Tips on positioning thigh braces

Hey all, just wanted to get some input on how to setup my thigh braces (boat is a P&H Scorpio Mk2). With my Virgo, I’ve been paddling with them more over my kneecap, but I’m thinking that’s really not optimal. From what I’ve read, the edge of the pad should be at least a few finger widths from the kneecap. In the picture on the left, I moved the brace back as far as it would go. It’s mainly on my thigh, and if I splay my leg out further, my kneecap touches the hull of the boat. In the right leg pic, this is how the pad came stock. It covers some of my kneecap. When I try to rock the boat on land, I feel more pressure on the kneecap than the thigh, which maybe isn’t good?

In my WS Tempest, the thigh pads do seem to be mainly over my thigh, but it’s hard to compare because they also have a thinner foam extension that cushion my kneecap from the hard hull. The P&H style braces don’t have this, and seem to be designed to rest only on the thigh.

Here’s a couple of pics to show what I’m talking about:

Left leg

Right leg

2 Likes

Good question with great pics…I’ll tell you what works for me with the understanding this is a personal opinion and not the law.

A few caveates…my knees are arthritic and pressure on them is painful. I set my footbraces so that with even pressure on the footbraces my knees/legs don’t quite contact them. When set up so that they contact my leg just above the knees (thigh braces) my knees are splayed out beyond what I feel is optimal. Therefore I set the braces forward to perform as knee braces. With every stroke my knee oposite the stroke contacts the brace. Not hard but definatley there. I am not jammed into the cockpit but I fit closely for comfort and control. YMMV.

I find that when using them for my knees my legs are closer together and I am able to exert more pressure on the footpegs which aids in torso rotation with less knee discomfort. Also, I find that when edging requires that I “hang” on the braces my knees are much more effective tools than my thighs. I think about “hanging” on my left knee more than my right due to pain but feel that it is worth the price.

Bottom line is that you need to experiment with both positions and fine tune them so that they serve paddling vision.

1 Like

Hey, thanks, that is helpful! I know the common knowledge says to have the pad farther back on the thigh, but with my Virgo, I’ve had them set so they cover part of my knee, kind of like you described. I dunno. After paddling about 9 miles today with them set back onto my thighs, it seemed OK, but I could also see having them cover my knees more. The annoying thing with these P&H pads is the seem at the edge is rough, and if I have it halfway on my knee, it’s not super comfortable.

I also found that if I splay my legs to the point where my knees touch the inside of the hull, they are a bit wide. I think the boat it probably a little wide for me, TBH. If I set them like you do, where my knees are under the pad, my legs naturally rest closer together.

I think Wilderness Systems thigh braces are better because they have knee pads built in. They’re larger and just feel better on my legs. I like the P&H seat better, though. I guess I will have to experiment more. Does anyone know if there are aftermarket thigh braces that can be fitted to the P&H boats? Right now, the only thing that bugs me with their kayaks is these braces.

BTW, here’s what my leg looked like after paddling today with the brace set all the way back. It’s a little hard to see the indentation in my skin, but it’s about where the green line is. That’s where the front edge of the pad is on my leg.

1 Like

I don’t know how those blue pads are attached to the plastic/ABS/whatever brace structure but if they are removeable I would be tempted to glue some minicell in their place and shape it to fit. I’m fearless when it comes to minicell. I attend the Church of Closed Cell Foam.

I think they’re just held in place with those plastic pushpins that hold in trim on cars. I keep reading about this minicell stuff on here. Might work! I think the big issue with these, compare to the WS thigh braces, is these only go over the thigh area. The WS pads are thigh pads AND knee pads. A good idea, IMO!

In my White Water kayak I used contact cement to glue velcro strips to the inside of the hull. Then I glued multiple layers of an old yoga mat pieces together and glued velcro to them. Now I have removable thigh pads depending on how much I’m wearing on my legs.

3 Likes