Outfitting Canoe For Solo Paddling

Hi ~ I have an Easy Rider Ouzel and I am big enough to solo paddle it. However, I need something to sit on when in solo paddle position. I know about foam pedestals but do not want to glue one in permanently. What other options do wiser paddlers know of for a solo seat in a large canoe? glue in D-rings to tie in a pedestal? Velcro? Something entirely different?

A Mohawk saddle can be used for
kneeling or sitting, and is held in by a thwart crossing the rear end. The front end can be held in with d-rings.

However, an Ouzel is relatively wide, and you might want to consider a kneeling thwart, or a seat set and angled so you can sit or kneel. Just make sure you are comfortable with the process of getting your feet out for a wet exit. That’s a sore point for me, because of foot size.

A properly chosen seat may make leaning or heeling the boat easier, allowing a vertical stroke closer to the axis of your body. One can lean on a pedestal also, but not slide over a little to make leaning easier.

Try a seat?
I’m not a wiser paddler, so consider this for what it’s worth. Why not install a traditional canoe seat by the traditional method (hang from gunwale)? If you know you are going to be kneeling, you could just add a thwart to support your butt. However, a traditional seat can serve the purpose of supporting your butt in kneeling position, too. Plus, when you feel like it you have a seat to sit on.


I used duct tape on the bottom and a
thwart across the top.

Thanks for the reminder
Good point about the sliding. It’s necessary with this big canoe. Thanks

kneeling thwart

– Last Updated: Apr-13-09 7:03 PM EST –

Your easiest option is to install a kneeling thwart near the center of the canoe. This is a wide, flat thwart about three inches wide that you prop your butt against while kneeling. You then glue some minicell foam pads onto the canoe bottom for your knees, or you can use a removable, single large kneeling pad, if you don't want to glue in pads. Bell Canoe makes a nice (but somewhat pricey) one.

If your canoe has a center thwart, you can take it out since the kneeling thwart will be close enough to center to give the hull support. You don't want to mount the thwart directly to the gunnels, however. That would put your center of gravity too high. You also want the thwart angled downward toward the front edge, to match the angle that your behind will make when kneeling. And you don't want the thwart right in the center as that would make your canoe bow heavy.

When in the kneeling position your center of gravity will be approximately where your navel is when kneeling with your body upright. You want to positon the thwart so that your navel winds up right at the canoe's center. Another way to position the thwart is to put your boat in the water, kneel in the center, and move forward or backwards until an observer on shore tells you that the boat is trimmed. Use a china marker to mark the position of the front of your knees at that position. Then put your boat on the ground, kneel in it with your knees at that position, and figure out where to mount the thwart so that it is as comfortable as possible.

Some canoe makers used to sell metal brackets or wood spacers to correctly position a kneeling thwart at the correct distance below the gunnels and at the right angle. You can make a set of wooden spacers and drill holes through them for long, stainless steel machine screws to hang the thwart from your gunnels.

I added a center seat
I have a 17’ Pat Moore boat I rigged for solo. Its quite nice as a solo tripper.