Installing a footrest in a Royalex hull

I want to install a footrest in a Bell Yellowstone Solo Royalex hull. Is my best option to drill additional holes in the ashwood gunwales? Can I drill and rivet through Royalex? Should I bond to the hull using an adhesive or epoxy? Can anyone suggest a footrest configuration and installation method that has worked well for them?


A lot of folks here use Wenonah braces

Here they are:

If you order, make sure you tell them it’s for a solo canoe, and that it’s Royalex. The rivets they send you for Royalex are larger.

Most people sit with their feet splayed outward when on the footbrace. Ideally the brace goes at or near the balls of feet so you can use your calf muscles to apply pressure to the brace when needed.

I determine the height by holding on of my paddle shoes in the hull and splayed outward. Where the approximate ball falls is the height of the brace. Once you get one side using this method, then you measure the other side so that they are equal.

You may have to permanently twist your brackets that go against the hull so it lays right up against. The tumblehome often makes this necessary.

Make sure you put the footbrace sliders on the rails before riveting. You probably will not be able to get them on after you rivet them to the hull.

That’s all I can think of right now. Good luck and great choice putting a footbrace in your hull.

Try Yakima style

– Last Updated: Dec-21-09 5:30 PM EST –

If you are sitting with your feet out in the chines, Yakima style kayak footbraces would work fine, and could be glued or riveted. I think they would be more durable glued, as they woudn't cross the hull and could flex a bit. If you used vynabond they would be easy to take out, though epoxy would mean they never would come out.

This kind for example:

Here are some designed for glue:

You could rivet through the inner ABS
layer, but I certainly don’t recommend it. Eric Nyre says that as the foam layer in ABS is exposed to water, it becomes increasingly brittle. I’d like more confirmation of that, but it does not make sense to put pop rivets through the ABS because the rivets may pass moisture.

If you do need to attach things to the hull, of a brackety nature, I recommend removing the top layer of vinyl (you can skim it off with a low angle chisel) and then using West G-flex epoxy as an adhesive.

One thing I forgot to mention in my post
… most put silicone caulk on the rivets and coat the holes with it before inserting the rivets. Moisture in the ABS isn’t going to happen after that.

Its been recommended to me
to use FastTrack Lights or Keeper footpegs and adhere them with Plexus from Jamestown Distrbutors.

That way the track can conform to the curve of the hull without stress points.

Its worked on composite boats so far. Have yet to try on Rx.

I drilled holes for the Wenonah slider.
No problems. The only thing I’d do different is to put the adjusting knobs on the back side (facing the bow) of the brace so that my feet could be all the way to the outside edges of the brace, flush with the hull.

great point about the knobs
Hodtay, you need to look at the hardware that goes into the slide rails and make sure it is assembled so that the knobs go to the front BEFORE you put the rivets through the hull. Once you affix the rivets, that’s it. The sliding hardware is locked into the tracks by the protruding rivets.

Even with all the little bits of info, this is still an easy and fun thing to do that pays big paddling dividends when you’re done.

Plastic kayak pegs and plexus
I have personally installed FastTrack footpegs on an ABS Dagger Tupelo with Plexus 410A. Still working after three winters.

Thanks for everyone’s input!
I should receive the Wenonah rootrest, slider and appropriate hardware shortly after Christmas. I’ll use silicon to seal inside the holes, make sure the slider bracket matches the contour of the hull, position the adjuster knobs to face the bow and assemble the footrest onto the sliders before I rivet the sliders to the hull.

Great suggestions and tips. Thanks again.

and no holes
I hate inflicting holes especially near the waterline. For spray covers I will pop rivet away…but not down there.

How 'bout a belly button ring
… above the water line?

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Sorry Kim, I couldn’t resist.

Not at my age…
you mischevious little elf!

Holes in your hull or your head?

– Last Updated: Dec-27-09 10:49 PM EST –

To me, especially near the water line, that's heresy. To each his or her own I suppose.

I think I'd devise a system that would make use of 2 or 4 hefty D-rings Vynabonded to the hull and some kind of strap down system. You'll rip chunks of the hull out before you pull a properly installed D-ring (these: loose.

You could simply mount two heavy D-rings opposite each other and two smaller ones a small distance (1.5 - 2 ft) forward. Then, just have an adjustable strap between each heavy/normal pair of rings on each side and attach a heavy dowel or aluminum pole (perpendicular to the "keel") between them. Now you have a lightweight,cheap footrest system riding on adjustable nylon strap "rails" without having to resort to insanity such as drilling holes in your hull.


A heresy committed by many manufacturers
of canoes and kayaks. Do you personally know of any calamaties resulting from properly installed footbrace mounting holes?


– Last Updated: Dec-27-09 11:37 PM EST –

As I'm sure you're aware, PE kayaks and RX canoes are vastly different creatures.

I personally know of RX rot caused by water intrusion into the core. Sometimes people go years with bag lacing holes exposed to water with no ill effect and other time a little puncture will lead to nasty delamination. As I see it, the big difference is because those lacing holes are up near the gunwale and most punctures are near or below the water line.

How many manufacturers still in business put holes in their Royalex hulls (for the purpose of outfitting, not bow grabs) near the water line? And of them, does doing so make the practice a good idea? What would create higher localized stresses? A few rivets in the hull holding back the force of a paddler "foot bracing" or a big 'ol vinyl patch glued in? What is easier to screw up, rivet hole depth and placement or vinyl patch installation (assuming one can read the instructions on the vyna bond tube)?

Of course, I said the practice seemed nutty to me. You are free to add as much drillium to your craft as you see fit.


I thought that you were opposed to holes
in hulls in general, not just royalex hulls. I guess that I misread.

Who knows, my footbraces may well be torn right out of the royalex in my Wildfire/Yellowstone Solo some day. I’ll report back if they do.

Maybe some water may seep in around the rivets and into the core of the royalex as some have suggested and possibly result in material degredation. We’ll see.

A few rivets in the hull are certainly more asthetically pleasing than some vinyl patches. But, if your boat already has D-rings and such glued in, than a few more anchors for footbraces won’t further reduce the asthetic allure of the boat.

I’m not trying to be contrary here, but do you know if holes in royalex hulls for footbraces are known to be common failure points? Or is it just theorhetical?

Why do people use rivets?
Pop rivets were invented as a way of fastening things together in situations where there’s no access to the “back” side, or where speed of assembly is the main requirement but no real strength is needed. Using bolts to attach a footbrace makes perfect sense to me.

I remember once, someone posted here that they thought pop rivets were better because they are extremely easy to shear off if you sideswipe a boulder, but I sort of doubt that a smooth, low-profile bolt head would grab a rock too well anyway (it’d probably be a one-in-a-million situation where the pop-rivet gives way but a bolt would tear the hull, especially with a good-sized washer countersunk “just enough” to make the connection pretty secure against slippage).

Failure modes

– Last Updated: Dec-28-09 12:10 AM EST –

Footbrace failures? Theoretical

Failures or degradation from from core intrusion caused by hull puncture or through hull outfitting? Real world

Hull Damage caused by glue in patches? Unheard of (assuming one doesn't glop in huge amounts of Vyna bond and chemically melt the hull)

Stress risers caused by rivets vs. big ol' glue in patches? Common sense

Asthetics? Eh, I place function and durability above looks.

I think most people would agree drilling into the hull should be the last option.


Pop-rivits seal better than most screws and stay tight if installed properly. Very common in the marine industry.

Bill H.