outfitting my cockpit -torso twist?

Hi, I’m from Trinidad and Tobago where most paddlers use SOTs. I myself am a fairly able surfski paddler which is really an SOT design. However our islands are beautiful for touring and I recently had a Touring SINK (Point Bennett) made for me and I am now in the process of outfitting the cockpit (seat, hip and knee-braces, etc). I want to learn to roll and I understand that you must outfit the kayak so that it is fairly snug - this makes real sense. However, I am having a dilema. I’ve always been taught to use max hip/torso rotation with knees close together moving up and down and pushing all the way from the heels. Would this work with a sit inside if I my torso rotation is limited by a tight fit? On the other side of the coin, how will I control (brace, roll, edge, etc) if the kayak doesn’t fit tight? Any advice welcome.

talk to Duane
Are;t the Point Bennets designed by Duane Strosaker? You should ask him what he thinks. he is well known for his rolling, so can definitely tell you how they should be outfit for rolling.

makes sense
Makes sense, but thought it would be a bit presumptious of me asking him a basic question like this - hey, he’s a famous guy. He might not even answer…

torso rotation
I have my SINK set up so that my knees and thighs barely touch the thigh braces, so that I can use the braces when I want and not use them when I want to ‘pump’ my legs. I also installed an ONNO footboard so that I can have my feet and knees together to get more torso rotation and more power. These are just suggextions.y

Thanks - one more…
Thanks for the quick response. In my mind I was thinking about something like that. Would it be wise to have the the knees iin the center space and then lock it to the sides under the braces when need to brace or roll? I do not know if this is feasbale in practice. Please understand that this SINK business is completely new to me and although we have some SINK paddlers in Trinidad and Tobago - they are the traditional - dead-from-the-waist-down locked-into-the-cockpit type whose power come from their arms and shoulders. So you understand my predicament.

What is an ONNO footboard?

While the surfski, sot seating position is more conducive for rotation. The splayed leg position of a sink can be used for torso rotation. Some people just like their knees as close as possible, and a footbar from pat at onno makes that possible. Personally I can’t stand that position in a kayak because of the limited deck height. The principle of extending your legs is the same, your knee is just at a different angle.

Ryan L.

Thanks for the info
Thanks, I guess it’s a matter of style and comfort then. Will have to wait till I opt it in the water to see what works. Thanks a lot of the info.

Don’t need to be too tight to roll
You don’t need to have your hips locked in to roll a kayak. Maybe to do some whitewater playboating, but not for sea kayaking. With properly place footpegs, you can keep your thighs off the braces with your feet relaxed or lock them in by flexing your ankles.

I expect you won’t have too much trouble adjusting and you can always pad out the cockpit where needed.


– Last Updated: Jul-05-11 6:35 AM EST –

You don't want to limit torso rotation by too snug of a fit. Generally you want hip padding so you don't slide for side to side on a lean. Many people don't put anything in there if the boat has struts holding the seat. A hands space between the hip braces is ideal. You won't slide around but can turn your body as needed.

Thigh bracing is a personal thing. When I paddle my thighs don't touch, but the slightest pressure on my feet will lock me in if needed. On Sit in kayaks, your knees are not together but more wide open. I find the more wide position allows me more hip twisting power when needed for leaning and edging the boat as well as rolling.

Depends on your goals for …

– Last Updated: Jul-05-11 10:11 AM EST –

... that kayak. In a kayak that would be used primarily for rolling and rough water practice, I would emphasize contact over the ability to keep my knees together - both may not be possible to achieve *optimally* in the same kayak that is targeted for "play". I can paddle knees together my Wilderness Systems Zephyr (a play sea kayak) but it is not the same as in my Epic V10 Sport surf ski. On the other hand, the Zephyr will boldly go where the Epic will never stay upright -;)

On the other hand, there are many examples where touring or racing kayaks that are primarily built to be fast and efficient, have perfectly adequate thigh support for rolling when needed and for bracing in rough seas. Look at the cockpits of kayaks like the Epic 18x/18x Sport or the KayakPro Nemo for exaple. These cockpits are long (you can have your knees in the center for paddling just like in your surf ski and if you need to, you move your knees under the sides of the cockpit for bracing. Wokrs very well. The only difference compared to a surfski is that (unless you modify them), your feet rest and push with the balls of the feet compared to the heels area in the ski (in both you steer with the toes with pedals).

Be prepared for the "shock" of how slow and heavy the kayak will feel compared to the ski - you will no longer be able to surf the same bumps you did with the ski - they will gently lift the kayak and go under while you slooowly paddle your way forward with the grace of a Titanic approaching a big chunk of ice -;)

PS: here is a vid to see the shape of the Epic 18x cockpit. Greg Barton demonstrates and for clarity has removed the foot brace. See how his knees stick up in the center? Just like a surf ski. While the leg is somewhat extended, you can move the knee to the side for bracing. I've briefly tried this in the 18x Sport and works very well. You do need to have some hip support and a shaped seat to keep you in place though - to somewhat simulate the sculpted seat of the ski - you do not want to slide about in the kayak's seat either.


As for the ONNO foot board - it is similar to the boards in the abovementioned kayaks (he will say his is better and it probably is, but more importantly he can probably build you one to your size): (scroll down a bit) http://www.onnopaddles.com/components.html

No outfitting required
That kayak is already a fairly tight fit, with a fairly narrow profile, you will just need to spread your knees a bit keep your head down and push up with your knee and the boat will roll over -probably multiple times.

Go ahead and contact Duane he likes to hear himself talk and will gladly tell you how you should do everything.