leg and knee placement while paddling

Although, I have been paddling for a few years now, I can honestly say I really never know where the best placement for my legs…straight out? bent? Best adjustment for pegs. I have a Wilderness 12’ Thanks for your input …Mikeb

Hitting a thigh brace if possible
I don’t know this boat - a rec boat? - but in any sit inside kayak you should ideally be able to control it via contact with thigh braces, or your knees, to edge it etc to help in a turn. Granted rec boats or the voluminous cockpit touring boats compromise that a lot, but an effort in that direction is still useful. So the pegs should be set wherever it affords you that contact.

legs bent comfortable
feet at a 45 degree angle in the vertical plane. Adjust to taste. press on the side wher the paddle is active, release on the othe side.

Good article
Read Woody’s Getting the edge at http://www.kayaktrips.net/sea-kayak/cat_things_ive_learned.html

I think he is right about many of us not adjusting the foot pegs out far enough (I’m guilty). I think it’s ok to keep a little bend in my knees, though, but not enough to contact the thigh braces without pressing on my foot. Hmm, maybe that’s part of my rolling problem…

Thanks Woody.

Best Placement
is whereever you can paddle in comfort for hours and yet still be able to effect edging, leaning and rolling.

Depending on which craft I use, my legs can be straight (SOF and one surf boat), splayed (ww boats and one surf boat), or legs straight out but with knees bent up (waveskis). They are all comfortable and all effective for what I need the boats to do.


Bent works best for me
Not only because it puts me more in contact with the boat but it also reduces fatigue and pain in the lower back and thigh areas.

Thanks for input, just one thing, the Wilderness in an open, open cockpit. Has no braces. Would they be the same as used with a sit on top kayak???

I am a long time recreational paddler
and my philosophy is if you are comfortable than paddle in that position.

With that said, what works for me is a slight bend in the knees with my feet on the foot braces.

If I am in calm water my thighs are loosly against the thigh braces.

If I am in rough or squirelly water than I solidly lock my thighs against the braces and keep my feet firmly on the pegs, so that I am one with the kayak and can use my body along with the paddle to control the kayak.

On an all day paddle in easy water I sometimes put my legs staight out in the middle of the kayak for a change.

I am probably one of the few people on this forum that think that lessons are a waste of time and money if you are a recreational paddler and are not interested in rolling, but on the other hand I highly recommend getting an instructional book.



If no braces…
You need to experiment with what foot and leg postition gives you the best ability to feel like you are exerting some control over the boat via your lower body, while making sure that you are sitting fairly upright and so not killing your back. SOTs may have straps that allow the paddler to have that effect by hooking their feet under them - an huge open cockpit rec boat tends to have about the least clear control surfaces of any kind of kayak.

There are no hard and fast answers then - just mess around with what does the above.

thanks for your words jackl
My yaks have big cockpits. I’m totally not sure of myself, two thirds of the time.

Sometimes I find using the foot pegs and bracing my knees on the sides is most comfortable and sometimes I find my legs stretched out in front of me.

I’m never planning on rolling any kayak.

I swim well, float like a cork, and my biggest fears are bronchitus or hypothermia not drowning.

Usually I stay close to shore, because that is where the best scenery is.

Often some folks speak as if there is an absolute correct way but perhaps the best way is the way that works best for the individual?

I ordered two videos from paddling perks yesterday - hoping that I will pick up some ideas on how to paddle more efficiently.

SOT straps
Foot straps are found mostly on surf SOTs. A lot of SOT are or can be equipped with thigh straps which basically fit from the side of the cockpit over your bent knees and low thigh. There has been some debate here and elsewhere concerning the relative effectiveness of SOT thigh straps vs. SINK thigh braces.

I would think it would be a relatively easy thing to set up SOT thigh straps in a rec. SINK with a huge cockpit.