Foot board angle

Question for those of you who might be using a large foot board or foam padding to brace your feet against.

Do you find it beneficial to have the entire foot lay flat aginst an angled surface? Or do you only push with your foot balls and move your heels back and forth?

Any consideration for paddling with knees up and together (and feet parallel) vs. knees braced under the side deck and feet in a “V” position?

The one thing that comes to mind if I do get a full board is that it would seem to prevent stretching both of my legs with knees flat for resting since the normal position would be with bent knees and there would be no space in the front to move fore/aft, just sideways a bit…


foot rest
Feet parallel is more efficient than the V position.

Angle or flat is a personal preference. I still haven’t made up my mind. If I remember correctly the Tiderace kayaks have a slightly angled surface and I had no problem stretching my feet (size 10) above the foot rest in the Xcite.

Pat from ONNO makes a real nice carbon fiber foot rest you can mount on a set of Werner foot pegs. It’s a nice system that still allows you to move the foot rest back and forward after it’s installed. Highly recommended and as a bonus Pat is great to work with.

Sure. I am considering Pat’s rudder board seriously. Actually spoke with him on this recently but did not think of asking that particular question about the full vs. partial foot support (e.g heel support or not)

I just want to think it thru before I commit to yet another thing that would not work well for me -:wink:

I currently have taped temporarily a 2" wide flat board across my foot pegs to see how it feels. So far so good. It does however let me move my heels forward and back, where a full-height board would not. I guess I will need to experiment with this a little more and perhaps tape in its place a larger board with heel support and see how it feels.

But if someone has opinions on this, please shoot. And remember - primary concern is not sprint racing but paddling where you would stop paddling periodically and rest. And where you would sometimes be knees together/feet parallel to each other, sometimes knees braced/feet in V position.

A piece of foam might also do it b/w the rudder pedals on the side as well. But again - question about heel support is what I’m after right now.

Bulkhead footbrace angle
Previous posts about bulkhead footbraces have suggested a 15-degree angle from the vertical as a good starting point.

Footboard retrofit

– Last Updated: Oct-15-08 6:35 PM EST –

I substituted a homemade footboard for the braces in my SC-1 SOF. It's made from stock red oak molding from Home Depot, about 3-1/2" wide. It's attached to holes drilled in Keepers footbraces.

Making it was easy, but twisting myself around to bolt it in place was a real b!tch. In the photos, I show carriage bolts, but those were eventually swapped out for stainless 1/4" nuts and bolts.

As you can see in the photos, there is room under the board, and you can stretch your toes under there if you want (a little tight). It's pretty close to vertical, and doesn't really support the bottom half of my foot, which I don't really miss. It allows my heels to rock while leg pumping. In practice, sometimes I would really like to stretch my legs out flat, but I think the ability to move my feet side to side, in parallel or in a Vee is worth the tradeoff. Having the board vertical allows me to flatten my legs and stretch my legs almost flat, which helps. I haven't tried angling the board yet, I guess because I'm satisfied with how it is now.

PS - at one point I took the board out so I could loan the boat to someone and they needed adjustable footpegs. I paddled it once after with pegs and hated it - went right back to the footboard.

In my SKUK Explorer, I have a custom bulkhead instead of footpegs (my 3rd boat built in this way).

In the knees splayed (in the thigh hooks) position, the foot area is vertical, and my contact is with my toes/ball of foot. Advantage there is that, by extending my heels, I can lay my legs down flat for another, “relaxed”, leg position.

In the center, I glued in foam that is angled for full foot contact, with my knees together. The foam is thick enough that I cannot drop my knees flat. This approximates the position in my sprint kayak- I cannot fully extend (more specifically,risk hyperextending) my knees.

This gives me more positions to work with, much like a bicyclist’s ability to change hand positions to optimize either comfort or performance.

Great question. I differ with the commonly taught method of static position inside a kayak, with legs splayed. A common sight after a long day’s paddle is to see paddlers stiffly trying to walk. That long in one position, certain muscles get chronically shortened (specifically the piriformis), leading to discomfort. The knees splayed in into the thigh hooks is one position, good to accomplish certain tasks.

I figure I spend as much as 3/4 of my time in a sea kayak is spent with my legs together, knees bent. Including rough conditions.


I built a footrest in my Voyager
canoe out of minicell at the angle my feet naturally take. I think about 15 deg as recommended here.It is great.Very supportive and comfortable.feet parallel.

If I need to stretch - it’s a canoe.

Good idea
Otterslide, that sounds like a very good setup. What is the relative fore-aft locations of the two foot positions? I mean, are the toe locations the same but with different angles so the heels are in different places, or are the heel locations the same with the toes being different? Does my question make sense to you?

Let me know too

– Last Updated: Oct-16-08 9:05 AM EST –

The idea crossed my mind - keep the SmartTrack rudder pedals on the side as they are, but raise them an inch or two to accomodate my size 15 foot, and build-forward the existing bulkhead with minicell at an angle for a full foot support. The foot braces are thus adjustable for others to use my kayak if needed. I will have my rudder control available if needed and I think I should still be able to controll it from the center - may need to extend the rudder controls by an inch or two inwards with a piece of plastic or wood to make this work better...

Anyway, I'll try the foam center soon - cheap enough to take out if it does not work. Plus I think I can glue a piece of velcro or some other similar thing on it to have the top 1/2" or so layer removable to accomodate for shoe/no shoe differences...