Installed foot brace & seat in Wildfire

John Deer…er I mean Wenonah
I would think any Wenonah dealer should be able to get you the seat. They are not cheap for a composite one. You would have to improvise a little to get it mounted and in the right place.


– Last Updated: Oct-28-06 11:08 AM EST –

You can also order directly from Wenonah. You can specify either the kevlar (small) or plastic (large) seat, and can also specify the height of the seat. To install it, you'll bed it in thickened epoxy then glass the seat to the hull with one or two layers of fiberglass laid over the segments of the seat structure that are in contact with the hull.

Having said all that, I agree with Arkay that it isn't a hull that I would put a pedestal-mounted seat in. A contour seat like the one from Newfound with a seat back (I'd probably go with the one from Wenonah because the guy who does a lot of their accessories does excellent work) or a kayak backband that has been adapted to the boat.

If you really want a tractor seat, I'd suggest considering getting one from Western Canoe and Kayak
You'd need to talk to them about whether it would just drop into your boat or whether you'd have to do some work (as in adding longer cross pieces under the seat) to make it fit. I'm not really big on glassing seats to the bottom of Royalex canoes, so this is probably the option that I would choose. No real reason why, just a personal preference.

They also sell a pad that fits their seats.

arkay & yanoer – Some of us can’t
kneel. It’s not a preference thing. So we set up a canoe that comes the closest to doing what we want it to do.

The question I always get is: Why not get a kayak instead?

My answer: My legs don’t do kayak. Getting in and out is a project because I have limited range of motion. We figured an open boat would be safer.

I wish I could still kneel. I’d love to be able to freestyle. But I’m happy to do what I can in my canoe. I think there’s some other folks here with a similar situation. I’m actually thinking about a composite Wildfire, set up for sitting. And I’m keeping my slow :slight_smile: Odyssey 14 for river tripping.

Yanoer---- I use a backband that fits across the lumbar area. I wanted to be sure I could bail out over the stern in an emergency. If I need to go under a low limb I lean forward or sit on the bottom of the boat. The hubby made metal clips that slide over the front edge of the Mowhawk seat hanger and the back band straps snap into holes on the clips. The straps on the back of the backband go around the thwart behind the seat. This has been a great help for control and stability. It also helps a little with power because I’m not sliding around. And I’m less tired at the end of a day.

and yet another reason
I am always in the company of touring kayaks and in order to get my Merlin2 up to speed having the footbrace really helps with a power stroke whether sit and switch or using “gasp” a double blade.

However, when they are not around…I love kneeling and paddling my boat with a straight shaft. Although, the Merlin unlike the Wildfire is more suitable to sit/switch paddling.

Western Canoe and Kayaking
I installed the Western Canoe and Kayak tractor style seat and their foot bar into my royalex Wildfire. I liked the kneeling position in the Wildfire-for about 30 minutes. After that, my ankles would freeze up and the pain in getting out thereafter was intense. I received many good suggestions from this board on how to alleviate that problem, but I chose to go with the tractor seat because I also didn’t like the sense of being trapped with my size 10 feet under the cane seat. Western Canoe and Kayak was a great company with whom to work: great customer service. I have not yet had extensive experience with the new setup but I do find it very comfortable. I think the foot bar returns much of the control that I felt was lost leaving the kneeling position. I don’t do any canoeing beyond class 1 so I don’t perceive that as significant for me. I have some photos and would post them if I knew how to do that on this forum.


My comments were not meant to infer that there’s something “wrong” with sitting in a canoe. Many people sit in canoes. There are however some canoes that make better “sitters” than others. I would not call a Wildfire RX a good sitter, but I know people who paddle them that way and enjoy ‘em.

Just as one has to work within one’s physical limitations it’s my opinion that different canoe models have their own physical limitations as well. Because of its hull design the WF RX doesn’t make the best sitting canoe on the market, it doesn’t make a stellar fast lake touring or racing canoe either. For that matter it’s a poor choice as a poling canoe. Most canoe designs have things they’re good at and things they aren’t good at. - Randall

But it is an excellent work out boat
Its like a resistance machine.

I got in good shape once using an Aquaterra Keowee. I paddled fourteen miles a day threee times a week.

