Help My QCC is killing my back

I’ve talked to Phil he suggested a heel pad which didn’t help. I’ve tried padding the whole seat, just the back and just front, I’ve tried some padding under thigh, I’m going to try more and find something to stiffen the back this weekend. I’ve also tried tightening and loosening the backband. Any other suggestions?



stretch everyday and then do some abdominal exercises like pilates or something. I had back problems for years, and still do at times. stretching everyday and strength work has helped a lot though.

I’ve got nothing really
The only boats that ever gave me back trouble were the perception boats. Something about their seat design. My Q600 is the most comfortable boat I’ve paddled with the stock set-up.

For racing, I pulled out all the seating material, save the seat pan, and glued in some closed cell foam in the seat pan. I have no seat back or back band. I have no back problems either way and before I got my surf ski I was loggin ~7-9 hours per week in the boat.

It might be a flexibility thing. It might also be a tension thing.

Are you paddling with your knees jammed up under the thigh braces all the time? If so, relax and let the legs pump free with paddling. And stretch thoroughly after paddling.

Stiffening the back is the

– Last Updated: Apr-15-04 10:44 PM EST –

first step, IMHO. Take out the Rapidpulse stock seat and install an NSI touring or whitewater backband, which ever you prefer. The QCC stock seat does not give adequate support to most folks that I know that have had them, and is very difficult to modify so that the seat back is stiffer. I'm a sufferer of chronic back pain, with a herniated disk between my 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebra, and a backband makes a HUGE difference!

After that, you can decide about padding the seat for comfort!


More details please

– Last Updated: Apr-15-04 11:32 PM EST –

Long version:

Hard to see this as boat specific - as everything can be adjusted or relaced until you get the fit/feel you need.

"killing my back" could be a lot of different things. Without the details of your situation, here's my (limited experience - but zero back issues now) take on the basic causes/cures of most problems.

Barring any serious pre-exisitng stuff, paddling back trouble is usually either either from leg/foot position issues or arm paddling or both. It's usually feet and/or technique - not really the back at all - it just takes the punishment.

With resonably good outfitting, technique changes (sitting up and rotating more) works for 90%.

Seating set up can certainly aggravate the situation, as the seat does influence technique. Padding or stiffening are both the wrong way to go IMO.

The more cushy or otherwise restrictive (stiff) the seatback - and the more you lean back into it and/or the higher it is - the more it prevents a full range of motion in the lower back. Restricted motion means no stretch of the back muscles, poorer circulation, and all the force concentrating on one area of the back. It forces arm padlding (further stressing the back) and also limits leg movement (again stressing the lower back and potentially creating more trouble with numb and sore feet/legs).

Minor adjustments to position and technique can make huge differences - but some of the changes needed are not intuitive. Some may be the opposite of what feels better as you outfit. Dynamic seating needs (kayak) to be set up differently from static seating (recliner). Any support much above the hip bones is not really needed while actively paddling - and only serves to restrict motion and circulation.

Next time on the water, focus attention on the lower back and do an exaggerated 100% arm paddle with zero torso twist for a short distance. Feel how locked up your back is and how it takes all the force of each stroke. Next do the opposite exaggeration - all torso rotation with locked arms. A bit awkward, but the lower back is able to move and the forces are distributed up and down the back and from side to side. It alternates the stresses, spreads the workload, and gives an alternating stretch and relaxation with every stroke. Then bring it all together. Core for power - arms as linkages to paddle.

Ability to twist freely and get some leg motion in is key. Assume a more static position in the yak and you will pay. I'm not talking huge motions, and someone watching may not see a differnence in what you're doing, but you will feel it.

A question: What is most tired or sore during/after a long paddle (assuming you do long paddles)? Obviously the back is bothering you - but what else. Arms/soulders? Feet?

I usually feel very evenly worked - maybe a bit more abs/legs some days - but pretty even. I'm guessing you feel your upper body (arm/shoulders) more than your lower (abs/legs).

If not, and everything feels pretty evenly worked from head to toe, and you have no other isses - disregard the above an see a doctor about that back - beacuse it's probably the back!

Some gradual strengthening should help, and stretching is always good. Best thing about working on technique is it does both of those things (and we can always keep getting better at teh forward stroke).

FYI - I am not very flexible (but am much more so AFTER a good paddle). I am also a good 30 lbs overweight and have a history of lower back issues (extremely painful and debilitating spasms - that left me unable to get around for several days each time they occurred - and related intermittent sciatica). Since taking up paddling my back has strengthened and these issues have apparently resolved (but I'll not soon forget the pain - and so will keep fingers crossed it does not return).

In my Q700 I yanked the RapidPulse seat and use the raw seatpan and a low IR backband (I also hear the NSI bands are good). Has been great. New backband was less comfortable first paddle - good second - and great by third trip. I had to adjust and shed some old habits before I could appreciate the difference. Going from small hard footpegs to a full foam foot bracing surface was icing on the cake (and is almost reason enough to go sans rudder all by itself).

Thanks All
for the quick feedback.

A little more info (I’ll try to answer all the questions). First I haven’t experienced problems with my Dagger Magellan, and a few problems with the Swift Tasman Sea I attribute to big feet limiting my mobility, I’ve paddled both on multi day trips. I do try to keep up good torso rotation and arms are usually only a little more tired than rest. Pain is in my lower back and tailbone only had numbness in one leg while I was trying a thicker seat cushion. I have had sore backs off and on but never anything chronic, mainly just the price of occasionally working or playing to hard. I’ll definitely try paddling with just the bare seat pan. I’m a little reluctant and philisophically against having to make major modifications to this expensive a boat. If I can’t resolve it soon I’m considering returning it while that’s still an option.

