Kayak Seats

I am planning my next build which will be a Shearwater 17 Hybrid.  I am in much agony over the seat and, being on the West Coast I cannot run down to CLC and try some out.  Recognizing that all bodies are different, I would appreciate some comparisons between the Happy Bottom seat in combination with the Rapid pulse Back Band and the Creature Comfort Seat.

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RE: Kayak Seats

Dear Paul,

     I finished a Shearwater 17 Hybrid mid-summer.  It was a fun project to do!!  I too had anxious moments about the seating... I was not too excited initially about the standard CLC mini-cell.   So I special order a very comfortable seat from Current Designs... the same one I had in my Kestrel.  But.... when I put it in, it was way too high.... uncomfortably tight knees.  So I took it out and simply put in the "default" from CLC, and found it really very fine.  The Rapid Pulse backband was tight and secure. (though I did add a velcroed half-round lumber pillow to the back band).  I tested the happy bottom, and a similar creature comfort seat at a local paddle shop, and found them no better than the basic CLC pad seat.  The manual suggests simply double-taping the seat in until you find the right position.  You could do this to temporarily check it out... you might save yourself $50!!  Good luck with the Shearwater!  (P.S.  I found the Shearwater to be sporty, and very responive... fast... and a bit too tippy for me.  I will sell this winter and build a different boat)  Thanks.. 

RE: Kayak Seats

I built a Shearwater last winter and used the stock minicell and kit supplied backrest.

No problems to report and I have made trips up to 5 hours in my shearwater with a half time for lunch and stretch the legs.

Not having a problem with the minicell, I wouldn't be looking to use another seat and raise your center of gravity. Shearwaters are known for being tippy/sporty, not a beginners boat, altough using a beginners boat will do nothing to help you in a kayak like the shearwater. Many people give up on them as being too difficult to paddle and have a good time but I feel this is due to people not giving the boat a chance. You have to put your time in and become one with the boat. I even set anchor and eat lunch in my shearwater, they are just not that tippy at 23"+ for a beam.

Back to the seat, between the minicell seat and minicell knee braces, this provides for a snug fit and provides adequate cushion, in my experience. Puffy seats are best used in high volume cockpits where you need to try to snug up the fit a little bit.


RE: Kayak Seats

Thanks for the input guys.  I was unaware that these special seats jack you up a bit.  I paddled the Shearwater 17 at okuome fest last spring and was really comfortable with the stability.  I suspect that demo boat had the standard seat.  Sounds like a good chance to save a few bucks.  My MC 16.5 with rowing rig felt tender the first day I launched, but that sense is long gone now.  It all takes a little practice.

RE: Kayak Seats

Anybody tried a Skwoosh seat?



RE: Kayak Seats

slightly off topic but I have a shearwater hybrid 17 and struggling with the tippiness on the SF bay.  I am actually disappointed but I've decided to make a big effort to learn the boat.  However sadly I don't think it will ever be the boat for me for rougher weather or seas.  If anyone has a recommendation for a kayak for rougher water I would appreciate it.

Also, I was happy with the stock seat that came with my shearwater but I never permanently installed the seat, just never got around to it and last night I forgot to remove from the kayak and lost the seat and now need to figure out what to replace it.   So...learn from my laziness.  I can afford the redfish seat that looks so appealing but really the stock seat was fine. 



shearwater contruction http://www.flickr.com/photos/greyskies/sets/72157625896454156/

RE: Kayak Seats

something I did with my ch18 and you could try if you want to experiment with seats. Attach the stock kit seat to two pieces of okoume (2 pieces so the seat conforms to the bottom of the boat and provides a channel for water). Attach to the hull with 2 inch self adhesive velcro. You can then move the seat fore or aft, remove for cleaning out he boat or swap out different seats. I ended up sticking a grande hot seat on top of the stock one and it's very comfortable. still not done with seat experimentation tho' 

RE: Kayak Seats

Get the Redfish seat. Not the whole seat but just the seat blank. It is a 4" thick minicell block with only the sculpted butt area finished. You shape the rest of it. It is much cheaper.

Use with a rapid pulse backband or similar.

Most comfortable.

The 3" deep recess gives support for the back. The backband adds just a little more support. The rest from your abs.

There are several videos that show how "easy" it is to make the sculpted blank yourself using an angle grinder and/or dragons skin. Not worth the efffort unless it is important that you do it yourself.





RE: Kayak Seats

I would respectfully disagree that it is not worth your time, it is really not that difficult, and doesn't take that much time. I was able to customize my seat until it was entirely to my liking and fit to my boat, and have since helped owners of plastic boats do the same.

RE: Kayak Seats

Rapid Pulse Back Band is a piece of crap.  I have one to give away.


RE: Kayak Seats

Kim , What is it about it that you dont like,

Just curiouse

Kind regards Locky......

RE: Kayak Seats

For my recreational kayaking the stock seat has done just fine. I attached it with velcro and when I lost it driving down the freeway w/out the cockpit cover I replaced it with the same stock seat. However, I decided I wanted a taller backband so I now use a Performance Back band and like it.

RE: Kayak Seats

Can never get the back band set properly. I prefer a fixed block of foam. 


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