Thigh Braces

I’ve been searching the Internet (without any luck so far)for some place to buy thigh braces (not pads). I want to mount them on my Dagger Zydeco to assist rolling.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

Does your boat have a standard cockpit?
Thigh braces for Dagger’s whitewater cockpits (also used on many of their touring/rec boats) used to all be interchangable. So you could check with local whitewater clubs for parts. Someone’s bound to have a broken boat that you could canniblalize the braces from.

If memory serves correclty, the dimensions were 34x19. If your boat has one of those extra-long rec cockpits, this won’t work without some hacksawing, since the braces are a one piece unit that mounts at the front of the cockpit.

lots of ol’ WW thigh braces can be adapted to rec/tour/sea boats for comfort and support.

Any decent paddle shop should have a bunch laying around for cheap. I know my ol’ shop does! We call it the junk yard and we got seats, thighs, ww bulkheads, hardware, etc.


Same thought
Thank you for the push…

My Aquanaut does not have positive thigh braces. My poly Elaho has great positive thigh braces (very much whitewater style). I’d been thinking of trying to buy a set of either Dagger or Necky thigh braces and installing them in my Valley boat. I’ll have to start checking around for local shops that carry or have carried Dagger or Necky boats.

Zydeco doesn’t have standard cockpit.
Yes, Dagger has thighbraces available for their standard cockpit size (34"X19"), but the Zydeco is 38"X21". You may be able to cut the U-bend out, but if it were me, I’d have the boat with me for comparison before buying the thighbraces. If memory serves, Harmony used to have a 2-piece kit that was a lot more straight where it attached to the coaming. That may fit better for this application if you can find it. Also, BNystrom has some good webshots on how to make some out of minicel.

Something else to consider is coaming height. Boats with low profile coamings “pinch” the part of the coaming that these thigh braces would marry up to, making the contact a bit sloppy.


Another option
Pygmy ( has a good array of outfitting on their site. This is common for the sellers of kits. Of course, if I were more ambitious, I would study Brian Nystrom’s site and simply work from blocks of foam…

If you can’t find them
If you can’t find serviceable braces, you can make them. I’ve cut plastic water pitchers and PVC pipe to fashion some, padding them with closed cell foam or neoprene.

Custom molded ones
If you don’t mind working with fiberglass and have a little handyman skills, I used the following on a homebuilt boat.

  1. Place a piece of cardboard under the deck where you want the brace to be and trace it then cut that out.

  2. Lay saran wrap over that and have about 8" stick beyond it towards the interior of the cockpit.

  3. Take pariscraft (sold at most craft type stores and cheap, it is what they use to use for cast on broken bones) and dip a whole bunch of pre cut pieces into water and lay them one on top of another. Squeege them together a bit.

  4. Lay all of the layered wet pariscraft on top of the saran wrap which is on top of the cardboard then jump into your boat.

  5. Take the sandwich of cardboard (which should be your lowest layer), saran wrap and wet pariscraft on top of that and press the cardboard with your free hands up under the boat. Then lay or drape the extra saran wrap with the wet pariscraft over your thigh as you are sitting in the boat. Make sure your thigh is in the position you want for paddling.

  6. Pariscraft sets up very rapidly so you won’t have to sit in this position for very long.

  7. When it cures you can lay saran wrap over the bottom side of the pariscraft and use it as a mold. If it feels flimsy just add more layers of pariscraft. Now do a layup of some scrap fiberglass and epoxy over the underside of your pariscraft mold to make a thighbrace that will be a custom fit to you and your boat. The fiberglass/epoxy won’t stick to the saran wrap that is between the glass and pariscraft so it will pop right out when cured. Powersand its’ edges to give it the desired pofile shape and surfaces for desired smoothness. Then epoxy to a glass boat or bolt in place to a poly boat. Glue foam for further comfort.

    This took a little time on the glassing part, but making the mold was only a couple of hours at most. Maybe for those who might want a winter project to refine their own cockpit.

it’s a 27.5 inch rec boat

– Last Updated: Feb-15-05 12:52 PM EST –

not really meant to roll. Use floatation (secured float bags) front and rear and if you do not already have a great roll learn in something else.

Sorry! but better you know now, than have a bad time later.

Dagger p/n 9810044
Rec/tour thigh braces fit the Charlestons, which have a 38 x 21 cockpit. They might fit the zydeco also - call and ask…

Ordered them through REI
and it took about 2 1/2 weeks - no problem.

Zydeco Thigh Braces
Hello! and thanks for your post! I just want to make sure I followed it correctly. First, you’re with Dagger, correct? (because I was going to telephone Dagger at some point if need be). Second, if I’m following correctly, you had purchased some thigh braces through REI the fit the Dagger Charleston which has a cockpit 38X21 (same as Z).

And, yes, as someone else pointed out, I know it’s a rec kayak and not designed to be rolled, but it’s a kayak, it’s on the water, I’ve got a good spray skirt, and I’m going to roll it.

Thaks again, Larry

I just own two Dagger Charlestons, one of which came without thigh braces. I recently did just what you were thinking about - called Dagger’s tech line and got the part number, then ordered them through REI.

They worked and fit great. The Charleston’s cockpit measurements are 38 x 21, so the same thigh braces may fit your boat. I would recommend that you call them and confirm the fit, just in case the contour is different…