Harm from sitting on btm of Kayak?

-- Last Updated: Oct-23-08 5:57 PM EST --

I just removed the seat from my Impex Force Cat 3 and put in a foam backrest. The main reason for taking out the seat was to get me lower in the kayak. With me sitting on the bottom of the kayak the fit seems just perfect.

Will there be a wear problem on the kayak (not on me) from sitting directly on the bottom of a fiberglass kayak?

Even a deflated cascade designs inflatable seat pad raises me up more than I want. What would you recommend for protection that is less than 1/4 thick?

I know several different plastic sheeting materials have been suggested for deck protection. Would one of those work? I think I remember people recommending a bumper tape, a decal protection tape, a motorcycle license protection tape, and clear plastic shelf paper. Did I forget one of the options?


If your worried about that, then…
your butt must be made out of sandpaper!



From the amount of sand
I found accumulated under the seat I was kind of worried that sand adhereing to the wetsuit or drypants might actually work like sandpaper on the hull. The wetsuit and pants will certainly wear out faster, but will there be damage to the hull as well?


the kayak is fine
however I can’t envision anybody sitting directly on the fibreglass hull of a kayak.

Are you kind of a yogy? isn’t it painful to sit on a flat hard surface for more then 1/2 hr.

Unless the deck of the Force3 is awfully low and you are a tad too big for it, I would put a thin contoured foam seat in. Admittedly the seat in the Force series Impexes is terrible, in my opinion.

Why not
Adhere some 1/4" closed cell nylon faced foam to the hull where you sit. That would protect you, the boat and your wet/dry suit.

Mini-cell foam
Why not glue a piece of the thinnest closed cell foam to the bottom of the boat?

My butt would Certainly be sore paddling any amount of time sitting directly on the floor of the boat.

I think that it would also be cold when the water is cold.

I know someone who sits on the hull
and does not use anything to sit on. I borrowed his kayak once but I put a gel pad cushion there. It was very comfortable actually. Not sure about long term comfort for me but for him it is apprently a non-issue. Definitely more room without the seat as I now have the same kayak and feel more restricted in it with the factory seat than without it…

To me it is nice to have a contour to the seat or something to restrict you from sliding back at least. Backband is OK but I think it is better if the seat does that so that your back is free to move about.

More background info
I got one of the Force Cat 3’s with the low coaming. It just barely had room to get a small bungee type skirt up under the coaming. The bolt heads on the seat hanger actually trapped the skirt on the coaming.

Between being a little big for the kayak and having the low coaming I found that my hip bone was actually slightly higher than the coaming. Sitting on the bottom of the kayak just gets the hip bone below the coaming where I think it needs to be.

I probably will end up with 1/4 in foam, but the fit is so perfect sitting on the bottom that I hate to even raise up 1/4 inch.


Potential drawbacks
1. With some boats, the seat is a structural member intended to provide rigidity and take stress from the hull.

2. Hindered access to the water - it could force a more horizontal shaft than is optimal for the paddler.

3. It could hinder your roll setup position and make it more difficult to execute.

The latter factors depend upon your height and that of the deck.


– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 8:48 PM EST –

only drawback I've ever found to sitting directly on the bottom of the boat is the cold from the water when it gets icy...otherwise is rather nice...you cand sit anywhere in the boat you want (forward for rear deck finishing rolls and back farther for forward finishing rolls.

you are free to rotate your hips in the boat whether for your stroke or for rolling or for Balance Bracing.

absolutly no disadvantage for rolling at all.

all skinboats come with no seat , most have only a piece of plastic to keep you off the keel

if you are used to flat leggs then you will be right at home padding the deck down to you if need be rather that the seat way up in the air in order to get you nearer to the thigh braces.

I guess there are 2 disadvantages...haveing to explain to people that you JUST LIKE IT THAT WAY...is the 2 nd

I've even thought about painting a seat in one of my boats so it doesn't look like I forgot something.....

best wishes

PS if your worried about abrasion....look at where your feet rub sand on the hull the entire time you are paddling..

Thermarest 3/4 Classic Mattress

– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 9:37 PM EST –

That's what we use in the VOLKSKAYAK, a S&G sea kayak. We let it inflate somewhat, then fold it double under the buttocks and single up the back. Sit in, open the valve, and let it deflate until you just contact the hull, then close the valve. Keeps you warm, affords some padding, and the air displaced forward by the buttocks forms a soft rest-ridge under the back of the thighs. Haven't found anything as comfortable since I started using it in 2001, and we often spend over four hours at a stretch in the boats.

One other thing

– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 9:43 PM EST –

If the height of the forward portion of the seat isn't higher than the rear, that could result in Dead Leg Syndrome. You should have extra padding under the thighs to avoid that.

