I recently bought my first touring/sea kayak, a used Current Designs Squamish. It’s probably circa 2010 so I think it has one of the early type seats. I think I read somewhere that in theory, the back rest is only supposed to keep your butt from sliding off the back of the seat, but I need more lumbar support than that. I can’t keep myself erect without my back muscles starting to hurt. It feels like if I could tilt the seat back forward it would help, but this seat back only goes to perpendicular. What are some solutions to this? What search terms would help me find other posts on the same topic?
A backband is the most common solution
You can clamp it in till you find the best position then drill it. At Barrier Islands Symposium I seen surf kayakers using a 3" wide foam pillar between hull and coaming, you can shape it for support where you need it. Email if you want more info.
A lot has been discussed in the past.
After having several backbands on different boats some will work well on certain boats and be terrible on other boats. I think it depends on your seat pan design. This had worked the best in one CD boat I had and is the most expensive.
In other boats a cheapy from Ebay worked great.
Some will tell you to strengthen your stomach muscles to take pressure off your back. Easier said than done.
Get some 1/2" sheets of minicell to pad the seat back as needed. The unavoidable reality is that your back is sore because your core muscles aren’t supporting you well enough so hit the problem from both sides. Practice sitting at home and pad out the seat. Sitting four or five times a week will do more than waiting until paddling to develop better postural muscles.
Yoga & IR
No that’s not a new fad, Infra Red Yoga. Catchy though.
As mentioned, start your winter core workouts and get something along the lines of an Immersion Research Loungeband Backband.
See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Wouldn’t core exercises be
more helpful than just sitting?
The OP can start off easy with a few leg lifts, increasing the number as he gets stronger. Won’t take long to work up to three sets of 15-20 lifts and can be done while watching the evening news.
The plank is also beneficial.
I already do 20 min of back exercises a day so that isn’t the answer. It’s going to take some sort of seat back replacement or adjustment. But thanks for the suggestions so far.
I discovered a similar system from CD
I just discovered that Current Designs offers a seat back, seen in their video on their seating system at about 2:30
It’s pricey at $80 but it might be a good choice since it is one of their boats, albeit an older one:
I think I"ve seen a similar system on some other manufacturers Kayaks. Is anybody familiar with how well those work or don’t work?
see a physician
Rookie has got it, targeting core muscles and the other muscles that can relieve your back of some load will help. If your exercises right now aren't helping, it may be because they're not the most appropriate for your condition.
You do not want to be dependent on a backrest in a sea kayak, for a number of reasons, including the possibility, believe it or not, of causing more problems for your back.
All muscles need to rest at some point
The right seat back will support your back in the just the right place to provide relief from constant effort. What works for others might not work for you.
I’ve sat in the Dimension seat and thought it was pretty good. Call Current Designs and ask if it will work with your kayak.
Sometimes a seat back needs a cushion. I use this one because it has holes for a cord to attach it to the seat back: http://www.campsaver.com/lightweight-series-air-pad-seat. Helps a lot for me personally.
for your comment on having sat in the Dimension seat back. A sale just started today so it’s $56 shipped instead of the usual $80. The height of the seat seems to be the problem for me, so that adjustment on the Dimension should solve the problem. CD’s site says it fits previous versions of the Squamish.
I didn’t paddle it
I sat in it for about 20 minutes in a CD Vision. I thought it was better than most seats.
I think it was less than 15 minutes till my back started to bother me in the Squamish’s seat. My back doesn’t particularly bother me in my rec boat with support that’s a little higher although after a few hours of paddling it feels good to adjust the seat or stand up and move around.
Current Designs Dimension Seat back
The new style seat back arrived via UPS last week and I got to try it out over the weekend. What an improvement. It dropped right into the slot for the previous seat and the adjustment straps screwed into the same holes as the old seat, so it was a 15 minute installation. The height of the seat back can be adjusted while on the water, but adjusting the strap for the degree of support is better done before you leave shore - at least I couldn’t adjust the strap while in the kayak. The seat back is much more comfortable. I didn’t last more than 15 minutes with the original seat back. I paddled for 2 hours with the new seat back and didn’t get back pain. The new CD kayaks have seat backs with the seat back strap adjustment located on the right side of the hull rather than behind the seat as with the Dimension seat back. If I could come up with a way to install the adjustment buckle to the hull like the new models, it would be another step forward.