Foam behind seat

I am not familiar with NDK boats, but does that whole line have a bulkhead behind the seat that is angled so that water can be easily poured out? Am I thinking of the right boat? If so, has anyone added this to a different boat? I guess it is as simple as buying some minicell foam and cutting it to shape. Is this a good feature of these kayaks?

Any ideas?


NDK and others

– Last Updated: Feb-19-08 1:03 PM EST –

NDK is slanted and straight, another one but I forget which is slanted and kinda rounded as well - there are several manufacturers out there that angle the bulkhead behind the seat to encourage easier water drainage. I suppose there could be an argument about whether that has structural impact, but in our fleet all the approaches seem to work.

As to foam behind the seat - you could add it to a boat without any angling and it would likely make it easier to dump water. A big chunk of it would also be something that you might have to maintain and reglue on a periodic basis, and if it filled the space all the way to the seat could take away the space that I use to stash my paddle float and a sponge.

Really a matter of personal preference. I doubt that angled or not is going to make a life or death diff on the water.

Foam seat back

For what it’s worth (and I’m admittedly biased since my shop sells the foam backrest), the foam backrest is one of our more popular items for NDK boats, and we’ve sold several to non NDK owners to outfit their boats as well. The idea is the back rest stays in place (unlike the NDK seat back which can cause pinching for me), provides good support and is less constricting around your lower back for full hip/torso rotation.

The foam is simply an option for outfitting your boat and to be sure it’s not for everyone. As for the slanted bulkhead – it does make emptying the cockpit easier and gives you a bit more room in the day hatch too. I find it’s nice doing rescues and even nicer when I’m washing out the boat at the end of the day. But certainly not something that should impact your choice of boats.

Hope this helps – Tom

I think hes talking about something else
Carving a piece of minicell foam to mimic the slanted bulkhead between cockpit and day hatch on an NDK boat. The one that let’s you lift the boat, roll over, and drain water out of the cockpit so well. I’ve thought of that myself for my boat. But gave up when I saw the price of minicell foam.

3 inch foam pillar
as replacement backrest on my Valley Q. Custom shaped over a few paddles to suit me. It allows much better rotation for strokes and rolls. It does occupy slightly more volume to displace about a qt/lt of water. Even before, I could dump all but about 12 oz of water from flooded cockpit. Foam can be removed and orginal back band replaced in about 5 minutes. I suggest you try it out and see what suits you.

Foam backrest

– Last Updated: Feb-19-08 2:34 PM EST –

I wasn't aware that backrests could be foam. I have never seen a boat outfitted that way. Neat idea! I will check into that. I paddle a Chatham 16 and the back band seems to be comfortable enough. As you all stated, I would like to have the foam there so I can easily pour water out after wet exits or spraying the boat down at the end of the day. Does anyone have a picture of the slanted or straight bulkhead in a boat?
I appreciate the input!

I totally missed that. I can’t see it would be worth the time and expense to create an artificial slanted bulkhead just to aid with getting the water out.

Thanks for clearing that up!

  • Tom

Here’s the picture of the foam backrest installed in an NDK boat:

The bulkhead may be a little hard to see, but it angles about 20-30 degrees I’d guess. It starts right behind the coaming at the top and is about 3" in front of this at the bottom. Valley also does this and I think this is the one that is also curved.

you can see the bulkhead "slant"
fairly well on the Greenlander Pro in the picture in the middle of the page:

Impex’s slopes and is curved too.

has its good points
My boat is a Paddling Perfection euro-x which has a one-piece fiberglass seat that also serves as the rear bulkhead. the advantages I see of this setup are that the amount of water that gets into the cockpit in a capsize is minimised, the amount of volume in the rear compartment is maximised (my Watershed map pouch fits right under the seat), And the water in the cockpit is much easier to get rid of.

If you’re in the water beside the boat all you have to do to empty it almost completely is to leave it upside down, go to the stern and push it underwater until the cockpit clears the surface and at that point all the water will come out of the boat. all you have to do then is twist the boat so it lands back on the surface upright and get back in.

I only really do this when i get out to swim with dolphins or collect some seafood so it’s usually in conditions where i can just climb back in so it saves using the pump.

I also, and this is probably bad, if my boat fills up with rainwater while on top of my car, reverse at high speed and jam on the brakes at which point all the water rushes up the seat back and cascades off the back of the boat. brutal but highly effective.

The drawbacks to the bulkhead seat are that you are pretty much stuck with the one seat which is fine if it fits you, the seat is fiberglass, which you tend to slide around on, and there is no room behind the seat for a crisis bag, or bilge pump etc.

Foam backrest
Several years ago the place where my backband attached to the fiberglass seat broke. As a field expedient, I took the foam block off my roof rack and wedged it behind the seat. It had that Vee angle that wrapped around my back and it felt great. However, at the end of the day my back was irritated where it rubbed against the foam block. I don’t know if it resulted from torso rotation or just random movement in the cockpit, but it discouraged me from considering foam as a perminent replacement for a backband.

As for dumping water from the cockpit, just a small chamfer piece of foam (like a cornice) to fill the angle between the underside of the deck and the bulkhead would accomplish the same thing.