Thigh braces retrofit

I just purchased a Dagger Zydeco 9.0, thinking of adding thigh braces so I have a few questions;

  1. Are thigh braces overkill for the model
  2. I came across a set of Harmony braces that fit the Axis (Dagger) I have yet had time to measure the Axis but by eye it seems as they both have the same stock thigh/knee pads so theoretically what harmony sells should fit. Has anyone done this ?

    3)Off topic, I know this is good entry level craft, can I learn to roll in it? Looking in the not so near future is the craft capable of class III, my intentions are lakes and local rivers classed as II but upon dam release, areas sustain class III - my future goal is a katana but till then I would like to be clear on how far the current model can be pushed, I do realize paddler experience could drastically change the crafts capability.

    Thanks in advance.

    Happy Paddling!

paddler experience
does not compensate for the design of the boat. I’ll let the ww guys speak to it’s design further but to me it looks like it’s an entry-level recreational kayak meant for calm lakes and maybe swiftwater, but not serious ww.

I haven’t paddled the Zydeco but I have seen a few.

Thigh braces will likely improve your control of the kayak which can be valuable regardless what type of water you paddle it on.

As for rolling, you might be able to learn in this boat but will almost certainly need to customize the outfitting. Thigh braces of some type will be necessary but you might also need to fashion some type of hip paddling. Recreational kayaks of this type feature great big cockpits and a loose fit, which makes them easy to get in and out of and comfortable to sit in, but offer little support when it comes to snapping the boat up in a roll.

I would not paddle whitewater of any significance in this type of kayak, certainly not Class III. Boats of this type typically lack both bulkheads and central foam pillars which render the hulls somewhat floppy and also more likely to fold on the paddler in any sort of entrapment scenario. They also have enormous cockpits for which it is difficult to fit a proper sprayskirt. Even if you can find a decent skirt, the spray deck of the skirt is so large it is likely to implode if you run through sizable standing waves or need to punch a hole.

You Are Wrong On That Point Slush
Skill absolutely can compensate for design. People are running through the Grand Canyon in touring kayaks. Those kayaks weren’t designed for that.

The problem with that kayak is if you take that puppy into WW it’s going to take on water. How much water do you want to be pumping out of your kayak?

Thanks for the feedback guys the whole point is to gather information to head in the right direction to work up to the real fun, I would like to have professional backing on the statement of the class III here are border line (at the bottom of the scale) so all in all would it be worth it to through the braces in for mostly lazy river with rifts here and there - and I suppose I should be considering a mamba or remix for the next craft.

probably better to get a different boat
If you think you are interested in learning to roll and paddle whitewater, you are probably better off looking around for a more suitable kayak as opposed to sinking money into the “recreation/adventure” boat you have.

You don’t necessarily need to buy a new boat or even a recent design. There are tons of older whitewater boats around that can often be found for no more than a few hundred dollars that could meet your initial needs.