Foot braces in a Canoe

I’ve seen footbraces in racing canoes and was thinking about installing them in my Old Town Camper. The foot braces in our kayak seem to help with the stability and I was wondering if it would do the same in our Camper. Anybody ever done this?

I can’t kneel so we installed Yakima
footbraces. We also rigged a removeable backband and I use pool noodles as thigh braces. I’m in a solo, but should work in a tandem. We installed the braces above the waterline, which is a little higher than ideal. However, leaking isn’t a problem. If you’re drilling thru the hull, you might want to use some sealant on the holes. We didn’t and have had no problem, but I think I may eventually add sealant.

I add these to all my canoes. They help anchor you in the boat and help reduce stress and fatigue especially on your stomach muscles. I highly recommend them.

I installed foot braces on my
Mohawk Royalex Odyssey. I don’t have to kneel now unless the water gets fairly rough. I made it myself from stock 1/8" aluminum you can buy at any hardware store. The alum poles telescope. I bought a vinyl sheet and vinyl glue from a tarp manufacturer. I didn’t want to drill into the hull so I just made sort of harness for the alum angle iron out of the vinyl. I made the angle iron a foot long drilling holes an inch apart for adjustment. An inch from each end I pop riveted a 6" x 1/2" x1/8" bar to act as a sort of outrigger for extra strength. This was probably an overkill since the foot rest would prevent the angle iron from twisting. I made a sleeve (I didn’t want the metal touching the canoes hull) out of the vinyl for the outrigger. I also slit the angle iron an inch on each end and made a vinyl sleeve to fit into the groove. So for each side I have six attachment points for the angle iron. I’ve been using it all summer and works great.

Think about a one-piece, removable
pedestal with foot braces, thigh straps and a center drop-down seat. I made something like that for my old Grumman. It was a blast in fast moving water. If I knew how good it was going to work, I would have used better craftsmanship.

I just recently finished adding them
to my Old town Penobscot 16, and have added them to several other canoes.

Use 1" x 1" aluminum channels (each one about 6" long) for the side supports . Use two rivits on each to hold them to the sides of the canoes. I like to dab a bit of silicon sealant on the rivit and hole as I am riviting it.

Then use two pieces of aluminum tubing with one of them having a larger I.D. then the O.D of the other so they fit inside each other. These are the foot braces. Drill a hole in each end and then drill holes an inch apart along the channels. These holes should be drilled before installing the channels to make it easier.

Use a bolt with a wing nut on the end of each piece of tubing to attach it to the angles.

The inch increments allow you to adjust the foot rest for the length of your legs or whoever else paddles the canoe, and the tube inside the tub allows for adjusting the length of the foot brace as you move it on the side channels.

You can get all the materials at Lowes.



work great
Got mine from in auburn,ny. Or drill thru side of boat and mount conduit or aluminum angle. Must more efficent when you can push off.

typo, forgot the &

I just install kayak ones
I get the opnes at the paddle shop that are made for kayaks. They come with all the hardeware and the orings to seal the holes and they are quick and easy to install. It really maked seated paddling more efficient and stable for me.

Do they interfere with kneeling/packs?
I would like to install some foot braces in my Vagabond but I was afraid they would interfere with either kneeling (on occasion) or pack placement (I like to camp). Is the normal placement high enough on the side to not interfere with either? I want to try some freestyle, and I do need to kneel occasionally.


My Yakimas don’t interfere with kneeling
in the bottom or chines, but would probably get in the way for freestyle. You might try building one of the removeable set ups that have been mentioned. They seem pretty clever.

Yakima Braces
I put some Yakima style foor braces in my Shearwater. They leave the middle of the hull open for taking my dog. I used 3M 5200 to attach them to the hull (composite hull). It seems to hold very well.

vagabond footbraces and question
the footbraces that came with my vagabond do not interfere with kneeling or packs. They are the aluminum style that are described by JackL except I bought mine from Wenonah but you can make them easily enough.

I just bought a used Bell Merlin 2 solo and need to install same type footbrace as the ones in my Vagabond. The kit comes with aluminum rivets and I have never riveted anything that through a composite hull (white gold layup) I am afraid to crack gel coat. Any suggestions?

I just remove the two wing nuts,
and the brace lifts right out.

You can go one step further with them and put foot straps on the bar to lock yourself in for WW.

I’m normally chicken to use them though. If the boat goes over, I want out!



Do it!
My first couple of canoes, and my wife’s rec kayak, lacked footbraces. My Vagabonds came with them, and it makes a dramatic difference in stability and efficiency. I can’t get my feet under the seat, so don’t kneel.