Getting a new kayak is normally accompanied by a great deal of excitement. I personally become a bit like an irritating new parent – constantly talking about the new addition to my family and showing photographs to people who understandably couldn’t care less.
Unfortunately, I have also found that getting a new kayak can often be accompanied by a fair amount of agro whilst you try and get the outfitting just right, but it’s worth putting the time and effort in, otherwise you may as well save yourself lots of money and buy a sit-on-top instead!
Your seating position will build the foundation for the rest of your outfitting, so it is important to try and sort this out as a first priority. Find yourself some flat water and a friend. Ideally, you want to position your seat so that the trim is even and the boat sits fairly level in the water, although you might prefer to have a different seating position depending on your style of paddling. Use your friend to advise you on whether you are level or not and don’t forget to take your allen key so that you can fiddle around with it there and then.
I tend to start by shoving paper on to the footrest and folding it over to create a template. I then tape the template to the foam (making sure that it is the right way around) and the cut the foam with a sharp kitchen knife. It’s important to ensure that your foot cannot pass around the sides of the foam and become trapped. I then add extra layers so that the heal area is built up more than the toe area which I personally find provides the most natural and comfortable seating position and provides more protection for your ankles.
This is one must-add extra that I fit to all of my boats. The sorts of piton-based incidents that I outlined above can have as much of a painful result for your knees as they can for your ankles. A good layer of foam, not only helps to save your knee caps in such an even, but also helps to help your legs firmly into your thigh braces.