Foam on a keyhole

I recently took a greenland paddling class and used foam to functionaly convert my keyhole to an ocean cockpit. I liked the feel of this and was wondering if anyone uses this approach on a more regular basis (Not planning to swtich boats any time soon). Any thoughts on risk of entrapment given the loose piece of foam as opposed to a fixed ocean cockpit?

no issues for me at least
foam is easy to push out of the way if you need to. I also jam foam in the Outer Island and the Legend to get more of a masik feel while rolling.


one way to do it
I use a tripled up piece of ensolite (blue camping mat) foam. It shoves forward when I want it out of the way, and can be brought aft in lieu of a full masik. Learned this trick from Cherri Perry. Now that my OI is custom foamed out, I don’t much bother though.

still trying to figure out
how to foam mine out.


what I did
First, I replaced the IR backband (too sloppy) with a Snapdragon. Second, I took 1/2" foam and building up from the underside of the hook made the thigh hooks flat and about 1" lower. Then, using a dragon tool, I modified the hooks so they fit my skinny thighs. Third, using 1/4" foam, I padded out the sides of the seat and thigh braces up to the coaming. When I want a very tight masik-like fit, I use the ensolite pad at which point my legs are centered and very low more than they are held under the hooks.

If you like it…
…why not glue it in place? That’s what I do on my glass boats.

glue it in
Hi Brian, I’ve admired your kayaking outfitting pics, appreciated your advice, and always wondered how you’d fit a masik to a keyhole cockpit, e.g. convert a keyhole to an ocean. Seems like a bit of a stretch to do with foam, yes? Thanks, John

How is an
IR backband more sloppy than a Snapdragon? I looked at both and put an IR in my QCC700. I’m just wondering how a Snapdragon would differ from the IR.


I have the same question. How do you convert a keyhole into an ocean cockpit and utilize a masik? I did a plug that slides onto the coaming with 4" foam and it sort of works but I don’t like the “give” I would much prefer some sort of plug that was rigid that I could then affix a masik to.

Now having said that…it seems a moot point. I may not be able to do a very pretty hand roll yet in the OI as I can in the SOF but I also am not competing and I would much prefer to use the SOF for those kinds of rolls anyway.

If I wanted a greenland boat with the ocean cockpit I could have just as easily gotten an Anas Acuta and be done with it. The OI rolls easily but it is not in my opinion the definitive rolling machine. Lots of other boats fall into that category better. the OI is a great point A to point B boat that gets you there faster and less tired. I love mine.

I just picked up a Nigel Foster Legend. Almost direct opposite with hard chines from the OI and great fun when I want to carve turns and do Hutchinson type stupid kayak tricks. :slight_smile:

It also helps with established boat control moves tht are just not as easy with the OI due to its lack of rocker.

so for me anyway, I have what I think is the best range of qualities in 2 boats with the SOF as a specialized rolling boat. Legend is great for extensive camping, both handle the ocean beautifully, both are fast, both roll very easily, longer trips/packability in the legend but I can easily pack for a week in the OI.

but it would be nice to put a very rigid bar across or some sort of plug that would convert either one to a masik controlled boat instead of thigh braces and footpegs.

(see? I did get back to the subject eventually…)


Ocean to keyhole

Now the clever thing would be to get the ocean cockpit of my Anas Acuta to convert to a keyhole every now and then…

prior to me putting in the new masik in the Peter Strand boat I drew it out on newsprint. I am going to cut one out of wood the same size and then cover it /pad it out and see if I can make it an “insert”


You’ll probably need a stiffener
Foam alone may not give you the feel you want, so you’ll probably have to stiffen it in some manner. One option would be to glue in a 1" layer of foam, then layup several layers of fiberglass and epoxy on it (inside). If you cover the foam with packing tape, the epoxy won’t stick to it. Build it up to ~1/8" thick. Once it cures, remove it, sand it lightly, then glue it to the foam with contact cement. Finish the masik by adding foam over the fiberglass until you reach the desired thickness and shape. It should be stiff enough to work well.

You might also be able to use 1/8" aluminum sheet, bent to shape, as a stiffener. That would be faster and less messy.

its not just the top
it is also the sides that I miss from the SOF. It gives a complete feeling of control when you push against everything while rolling such as the sides of the masik as well as the top piece.

Am going to look into the aluminum piece but will have to use foam “feet” to make this thing sit well against the hull all the way to the underside of the deck

Maybe what I should do is make a template in cardboard of where I am going to want the masik, cut it out of a piece of 4 inch foam and stiffen it up on the top and sides with the aluminum. It will look like an inverted “u” (sort of) that can be jammed into place and make a masik type of arrangement.

will let you know…


I’m interested in Legend, too. Have you tried it in rough water and what don’t you like about it? You must have sold the Tempest.

just got it
great boat. completely the oposite from the OI. Will have it out in ocean tomorrow…so far only calm salt water and lake…handles very very well.

sold the Tempest as I felt it was almost too big for me. Would love to have a T165 RM as a beater boat though…


Sounds like

off meds again?