Fitting a CD Sirocco

I just recently purchased a Current Designs Sirocco and managed to get it out on the river a few days ago for the first time. I haven’t had a lot of time in the boat, a little under 2 hours or so, but I found a few fit related issues that I’m not sure how to resolve.

For reference, I’m 6ft and about 205lbs. This is my first full sea kayak in probably 15 years (it’s been a while, in other words…).

The first thing I noticed was that my right leg went numb, I almost fell on my face when we went ashore. I found it difficult to find a foot position that kept my thighs under the thigh braces and kept my legs in a comfortable position. I adjusted it several times and either my legs fell too far below the thigh braces to be useful and kept sliding down or it was too tight.

I’ve read a few other posts that indicated others had this problem and I was wondering what the resolution was. It seems some padded their thigh braces to provide better support, but seeing as how I don’t know much about fitting the boat to myself, I’m not sure what to do. The guides I’ve read indicate that my knees should be “slightly bent”, but the thigh pads come nowhere near my thighs when that is the case.

So, other Sirocco owners, did you have this issue? Did you resolve it with additional foam on the thigh braces and/or seat? What thickness was required (I know this will vary, just trying to figure out what the appropriate range is).


Here’s a start…

– Last Updated: Aug-07-16 10:46 AM EST –

Almost all kayaks can use a little tweaking to achieve a better fit. Outfitting foam is available in a variety of shapes from several sellers.

You can determine what a comfortable position for you is and then build the cockpit in to fit you.
The Scirocco/Gulfstream was built to fit the designer who was not as stealthy as you are. ;-)

Are you locking in really tight?

– Last Updated: Aug-07-16 12:08 PM EST –

What you describe can either be a fit issue or you are working too hard to stay locked in position. Or some of both.

You only need to be fully in the thigh braces to maneuver or roll. Other than that, you don't have to be in constant contact. In a comfortable fit, the braces lay right above your thigh so they are always available, but you are not pushing hard up into them all the time. Rotation can increase the pressure in part of the stroke, but it can release when you are on the other side.

Also, being sore on the right could suggest that you are right handed... so you are probably exerting more muscle over there. And/or that you have some lower back misalignment that can cause sciatica-like symptoms in the right circumstances.

Torso rotation theoretically fixes the latter. But FWIW, I also had to remove some padding under the forward lip of my seat in one boat to flatten it out. It was officially ergonomic seat, but it was killing me. I made the seat flat, eg quite unergonomic, and the pain disappeared. So seat angle can have an impact.

It takes time.
You say you haven’t been in a sea kayak for a long time, but does that mean you’ve been doing no paddling, or that the paddling has been in something other than sea kayaks? Not that it matters a great deal, because it’s possible that just changing boats often takes considerable time in the saddle for your body to adapt to the new seat etc.

Personally, I don’t like a tight fit and would rather have a little room to squirm around–especially after being in the boat for hours. I definitely do not want to be locked in by the thigh pads. I do brace against them when required by conditions, but otherwise I try to just keep a firm footing on the foot rests.

I can’t recall any particular comfort issues when I got my Sirocco, but when I switched from it to my other sea kayak, I had to roll up a towel and place it under my legs for quite awhile before that little problem went away. For me, it came down to lots and lots of paddling and now it doesn’t seem to matter what boat I’m in. Of course some feel pretty good right from the start and others make you wonder who the heck designed them.

I think if I were you, I might try different foot rest positions and probably with a bit more than a slight bend in the knees. The foot going numb to me might indicate a circulation problem. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a doctor about it and maybe get some ideas about relieving it.

As for the Sirocco, there are a couple of things I would do if it hasn’t already been modified. The tiny bungees that hold up the back band should be replaced with 3/16" bungees, which means you will have to drill out the holes in the coaming a little bit. I would also consider going up a size on the deck bungees if they are as wimpy as the ones that came on my boat.

If your Sirocco is a new boat, don’t be surprised if the faux seam tape comes loose. Glue it back in place with silicon and it will stay put.

Finally, do not be shy about using the skeg. You might not need the full skeg all the time, but it makes no sense to fight with tracking if you don’t have to. I even use about half skeg when going to windward.

When you’re sitting …
Are your legs straight out? If so, your thigh may be pressing against the forward edge of your seat, which can cut off circulation. Try moving the foot pegs up, putting a bit of bend in your knee. If that puts your legs too tight up against the padding, you may need to use thinner pads. That’s all part of dialing in your kayak to fit your body, same as you would with a bike, and the first step in either case is get your seat-to-pedal distance correct. A slight bend is what you want, not a bowlegged splay.

scirocco outfitting
Try putting a piece of a pool noodle under your thigh. Its works for me.

I’m 6’ and have paddled the Sirocco
I’ve paddled it several times, even fairly recently.

I suppose the trick here is you may be looking for some comfortable leg position that I may not really relate to. My legs are always going from straight to bent. Whether forward stroke, or maneuvering strokes, there is no static position. This in itself likely takes care of most “dead-sit” problems in my case. I don’t know how/if you try to connect your legs to your strokes.

The pegs probably move in something like 1" intervals, which should be more than plenty for anyone to get comfortable. The way I would describe my most comfortable foot position would be to stand up straight. Now look at the angle of my foot compared to my legs - around 90 degrees. If I sit in my boat with my butt all the way back in the seat and my legs straight out on the bottom, and my feet at that same angle as when I’m comfortably standing, the footpegs should be right there, or within a half inch, give or take, which should be fairly inconsequential. At 6’, sliding my heel back just a couple inches will raise my knee around 6", so no issue at all with contacting the thigh braces when needed in maneuvering, bracing, or rolling.

If you employ a “dead-sit” style, where your hips and your legs don’t really move, I imagine that’s another story. I still can’t imagine the foot-peg adjustment problem. A different pair of shoes with either a half inch more or less lift in them would get you even more fine-tuned, I’m just not sure to what. In other words, I’m not sure infinite adjustablility on the foot pegs would lead to any more comfort. At 6’, 32" inseam, size 11 feet, my heels resting on the bottom of the kayak, the balls of my feet resting on the foot pegs, I’m not holding up my legs. I can change the lift of my knee significantly by scooting my heel forward or back, and in whatever position, leave them there at rest. There’s no leg-lifting involved. So I don’t see a lot of reason to eliminate all play between a flat-legged position and a thigh-brace-locked position. You don’t want too much room, but at your size, I don’t think the Sirocco should be much of a problem.

Celia reminds me of a good point. I actually think a lot of kayakers discover different forms of lower back misalignment. I’m a big believer in analyzing your body mechanics as you’re paddling, and it also doesn’t hurt to see a chiropractor in these type of instances, as they specialize in this type of thing. A chiropractor will do X-rays and show you a picture of your alignment, and then hopefully work with you on a legitimate way to work out any issues. It usually means an awareness of posture, simple exercises and stretches that work to reset your “normal”, and chiropractic adjustments where needed. It isn’t as easy as taking a pill or adjusting a foot peg or a one-time chiropractic adjustment, but extending the years of staying active, able-bodied, and the number of days and hours out on the water is no small reward. Just a thought, in case that’s never been considered? It’s better to address issues when the only symptom you’ve had is a numb leg after paddling, than to wait until you freeze up after lifting something that you wouldn’t have thought would be a problem.

back band
Back band adjustment may be required to get you in the right position, it’s infinitely adjustable so helps to compensate for the foot peg adjustment. You should be sitting upright anyway, it’s not a recliner.

Bill H.