Seat help - uncomfortable and painful

I apparently need help with this. The seat is hard plastic so I put one of those Yak Pads on it. I have an IR back band. I feel like I should have a lot more back support than I do. At times, my feet get all numb and tingly. After 3 hours today, my left hip feels like I pulled a muscle and my neck hurts.

It also seems like my legs are really crammed when my feet are on the rudder pedals, but probably nothing I can do about that.

This is the cockpit, minus the yakpad.

Here is the whole boat.

Holy crap !
I have never seen a seat like that.

did that come with the boat?

It should be straight across at the front.

it must put a lot of pressure on your inner thighs

I don’t know if that is your problem, but you might want to see about getting a different “normal” seat

Jack L

legs are really crammed
I would start with the obvious. If your legs are really crammed, you have to find a way to undo that. Sitting relaxed without paddling, there should be no pressure on anything - feet, knees, thighs, back.

Well that’s the seat that was in it when I bought it used. I don’t know if it is factory or not. To be honest, I don’t remember how much wiggle room there is between my hips and sides. If there is, I have a padding kit to install.

What would the seat’s front shape put pressure on my thighs? I’m not doubting you, but I’m new to this so I’m not picturing it. The thing is at the river 40 minutes away so unfortunately I can’t just go outside and see.

Sitting “relaxed” with my feet on the pedals, my legs are against the sides and top snugly. I thought that’s how it was supposed to be?

If you are tioo tight -
you can’t rotate to paddle and lots of bad things happen. One of them is sore back and another is numb legs.

You may actually be too tight in there.

Two things
I’d start with Daily Stretching. Over the years that has really helped my kayaking comfort. The next time I’d do is consider removing that seat and putting a thermarest inflatable seat cushion instead.

If those do not work you are in luck, because you can sell that used boat without too much loss when you find a newer more comfortable one.

Your hips, glutes, and hamstrings are probably very tight.

Seat help - uncomfortable and painful
Your seat doesn’t look unusual but does have a rise on the front thus possibly adding pressure on your hamstrings.

Use a Foam Seat:

I use the foam seats by RedFish Kayak which have a soft back pad, comfy hip pads and you can shape the seat how you like. Not everyone’s body is the same, make sure you customize til you’re comfortable. With foam you can do this, unlike hard plastic.

Remove Your Foot Pegs:

Do you have foot pedals to control your rudder? If not, and they’re just solid foot pegs, try removing them and placing a thick block of closed cell foam against your inner forward bulkhead. You’ll have to shape the pad to fit your cockpit shape. Mine jams in without having to glue anything. I’ve been using this style of foot pad for years and it works fine for rolling, surfing, or long distance paddles.

Add a Heel Pad:

I also add a 1/2" thick closed cell pad under my heels. Plastic or fiberglass hulls can leave your heels in pain after long paddles. Of course make sure to screw the footpeg bolts back in to prevent leakage.


If all of the above doesn’t work, try flow yoga to loosen and strengthen you body for sitting in a semi tight positions for periods of time. My hamstrings and calfs tighten a lot, so have to constantly work to keep them loose.


An Article
Here’s some information:

don’t panic…
…what Capefear said is sound advice. I’d add to educate yourself on what a proper fit is, assure it’s as good as that seat will allow before I looked at any other options. I see no hip pads at all in your photo BTW.

All the best,

Be careful of your hip
It sounds like just about everything is going wrong. In addition to your seat, I’m wondering whether the cockpit fits you properly, specifically the depth of the cockpit and the height and/or angle of the thigh braces. I did permanent damage to my hip from thigh braces that were too low, compressing my knees down and out and putting excessive pressure on the hip joint.

That seat doesn’t look ergonomic. If you’re happy with the kayak otherwise, I would rip out that seat and look for something different. The first question would be whether a backband is right for you. Some people find they need more back support.

It sounds like you lack both support and cushioning in the right places. Your current seat appears hard and shapeless.