As far as effect on rolling, reference any number of reviews of sea kayaks for commentary on how low coaming and rear deck, vis a vis your body, impact rolling ease. Also, refer to setup positions in rolling instruction that direct you to bend your body around to the side enough to lay the near blade flat on the boat bottom and get your hands up into the air, which are a harder when the coaming hits and restricts you higher on the torso. Sit in an office chair with arms and see how far you can bend to the side. Then, one without.

Mine did too

– Last Updated: Oct-23-08 10:27 PM EST –

I have a Boreal Ellesmere and the old fiberglass seat wore two holes in the bottom. I found the old mini cell foam worn to nothing and a small amount of sand so it must not take much to wear thru.

I re-glassed the bottom and tried no seat at all, didn't work for me, I slid around too much and it was very uncomfortable, it also seemed to mess with control and killed my tail bone. I then tried a flat mini cell seat, damned uncomfortable. Next a Happy Bottom seat, better but still not the ticket so I opted for Boreal's comfort seat and never looked back except to my now empty wallet. It set me back over 200 bucks butt I am very happy with it.

I built a Pygmy many years ago and it came with a Thermorest seat and for me, it was a joke.

I'm thinking the Redfish seat would be a first time fix but you may want to get some opinions from those that have one. If you Velcro it rather than gluing in, you could remove to clean underneath.

Never mind since you like siting on the bottom. How about a sheet of black rubber glued down?

Cut a yoga mat to size . . .
for economy, practicality and appearance - but especially comfort. We cut these 1/4" thick closed cell mats (wide choice of colors)with scissors to fit in the bottom of our boats, notched in the right places for the hip bracing boards. They also have 1/8" thickness. We put them under our thermarest seat pads, which are very comfortable, but the yoga padding material extends the comfort area.

Go to http://www.yogaaccessories.com/YogaMat18.asp to find the best prices I have found for closed cell material, short of pool noodles.

A couple of points:
I don’t think you have to worry about sand or grit damaging your hull from your butt rubbing it around.

Where my water shoes and NRS boundary shoe heels hit the hull below my foot braces in my QCC is worn smooth from many years and thousands of miles of paddling, but there is still no sign of worn kevlar fabric, and there is much more grit and foreign material around there than where my butt is.

2. We pad our seats in our racing canoes using the blue foam sleeping pads that you get at Wally World.

I think they are about 13 bucks. - Cut it to the size you want, and glue it down with contact cement. They are about 1/4 to 3’8 of an inch thick.



Where things fit

– Last Updated: Oct-24-08 6:13 AM EST –

Hard to comment well on your seated position and how it works out without being there, but FYI it's not uncommon for the top of my pelvis to at the very top of the coaming, maybe even a smidge above, in boats where I get really good contact with my thighs. Usually the ones that fit that way are the easiest to roll and otherwise manuever on the water.

Only other comment is to agree with one above about a bit of cushioning re the nerve that runs from around your sit bones down the back of the thigh. In one of my boats, I've had to alter the seat angle and add foam to protect that or I get some wicked cramps over a long paddle. You might want to investigate gluing at least a thin layer of foam into the seat area for that reason. It'll also be less slick contact for your butt when it comes time to roll than a plastic film.


– Last Updated: Oct-24-08 8:21 AM EST –

I'd suggest a sheet of 1/8" or 1/16" N1S neoprene with the fabric side up. Good abrasion resistance, not too slippery when wet, and a tiny bit of cushioning.

(scroll down)

or a paddling/dive/surf shop


– Last Updated: Oct-24-08 8:30 AM EST –

Designers compute in the key distances and angles for best performance. They can make it better for access by beveling, or scalloping deck edge. Or dropping the aft cockpit rim, back band, or deck for layback in rolling.

Mess with their ratios and you mess with the designed ability to stroke, control, and roll.
But if you like it better go for it.


– Last Updated: Oct-24-08 9:51 AM EST –

Who's messing with ratios, or are you talking the OP? If my seat angle change, it was just to stop the forward edge from rising up and cutting into my thigh in a P&H boat. Had that correction recommended to me by a Team P&H guy in fact when I was talking about their seat and my occasional sciatica. (after rejecting the likelihood of a skinnier thigh)

It's a long stretch to believe that changed the dynamics of how the boat behaves in any negative way. It's an older boat that already isn't the best for layback rolls, and that boat came out of the shop with two positions available for the seat about an inch and a half apart front to back.

I sit on the bottom of mine. It’s not
fiberglass but rather HPT. I’m pretty tough on things and there is no sign of wear.