posted on May 06, 2010 04:13
Do you find yourself rattling around in your boat like a bean in a coffee jar? Then you need some padding. A lot of people find that they struggle to control their kayak and the reason for this is that they are not in contact with the boat.
The main contact points when you are sat in your kayak are your feet, knees, hips and ass. The tighter you are fitted into your boat, the more contact and control you will have and the less times you will swim.
Mini cell foam is your padding friend as it comes in all shapes and sizes, is easy to shape, offers some flexibilty and cushioning, and does not absorb water.
You can pick mini cell up from most kayaking emporiums but failing that, a camping roll mat will do the job.
The tools you will need are: Scissors, Marker Pen, Knife, Glue, Surfoam.
Normally, the first thing that you want to pad out is the hips. If your hips aren't in contact with the seat then you will find it a lot harder to roll your kayak. Most modern boats come with hip pads. The hip pad are removable and you can add layers of foam to them to improve the fit. If the boat doesn't have hip pads then you can build them up like I have done in the picture above of my old Dragorossi Squashtail.
Sometimes, you may struggle to hold your boat on edge. This is because you are sitting too low in your kayak and need to raise your Centre Of Gravity. Try adding foam to your seat to raise your self up a little. If your boat already has a seat cover like the one found in Pyranha boats, unclip the cover and glue your foam to the plastic then put the seat cover back on top.
WARNING - Adding foam to your seat will raise your Centre Of Gravity which can make it harder to roll your boat.
The last point of contact that we'll be padding out is the knee area. You can create fairly aggressive knee blocks like the one pictured below.
In my creek boat, I wanted a milder solution so I removed the thigh braces then glued several layers of foam around where my knees are. This helps to keep my legs in one place when rolling or edging but easily allows me to exit when I need to get out in a hurry.
Once I had glued the foam in, I then used a surfoam to remove any excess foam until I was sitting comfortably. Once I had shaved off some foam, I replaced the thigh braces, swore a little bit then repeated the process again until I had a perfect fit.
Hey Presto and Abracadabra. A custom fitted boat that will fit you better and also be more comfortable and easier to control.
Top Tips: Measure Twice, Cut Once. Take your time padding out your boat, it is a lot easier to cut a little more foam off than it is to glue some back on because you got a bit scissor happy. Always glue in a well ventilated area. Wait until the glue has dried off a bit before attaching the foam to the boat or another piece of foam, a hairdryer can help in the winter months to speed this process up.