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How to Sit in a Kayak: Cockpit Overview

In order to control the kayak and get it to do what you'd like it to do, you need to be well connected to the kayak. Your connection points to the kayak are all inside the cockpit, basically below this cockpit combing. The first part of your connection is going to be where your seat goes, and your seat goes, not surprisingly, in the seat of the kayak.

On each side of your seat you'll find hip pads, so your hips on each side are supported by these pads. Your small of your back is supported by the back band and the back band is adjustable to be pulled tighter or loosen to allow you to sit in a solid upright position. So you've got your seat, hip pads, back band and then we move forward a little bit to your thigh braces and your thigh braces are on each side of the boat; so you now have connectivity from your seat, your back band, your hip pads and your thigh braces, and the things that we've got left, you can't see from here, are the foot pegs or foot braces that we're going to take a look at in just a minute.

All right, so here we are looking at the inside of the kayak cockpit from deep inside the kayak's cockpit. Closest to your camera lens, and 1 on each side, are the foot braces, and these foot braces are adjustable, forward and back to fit the legs, leg length of the paddler paddling the kayak. Coming backward from there, we've got some little bungee cords here, these are designed to put a water bottle or safety equipment or a life jacket or whatever else you might want to put in here.

Going back from there you've got the seat itself, and on either side of the seat, you have the hip pads that will give you a nice snug fit while sitting in the kayak. Here you can see the entire thigh brace. The thigh brace isn't just on the top of the kayak or the top of the thigh, it actually wraps all around, giving you a really nice snug fit, which is quite comfortable and allows you, again, more control of the kayak as you shift your weight from side to side.

All the way back aft here is the back band. And the back band as we looked at earlier is also adjustable to allow you to sit upright, which will give you the best opportunity to use your torso to provide power to your strokes and maneuver the kayak like you want to. So there you have it, inside the cockpit from inside the cockpit.

Let's take a look at this kayak outfitting and how you would be using it from the top, rather than inside the kayak. You're going to be seated in the kayak and you're going to pull up the back band so that it allows you to sit up nice and straight in the kayak. So there's an adjustment. You would have your hip pads here so that you've got just enough room to, perhaps put your fingers down between your hips and the hip pads so that they're not applying too much pressure. So just about here. Some people like them tighter, some like them looser but you wouldn't want a lot of slack room in between, nor would you want them so tight that they were uncomfortable.

The foot braces are what adjusts the curvature of your leg to fit into the thigh brace, so you'll need to have your foot braces pulled back far enough so that it is easy when you're relaxed to keep your leg engaged with the thigh brace, but not so tightly that you can't just slide your heels together and remove your legs. This allows me to have solid contact at the hip, back, seat, thigh braces, and in the feet with the kayak.

That's what you want when you're going to be maneuvering the kayak, whether you're going forward, backward, turning, sideways etc.; good solid contact with the kayak. You want to have your foot braces adjusted so that they're tight enough, that your legs when you just have the balls of your feet on the foot pegs, that your legs will easily fit up snugly against the thigh brace. You wouldn't want to have them so tight that you couldn't slide your heels together and get your legs out of the kayak to disengage them from the foot pegs.

This has been Mike Aronoff with Canoe Kayak and Paddle Company (CKAPCO). I hope we'll be seeing you on the water! 

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