Thigh braces

I’m still trying to get comfortable in my Tsunami 145 . . . my first boat . . . and I have a question about thigh braces. If I have my footbraces where I want them, where exactly on my thigh should the thigh braces be touching? Near the knees? Mid-thigh? No correct answer but rather a matter of personal preference?


Shouldn’t be more than 1/3 down
your thigh, and hard to see how it could end up farther.

Personal preference
I like having them engage the quadriceps starting just above the knee. Kneecap contact is uncomfortable for me.

Mid thigh would be my recommendation to most efficiently use your thighs for balance, bracing, and edging. If you are short (like me) you may need to move the seat forward to get the optimal contact.


personal preference
where they feel good and give you thigh ‘grip’.


Unless you have younger knees…
I agree with above on higher up. No lower than mid-thigh, higher up fine if possible. Any lower down and I start finding my self contorting or putting pressure on the tendons going towards kneecap and it’s nasty.

Is is possible for you to make this happen in that boat, or is the cockpit too long?

I have a Tsunami125
and I like the braces approximately “4 fingers” above the kneecap. The pads are at the furthest adjustment away from me. I am able to edge turns and control the boat well. I’m 6’2" with longer legs and shorter torso.

Part of the problem answering this
question is that some thigh braces, especially those in whitewater boats, contact the thigh over a wide area.

That said, I can’t imagine how I could get thigh braces to contact my thighs closer to my hips than mid-thigh. And I’m filling much more of the boat than most of you.

get thee to a paddleshop
or to someone knowledgeable about boat fit.

It’s hard for online advice to be very specific when

no one can see how you sit in the boat. And, depending on your body dimensions and how much boat control you want, it’s very individualized criteria.

Don’t know if you paddle skirted, but leave it off

for this:

On land, w. someone watching you, get in and try

to hipsnap the boat, moving it side to side using the thigh braces and a quick transfer of lower body shift - while your upper body remains still. The easier it is to do, and the more responsive the boat is, the better the fit.

If you are not sure what a hipsnap is, check out youtube - Expert Village has a short video that’s easy to understand.

If you are not into a close fit for rolling, you at

least want enough contact to put the boat on some kind

of edge (first degree edge, nothing dramatic). Have someone watch you try to edge the boat on water. Again, the easier and more responsive, the better the boat fits you.

If there is too much slippage, if the move takes too long,then there is too much travel between your thigh and the brace. Odds are you need more padding. Just moving the seat may or may not help - although if you need to move the seat for reasons of leg length or underthigh support, do that first, then pad out.

Very few boats are a perfect fit out of the box. It’s common to modify the points of contact at hips and at the thigh braces w. minicell foam. You can pretty much count on needing to do this unless a loose fit suits you physically and/or mentally.

Kayakers love to tweak their outfitting - join the club. It’s our version of continuous improvement.

Good luck w. it all.

personal preference NM

higher or lower?
When you guys are saying you should have them 1/3 of the way down your thigh, or up halfway, which direction do you mean as up and down? Up as in standing and up towards your body, or up front towards your knees away from your body?

Thigh Position
The closer the thigh braces are to your torso, the more power you will have in using them. So much of all of this depends on the boat, your fit in it, how high the deck is and how large the cockpit opening is. Most thigh braces fit around 6" back from the knee. Some kayaks like Necky have adjustable braces so the paddler can position them where it feels most comfortable. You want to be able to sit in your kayak on the lawn and and rock the boat from side to side almost violently with comfort and not slipping out of position. If you ever decide to learn to roll, you will need that. Plus on a beginning level, you will just feel so much more in control of your kayak whereas recreational boats have no contact and no real control other than balance. In my opinion, this is what separates a kayak from a recreational boat - thigh contact and control.

Less curved braces for chatham 17
Does anyone know if you can get less curved thigh braces that will fit a necky chatham 17? The stock ones seem to dig into my legs rather than cup them. If i could find some that were slightly less curved, or else has anyone ever tried to shim them out some?

anyone know of any?
Does anyone know of any after market thigh braces that fit the chathams?

thigh braces
Normal way to get custom thigh braces is to carve them from minicell foam and glue them to the boat. Minicell foam carves easily with an electric knife and course sandpaper aids in shaping it. Contact cement or Barge cement works well to glue them in.

Then the boat fits you.

Bill H.

Depends on width of cockpit?
I worked on adjusting the thigh braces in my Pisgah 14 the other night and what I found is that I need them to be pretty far forward, only a finger or two above my knee caps, in order for me to be comfortable. This is because the cockpit is wider at the back so the braces become further apart as I slide them toward the rear. For them to be comfortable and hug my leg, they need to be forward where my legs are furthest apart.

This may be an indication that my cockpit is wider than is ideal for me (6’ tall, 175lbs, 32" waist) but in my case width of the cockpit is clearly dictating how far foreward the thigh braces go.