Foaming Bulkhead Footrest Question

I have a Valley Aquanaut without the foot pegs installed and am in the process of building out foam blocks cut to fit against the glass bulkhead to create my footrest. My question is what do people suggest for type of contact the foot should have on the foam when seated.

  1. Ball of a barefoot resting on the hull floor and the foot needs to be arched foward for the toes and ball of the foot to make contact with the foam?
  2. Barefoot resting on hull and foot needs to be partially arched foward to make contact, but is off the foam when the toes are straight up?
  3. The entire sole of the barefoot is flat on the foam from heel to toe when the leg is laying flat on the hull?

    Second do you recommend just placing the foam in with a force/friction fit only if it goes in tight or glue it onto the bulkhead as well. Is there any pro/con for glueing. Not glueing obviously gives one easier options down the line.

My Aquanaut
I have 1 inch of foam against the bulkhead (not glued). The distance is such that when locked into the thigh rolls the balls of my feet are against the foam. For me, this distance also allows me to stretch my legs out straight with my feet flat against the foam.

This was how Tom Bergh (MIKCo) fitted the foam for me.

Not being glued allows for flexibility and for the front compartment to breath - I drilled, as per earlier thread, the bulkheads. The foam has not shifted out of place even in intensive rolling sessions.

I have an additional 3" foam plug and another 1". This has allowed the flexibility for friends to try my boat and for me to experiment with the fit for myself.

Some have gotten more elaborate with angled foam which may be better.

All of the above
I found a balancing act too. Allows balls of feet, flat foot, and even flat leg with a little foam compression.

Beginning of every paddle I think I may need another 1/2" - 1", but by by the time I’m done I am back to thinking it’s perfect (I must loosen up a bit).

This spacing allows instant reaction and full force against thigh braces if needed - and still allows more leg movement to faster paddling when not and stretching (which I don’t seem to need to do much since going to foam).

The foot surface is tilted 15 degrees back from vertical which is very comfortable (Thanks again for that tip Brian).

I’ve been fine with pressure fit - but be careful not to make the foam too big. It only need be a tiny bit oversize to be quite snug. You don’t want constant force pushing out on the layup.

If you get some of the interlocking (puzzle edged) exercise mat squares (sold in 4 packs, each sheet 2’ x 2’) you can experiment with about 1/2" increments. These also have a nice finished texture that holds up pretty well - are a bit more durable than average minicell - and that last sheet can be easily replaced. Target has (had?) nice plain dark grey ones.

Some pictures (no doubt different from your setup - but may still be useful. Ignore huge 15" stack of minicell - my bulkhead wasn’t custom placed (and I didn’t feel like moving it as QCC really puts them in to stay).

Angled piece ):

Surface layer:

Texture detail:

Installed view (with several months wear):

Note - if not gluing, make sure you can get hold of it to get it in and out (put a web strap or something behind so you can pull the foam out). Also, depending on how you do yours - be sure water can drain (I added a channel at back and bottom of foam) - and make sure you aren’t blocking your bulkhead vent holes (if you have them).

My Aquanaut

– Last Updated: Sep-26-04 8:28 PM EST –

I had Tom (MIKCo) fit mine the same way. I like it much better than the footpegs. Mine is not glued in and doesn't seem to need to be. I also can stretch my legs out straight (knees locked) with my feet flat against the foam. When paddling, however my feet touch with correct pressure on the balls of my feet. I'd like to try to angle it one of these days.
I still have the same problem, however, no matter which boat I paddle, and that is that my right foot falls asleep. The only thing I can think of is the way the outside of my heel rests on the floor of the boat must be cutting off circulation. Does anyone else have this problem? I was thinking of installing a small neoprene cushion under my heel, but not sure how well that would hold up.
This happens in my rec. boat and all of the many sea yaks that I have paddled, so it's me, not the boats.

Heel pad
I’ve thought of gluing a quarter inch pad of foam for my heels. At GOMSKS this summer I noted a guide’s Explorer whose boat was set with foam on bulkhead for bracing and quater inch foam ahead of bulkead.

Mt feet don’t fall asleep, but sometimes my heels get sore.

Heel pads
I found that minicel heel pads abraded quickly. Adding a layer of neoprene(fabric side up) on top of the minicel has worked well for me.

If your leg is falling asleep, you also might want to try lengthening your seat base to provide better thigh support. Several folks here have reported sucess with that. They added a minicel block in front of the seat and carved it to shape.

Moving feet back/lifting legs up
Moving your pegs/foam back a little to get your thighs less on the seat edge can do the trick too. A little lift goes a long way to opening vessels. With less leg on the seat you may get a little easier rotation too.

Racers and ski paddlers just have their sit bones in the seat pan - legs are more up. Outfitting things even a little bit more that way in a sea kayak can improve things and still be comfortable.

(SOF/flat leg paddlers please note I said “Kayak”, not “Qajaq” - which often don’t have seat pans at all - and rarely have seats with front edges that would affect circulation this way. That sort of outfitting obviously works too, by not creating the pinch point in the first place).

Sleepy right leg
I had the same problem. Changing to a foam seat with inclined support under my thighs worked great. Mine supports just about to the back of my knees.