Foot Position when kayaking

I was wondering about foot positions while kayaking and how people hold theirs. I find that when I kayak my feet are on the braces angled inward so that my heels are closer together. I was wondering if it is more proper to have your feet roughly parallel to your legs and the pedals. I am personally frustrated because it seems that no matter how I hold my legs and feet I suffer loss of circulation within an hour. Anyone give me some advice on this?


whatever is comfy.
you failed to mention what kind of paddling you do and what kind of boat.

generally speaking I like a loose fit. I like to move around and not have alot of undue pressure on any one spot. whitewater or sea kayak.

I feel that if the footpegs are fwd somewhat you have a tendency to be deeper in the boat and have IMO a better chance of staying in the boat. Pull the pegs way back and stick in a bunch of hip padding and you are forcing yourself out. Hip pads can put your @$$/legs to sleep pretty fast if too tight and can reduce rotation.


foam blocks
i have styrofoam blocks stacked into the front of my cockpit in a nylon bag. the block farthest aft is wedge shaped so my feet are tilted forward somewhat. if i want to lock myself into my boat i spread my knees and press against the underside of the deck. if i want to focus on torso rotation i can put my feet near the centerline and my knees are close together, out of the cockpit, with enough room to flex my legs and rotate for a looser, more powerful stroke. my cockpit is pretty standard, 17"x 31" (pygmy shape) and i’m 5’8". a near perfect size for me. variety of positions helps prevent numbness and distress, i have a skinny tail with little padding so i go numb easily. my seat and backrest are firm 1 3/8" foam. this is the best combination i’ve tried so far, i’m still experimenting.

Foot should be pointed forward
not straight up. light pressure on the footrest whose side you are paddling on, then relaxing and lightly pressing on the other side when the paddl goes there will use and relax the muscles and this plus the next notch out on the footbraces should help the problem. If not more support under the thighs should help.

Perhapa you live around boston? if so check out .

good paddling to you!


– Last Updated: Dec-16-04 6:28 AM EST –

WW and surf, I am shoehorned into my boat with my legs in a splayed position. Tight=better chance to stay in the boat on capsize. Tight=better control and less chance for capsizing. I can last about 2 hours before needing a break. Not a big deal in surf or white water as you can get to shore for a leg break.

I prefer somewhat looser for seakayaking. Can't always get out of your boat to restore sensations in the leg. Ability to shift around helps.

Foot pegs generally don't work well for comfort. They make it easier for different folks to get into the boat, But if the boat is for your sole usage, take the pegs out and put in angled (with toe section further towards the bow) foam blocks for the feet. You may also want to add thin pieces of foam right under where your heels rest. Discomfort can also come from having the pressure of the heel pushing down on a harder surface. With foot pegs, too much pressure is put on a small area. This leads to discomfort and possibly having the leg fall asleep from the balls of the feet up. If foot blocks don't work, then likely the forward of the edge is cutting of circulation to the legs. Extend and elevate with foam blocks just in front of the seat to support the thigh.


Second the foam
Went to bracing against a foam insert that is shaped to sit in front of and against the bulkhead with my current boat, had pegs before, and foot numbness now not a a problem. With a continuous surface I automatically get more room to move my feet around, and this is in a boat where I am tucked in pretty tight. Explorer LV, which has a quite low deck as well as an extra small cockpit.

If your bulkhead is glassed in and solid enough to accomodate some constant pressure (the foam block does distribute it some) it is well worth the change.


The best thing I
ever did was to make up a foam pad about 3 1/2"x3 1/2"x18" and I carry it loose to transfer between boats. I use it under my thighs right in front of the seat. At 6’5" with size 13 my heels are touching and toes are grazing the deck of my Coho. NO room for heel pads. Sometimes I get a little soreness in the heels but the legs are great ever since I started with the pad. BTW, I am still using the thermarest that came with my kit and it has been the most comfortable seat of any of my boats including my self carved foam seat in my Castine.


Same as above
with OHP…but mine is about 30 inches long. I center it in the boat and it wraps up the sides on either side of the boat, provinding side bracing for your legs. I started to cover it with a WP covering but though better of it when I realized it also was doubleing as a bailing sponge. Just take out, wring it out, and you’re good to go.

Sometimes foot comfort in a kayak
depends on a happy coincidence of design. In my old Corsica, there is plenty of room for my size 14+ feet, but the heels rest uncomfortably on their outer corners. In my Animas, my feet splay so that almost the entire outer edge of each foot rests across the bottom of the bow of the kayak.

Designers shape the bow for performance in the water conditions for which the boat is intended, and probably do not ever think much about how the customer’s feet will rest in the boat.

size 13 feet in a romany 16
can they fit? i have a skerry rm and i can get away with sox thats about it.

Thigh Support PLUS Heel Support
I take a foam block and rest my ankles / calves on it. I move it around if it gets uncomfortable. Works great.