Because it is such a slow boat I developed pretty good stamina…had to …didnt have all day to spend on the water.

The realism that most people cannot sustain hull speed for a really long narrow boat for a long time. It can be more practical to use a stubby boat. You will be putting a great deal of effort into it quickly and building tolerance.

And to each his own. I prefer kneeling and heeling the Wildfire and running some whitewater but its not about me.

arkay---- I agree with you about the
design, limitations, and best technique for the WF RX. I’ve paddle unmodified WF, both RX and composite from a sitting position. Once in 30mph winds. I decided to get an Odyssey instead because it was my first solo and we wanted tripping boats. But I still think I would like a WF RX for day trips on classI-II streams. It’s a nimble hull at an affordable price. (assuming they will still be available) I’m not interested in flatwater speed in this boat. The footbracing gives two more points of contact. The thigh bracing gives two more points. (I fasten the pool noodles on the inside of the hull, not on the gunwales) As I’ve added contact points, boat control has improved. I’ve been giving some thought to how to connect my seatbones to the chines where knees would normally go. I’ve got a few ideas and maybe we’ll get the time and money to try them out.

I’m glad you talked about the intended use and limitations of the WF RX because I wouldn’t want folks who are looking for a boat to get the wrong idea. However, for those who want a modified river boat for sitting, I think the WF RX is a realistic candidate for some people. It sounded like Yanoer was trying to do something similar with his boat that I do with mine. So I jumped in. :slight_smile:

Yep, twas looking for a RX sitter for
river use and the Wildfire seemed to be a favorite (for kneelers) and I found a used one for a reasonable price within an eight hour round trip, so I bought it without test paddling it.

I’m not aware of any royalex solo river canoes that are designed for sitting. Are there any?

Actually, another reason that I prefer sitting, besides comfort, is the concern for foot entrapment in the event of a capsize. I guess that I could try raising the seat for better foot clearance and see if I feel more comfortable (safe) that way. It really unsettles me when it’s difficult to get the feet under the seat and then out from under the seat.

I paddled the Wildfire again yesterday, the second time since installing the foot brace, and, for me, the foot brace definately improves my control of the boat. Probably still not as good of control and oneness with the boat as kneeling.

Thanks for all the responses and good advice.

have you tried capsizing with a spotter with the footwear you are wearing?

Maybe you are just more comfortable sitting which is fine, but I wonder if your concern about entrapment has grown to have a little life of its own…yep some shoes are a tighter fit when kneeling but usually you come out of the boat pretty easily when you straighten out.

Perhaps not the best time of year to experiment though.

Usually you do come out of the boat

– Last Updated: Oct-31-06 8:01 AM EST –

... but if/when you don't, it can be a big problem. The only time it happened to me (in a deeper and roomier boat the Yellowstone Solo), I wretched my knee pretty badly trying to get my stuck foot out of the boat before hitting the next drop and rapids.

IMO, the ability to consistently get out of the boat cleanly should not be taken lightly.

I want to sit in my Wildfire too.
I paddle flatwater but could not resist a great deal on a beautiful, used-once WF RX. I lowered my seat (metal drops)using 1" nylon spacers and longer ss bolts from the hardware store. I want this boat to truly be the all-arounder it is touted to be…including fishing. Is that asking too much? I know that the more time I spend paddling my WF RX the more I will like it.

Called Rutabaga yesterday to order the 4" walnut drops and, with Bell being sold, they quoted 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.

Yanoer, I was wondering if you could post pics of your mods for reference.


You could just bolt

– Last Updated: Oct-31-06 9:12 AM EST –

a wheelchair in the nevermind I think it would be top heavy. "8^p

I use one to move boats and myself around the shop, I know it is politically incorrect

1st river trip w/ new seat and footbrace
I paddled about 1.5 to 2 miles upstream today and much appreciated the new seat and foot brace. The seat was especially nice. I used the foot brace most of the time going upstream, but not much going downstream. I sometimes crossed my legs while going down stream.

I’m quite satisfied with both mods.

Kneeling i wildefire
If i can just do kneeling stand(lack of better term) now and then i do pretty good. but can see value of foot braces in the wildefire but would be squemish to actualy mount them.