-- Last Updated: Dec-24-04 11:43 AM EST --

I get leg numbness after ~ 30 mins in the water. I have a Necky Zoar Sport 15' with a firm foam seat. I hear & read about padding under the quads, but I think my pelvis/butt bones are compressing some nerves or vascular tissues.

Anyone have similar symptoms or solutions to this?



I have similar problems, but with me it is my feet/toes. I, like you think it is related to my “butt bones”. I have had some luck with a “Skwoosh” seat pad. There is a review of it in the current SeaKayaker magazine. Try it, you may like it :slight_smile:

the problem
very typical for many paddlers. if you have a skinny butt it may be worse. i’m of that ilk, one thing that has helped me is changing to a foam block footrest so i can change positions. sometimes i paddle with my feet splayed and my knees locked under the deck. i alternate with my feet and knees closer together, this position is good for freeing my torso for more rotation and pumping my legs for more power. sitting in one position for long periods is too difficult for me

I’m a beginner, and my instructors frequently remind me to move around in the kayak. I tend to tense up and try to hold my balance. When I’m sitting on land, I’m constantly wiggling around in my seat. I’m getting better - no pain, but still when I get out of the yak after a few hours, it is difficult to move my legs.


Can lead to serious stuff
Numbness after 30 minutes is a sure sign of compression of nerves, and if kept that way long enough and frequently enough can cause permanent and serious nerve damage. Definitely change this around.

Weirdly, the padded seat may be contributing to it, causing your butt to sink down in such a way as to pressure an area not otherwise bothered by a hard but smooth seat that would distribute the pressure over a greater area. That is why a thin cushion like the skwoosh may be better for you. Alternatively anything you do differently may help, placing your feet differently, support under the thighs, laying out your legs a little straighter. Each person is different. Good luck.

Perfect solution.
Get a canoe.I did.

This is one reason…
that I use a canoe instead of a kayak.

I get numb kayaking in a wetsuit

– Last Updated: Dec-25-04 8:37 PM EST –

I find that excercise helps a lot. I guess I need a larger seat in winter?

Cheaper solution than String’s
Sorry String, I had to take that shot!

I experienced terrible leg numbness when I transitioned from a canoe to a kayak. My salvation has been to use additional padding immediately in front of the seat pan, under the thighs. A partially inflated dry bag works, or you could construct a seat extension from minicell foam. But a quick and easy fix is to get a Cascade Designs self-inflating thigh cushion. They are a bit pricey, but are infinately adjustable and can double as a pillow.

I am a big guy, and I continue to ba amazed at the short little seat pans installed in most kayaks. Hope this is of use to you.


Numbness in my head
Too frequently to count. I don’t feel that way, but a bunch of folks keep telling me about my numb skull, so maybe I should start paying attention.

On the side of trying to be helpful, I’ve heard of folks using an inflatable donut like those used for back-side surgery during recovery or hemorroid sufferers during a flare-up to positive effect in relieving the issue. My brother in law has purchased a knee pad to elevate his knees and take pressure off the back of his thighs, but he hasn’t had the chance to use it yet, so I can’t comment on it’s effectiveness.

  • Big D

I paddle a S-O-T and after 30 minutes or so, get a numbness in my feet and lower legs. Feels just like my feet “fell asleep”. I have used a Surf To Summit regular back seat for the last 10 years, have tried other seats to see if that made a difference, but had the same numbing, so I guess it is not the seat.

I change leg positions (taking my feet out of the foot well, lean back in the seat and elevate them on the sides of the kayak when paddling, sit sideways with both feet hanging in the water when fishing, if no blue fish are around) whenever it is possible to do so, and this seems to end the numbness.

Most of the time, I just ignore it, paddle on, and enjoy what I am doing.

Hip and leg numbness
I have experienced this for some time now and have tried all the solutions above. They all work, but not for long periods of time. Recently I purchased a lower lumbar support inflatable cushion for my car or desk chair. I start my paddle with it under my thighs. My left leg and foot are the issues I address. I have found that moving the cushion to my left outer knee will also shift the pressure point to the nerve on my butt and this eases the tingling. I do not think there is a cure-all, but if anyone ever comes up with a solution I would try it.

Good luck,

Capt. Will

Seat woes
I used to have numb feet after sitting in my kayak for a while but solved that problem by using an inflatable seat cushion. I got one from Sealine. It’s like a Thermarest pad for your butt. Any problems I had disappeared after I started using it.

numb body parts
I’ve come to the conclusion after 15 years of serious paddling that for many of us, keeping your feet on the foot braces sets up a certain amount of torque on the connective tendons and nerves of the lower body. Don’t laugh…that’s as simple as I could put it. Several years back I paddled a borrowed kayak with no foot braces, just padding against a beefy bulkhead. Wow! My butt didn’t get numb and my knees, hips and ankles didn’t get cranky. So from that point on I put a solid connector between the two foot braces of my various kayaks and it really helped alot since I could move my feet all over the “bar” and eliminate hot spots. On longer tours the padding under the legs just ahead of the seat helps a lot. Any guy with long legs will bitch about car seats that are too short with no support under the legs and kayaks are worse. I agree that you can easily go overboard with padding the seat and screw up the stability of the kayak and make getting in and out harder. Hope kayak makers will work on a full width footbrace sytem instead of the little pegs that are placed at angles the human anatomy doesn’t want to stay in! I have also found that stretching really helps a lot before I get in and after an hour on the water. My buddies that are hard core runners and bikers have the worst pain issues and it’s no doubt due to over taut quads and hamstrings. OUch!!