Whitewater Thigh Braces????


I am new to whitewater kayaking. I have an older boat…Dagger AQII.

It seems to be a good boat but I have had trouble with the thigh braces.

They are very aggressive and wrap around your knees almost completely. This makes it very difficult to get in and out of the boat----almost impossible. I went ahead and removed them and just brace my knees on the combing.

Is this a common problem with WW Boats? Do many people remove the thigh braces?

One thing I thought of that makes me think about maybe putting them back in is perhaps loosening the back band for entry and exit and then tightening it once you are in the boat. I think this might help. Is this a common practice? Maybe this is what I should have done.

Please advise.



Don’t know for sure about the AQII
But for its other older boats (Animas, RPM, Piedra, etc.) Dagger made a less agressive version of the thigh braces. You might check that out. Or, just make some out of minicell foam. Unless the boat is designed to use the inside of the deck for thigh braces (older Riot boats are so designed) you really need some kind of thigh/knee support to be able to adequately control your boat. As to your other question, loosen your back band to get in and out of the boat when launching or landing. Tighten it once you are in. But you should be able to wet exit with the back band tight. If you can’t then it may be that the boat does not fit you.

less aggressive braces
Boats from that era had insanely big/hooked thigh braces.

Measure your cockpit. If it’s 34 x 19, then it’s the standard Dagger mold, and you should be able to order a replacement set of ‘less aggressive’ (Dagger’s name) RPM thigh braces for it. Assuming, of course, that Watermark didn’t cease production of those parts when they bought out Dagger. The RPM is still in production, so I would guess that the braces are still available…

Another option

– Last Updated: Oct-18-04 11:25 AM EST –

You could reinstall the braces you have, and trim the inside edges back until you're comfortable with them.

I've never seen a whitewater boat without some kind of thigh braces.

AQII not the Dagger universal cockpit
design. The thigh braces may still work, but if it were me, I’d have the boat handy for fit before I bought new braces. Brian Nystrom has a nice webshots album on making minicel thigh braces: http://community.webshots.com/album/62890111LevzQW

If I remember correctly, the AQII had a 30" cockpit, so for easy exit in WW conditions, I wouldn’t recommend the masik style.


My solution… Cut off the offending
part of the thigh brace hooks. When you have them the way you want for easy-enough entry/exit plus adequate support for control and rolling, then clean the inside of the cut hooks, wash with alcohol and acetone, sand the inner surfaces, and then glue in some pieces of minicell cut to firm-up the thigh hooks. I use various sticky adhesives, NOT contact cement, but things like Aquaseal (expensive) or a Dupont white caulk/seal/glue which hardens in a day +, and stays flexible. Finally, if you are concerned about the strength of the cut-and-stuffed thigh hooks, you can drill throught the top and bottom and lace them with wire ties, nylon cord, whatever suits you.

I have done this on two boats, a Perception Corsica and a Dagger Animas, and the result is quite firm and accomodating.

Minicell foam???
Where can I get some of this minicell foam? Sounds like something I would like to experiment with.

Good point made above, these are insane hook-like thigh braces. Way overdone and PAINFULL!!! They really bruise the crap out of your shins getting in and out…especially if you have to do a wet exit.



You can get minicell in different sizes and shapes from the Northwest River Supply website. They also sell pre-formed hip pads, footpads and thighpads, and h2glue to secure it all.