Maximum foam thickness for footrest?

I am pondering joining the comfort crowd by replacing my foot pegs with foam but it is 16 inches from the bulkhead to my current summer footwear location of the pegs. I would end up wanting a 12 inch solid piece and two 2" pieces for assorted seasonal footwear thicknesses. Not wanting to reposition the bulkhead, is that way too much foam? If not, I assume a cheaper foam could be used for the 12 inch piece?

foot pegs
I ran my footpegs back to the last position, tiewrapped a board across them and stuck a 4 inch piece of foam cut to the size of the hull.

works great.


Thanks Paul, but ideally, I’d love to save weight by removing the footpegs and rails, not adding boat weight by adding a wooden board.

Mine was 15+“
5 layers of 3” minicell, and a 1/2" layer of exercise/equipment mat (see other posts on what/where). I later moved the seat forward 3" - and pulled a layer.

As you said you could use cheaper (styro or etha) foam for the filler layers as long are they are closed cell and rigid enough.

Downside to this much foam is - needing this much foam. Some also pack stuff in this space, but I don’t camp and have huge hatches anyway.

Upside is a LOT less cockpit volume to pump out.

Weight was pretty irrelevant as all the foam weighs about the same as the hardware I took out.

Other options:

  1. Something like Paul suggests - but be sure it’s tough (enough to stand on if vertical) and your feet can’t slip past and get hung up (including footwear/clothing related snags).

  2. Cut out the bulkhead and move or replace with a new one most of the way back, get more front hatch space, and use less foam. This is ideal - but not always practical. Best to do as a custom thing on a new boat and have factory do it.

another option
Since that space for the occasional camping trip would be nice, I suppose another option (previously posted on and the reason for this post, the balls of my feet hurting . . would be those gel Yak pads for the pegs.

I am concerned about those pads though being bulky enough to alter the ease of re-enter and roll.

Padding the pegs…
… still has your poor feet limited to pegs, and ankle, knee, hip, and lower back positions/angles all driven by foot position. Many so called back, butt and thigh problems in kayaks are due to foot pegs.

They seem fine if that’s all you’ve known, but until you have a full bulkhead type bracing surface, at the right distance and angle - you really can’t imagine the difference it can make.

Sort of like the way racers migrate to a tiller bar setup - which give a similar feel to footbrace beam in some Greenland qajaq (KayakPro’s system is awesome). Ski paddlers have a lot of surface too - but push is at heel vs. ball of foot.

Moving the bulkhead…
is another option. All good suggestions here re. the foam but 15" is a lot of space to waste. The bulkhead can be moved (actually, cut out and replaced) to a more rearward location thereby giving all that additional volume in your forward hatch. If you don’t want to tackle this as a DIY project, a competent boat repair shop should be able to do it for reasonable cost.

Do play around with foam first, of course, to know where you want the bulkhead. And, allow and inch or two additional space to put a bit of foam for more comfort

Good luck!

It’ll work fine
I’ve done thick pads like this in a couple of ways. The expensive - and arguably the best - way is to use only Minicel foam. However, I’ve also used Blueboard insulation for most of the pads with Minicel only on the outer pad that the paddler’s feet rest on. In either case, there are a couple of things I stongly suggest:

1 - Make a groove in the foam along the keel line to allow any water that gets into the padded area to run out. It’s difficult to seal a footrest completely (the pressure on it tends to create leaks) and I find it’s better not to even try to do so.

2 - Make sure that you have an easy way of removing the pads. I typically poke a hole through the pads and run a string through the entire stack. On the back side, I tie the string to a piece of wood (or other rigid material) that I inlet into the foam. On the front side, I simply tie a loop in the string to make it easy to grab. Keep the string short so it cannot get wrapped around your feet and create an entrapment hazard.

my foam blocks
i used 3" styrofoam and made 3 blocks. the one my feet rest on is wedge shaped to let my feet point forward. they are contained in a nylon stuff sack. the package is easy to remove after paddling so my cockpit can dry out.

good suggestions all
I typically use all minicell, with a 3" piece at the front, then 1" pieces to adjust, then 3" back to the bulkhead. You can get a rough idea of the shape by tracing the outside diameter of the hull with solder wire (which will hold its shape), then cut with a jig saw, then shape to fit. Most of the time, I remove the pegs/rails, but on one of my boats I left the rails in and occassionally will replace the pegs so as to fit a friend. Since I have a long inseam, the usual trick is to just slide additional 3" foam pieces (I have 2 set for this purpose) to shorten the reach to the foot placement for folks shorter than me.

exactly what i did
started off with 3" then a bunch of 1" pieces…then back to finish with 3" again…i have 1" webbing running behind the two last layers (coming out of the foam at the peak of the decka nd the keel line) to pull out if i needed to…the inner pieces ARE not tight in there…only the last one…

i have 10" in my tempest 170 with a 28" inseam…

why not just 3" minicell alone?
What’s wrong with simply pushing in a 3" thick piece of minicell foam into position, and having empty airspace between that foam and the permanent bulkhead? Why do you need foam all the way back?

you need resistance
You need to be able to brace with a fair bit of force and air space behind a single 3" piece wouldn’t support the necessary resistance even it that piece was wedged.

… “wedging” is VERY bad. Anything past just barely snug WILL deform hull and deck.

move bulkhead
after more thought on this, I am going to have the bulkhead relocated.

That makes the most sense
BTW, it’s not a difficult job to do yourself.