small paddler outfitting question:

I seem to recall some small paddlers put in a heel pad of some sort so our small size 5 feet are more comfortable pushing on the footpeg.

I’m thinking of doing something like that. (I’m currently pushing the foot peg with my toes rather than the ball of my feet) But I do have a question, for those who had done that to their own boat.

Does the raised heel pad on the floor of the cockpit ever interfere with re-entry?

In other words, I’m slightly concerned that my feet might got caught on the raised heel pad if I have to slide back in after a wet exit. Maybe it’s a non-issue entirely but I like to hear from those who had done it.

Depends on what you are using, but if you glue pads to the floor of the boat, they shouldn’t get in the way of a re-entry.

Food for thought - there was an article in the Spring 2011 issue of California Kayaker on modifying your footbeds that may be worth reading. Wasn’t aimed at small paddlers, but at all paddlers. Can be read for free online at

Padding around footpegs

– Last Updated: Jun-20-12 1:05 AM EST –

Manufacturers exist to aid comfort

Try a bulkhead block
Cut minicell foam to the shape of your boat hull and use thick enough stuff - 3 inch blocks if needed - so that you can brace against that rather than footpegs. You can push the footpegs forward enough to bury them in the foam blocks, even use them to help hold it, and have all that surface to brace against at a height that actually works for you.

I have size 6.5 feet and even with that I find that footpegs are uncomfortable as heck, much of it due to my feet being smaller.

I don’t see how that’s more comfortable
than without.

block peg
I’m aware of that option but I don’t see that working for me.

I need that space when camping out of my boat. That’s where my sleeping bag goes.

It also adds weight to the boat. Plus, that much minicell cost a small fortune!

Key of the modification is I’m not keeping this boat for long. I’m testing smaller boats to replace it. But that might not happen this weekend, or for that matter next month. In the mean time, I’m slowing outfitting the current boat to be more comfortable as I continue to use it during the summer. (I know, that slows down my hunt for a replacement even further because I’m even less motivated when my current boat is fitting better and better)

I tapered the aft end of my heel blocks so my feet wouldn’t snag. Never had a problem.

I did find that bare minicel foam quickly wore away from heel abrasion. My solution was to glue on a piece of thin neoprene, fabric side up. It’s worn well and is comfortable for bare feet.

minicell alternative
Big box stores cell “Yoga Blocks” than can be used as a poor substitute for minicell.

ONNO foot-plate
I’m also not a fan of the tough but incredibly non-ergonomic Yakima-style footpegs, and need access to the space forward of the pegs, for gear, water bladders, etc.

On my expedition kayak (NDK Greenlander Pro), I added an ONNO foot plate and find it very comfortable. I secured it with heavy-duty velcro and a short tether. This allows it to be removed easily for gear access.

My next mod is to angle it to 60 degrees to match my racing yaks/surf ski.

Greg Stamer