Ftting big feet into a racing kayak

I have been considering a purchase of a K1 or K1 trainer for sprinting and possibly marathon racing, but I’ve been seeing that I may have an issue with cockpit sizes.

I have a fast touring boat and a V10 surf ski and those have served me well. With size 13-14 shoes (depending on brand) I have to remove those before I get into my touring boat which is 12" vertically at the pedals. The open cockpit of the surf ski is obviously not an issue in this regard.

As I look at sprint boats and one Van Dusen Mohican I see that cockpits are often under 11" of vertical space. Without having access to a fleet of boats to test I’m wondering if anyone can recommend a boat that would work out. Or do any of you have the same problem?

The only thing I could think of was maybe having a West Side Boat Shop model custom made to allow more room. Any advice would be appreciated.

in my surfski, my feet are more vertical due to the design (I actually pad out my heels some so my feet aren’t too straight up and down). In my K1 with around 11.5-12" foot height, I use a much more angled foot position where the balls of my feet transfer the power. It gives plenty of room above my toes. I use a tight footstrap in the K1 though, so I can’t wear shoes, etc anyways. Try it sitting on the floor or a phone book, with your feet angled forward, pressing against something, and measure what the real height you would need is.

Good thought…
Maybe that’ll buy me some space. Thanks.

How handy are you?
It should be rather easy to create a dome for feet - feet together racing position only makes it easier.

I’m not opposed to taking on a project, but what exactly are you referring to? Are you talking about the deck?

Some have more deck room than others
The Vanquish II has a lot of vertical room for feet. The older Nelos do not. I don’t know about the new Vanquish III. Unfortunately the decks on the Vanquish Vintage are based off of the original Vanquish and foot room is limited in this otherwise great slightly more stable racing design.

On the trainer side the Nelo Razor has a high front deck.

The Kirton Typhoon is a fast intermediate design that offers a very roomy cockpit in the higher volume model.

Almost no k1 is comfortable with shoes on. Wetsuit booties can fit into some but it is tight. Most k1s are designed to be paddled barefoot.

As postal noted, your feet are angled in a k1 so an 11" deck height can accomodate fairly big feet. If you aren’t racing where the ICF length rule matters, the Mohican is fantastic option for paddlers over 80kg.

Epic’s XXL Legacy is roomy but like the Vanquish is initially a handful for an intermediate paddler.

I`m sorry
Hearing talk about cutting holes in the top of you kayak so your feet would stick out was funny to me.

All I could do is thing of Fred Flintstone and his brakes on his car(his feet).

If I lined up beside someone to race and saw their

feet sticking out the top of the boat it would crack me up.

Deck height measurements are misleading

– Last Updated: Jan-13-09 8:42 AM EST –

Since most measurements I've seen are at the deck where the cocpit opening is, they do not tell much - the deck usually slopes down from there towards the feet and the cockpit on racing boats is so long that it does not really matter how high it is to clear your knees.

I have size 15 shoes so I'm at least a size or two bigeer than you and often fit fine in about 12" of space - due to the slight forward angle of the foot position. My foot is 12" long (one "foot" long, precisely, he-he) and with a thin paddling shoe grows may be another 1/3 of an inch. Angle that 15-30 degrees forward, apply the Pitagorean theorem, and you got what you need in terms of deck space.

The side shape of the hull there is equally important - harder-chined boats fit a lot better. So does the position (height) of the toe control rudder pedals - these usually fit well below where they should be for me and need modification. Having a center rudder bar instead of the toe controls probably does not matter where it is as much. The issue with the controls being too low is that you cant push well with your feet without moving the rudder part by mistake, unless you hold your feet at a very uncomfortable angle forward to bring the balls lower.

All that said, I have 0 experience with racing kayaks - just a consideration on what to ask potential sellers to measure for you: the deck height at your feet position + the toe control height and to see if this is fixable if not where you want it...

Size 13 or 14,
will be tight in the Mohican. Even adjusting the footboard to be more angled (comes with 3 diff. settings)will be dicey for that size. I sport 11’s and at the most tilt it doesn’t have much to spare. Regarding getting a Westside built with a custom deck, good luck on that one,lol.


One option
I have size 11 feet, and have a hard time with many K1s, especially the older ones. The roomiest K1 I have paddled is the Kayakpro Magnum. It is a very large volume K1 with a stability rating of 3.5 or so. You are welcome to try mine in Philadelphia.