footbraces yes or no??

I was reading up on some builds on different types of kayaks.I noticed on a couple different project its almost like they left that chapter out, even though the rest was so detailed?Are the footbraces really necessary??

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RE: footbraces yes or no??

In my experience foot braces are very neccesary - in order to balance the kayak while paddling you use sort of the elevation of your knees to help use your body weight to balance.  The foot braces make it much easier and more comfortable to accomplish this.

If you were to just stretch legs out flat the kayak would become very tippy and very difficult to control... if you just tried to keep your feet flat on the bottom your legs would get tired quickly from the extra effort and ackward position.

 My opionion - don't skip the foot braces!

RE: footbraces yes or no??

As Kbperry810 said, being able to brace against something to balance your weight in the kayak is very easy with with the footbraces.  The only way I would see to eliminate them is to move the front bulkhead back to where your feet are comfortable and then build up a "wedge" of minicell foam for your feet to brace against and still be comfortable.  This also makes the boat only comfortable for you.  (Not necessarily a bad thing, just build them a boat too..:)  Everyone that uses it will not have the exact same leg length.

If your building a kit, moving a bulkhead would not be good, most everything else will not fit properly.  If it were me, I'd put footbraces in.  If I were designing a boat for my exact wishes, then I'd probably use the front bulkhead method.  That's just my 2 cents.


RE: footbraces yes or no??

Drilling a hole for footbraces is not necesary.  Check out the store for epoxy on foot brace mounts.


RE: footbraces yes or no??

Footbraces are nice, but they're far from necessary.  In fact, I rarely use mine even when I'm sprinting.  I paddle the CLC Northbay, a notoriously tippy boat and brace pretty comfortably just using my thighs.  That said, others will certainly disagree with me on this one, and the footbraces definitely help.

Like Kim said, there is no reason to drill holes if you don't like the look.  I used the "drill-less" footbrace peg mounts that CLC sells and I liked them very much.  Super easy to install and very sturdy.

I agree with Jerry about the benefit of adding the footbraces in case someone else wants to use the boat.  However, moving the bulkhead is a completely viable option as well.  I moved both of mine without much modification and no discernable impact to the boat design finished.  No one that looks at it can tell there are any internal modifications.

So, to sum up, footbraces are convenient and practical but far from necessary.  If weight is your concern, skip them and add the foam blocks Jerry mentioned.


RE: footbraces yes or no??

Yes.  Don't leave home without them.  Most is said above, but you need foot braces to get your knees up under the deck & lock you in as a part of the boat structure.  Without them you cannot roll, keep balance, use your whole body in the paddle stroke, or relieve the strain on your lower back.  Adjustable foot braces allow you to experiment with positions to suit you as well as allow your boat to be used by people who may be longer or less long.  Jer  

RE: footbraces yes or no??

Yes.  And it would be better to do them now, than to wait to find out you do indeed need them and add them later. Once the hull and top are wedded you cannot do what I did, which was mount them entirely on the inside. I epoxied three wood blocks to each side of the interior of my Wood Duck 12, after measuring carefully to see how far away my feet would be from where my copious backside would sit.  For strength I covered the blocks with a strip of fiberglass. Then I found stainless steel screws to fix the holes in the standard plastic footbraces, screwed them to the wood blocks, and squirted in additional epoxy with a syringe for more strength.  All this to avoid drilling holes in the hull and bolt on the foot braces from the outside. The less through-hull fittings the better.  The footbraces have proven to be essential for keeping balance (with a large labrador dog doing his best to provide unbalance), to allow me to use the proper stroke with a Newfoundland paddle (like you are pulling yourself along by leaning forward and grabbing a series of fenceposts) and as Jerry says, to relieve strain on the back.  You will regret it if you omit them.  

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