sore, stiff knees

does anyone’s knees get stiff only a short time after being in the kayak? i have the new p+h scorpio lv(i know you all are probably sick of hearing about it!) i always did recreational kayaking until this new yak, so i’m trying to figure things out.and there is very little room for you feet. not sure where my footpgs should be exactly…i have been playing around w/ them to try a comfy fit. is it just a new position and it will take time to adapt to a this new way or do other people experience this and how do you deal with it. i feel like 100 yrs. old only after an hour of kayaking.

Old age? That’s what causes mine.

I try to set up my kayaks so that, when
conditions permit, I can disengage my legs and feet from the thigh and footbraces, and stretch my legs a little. Seems to make quite a difference.

That said, I wish I could look down into your kayak with you in it and try to see why your knees might be getting stiff so quickly.

When your footpegs are adjusted right
You can straighten out your legs and your feet will be vertical and resting on the footpegs. Raise your knees into the thigh braces and the balls of your feet will be on the pegs with your feet at about a 45 degree angle and your heels moved somewhat toward the center of the boat.

Try this

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 5:00 PM EST –

Your knees should be pretty much out of action if you have things set correctly. If they are hurting you are too tense or have something set wrong or both.

Your thighs should be under the thigh braces - you may need to move them back to get the right position. (The Scorpio I saw had adjustable ones.) You don't need (or want) to be jammed up hard into the braces all the time, but you should have the thigh braces where if you lift your knees up the thighs land right under them, at least a couple of inches back from your knees.
You should be able to lay your legs out relaxed along the bottom of the boat if you want.

The foot peg positions are pretty much a natural result of having a good posture in the seat, up on your sit bones and NOT slouching back like you are in a barcalounger, and having the thigh braces set right. The best use of a backband is none, except maybe for some layback support when you get to rolling.

I only briefly sat in a Scorpio, so I don't recall if an average height female is going to find the 45 degree angle that Dr Disco mentions or something a little shallower. It was a nice solid fit for me, so the deck may be on the low side. But there should be some kind of angle there.

All of this position stuff gets very clear when you start learning how to edge and turn the kayak, or start to learn how to brace. Where are you with that?

Agree with this and would add
that you should be able to find a position for your legs and feet that changes the position for everything enough that you can avoid pain and stiffness, at least for a while. So move your feet to the space between the foot pegs (assuming there is room) and stretch your legs out, moving them back and forth the way you would if they were on the pedals. There should always be “wiggle room”. WW boaters need to be tight in their boats but sea kayakers do not.

maybe is the LV
I have 3 kayaks.

I also have chunky legs (from cycling).

In my higher deck kayaks (#1) I can paddle all day.

On my lower deck one (#2)I can only padle for an hour or so before my legs kill me.

In the LV (#2) my legs are more stretched out and have little bend at the knees.

Both LV and HV have the same seat (same brand kayak).

The best comfort is in my real high deck one(#3) where I can paddle with my knees closer together and at higher angle.

Ocean paddler reviewed the Explorer HV and recomended that boat over the standard Explorer for most paddlers.

Having a higher knee position allows for more comfort and better efficiency when paddling.

But hey, the LV is great fun for precise control in surf and tight places. Better roller too. I feel like I am “wearing” the kayak.

Rockpool seems to have higher decks for more comfort in the knee area…

Do you stretch?
I had sprained my knee, so it gets really tight anyways if i don’t stretch on a regular basis. But i also find that when i am slacking off on my stretching, both knees can get sore when pushed into thigh braces, which is a position you don’t normally sit in for long periods of time. maybe try some stretching and see if it helps

ther isn’t enough room in this boat
to have your feet go straight up and down. i have never had a knee injury and am 45 yrs. young. so it baffles me a little. i try to keep stretching as i’m going along.

maybe i need
to have the shop i bought it at go thru’ it again with me.i’m back down there again for an aca class in a a few weeks.

should my thighs always be in contact
with the thigh braces? or only when i need the control to edge etc…?

just learning all that
i have only had this boat about 1 month. never knew any of this with a rec yak. so i am still trying to figure it out.

thigh braces
Your legs should not be pressed up into the braces at all times. Your foot and leg position should allow your legs to rest just below the braces during most paddling. I only engage my thigh braces when edging, rolling, bracing, etc - that’s to say, rarely.

Old school
of thought was outfitting to the point where everything is tight, like you would for a ww boat. That really hampers your movement in the boat and your ability to control the boat with subtle shifts in weight distribution. I prefer a very loose fit where the boat isn’t always stuck on me, but I am able to make it stick to me when needed. Generally, I paddle with my thighs about 1 inch below the braces. When I press my butt check into the seat to edge the boat my opposite thigh begins to move up toward the thigh brace. The deeper I edge the boat the closer I get to contact with the thigh brace.

I probably should only use the thigh braces when rolling, but I’m not there yet in my technique and find myself, on occasion, lifting my knee to edge the boat. Fortunatley, this is tiring and I recognise it fairly quickly and return to controlling the boat with my sits bones.

Try a crossing in a beam wind and control your direction just by edging and sweep strokes (no cheating by using a skeg or rudder). You’ll learn very quickly that it’s painful to hold a boat on edge for a long time using your knees and thighs.



I’ve been paddling for around 10 or so years and the first few paddles in the spring I get the same problem. Goes away after awile, takes time in the boat for the bod to get used to the odd position they force you into. Worse in low volume boats that I happen to like.

Bill H.

You want to look under his skirt?

As above, not always in contact, though if you have the Scorpio LV it may be quite close. You should find out in the class about using you weight shift, side to side, to help edge the boat so you aren’t locking your legs so much.

I suspect though that your first cure may be to make sure those thigh braces are adjusted well back from your knees, so they aren’t pressing into the tendons and muscles that are close around the knees.

will have
that checked also. i am trying paddling booty’s as opposed to thicker sandals also. that may give me more wiggle room for my feet.and maybe some relief if i can stretch better.

it’s set up like that.
so i think it’a ok as far as that.

great to know
that’s what i need to hear. so much of this style of kayaking is new to me, that i’m not sure what should feel like what. it helps to hear that it’s the same for other people. helps me narrow down what i really need to address.i’m trying a paddle booty to give me more room to wiggle my feet.thought that might help also.