My kayak footpads are shortened all the way and a self rescue instructor noticed this and suggested I get some foam to extend it an inch to 1 1/2 inch and duct tape it for better control. Not being a fixer upper, I’m not familiar with materials (I know what duct tape is). What kind of foam should I use so I’m not constantly have to replace it and where can I get it. And is there such a thing as marine duct tape? If there is, where would I get that?
Long term I would redrill the foot brace holes and move them up. I think foam and duct tape will last maybe an hour. You put a lot of pressure on foot braces.
If you want to try a very temporary fix with foam, buy ‘mincell’ foam. It’s available at kayak shops or NRSweb.com.
If your legs are that short, you should look at improving the thigh/knee boat connection as well. Get some contact cement and several sheets of 1/4" foam and some ‘dragon skin’ to carve some thigh braces. Find a friend who has done some customizing of their cockpit. A good body boat connection greatly improves control and rolling ability.
Use high density gray foam blocks
You can buy it at most kayak/canoe stores, and cut it to the size you want
Glue it to your existing foot pads with weldwood contact cement, or Marine Goop.
Make sure to clean your existing foot pads with acetone before gluing them.
Follow the directions on the contact cement
nickjc, I regard yours as solid advice.
The best suggestion I think is to move the foot peg rails closer because anything else is going to take more effort to make it decent (foam under foot NOT being one solution). Drilling and a bit fibreglass is necessary here. Great suggestion on foaming out the rest of the cockpit to get good contact with the boat.
Before getting too crazy…
First, has your boat been looked at to see if you can just shift the rail for the foot pegs so that the whole thing is closer to you? I have seen rails set up with alternate holes in them to manage a different position. May not be possible, but in some systems you can.
If not you can shorten them with blocks, but the better and more secure bet would be to just put in a piece of wood that you could anchor well to both sides. I think that may have been suggested above.
I am assuming that the foot pegs are too far away from you? Do I have that right?
If the foot pegs can’t be gotten close enough to reach you in their factory setting, it may mean that the boat is simply too big for you to have a good fit to do what you want to do with it. If you are trying to make a big boat fit a small person, I would suggest that you go with the simplest solution, one that does not involve altering the boat significantly. Then start looking for a better fitting kayak at a used price. You would hardly be the first person to have found out after a few lessons that the first boat choice wasn’t the best one for long term.
Forget if its Keepers or something
else that is black plastic from Wilderness Solutions maybe ??? One of them.
The adjustment is asymmetrical … So can pull rail out, slide foot peg off and 180 both … Re-install and you gain an I think its two clicks in other direction.
for thoughtful and helpful suggestions. I think I’ll check to see if it can be redrilled. And trying to get thigh/knee control is not easy, so adjustments there, too. I love my kayak so I’ll keep it for awhile, but I’ll make sure that my next kayak fits me. Thanks all for your help.
If you make new hole…
Make sure you have a solid plan to reseal everything well before making new holes. If the boat is plastic this is a tall order, if it is composite you have more options available to you. The basic composite boat can be worked on with stuff from any decent marine store like Hamilton or West Marine.
The minicell you’ll be putting in to help with the rest of the fit - likely adding some to effectively lower the deck height - is not a problem. It can easily come out with solvents to dissolve the adhesive.
I understand that you love the kayak right now, but if it is truly oversized for you and you keep expanding your skills you will hit some things where the boat itself adds to your problem in learning a new skill. I am officially a small small paddler and have been there. So as much as you love the boat right now, give yourself the head room to change your mind once things warm up and you have the chance to really start getting seat time. Things that are a minor annoyance for a couple of hour jaunt can be much more so by a few hours into a full day on the water.
Full-Width Foot Board, OR
Why not use this opportunity and install a foot board across the foot pedals and then put a layear of “minicell foam” (sold in most paddling stores or online) on top of it? Or a Yoga block cut in two alongthe long side to cover the entire width? A full width foot board is soooo much more comfortable…
You can initially just tape it in place and you can make it from a piece of scrap wood to see how you like it. If you like it, you can install it more permanently with a pair of stainless steel bolts and locking nuts on each side… No drilling of the kayak required, just one or two holes per side on each foot peg.
Another optionis to move the seat closer, but for short people, they usually have the weight already farther back than ideal compared to the average sized person, so it might negatively impact the boat front-to-back weight balance (provided it is OK now, of course).
Or, if you are even lazier, split a Yoga block in two, shape it with a wood file to conform to the contour of your boat, place it against the foot pegs and glue it with contact cement to the boat. You got yourself a fairly stable and comfortable foot peg extension without any drilling or taping. This setup will likely stay in place pretty well…
As for just comfort, I have added a 1/4" minicell layer on top of my P&H Delphin’s plastic foot pegs - glued with contact cement to the pegs and no tape. This has stayed in place, rather surprisingly, over the course of 2 seasons now and is very comfortable - I could not paddle for longbarefoot before because the foot pegs are very 3-d for traction with shoes, which makes it painful barefoot…