a few inches, and lean way back in the seat. That lets you bend your knee more to get your toe past the coaming. Another way is to lose 20 lbs. Ha, it would be worth it. I’m 5’5" tall, so obviously my height works in the Delta.

After paddling sea kayaks with thigh braces for years I made the mistake of buying a Pungo for group river paddles. I sold it after 3 years and one of the reasons was no thigh braces. Those foam things are worthless for braces. They are really just cushions to rest your legs against. The 12.10 is one of my considerations for replacing the Pungo as well as the Kiwassa. FYI aftermarket thigh braces can be installed on the Kiwassa and the Saranac they are a factory option. It really comes down to control. It’s why people install foot braces in solo canoes or kneel. It’s why surf skis have foot boards. Thigh braces allow control for leaning, for rolling, for bracing. If your idea of kayaking is little more than a river float on placid water then you may not need them.

In that case, I don’t see a problem. Good luck with the upgrade!