Followup-Sitting on btm of kayak

-- Last Updated: Oct-27-08 7:25 PM EST --

First I would like to thank all of you for the good suggestions and sources for materials. I learned a lot.

Sitting directly on the bottom was too uncomfortable. I found I could do about 1.5 hrs, but then it started hurting. I tried an inflatable stadium cushion I had laying around. It was hard to adjust. If it felt really good to sit on then I was just as high and tight as with the original seat. When I really let out the air the fit was good, but I was not comfortable. There was one brief stretch where I got it just right and was comfortable and did notice a better, lower fit. I think there is good potential for something like the thermarest or sweet-cheeks that has a better adjustable valve.

I did find that I was a little too loose in the side-side direction after removing the seat. Rolling was kind of exciting when I rolled up, but the kayak did not exactly come with me. I did not swim, but it was close. I have added mini-cell foam thigh pads that I glued in with contact cement.

Right now I have a piece of 3/8" soft foam on the bottom. It compresses a little when I sit on it so I think it goes down to about 1/4" effective height. I put a shorter piece of the same foam under the front edge to create a little rise at the front for thigh support. The fit feels pretty good. I think that I probably dropped about 1/4" to 3/8". I am going to paddle with this for a little while before trying out the yogamat or the neoprene for the seat. If nothing really feels comfortable I might spend the money for the Jackson sweet-cheeks.

I think the benefits are going to be worth the trouble.
1. Lowered the sitting position about 1/4" to 3/8". This gives me a better fit under the thigh braces and keeps clothing from bunching up out over the coaming interferring with the sprayskirt.
2. The slightly lowered position hopefully will increase the initial stablity just slightly. When I got out in around 20 mph wind I found that the wind actually would roll the kayak slightly downwave unless I used upward pressure on the downwind knee to keep the kayak level. Not a major issue, but sometimes left me in a downwave lean after broaching while surfing a wave. This is not a postion I want to be in.
3. Removing the seat hanger bolts eliminates the pinch point which sometimes caught the sprayskirt when trying to get it off and also made it difficult to get the skirt on properly.

The negatives include the loss of some storage space in the cockpit, particularly for the pump, and the possibility of too much stress on the hull from sitting directly on it without support from the hangers. In about 6 hrs of paddling I have not noticed any flexing so I think the structure is ok. I am thinking of rigging up some under deck bungees for storing the pump under the centerline of the deck above my legs.

Again, thanks to all for you suggestions and comments.

If you want to see some videos of me rolling you can check out

That's me in the blue over white Force Cat 3 in the first three video's. I am using the inflatable seat cushion and have some temporary poor fitting thigh pads in place to help with the rolling.


I wondered how long you would last.
You may find that you can use relatively less foam if you also adjust your back, hip, thigh, knee, and foot support so that you are perched with your pressure center just in front of your two big butt bones. You will have to develop upright posture like Greg Barton or Scott Shipley.

Another strategy would be a formed seat support that supports your butt weight around those two bony prominences, so that the bony areas rest lightly on just 1/4 inch or so of foam. I don’t know if I’ve seen such a foam support recently, but you could make one.

In wind
Have you tried just shifting your weight over to the side, like dropping a little to that side of the center line, to get an edge rather than lifting the other thigh? Just a thought - if you have the room to do it and it has the desired effect, it may be less tiring than holding an edge up with the other leg.

In the higher wind

– Last Updated: Oct-28-08 12:02 AM EST –

I get pushed over enough that I really need to hold a little pressure up with the knee. It requires just a little pressure so it is not like trying to hold the kayak on a full edge. I do notice that if I try to go into a full edge into an oncoming wave, I get a little less tilt than I get when its not as windy. It is very subtle.

I do not notice it as much (or sometimes not at all) when just paddling side to the wind. I usually notice it when I finish surfing well in front of a wave, but at an angle almost parallel to the wave. I am edging into the wave as I am surfing. As I run out in front of the wave I relax and expect to go level, but I often find myself tilted downwave.

Maybe it is not wind and stability related at all. It could be something I am doing with my knees or balance as I come off the wave. However, even when I am paying particular attention to what I am doing, it still seems to happen (but only when it is really windy).


Ways to take a swim…

– Last Updated: Oct-28-08 7:54 AM EST –

Frankly, if you are regularly battling 20 mph winds you're tougher than I am these days. And of course if you can get into a Force 3 at all I doubt you have well over 200 pounds of weight to shift. So it really was just a question on my part. I have the same issue and often have to slide to the side, at least some, to make managing wind less bothersome.

As to coming off a wave, I chuckled. I spent an entire surf training session, very very beginning level, capsizing every time I got near the shore. I just kept losing it on what seemed like it should have been the easiest part. It turned out that I should have been increasing my edge into the wave as they collapsed and I got closer to shore. Apparently the group had covered that critical point at a moment when I was otherwise occupied.


It is not that often
than I am out when it is 20 mph or above. I am generally in those conditions when I am surfing wind-waves in our shallow bay. The marina is at the end of a 12-14 mile fetch across the bay so there are some nice steep 3.5 ft waves when the wind gets up around 20 mph. It is not nearly as exacting as surfing the beach break, but you still can capsize if you do not pay close attention to what you are doing. I think we have the best surfing conditions when the wind is in the 15-20 mph. Of course if you keep going out looking for 15-20 mph wind, you often find yourself paddling in 20-25 mph.

One of the reasons I waited almost 2 years to make any changes is that I am not out in those conditions a majority of my paddling time. However, it is in those conditions where you really want a confidence inspiring kayak the most. A few issues just seemed to come together at one time and I thought it was worth trying to make the changes in the seating arrangements.