Seat / Leg Problems

I now have about 6 1-hour sessions in my Shearwater 17H.  I am using the kit standard tractor seat and Rapid Pulse back band along with Smart Track foot pegs and foam knee braces.  After about 15 minutes, my left leg starts going to sleep.  I can get some relief by taking the foot off the peg and stretching the leg out, but it is temporary.  I have had the seat in several locations, but no help.  This morning, after paddling for an hour, the leg would not support my weight for several minutes after I crawled out of the boat.  This afternoon I am thinking I will go back to the lake and trying a gel seat pad I won at Okoume Fest 2008 as an alternative to the tractor seat.

I am no anatomy expert so I don't know where I am cutting off blood flow or pinching a nerve or what ever I am doing.  I have checked all around the edges of the tractor seat and I am not making contact at any of the edges of the foam.  I am not keeping constant pressure on the knee braces so I don't think they are teh problem.  Help!!  Comments on similar problems and how you solved them will be appreciated.

Paul G.

4 replies:

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RE: Seat / Leg Problems


I think you're going to get a ton of replies to your very much shared problem.  I had the same kind of problems, and worst.  First I abandon using the adjustable food pegs and made a hard foam foot rest that pushed up against the forward bulkhead.  Having my knees slighly bent.  In addition and I think the most helpful was positioning my knees close together rather than the frog-leg style.  I made foam blocks on the cockpit sides to hold them together without effort.  Also of hugh help was carving a tractor style seat out of closed cell foam.  (from CLC)  Those remedies allow me to paddle for at least an hour and a half (hard paddling) while before no more than a half hour.

good luck, gene  

RE: Seat / Leg Problems

I will second both the fact that this is a common problem, and that a better fitted seat may help.  there is even an inflatable pillow /roll out there that is intended to be placed just in front of the seat to give some support to the thighs and there by reduce pressure.  I personally went for the carved minicell foam seat and have been a much happier paddler since then.  Made it around manhatten which was done in several shifts but one was at least 6 hours straight.  I was able to stand up when I got out. Of course I did take a swim about 1 hour from the end (translation, Half a roll, wet exit, assisted rescue).

Only one out of 50 in the overall group to dump that day.  The ignomy of it all.



RE: Seat / Leg Problems

Thigh support is key. CLC sells the Discovery thigh support cushion. I would never leave home without it. Carving a seat from a block of foam to fit your butt perfectly is also an excellent way to crank out many hours on the water. With a three inch block of foam, you can form it to support the curve of your hips and back. This way every square inch of your bottom is supported equally. During races, I paddle all day and through the night. With this system I have gone as long as 32 hours without leaving the boat. I was stiff, but the circulation in my legs was fine. With a stock kayak seat, particularly the happy bottom, my legs are numb and sore after about six hours.


Hope this helps.



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