Pain in the ass and knees

I recently bought a Seaward Chilco. Love the kayak but after three trips out on the water I came to the conclusion that I have a seat problem.

It’s the standard plastic base with a foam pad on top.

I’ve tried adjusting the foot pegs up and down. I’ve placed supports under my legs and nothing works.

This past weekend I did a long crossing and the pain in my butt was excruciating.I just wanted to jump out so bad…but I was far from shore. And this was after taking breaks every 40min and stretching out my legs during pit stops. My legs were numb for hours after I got out for good.

I am at a loss what to do!

I’m thinking of taking out the seat and putting a ‘Surf to Summit’ pad in its place. The other option is buying a Phase 3 seat pad and jury rigging the leg lifters.

Any advice is much appreciated!

What is your torso angle?

– Last Updated: Sep-10-12 10:35 PM EST –

Are you erect and rotating, sinking back, something else? Sometimes this kind of pain originates from upper body posture problems.

Are you stretching before you paddle?
Sounds like tight hamstrings. I don’t think you can buy a Phase III seat.

I recently rented a Seaward Tyee and found the seat amazing, different folks I suppose. I have been researching seats recently looking for an option for the boat I am building my wife. While doing so I came across a product by Jackson called sweet cheeks. Never tried one mind you but it might be a cheap fix for you. Also the option I think I will go with for her boat is the seat offered by Redfish kayaks. I also recently bought one of those Seal’s pillows that goes under your legs but I’ve only used it once so I can’t comment on its effectiveness.

Finally here is a post I made a year ago on sleepy legs that people gave me plenty of advice on outfitting and great links.

Hope you find something that works for you.

Simultaneous pain in the posterior and knees would indicate that either your fit is too tight, or you tense up in your boat.

Are you bracing against the deck all the time when you paddle? Remember - the fine edge control comes from weight transfers from one butt cheek to the other, you don’t need to use your knees all the time. Also, pumping your legs will allow your body relax a bit more, take the pressure off your arse, back band, and knees.

Check out this seat

I find that seats like the old tractor seat are way more comfortable than the flatter types no matter how much padding you put on them. I use the earlier Valley Canoe seat that is like the Redfish one with no paddling and I’m totally comfortable in it. My butt and legs also fall asleep and eventually hurt in a flatter seat too and I’ve been paddling a long time and I exercise, take yoga etc. The old saying is “there’s a seat for every chair”. Try to find one with more contour and a slight upward slant. Also, things that bother you now will improve as you paddle more and get your body conditioned to it.

I’m betting that if your posture and paddling technique is okay, it’s just going to take a lot of time in the seat and a lot of paddling for your body to adjust.

At one time, or another, all of my kayaks caused some discomfort after a time. I spend a lot of time paddling and now it doesn’t matter which kayak I’m paddling; I’m good for many hours. I have to say though, the most comfortable seat is solid composite, with no pad at all.

Me Too
I was having the same kind of problems recently. It seemed to start after I started doing some serious cycling training. I think my hamstrings were tightening up and I was paddling less frequently.

I think I have solved the problem by doing lots of stretching and using the Jackson sweet cheeks. I arranged the beans so that most of them were in front of the seat which had the effect of elongating it and giving more thigh support. I also removed some of the thigh padding in my boat which I think was pushing my my knees down and stressing my hips.

Once you eliminate the causes of the problem, more time in the boat with good ergonomics helps too.

Its not posture
I’ve been kayaking for 15 yrs and this is my 8th kayak. I just sold my Valley Aquanaut which was not the last word in comfort but still i was ok for hours. I only weight 175lbs, i use rotation and i do stretches before setting out. Never had i this problem before consistantly. The weird thing is tbat the Chilco has thicker padding than the Aquanaut. I saw a company that sells the “Happy Bottom Pad”, which just may work. I just hate having to tinker around after spending big bucks on a premium kayak.

thicker padding could be the problem
at least that’s how it works with cycling. A bare minimum can help but beyond that it can actually cause more pain. Just a guess…

I have a older model Asente that has a simple foam pad in the bottom and a back band. I have found it to be very comfortable on numerous all day trips. Prehaps Seward has a few in stock that you might be able to try.

Ok - may need a less helpful seat
I am one of those who does best with a rather hard and flat seat, kayaks as well as the bike. I finally solved the two-hours-into-a-paddle backache in my little Vela by cutting away foam under the seat to make it flatter and a whole lot less ergonomic. I ma very comfortable in the hard, flat, short older NDK seas that most people hate.

We know the Aquanaut seat - Jim has one. You may be someone like me, who is not well served by the movement towards more ergonomic design in seating.

Tweaking is well worth the effort
You should expect to do some kind of customization on every kayak you own (barring the huge rec boats). I’ve had to tweak the seat and backband in every kayak I’ve owned. Don’t give up - if you like the boat it is well worth the effort.

Sometimes I’ve found that the backband, not the seat, was the culprit. The stock NDK backband gives me excrutiating sciatica; the foam is fairly thick and the bottom edge hits the nerve no matter how I adjust it. You might try paddling without a backband for a bit to see if it helps, and then try different ones if you feel you really need one. I ended up using an old Boreal backband which is much thinner and flatter, and it did the trick.

The other problem I’ve identified is the cockpit coaming and thigh braces being too low and far apart, thus pushing my knees down and apart. This puts pressure on the sciatic nerve in the back of my thighs, which radiates all the way down to my toes and all the way up to my lower back.

If you are near any outfitters, you might ask around to see if anyone has experience in customizing (outfitting) kayaks. Sometimes an expert can identify the problem immediately, while it might take you months of trial & error. Good luck.