footbrace in canoe

I do 99% of my canoeing kneeling, but in winter when I switch to my new NRS boots, I need to sit and switch, since I can’t get my feet under the seat with them on. I know some folks who spend most of their time sitting outfit their boats with footbraces.

I’m not sure how to handle this as I don’t really think I want permanent footbraces in my way all the time. Has anyone else tackled this issue? Any suggestions?



If You use the Wenonah brace

It can be removed easily without leaving too much protruding in your knee space.

Older braces which use a piece of angle stock for the mount could easily cause an injury when kneeling with the cross brace removed.

possible solution
You can build a very simple trapeze style foot brace. I first saw this in one of Cliff Jacobsen’s books and then I built one myself. All you need is a length of rope and a flat board. Drill a hole in each end of the flat board and round off the ends so that it doesn’t scratch up your boat. Then tie the rope to the back of your seat, one end on each side, and presto you have a foot brace. To make it a bit finer, I use a clothsline tensioner (costs less than $2) to adjust the distance between the seat and the brace. I also put rope loops on the back of the seat and just slip the line through the loops to install the foot brace.

Good luck with this idea.

Actually, no problem
When kneeling, your knees are well behind the location of the footbrace so that won’t matter. Just remove the cross bar and all will be well. On the other hand, some temporary, improvised footbrace might do the trick.

Have Installed a Couple
Have issues with numbness in one of my legs since my femeral artery was damaged in '04, so a footbrace helps significantly; especially when combined with kneeling and frequent position changes. I’ve installed kayak footbraces in a couple canoes. Easier in royalex than in composite as the plastic holds the drill bit in place when drilling into the hull. You spend more time measuring than actually installing. I Figure it’s a 30 minute job at the longest. It’s pretty easy and I’m NOT a “Handyman” by any measure. And kayak foot pedals stay out of the way until you need them. Here’s a pic of my last one I installed foot braces in. WW

And one step better is to just run…

– Last Updated: Dec-11-08 9:11 AM EST –

the rope through a piece of aluminum tubing. We have used that method for a quick easy on/off foot brace.

I love Wenonah's foot braces. They are high end and operate nicely.
You can buy them from them and install them in any canoe.

And thirdly a homemade one that I have installed many times is a piece of aluminum channel rivited to each side of the canoe with a cross piece of aluminum tubing for the foot brace. - drill a bolt hole on the flat surface of the channel on each side and then one in each end of tubing to match. Then use a stainless steel bolt with a wing nut to attach the tube, which allows easy removal.

A step better is to make it adjustable by using longer pieces of channel with bolt holes drilled every
inch and a half, and then instead of using one piece of tubing use two with one smaller diameter one slipping in side the larger ones, so that as you move the tubing forward or back it will conform to the width of the canoe. - You can buy all the stuff at Lowes.


- make the channels long enough so you can adjust the tubing forward or backwards to suit your self. - drill bolt holes about a inch and a half apart along the flat bottom of

Homemade footbraces in my Malecite Work great and are totaly removable at anytime. Made from some aluminam crutches and scrap.

Also I added the low seatback, needed for footbraces. The big boat cranks along pretty good with a long (260) kayak paddle and is perfect for a large solo paddler.

Once you install footbrace you’ll start sitting a little more, just to give the legs a rest. When you can sit and still maintain 3 points of contact, you won’t mind doing it as much.

You are an incredible artisan!

I remember you posting before regarding the crutches-into-footbrace scenario, but this is the first time I can remember looking at the set-up via your pictures in detail. Geesh!

The footpads! Not a rough edge of metal, nor a burr insight with those countersunk holes!

The tubing! Not an odd dent nor crimp from where you jigged a bend to your liking!

Everything hung with sturdy metal and wood mounts that neither offend the eye nor jump-out to catch a knee, ankle, or clothing thread, especially should a standin’ fool like myself decide to take the Malecite for a stern-first snub up a creek!

If I were to attempt to put a pair of the several aluminum crutches lollygaggin’ about my basement into similar service, I’m afraid the end result would take on the appearance of a combination shotgun/grand mal seizure incident of Granny (can’t) Clampett’s whilst she attempted to dismount her OB/GYN’s exam set-up! On crutches!

In short, I hate you!


Proud to wear the former Tilley (though I still am having fashion-coordination issues) of the Master,


Oh! And your woodwork is exquisite!

Well, except for that one style you occasionally dabble-in whereupon you incite a canine of suspect cranial content to commence cussin’ and go bashin’ about through the understory with a large piece of deadfall clamped firmly in his snortin’ ‘n snarlin’ jaws!

I’m with CWDH

– Last Updated: Dec-11-08 10:02 AM EST –

jjmish once showed us his clever trick of coveing the ends of his thwarts to conform to the undersides of the inwales. It really does stiffen that joint, probably enough to avoid having to add a bolt (and its hole).

That's one nicely outfitted Malecite, NT.

Being able to sit with comfort & control
is very valuable.

But you’re an experienced kneeler. Surely just switching to some NRS footwear should not be causing you to have to stop kneeling in the winter! Sometimes, in bad conditions, you may almost need to kneel.

Maybe after you mess with your footbrace issue, you also need to raise your seat so you can get your feet under it, or convert to a pedestal. I just described in another thread how one can set up a minicell pedestal for kneeling, sitting, and even extend the foam to make a portage yoke.

I’m 6’ 5" and have size 14.5 feet. Paddling decked c-1, I have had no choice but to keep on kneeling in the winter, and I run a pretty low seat. In my boats with higher pedestals, I can wear full side-zip booties and extract my feet safely if I need to. In my slalom c-1, which has a 5.5" pedestal and a low rear deck, I wear wet suit socks, and if necessary I poke some sandals in the boat for walking on land.

Don’t give up that kneel ! Sitting is for Presbyterians.

Big Fan!
I like footpegs in canoes. I’m primarily a kneeling paddler, but the body tires.

I Plexus in Keeper or SmartTrack kayak peg tracks. They’re pretty much out of the way, the adhesive is foolproof and saves boring holes in the hull, and the body to boat weld is vastly improved.

Can Plexus be used on Royalex? nm

I’d rather stay home
than spend my energy doing “sit and switch”. Out of necessity, I sit 99 percent of the time. Guess I take the foot braces in my Wenonahs for granted, but I’d probably be lost without them. I rarely adjust their position, although if I were a purist I’d probably do so when I slide my bucket seat.

They’re simple gadgets and they are exceptionally dependable. Wenonah sells them for $27 ($29 for tandem).
They do great work and I love the footbrace I bought from them. many years of excellent customer service

zaveral racing equipment can make sliding footbraces for you, they also carry carbon tubeing of various sizes if you want to make your own…otherwise you can always make those cool crutch footbraces…those look real nice

Plexus on ABS
We have plexused one of our bucket seats and SmartTrac footpegs into a Dagger Tupelo. ’ Still there after 18 months, but I’ll grant that is not a controlled test.

I made some temporary footbraces.

– Last Updated: Dec-14-08 2:04 PM EST –

Did not know if I wanted the footpegs or sliding bar and made a simple footbrace from an aluminum angle and minicell foam. This attached to the front thwart and was out of the way. It served it's purpose and attachment was easy. I had already drilled the thwart for bungie cords so I used the same holes.

But after a year of use I decided on the bar so I can center my feet. It helped my back pain after a long day on the water. I too alternate 90% kneeling and 10% sitting. So out came the drill :-(