seat removal

Would removing a seat that sits approximately 2 inches off the bottom of the kayak make an improvement in stability?

I am 6’2 so I need all the advantage I can get.

possibly, but
are you going to sit directly on the surface of the hull? Replacing the existing seat with a foam one (minicell) is an option.

I am 6’1". Unless the seat of a kayak is stupidly high I see no advantage to have have it in the lowest possible spot. Are you knew to the kayak in question? maybe spend a bit of time in it and suddenly a tippy kayak will become OK and later on the seat hight will no longer be an issue. If tippyness is not your problem then disregard the comment.

What kayak are we talking here?


Valley Aquanaut HV
I am going to pad it out in the hips and knee area over the winter. (Ontario Canada) I was thinking if it locked me a bit more then changing the seat to foam might be a good option at the same time. I do like the seat, but it could always be more comfortable.

Over all the boat loaded is solid. Just want to have it a bit more stable without loading it. I have yet to try dry bags full of water, but that will have to wait until the spring.

Lowering the seat…
…can have a pretty dramatic impact on stability, as I learned in my old Nordkapp. OTOH, it also effectively raises the rear of the coaming, making layback rolls and similar maneuvers more difficult.

Using bags of water as ballast is a bad idea, as it will shift constantly and make you less stable when you need stability the most.

I’m 6’4" and …

– Last Updated: Oct-21-08 8:50 AM EST –

... in most boats over 20" wide I now feel pretty comfortable. In the 22" ones I tried I feel I got all the stability I need and then some. I guess as the other poster suggested, get more time in the boat first. But if the seat removal is not too desctructive, I see no reason not to try it sooner rather than later...

I paddled the same kayak as mine (a friend's) without a seat (sitting on the bottom on a thin gel pad). Mine has the factory seat. Without the seat the stability is a bit better but not a dramatic difference to me. But in my case it is not 2" like you said yours is, but no more than an inch if that. For your 2" the difference should be notable but what kind of kayak has 2" seat height???

I initially wanted to remove the seat and I may still do it. But my reason is that removing it will give me a smidgen more leg room for movement. As it is, it is a nice fit for most conditions and is fairly comfortable so I'm hesitant to remove it before I have a clear idea why -;) Only problem is that full rotation in forward stroke is somewhat restricted - would marginally improve without the factory seat but not sure if worth it without further modification of the cockpit (e.g. elongation of the cockpit opening forward by 2-3 inches). plus it will get me a bit lower meaning the rear deck will feel a bit higher (and it already it too high) plus I think a higher seat gives a better paddling position for me (at the expense of stability) as I am not very flexible at the hips.

If adding water
Inflate float bags in the bulkheads to make sure the darned things stay put. Shifting water bags could be a problem.

Lowering the seat
I agree with Brian … lowering a seat, especially one that is 2" off the bottom of the hull will make a dramatic difference in the feel of the kayak. I have built a lot of boats and I know this from experience. It will feel like a different boat. Ideally, the lower part of your bottom should almost be on the bottom of the boat with padding that is around your lower thigh area. You may be able to keep your seat and just lower with some work.

definitely improves stability
I cut the seat out of my CD Gulfstream (I know, a wide, stable boat, but I am 260 lbs with wide shoulders) and the stability improved dramatically. I also glued in some foam hip pads, and a crotch block, and then velcro’ed in a Jackson Kayak Sweet Cheeks seat. This is a beanbag seat that you can form to your butt exactly, and then with removal of air from the cushion it holds the shape. I think it is great, and is easy to adjust until it is perfect.


Kitchener, ON, Canada


– Last Updated: Oct-21-08 12:25 PM EST –

Assuming you removed the seat base as well, did you put any reinforcements on the bottom of the hull where you but sits or do you just stick the velcro to the hull? Is you Gulfstream Kevlar or FG? Also, when used without a seat, does the "standard" happy cheek cushion have enough beans in it to form a nice countoured fit (especially in the rear) or would the new "200" model with more beans be better for a direct placement on the bottom without a seat under the pad?


Lowering Valley seat
If your Aquanaut HV has the standard seat you can unscrew it and pull it out. You can shim between the cheeckplates and the gunnels to lower the seat and shave down the underseat foam by that amount.

I did this lower the seat 1/2 inch in my Nordkapp LV. I noticed the difference.

Same here, but any changes have their
trade offs. Get too low and you have trouble with lay backs and positive contact. You may want the seat higher in summer and lower in winter to adjust for the thickness of your gear. Depending on your thigh size, you may want your butt low and your thighs high. I put a 2" minicell platform in that was 2" in front and 0" in back on a straight angle. This was a good seat for comfort, low center of gravity, and positive contact. You can also remove the seat padding to lower yourself, as well as any foam build up under the seat. My cetus is more comfortable without the foam pad, go figure. Good luck. Bill

I have the 150 version of sweet cheeks
But depending on your size you may want more padding (ie the 200 version). I cut the seat out entirely, and didn’t reinforce the hull.I also pulled the backband, tried a pillar, cut that out and now have a 4 inch tall minicell foam piece running across the back of the cockpit, so it keeps me from sliding back but doesn’t offer any back support. My gulfstream is fiberglass. If you cut out the seat and glassed in side supports I might worry about keeping the backband, as it puts a lot of stress on the coaming then. You could always glass in some supports that contour to you specifically if you wanted to keep a backband.

The lay back problem
can be mitigated by moving the seat forwrd a few inches (ala Dubside) so you have a shallower angle to the cockpit rim contact.

True, but it affects handling
Specifically, sliding the seat forward will cause the boat to weathercock more. To prevent that, you would either have to use the skeg or add ballast to the stern.