Also remember to get out and stretch frequently.

From what you write about your legs being crammed against the foot pedals, I wonder if this is even the right kayak for you.

Y’all crack me up…
nearly y’all, want,(sight unseen, without any info on if pegs are maxed out, no mention of getting any help or education on fitting a kayak, ect), are giving advice to junk a seat and go to a fix that may be no better without fitting to the paddler first. Y’all crack me up.

Not sight unseen
The OP posted photos. To me that seat looks like a good candidate for the junkyard. You’re right, I assume the OP knows how to adjust the pedals and that they’re maxed out. Necessity of education was mentioned by another poster above. I advised him to check the fit of the kayak as a whole, the cockpit, and the thigh braces. Glad to provide entertainment for you.

just to stir it up a bit…
I didn’t recommend changing the seat at all, I recommended stretching. Someone else mentioned stretching as something to try if other things didn’t work (or last on a list of things to try in conjunction with each other).

Stretching (done appropriately and safely) will help over all fitness and comfort, AND does not involve removing seats.

Most of the ‘numb legs’ fit issues I have seen have been fixed by stretching.

Not say’in there’s bad advice…
…just pointing out that as is often the case many will first offer “what fixed” their problem when there is not enough information to logically conclude the cause is the same. I would think that all could agree that a proper fit should be first on the list. From the photo provided I can not tell if the seat band is too far forward, the pegs not forward enough, thigh braces too low; the fit is “unseen”. Does the OP know that the backband is not a “backrest”? I’m not tryin’ to pick a fight or troll on anyone, but it’d be good to not tangent onto “problems” that may well not exist when offering advice.

And yes, it’s entertaining. That is all.

It can be the seat/boat combo
My 2 cents - experience from recent Florida trip during the month of March. I had two boats along - my old Dagger Meridian and a Pygmy Arctic Tern 17. I paddle a lot, and find the Meridian quite comfy - no leg pain or stiffness.

The Tern was another matter - had a minimal foam seat in it (NDK). Legs hurt after 30 minutes on the water, tingled and all. I think the causes were little thigh support, lower knee position (build a Murrelet?), and shy on room for my size 13’s.

The partial fix was to buy a pool noodle of about 4" diameter and cut a piece to fit sideways across the front of the seat. That supported my thighs and make the legs happier - still not as good as the supportive seat in the Meridian, and the extra 1" of knee height makes a huge difference.


You obviously need one of these…
a custom made model…!/photo.php?fbid=283138455105067&set=a.166228596796054.43306.165779253507655&type=1&theater

Pool noodle
I use a pool noodle split in half as you describe UNDER the front edge of my seat. It does make a big difference.

Thanks for all the replies.

It is indeed rudder pedals so I can’t remove them. They are set so neutral has my legs are bent up against the top where thigh/knee braces should be. I thought that is how it should be? If I were to move them forward so my legs rested straight, wouldn’t that make it impossible to push the pedals?

My posture sucks and I’m probably not sitting in it properly to begin with. I have official lessons with Potomac Paddle Sports starting in mid-may, thank god. Is there a website which illustrates how I should be sitting in the meantime?

I agree the seat blows. The yakpad I have on it doesn’t help much. I LOVE the redfish seat someone linked to. I saw a website where people custom built those out of foam. Custom personalized but contours and everything. It it is difficult for me to do that in a high rise apartment with my kayak 20 miles away at the river. So $145 for that seat is probably well worth it.

My beat up back (L4/L5 disc is toast, surgery last year removed 2/3 of it) needs all the support it can get. But I understand a high back would also prevent leaning back in a roll. However, with a new improved seat much lower in the boat, that will add a lot of room for vertical back support that I don’t have now.

You should adjust them so that you …
just have a very slight bend in the knees, but still be able to push them for the rudder. It should only take about an inch of movement, (or less) for the rudder to reach it’s limit on each side.

The posture that you are describing is probably most if not all of your problem.

Jack L