Thanks again and I’ll let you know how it comes out.


I agree with the stretching
regimen.I also use freeweights and hang with them alot plus situps and crunches. I actually found the seat to be the most comfortable one I’ve sat in.

I am not to found of the “Stock seat” and use an NSI one too and a Sealine inflatable thigh brace. also note the new NSI seat backs will require some modification to mount in a QCC due to the new 4 power post design. The older ones only had two power posts and bungee loops so it was almost a direct replacement fit.

do you have

"I’m a little reluctant and philisophically against having to make major modifications to this expensive a boat"

Sounds like someone with feet pain insisting on wearing high heels too often. Go ahead and adjust things. Start with a nearly deflated thermarest pad, try heel stops (not pads), try sitting up, try anything. I can’t sit in the average kayak seat for more than 30minutes without modifying something.

New backband
I wnat to agree with TrippS and Swedge regarding the NSI backbands. Made a major difference in my 500.

I also fabricated an extension for the seat pan out of minicell foam. Supports my thighs and reduces discomfort.

The Rapidpulse seat was not supportive for this big guy. It might work for a smaller person (heck - I imagine it works for LOTS of people judgin by the number of boats QCC sells) but it didn’t for me.

Good luck!


I have only paddled the 700x
for a 1/2 mile or so. But it seems that the boat is quite deep with a high back deck. The seat pan that was stock I think was sort of flat with no upsweep or, or pleasure pod in the center. The backband was not for me personally. I think a different backband would help. However it is only one component of the overall seating position. I would suggest adding a foam seat, like the valley one from the GRO catalog. Or making your own ala Brian Nystrom’s instructions.

I made one for my NF Silhouette. I think it turned out pretty well. Brian’s are a lot prettier than mine. The key is in having some lift at the lip of the seat to keep the legs elevated some from the hull. I would probably add more material than what brian’s instructions call for in a seat for a QCC. You certainly have the room for it.

the homemade seat shouldn’t cost you more than 40 USD.

switched to the NSI backband on my 700, great now! The backband has ratchet adjustment and in my case any back discomfort was eliminated by adjusting it forward thus giving me what some might consider a slightly exagerated upright/ forward position. I, like Greyak have suffered from lower back problems, in my case from too many parachute jumps during my years in the Army, with the present setup I have no problems.


Rapid Pulse is Rapidly Soon to be Gone
Third lengthy paddle in my 700 tells me no way is this seat pad/band combo going to remain. I replaced the back band in my NDK Explorer with an IR model, and relocated the bungee mounts higher, so the band no longer rotates down to ‘pinch an inch.’ What a huge improvement. I plan on doing the same with the 700. The stock Rapidpulse doesn’t seem to provide much support. I prefer the hard plastic seat to a pad that soaks up water and feels like you’re sitting in a wet diaper; I don’t like the way it slightly raises your center of gravity either, although this sensation is probably more psychological than anything else. That high back coaming can be painful, and it impedes layback rolls. Maybe the next generation will have a lower rear deck by two to three inches, and a sloped rear bulkhead? While we’re at it, how about tiller bar steering and a different rudder assembly? Other than that, the boat is pretty darn nice, fast too.

Recent change
I just received my new 400XL two weeks ago. Rapidpulse seat/backband sucks. I just installed a new NSI backband tonight. First test paddle willbe this weekend. I will let you know what the results are.

backband probs…
I have the 400XL and I feel the backband is too low and/or has the wrong angle of support. I am pretty strong and flexible but think that backband has to go…if anyone as any close up shots of their QCC where they have modified and/or changed out the seat, I’d like to see…

Q400 seat
Hmmm, how old are your 400’s? Mine is three years old and I don’t have a backband but rather the RapidPulse bucket seat. While I intuitively think the backband would give better lower back support, I find the bucket seat to be very comfortable. In fact, I ordered another one from RapidPulse to put in my Perception America kayak that I use for fishing.

I agree with you …
that the seat can get uncomfortable.I still have the rapid pulse in both of my QCC’s. I just take the seat bottom , unvelcro it from the seat base ,flip it under ,and behind the back. Now the seat back is free to move up or down. That makes a world of differance for me. If I am going on a long tour,I take a thermarest self inflating seat pad ,and place on the seat bottom. I have done several hours with this combo,and find it very comfortable. This modification only cost $17.00,and I can return it to original in 5 seconds. Just my 2 cents.

Happy Paddling billinpa

Installed a touring NSI band on my Seda this weekend , and it is great. Only problem is it needs to have support up and back with bungees as the vertical posts they provide do not do the job. No problem though, as I release the ratchet straps to lower the seat enough to install the cockpit cover, the vertical posts bend enough to accommodate it. The ratcheting system can easily be operated on the water, to adjust the pressure, and is very comfortable. I also use the inflatable cushion under the thighs.

Tried NSI backband today
Well I had my first paddle today with the newly installed NSI backband. Difference is night & day. Did approx. a 4 hour paddle with no back discomfort. I need to make a couple of small adjustments to height. Also I think I may probably add a Padz self adhesive seat pad. I’ve installed the Padz seat pads in my other kayaks and really like them. They are thin and keep you from sliding around on the stock factory seats. They also add a insulation layer to seat. Donot absorb water. I’m getting close to the ultimate fit.