Getting close to pulling the trigger on an Aquanaut order, and I’m wondering if some of you could share your opinions, pro & con on footpumps. I’m 5 ft - 10 in. tall, size 10 shoe (if that matters). If I go that route, is custom bulkhead placement necessary, or would my size be conducive to the standard bulkhead placement.



I’m the same
height and have a footpump on my boat.

Definitely should have a custom bulkhead placement. Valley will accomodate you.

As far as pros/cons…many are going to have varying opinions here. I love mine. Although the flow is a lot less than a standard hand pump, I can still perform a reentry/roll, get back underway/paddling and pumping my kayak out at the same time. The whole process taking me less than 5 minutes…give or take depending on how much water I took on during the capsize/roll.

I would always still carry my backup/standard handpump as well. I have mine mounted inside the cockpit, out of the way and a clean deck.

Some people mention their experiences with bad leg cramping, but I guess that depends on the correct placement of the bulkhead (no over extending to activate the footpump) and some fairly “in shape” calf/quad muscles. I’ve never had problems with cramping. I switch up my legs while pumping anyhow, to avoid undue fatigue to my pumping leg.

Mines OK
I did not add a custom bulkhead. I mounted the pump to a small piece of plywood, (I painted the board with resin to make it waterproof). Then I added enough mini-cell to fill the void from the standard bulkhead out to the proper position. I mounted the board into the mini-cell so the face of the board is flush with the foam. The pump and outlet hose is in a cavity carved in the mini-cell. My volume was originally very poor but I changed my setup eliminating a 90 at the pump outlet and placed a checkvalve in the inlet. I can now pump about the same amount of water with my foot as with a standard hand pump. Have not timed it though.

I added mine as I figured that if I really needed a pump I would be in conditions where I would not be able to use my hands.

Happy Paddling,


I’m sure you will but make sure you are sitting in the boat you want to get with the seat arrangement you want to get to get the bulkhead measurement. I tried getting this measurement from another boat as I live several hours from the dealer. To make a long story short, there was some misommunication in the measuring process and I got a bulkhead that was 3 inches further into the front storage area that it should’ve been. I made it work with some mods but 'twas not what I payed for. Eventually, I cut out the bulkhead, and built and installed my own bulkhead where I wanted it.

Aside from that, I wouldn’t trade the bulkhead mounted footpump. Having both hands free with skirt sealed is huge in conditions. It may take a bit longer to pump out than a good handpump, but I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. You’ll never forget to bring your footpump and it won’t get separated from your boat for one. I have found that the big nut behind the ‘footrest’ needs to be tightened/checked occasionally as it can unscrew and cause the pump to be rather inefficient. Also, I cut down the footrest to essentially a square dimension (less for the foot to get caught on if need to get out–not a big deal, but I’ve found I didn’t need the full size footrest) and scored the surface in both dimension to form a about 1/2" squares with the scoring for better traction when you’re pumping.

You’re about the same dimensions that I was. The standard Valley bulkhead placement was way beyond the reach of my feet. Get the custom bulkhead. I don’t believe it’s an extra cost.

been there/ done that
while it IS a great concept I found I never used it enough to justify. helps to have a good roll.

extra weight, $$$ and eats up storage space. IMHO

plus I paddle alot of different boats.


pumps are good for rolling practice
because no matter how tight your spraydeck is or your paddling jacket you will take on water over time. Also, a foot pump is a great way to personalize you kayak. I’ve installed 3 of them so far, one classic footpump in a Nordkapp and rapid runners in a Eggemoggin and QCC700. I’m currently studying a footpump for a Q-boat.

If you are pre-ordering then without doubt let Valley custom place it for you…unlike most manuf. they will place it correctly for you.

A footpump or electric bilge pump is not to replace your backup hand pump, you could badly sprain an ankle or may need to help pump out a friends boat.

I don’t think
you understood my post. I do have a good combat roll, but in circumstances where things may have gone wrong, and your out of your boat, which has happened to many great paddlers I know in very bad conditions, it would help to roll back up, get the skirt on and get underway while pumping your boat out hands free. Hands free is key words here.

As far as storage space, It depends on your boat. The average footpump will take up an additional four inches for installation. If your bulkhead is custom mounted and further aft, your really making up for a lot of space lost in the forward/bow hatch. The size of my pump is not really that intrusive.

Regarding $$. I think that’s relative. People are dropping huge $ on other paddling gear. The cost of a $150 pump would probably find itself spent somewhere else if ones priorities are different.

like a foot pump…for when you are putting on the skirt and surf intrudes on the cockpit…paddle out pumping…also good for a few laughs . I have the discharge mounted on the front deck by the seam…can hit targets at around 6 to 8 feet if I have enough availiable water…I don’t like the 2 hand pump method

Best Wishes