Builders' Forum Archives
nothing like experience
Posted by LeeG on Jul 20, 2006
John, what you're doing many others have done,,trial and error. The mass manufacturers have sold many boats from the show room floor and ten minute demos with all kinds of bells and whistles making liftable thigh support and adjustable hip pads because they knew beginning paddlers would be sold from the show room experience and not the day in day out experience. The bells and whistles with all kinds of back support and what not don't meet the problem which is lack of adequate support immediately around the sit bones the lifts the skeleton up off the sit bones and sciatic nerve.
That fit is as variable as bike seats. Sometimes there's a hard molded plastic seat that's perfect compared to a minicell carved to someone elses backside. Necky has done a clever job making a minicell seat that has the curve in the back but less on the sides to accomodate the variation in width for different sized paddlers. With ones own carved seat you can do a much better job on the sides and inside of the thighs to reduce point pressure on the sit bones.
My experience in instructing is that about 1 in six beginning paddlers will have numb legs immediately. In 15 minutes a leg gets numb and in 20 they're thinking of getting out. It's not something that conditioning or stretching will fix, it's an anatomical mismatch of seat to paddler.
I went through a few kayaks before getting a Necky with a triangular slab minicell seat. Totaly inadequate and it forced carving/solutions. A light bulb went off "tractor seat good,,flat seat bad"
After that got a Mariner Express with a fiberglass seat that was also flat,,after numerous add-ons of minicell and thermarest pads I made a glass seat molded from my butt. Second light bulb goes on,,"less effort on knees for bracing and rolling, better control in waves and steering"
After making a few four panel hard chine hulls and seats for them it was obvious that recutting the blocks and reglueing them to match the v bottom made more sense than cutting the bottom of the 3" set to fit the boat. That full 3" on the side is what makes leaning the boat more comfortable AND reduces point pressure near the sciatic nerve.
In Response to: Re: Kayak Seat by John Beck on Jul 20, 2006