Encore Paddlers: How tall is your saddle

-- Last Updated: Jan-22-10 12:38 PM EST --

I finally got around to pulling out the loosened saddle on my Encore. I sanded off all the old glue, which appeared to be polyester or epoxy and reglued the saddle with contact cement. I'm also restoring the original configuration of thwarts on the front and back of the saddle.

Former p-netter Mike McCrae recommends sealant around the edges of the glued down saddle. Makes sense. I'll probably do it.

The butt-holding part of this saddle is 11.5 inches off the floor of the canoe. Seems a bit high. I was wondering about the seat height of you other Encore paddlers. How tall is your seat/saddle?


The pedestal in my Encore is 10.5"
I’m not sure an inch is going to make a big difference. The higher the seat, the higher your center of gravity, and the more likely you will swim – at least that’s what I’m told. For me, comfort is more important. The saddle in my prior boat was 8.5" – I couldn’t stand it and raised it to 11".

I swim a lot any way, so I might as well be comfortable along the way.

The Tower of Terror !
My buddy John had a little Dagger Ovation with a 10.5" high saddle.

I got in his boat one day and it ROLLED to the left and ROLLED to the right and ROLLED from side to side until I got out.

I called that the Tower of Terror because it was TOO HIGH!

The saddle in a modern OC1 should be 9" or lower.

I have a 10" saddle in my Millbrook,
and that’s high. You might start at 9" and lower it later if you feel your knees and ankles will bear it.

Sportbikes and Cboats
make me long for a 10"…INSEAM

7 inches tall in Prodigy?
Chip, I have the same question about the Prodigy I bought last august. The seat is 7 inches. I know lower is better but this hurts me. I found a website that said 9 is a good place to start. I realize its the length of our legs that really defines whats good for any of us. At this point I plan on raising the seat 2 inches. I will take advice from anyone else who reads this and has any advice for a Prodigy and a 6ft paddler. Thanks for your help. John.

I think that every boat has a roll axis
and it is good to have the pivot point of one’s hips near that roll axis, not way above it. In most OC-1s the roll axis is probably at a height comfortable for kneeling. In decked c-1s, especially slalom boats, the roll axis is real low, and there isn’t much one can do but hunker down and suffer.

Not a tower of terror
More like a Barcalounger. This pedestal is 10.5" - special order from Mike Yee - standard heights are 8" and 10".


Its tall - no doubt about it, but I can go for a couple of hours without needing to get out to stretch. I’m 5’10", 225 lbs. Maybe its my weight, but I don’t find the boat to be twitchy at all.

You Look Remarkably Calm

Watching you paddle Erik, I sure would not have guessed that your saddle was so ungodly high.

Do you ever get nosebleeds?

No nose bleeds
As for looking calm – they say ignorance is bliss.

More accurate to say that a boat’s roll
behavior depends on boat design and on seat height. Optimum behavior will occur for a certain seat height and paddler height/weight. By optimum behavior, I mean that when the paddler waggles his hips, the boat seems to rotate around an axis at the top of the pelvis. Obviously this is harder to achieve with a high saddle.

Slightly under 9 inches
I bought my Encore from Tom Foster, who custom made the pedestal and wraparound hip blocks from multicolored minicell.

Tom was very opinionated about things like saddle height, and fortunately his opinions were the same as mine on this issue.

We took initial measurements when I bought the boat and we fine tuned the contours with dragonskin when I picked it up.

I used to be 5-9. A taller person may want a lower or higher saddle depending on whether they are top or bottom heavy.

No wonder…
Perhaps the abnormally tall (11.5") saddle explains why my legs are fairly comfortable in the boat. Are boats like ski boots? I always felt if my feet hurt while skiing I must be having fun.

And no wonder I’ve never routinely been able to roll this canoe. Although I never rolled any other canoes, either. And here I am speaking of rolling up–I’ve done plenty of rolls from topside to under water.

I think I should take an inch or two off the saddle and see how that changes my comfort and stability. Worst case, I can always put it back.

Thanks for the input.


One word… Sponsons…

Seat now ten inches
I took a hack saw to the foam last night and cut the saddle down to 10". Sitting in it with the boat on the shop floor, it feels like I’m locked in. It was also a bit uncomfortable. With the higher seat, I could paddle with my ankle at 90* angle and toes pointed forward, or straighten/flatten my feet so the top of the arch was on the hull. With the seat lowered, I must straighten the ankle and flatten the arch to the floor. It felt a little uncomfortable and should be real uncomfortable after a long time in the boat. If it hurts, it must be fun!


Nice river, nice shots Mr TommyC1. What’s the run?

i’m the idiot standing up
that’s the Jeremy and Salmon rivers in Eastern connecticut. Near colchester/rt.66 and 2. Aaron (my son) brought his Encore that day, I had mine loaded but then Tommy said he was poling…

The Blackledge is the other river that runs into the Salmon. Here’s the Blackledge/Salmon at low water.


and an average paddleable level here…


Tommys shots are of the river at about 5.8 gage, mine are at 3.5 and 4.0.

One more and you are there :wink:
To nine inches that is.

So far as your feet go, it will help to get them used to the toes pointed back position. I like to sit on a small (9" high) cooler, toes pointed back, while watching the tube sometimes.

Another thing that works for me is having toe blocks on the bottom beside the saddle right behind my rear end. I can point my toes down and use the blocks to push forward into my thightraps or I can move my feet out a bit and point them straight back for a change.

Some folks like toe pegs but I tend to stuff my toes under those with occasional painful consequences. I just use contact cement to glue 3" square blocks of minicel down.