Kayak seat questions

Now that I have worn out the cockpit size questions it’s on to what seems to be the real issue which is the seat.

I have spent quite a bit of time over the holiday weekend trying to get myself dialed back into the Sirius cockpit after not paddling it for years. I loaned it to a buddy who paddled it for a year or so and made some cockpit modifications which was cool with me. He used to rep. a wheelchair dry flotation pad (http://www.therohogroup.com/products/seat%20cushions/index.jsp) which is an amazing product, sorry I cannot tell you exactly which model it is as it is not marked. He removed the fiberglass seat and used the pad with an NSI backband that I had in the boat. I also have one of the pads and love to use it in my SOT and would like to make it work in the Sirius. It REALLLLY helps some sciatica issues I experience. Cannot use it WITH the seat as it places me too high in the cockpit. Plus the stock seat is just too damn narrow which is a damn shame as the shape is pretty comfortable but it folds me up and inverts my hip which aggravates the sciatica. And WITHOUT the seat I don’t have enough to grip for bracing and such. I found this guy, ONNO PADDLES, (http://www.onnopaddles.com/components.html toward the bottom of the page) online that seems to make a pretty cool custom composite seat that interests me as it would be cool to have a seat that would accomodate the use of the pad, I also have been looking at some of the foam seats but they seem to be quite the pain to fabricate and the prefab models don’t offer me much.

So, there is some more info regarding my cockpit modification journey. What do guys think.

Have you looked at the seats, companies like Pygmy Boats and Chesapeake Light Craft have in their catalogs?

I would also suggest , if the seat is the issue , to do a Google search on kayak seats.

Some suggestions
The Spirit Line molded seat sold by Pygmy and CLC will likely be too narrow - mine was. I tried to modify it, but eventually gave up on it.

I bought a Bumfortable seat, which gets great reviews, but I haven’t installed mine yet so can’t say how it is. It seems like it might be too narrow, but is pretty flexible so maybe it will be OK. This one is tall in the back, so would interfere with a back band.


ONNO is a very well respected kayak builder and outfitter. I think you won’t be disappointed with his products. His composite seat was tempting, but I bought the Bumfortable because it’s going in a skin boat and I thought foam would be easier to install.

Redfish kayaks sells a fully customized foam seat. It’s pricey - but gets rave reviews:


They also sell a pre-formed minicell blank (it has the butt print already) and you can customize the underside to your hull.


If the Bumfortable doesn’t work out, I’ll probably get the Redfish blank and start carving. Good luck with it, numb legs suck.

for the responses. That Redfish custom seat looks really sweet.

I’m just
throwing this into the mix, for what it’s worth.

I’ve been dealing with similar issues in the past, and here’s what my 2 brain cells decided.

Most of the comfy kayak seats were longer in the seat than the seats in my boats. All of them offered better thigh support.

As I’m cheaper than Scrooge, I fashioned a seat cushion out of a dense flexible closed cell foam that was about 3" longer than my kayak seat. Supported the forward edge with a bit of pipe insulation to lift the cushion under my thighs. Tried various thicknesses.

Works very well. Looks like crap.

There ya go,


Wish I didn’t suffer from
placing so much importance on how everything looks. I suffer from this on my bikes as well.

misc. response

– Last Updated: Jan-07-10 12:13 PM EST –

I have had a sciatic nerve issue since I started paddling in '91. What I discovered is that the shape of the seat within a 4" radius of your sit bones has the greatest factor in keeping point pressure off the nerves more than under thigh support. Whether you get that from a production seat, carving your own, custom glass, whatever. Pure cushion like the foam seat you showed doesn't do it efficiently.
Think of your bike seats, people who ride a lot aren't riding on piles of pillows, same with kayaking.

It's going to be a discovery process. My suggestion for least effort is simply buying a Redfish seat and see what happens. Joe Greenley has blanks for a variety of production kayak hull profiles so it just might be the ticket for your Sirus. The kayak kit manufacturers solutions meed the needs for selling kits more than paddlers comfort. There's a reason paddlers boats are outfitted with molded glass seats.

I've made a couple custom glass seats and come to the conclusion that carving ones own was easier and allowed for modification.

As part of your problem solving you could buy enough foam for two seats and spend a couple weeks coming up with the best seat possible based on YOUR backside. It 'll take a few hours to make one for the first time.

It takes awhile to make foam carving cosmetically acceptable but I'd suggest considering that bike tires or bike seats aren't meant to be pretty.

L200 is the typical soft stuff you see at shops and M200 is stiffer. In other words if you can push into a 3" block of L200 3/4" you can push about 3/8" in M200. If you finish the carved surface as well as possible, about like the surface of a t-shirt you can coat it with tool-grip rubber coating and it'll be pretty tough.

The whole idea with a custom seat is for the sides and back of the seat to support the muscle/fat of your butt and lift your skeleton off of nerves. Simply putting cushion under the forward edge of the seat doesn't do that.


how often do you look at the seat while riding/paddling?