kayak thigh braces? pro or con?

Canoest for 25 yrs. +. Within the past year purchased an Old Town Castine kayak. A little bit heavy but handles well. A friend recently purchased a new kayak with thigh braces. What’s the general concensus, pro or con and why?

thanks in advance for your reply.

I have thigh braces in my two sea kayaks

– Last Updated: May-21-05 5:57 PM EST –

and my whitewater kayak. They are absolutely essential in giving better contact with the boat and thereby, better control.

I would prefer to have thigh braces in a 26" rec. boat as I'm sure I'd want to be able to roll if capsized. I don't think you need to add full-on braces per se, but adding some wedge-shaped foam pieces or foam "hip pads" would give your thighs enough purchase to greatly increase control.

I think I would feel naked without thighbraces.

pros and cons
like the previous post, i agree thigh braces are good for boat handling- leaning, bracing, rolling. no thigh braces is good for pure paddling- torso rotating, knee lifting foot pressing paddling. my woodboat fits me well, i can splay my legs and hook my knees/thighs into the foam under my deck or i can keep my knees and feet near the centerline- knees out from under the deck-so i can rotate more, pump my legs and feet to advantage. i’m 5’8 and have a 31" cockpit opening. i use a foam block footrest so i can keep my feet near the centerline when i want. i like being able to use different positions and techniques, i can stay comfortable in the boat longer.

Unnecessary but nice.
You can paddle that boat in calm conditions quite nicely without them. But you will paddle better with them and it is easy to glue a couple of pieces of foam in. Purely a matter of taste.