I just bought a Dagger Juice 7.1 and have had it out a couple of times on slow moving rivers until I learn how to roll. After I get out of the boat, my hip flexors (groin) area is really sore from the angle of my legs in the boat. My knees point out in what feels like an unnatural position. My seat is set the whole way to the back and the knee braces the whole way to the front. Is this natural? Can anyone give me any ideas on how to effectively set this seat up? Thank you!
Move things around until you are comfortable.
If you can’t get comfortable by moving things, it’s time for foam and glue.
It should be thigh braces
Do you have the braces set forward enough to actually hit your knees? Too far, should be over your thigh safely away from things like the tendons to the kneecap. Granted WW boats are tight, but if you are the right size for this boat you should be able to get the braces over your thigh at least 1/3 of the way up from the knee. If you can't, you may have the wrong boat. The 7.1 is tuned for paddlers 165 thru about 230 pounds.
Above said, if you really can't get this to work out, agree that you need a different boat. There are lots out there.
I moved the thigh braces the whole way to the back and adjusted the seat as well as the foot rest in the front. I think I have it figured out. Do you have to keep your thighs in the braces when you are going through a dead pool? I can pull them out of the braces but then put them back in when I get to the fun stuff. I am 5’9" 165 lbs. which is on the low end of the range. I just don’t see how a 240lb. person would be comfortable in it. Thank you for your help
For the disclaimer - never paddled this boat, only saw specs on the internet ( eddyflower.com ). This boat is described as a river runner for a 170-240lb person. Ideal weight is, probably, around 200lb.
If your seat is all the way back, this kayak at your weight will not be correctly trimmed.
Workflow - ask someone to look at your boat, or take picture, while you are sitting in it in a neutral posture - leaning from your lower back ever so slightly forward, arms in front of you. Both ends should be more or less equally submerged. ( There are reasons to trim it differently, but this is general advice). Move the seat accordingly.
Next - do foot pegs, not too tight, not too loose
Next - do thigh/knee braces.
Since the boat is a bit large, gluing foam pads where your knees touch sides of the boat might result in a more comfortable fit.
Edit - I just noticed that you list location as Western PA. Two clubs, that I know, in the region - the "Three Rivers Paddling Club", www.threerivers.org, or "Keelhauler Club", www.keelhauler.org. They both encourage beginner paddlers, organize trips on the Slippery Rock, excellent beginner river.
You need to have your thighs under the braces whenever you may need to exert control over the boat. You are the only one who can answer exactly when that is needed.
As to positioning - second what suiram said. If you are at the absolute bottom of the intended weight for this boat and the seat is all the way back, you'll be trimmed so that the bow has too little weight in it compared to the stern. It'll make a diff when you really need to bite into the water for something. In some boats it could also cause the stern to catch and cause a capsize, but I don't know this boat so can't say if this is a risk. Especially if you are high or low re the intended weight for a boat, you need to be weighted in the center. (I happen to have gained a few pounds since getting my WW boat, so have to stay centered for the opposite reason.)
As to a larger person fitting into it, I am guessing that you are just not accustomed to WW boats. Unless it is a creeker with bigger volume, which this boat is not, the fit in WW boats is quite tight. You'll see rodeo socks commonly available in WW shops because it is normal for shoes with any sole at all to not fit in a river runner or play boat.
Just out of curiosity, how are you planning to learn how roll and to handle a boat like this in rapids?
On rolling, one thing that can make a boat more difficult to learn a roll in is if it is too large a volume for the paddler. It is simply harder to get started, takes a stronger snap, and the flat plane of the newer WW boats doesn't help compared to the old school rounder ones. You may be able to shorten the learning curve by going to someone who has a smaller volume boat for you to learn in, then bring it back to the Juice.
learning to roll
They have classes in my area that I have been attending. I was learning how in mine but was having a difficult time. I want to try one of their boats to see how they compare. I know this is all different than my rec boats but it just seemed really out of the ordinary to me (even though I have nothing to compare to it to).
Did anyone look at your setup?
That is, did anyone in the rolling class look to see how you were set up in the boat? It seems at best odd if they didn't.
By the way, control of a kayak doesn't change just because it is a rec kayak. It is seat, weight shift and/or thighs and feet if you want to control it properly. The only diff with very rec boats (the least equipped ones) is that the manufacturers are selling them to people who don't need precise control because of where they are supposed be used. They are about beamy, wide stability to keep someone upright until they make their way back to shore if the wind kicks up, not making it easy to manage them in gnarly conditions. So you don't get thigh braces or a cockpit that allows for good contact.
But if got caught out in a sudden storm in a basic rec kayak you'd have to approximate the same things you do in a WW or a sea kayak. You'd just have less to work with in the boat to help you out. The transition kayaks, or some manufacturers call them touring separate from sea kayaks, have more of these features because they are expected to be in more challenging conditions.
By the way - you do have float bags for this kayak, right? You should have probably a split pair in the back.
I own 2 rec kayaks so I am very comfortable with how they maneuver. I was comparing them to how different it feels in a ww boat. I plan on having someone look at my setup at the next class. I also do have float bags. There are 2 in the rear, NRS Rodeo’s, which were recommended by the previous owner.