Padding - how snug

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Grian
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Padding - how snug

Post by Grian »

How snugly does your boat fit your hips?

Recently I participated in a rolling clinic with Sea Kayak Argyll & Bute. It totally exceeded my expectations and by the end of the session I did a screw roll a couple of times unaided. Helped greatly by preparatory dry land drills in the Rolling Machine™ https://www.facebook.com/kayakargyll/vi ... %26%20bute. Definitely going back, and for a forward paddling technique session if I can find other participants to make up numbers...

I was able to take my Romany into the pool which was lovely, really nice to have that experience in my own boat, but I ended up with a very big coaming-shaped bruise on my downhill hip where I was contacting the side as I pivoted around.

My only previous experience was one d.i.y. pool session using a whitewater boat and floating off the back deck holding a float, tucking and returning to that position as per the Cherri Perry dvd - 'don't be a rockhead...' I had no bruises after this and I don't know if that was because the padding in that boat held me more in the centre, or just that the back-finishing motion doesn't cause the same contact with the side, or it could be that I just bruised easily because its not a part that usually encounters pressure and I would toughen up in time.

There isn't a vast amount of space between me and the sides of the boat but I was definitely sliding across the seat a bit while righting it, so assuming I should be snugger I am going to add padding. A forum member has kindly given me advice on how to do this, I was just curious how tightly people generally like to fit. Hard to describe I know, but do you have to push yourself in...? My partners' boat has shop bought pads which are really hard and have a domed profile and having to squeeze between those for any amount of time would be really uncomfortable.

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by PlymouthDamo »

I have no hip padding in any of my sea kayaks. When I roll, my backside slides across the seat and my hip drops to the lowest side of the boat. I've experimented with padding and found I couldn't do some types of roll which I otherwise could - because my centre of gravity was being held higher when I'm on my side.

As far as I know, hip padding is to give you better control of your boat for edging etc. I don't find not having it to be a problem - the deck of my low-volume boat is wrapped round my thighs, which gives me all the contact I want. I haven't had any issues with bruising either. Maybe there's something pointy sticking out in the side of your cockpit? Or were you only wearing swimming gear for the pool session? A little padding from dry trousers makes a lot of difference.

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Hello Grian when I paddled WW boats I used to pad my kayaks really tight. When I moved to sea kayaking I still padded out the contact points pretty snugly. I have recently lost 4 stone and am enjoying the freedom and comfort of more space. I have no intention of increasing the padding to make up for the weight loss. Perhaps since I have started to paddle a surf ski in rough water I have realised that I don't need to be jammed in to control a boat. However, you don't roll surfskis and what might suit a pool rolling session might be torture at the end of a 40km day in a sea kayak. Another thing to bear in mind about pool sessions, and I used to go weekly, is that you will not be wearing a dry suit and thermal layers. Rather than permanently padding your boat out for the pool think about getting it right for how you use the boat more often and perhaps investigate removable padding for the pool sessions.

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Grian
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Grian »

Oh well thats interesting! Thanks both.

I thought padding would only be an advantage.

Perhaps bruising is just down to the thin rash guard layers then. Nothing sticking out of boat, and after a few days the iphone sized purple patch took on a very specific coaming shape. It was also immediate uncomfortable pivoting against the coaming, so that is the offending part I'd say.

I fit a tiderace xplore small and an lv cetus, so while certainly not petite probably have a good amount of room in the Romany. To pad or not??!

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by pathbrae »

Try padding the contact points under the coming / deck a little rather than padding the seat. I always end up with scrapes and bruises after a pool session, probably in part due to the number of times I'll roll in nice clean warm water as opposed to cold sea water but mostly due to the lack of layers between me and the boat in a pool.
Thin padding under the deck where your knees contact the boat and under the coming where your thighs grip the boat in a roll definitely adds to the overall comfort in the boat without being in any way restrictive.
I used to like a fairly tight fit in my river play boats but have never found any need for the same in anything else I've paddled.
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Grian
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Grian »

Thanks Pathbrae, I'm glad to know its quite normal to bruise and scrape. I was also maximising repetitions!

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by SeaSpirit »

I have found these very helpful in padding-out in my Romany Classic; they come with various thickness shim options and the pads are easily removed/adjusted.

https://www.escape-watersports.co.uk/eq ... gI2evD_BwE

Hope this helps.
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Mac50L »

At our annual training weekend we often have a session on how to pad the cockpit so there is no sliding across the seat. The thicker padding is such that there is a little force to get into the seat. The foam pressure is off once seated as it is against the lower pelvis / hip joints getting in and which are below it once seated.

My own kayaks now (last 3 decades) have side panels (wooden sea kayaks) so I can just feel them. It gives a great deal more confidence as I know "where the kayak is". I haven't, though could, glue some thin foam on to those panels.

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Grian
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Grian »

Mac50L wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:03 am
At our annual training weekend we often have a session on how to pad the cockpit so there is no sliding across the seat. The thicker padding is such that there is a little force to get into the seat. The foam pressure is off once seated as it is against the lower pelvis / hip joints getting in and which are below it once seated.

My own kayaks now (last 3 decades) have side panels (wooden sea kayaks) so I can just feel them. It gives a great deal more confidence as I know "where the kayak is". I haven't, though could, glue some thin foam on to those panels.
Thank you. That sounds a good amount and placement to start with. As always interesting that there are different approaches.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Chris Bolton »

Padding for rolling and padding for paddling may require a compromise. There are two schools of thought on padding sea kayaks, based on what kind of paddling people do and their background. You can either follow whitewater practice, pad the boat out tight and control the edge, or do as marathon K1paddlers do and sit upright in the boat with no knee contact and let the boat move as the water dictates. Being able to move about is also useful if you have a jammed skeg or similar and need to hold the boat on one edge for a while.

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Jim
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Jim »

I think you would be as well making up some loose foam shims to use for pool sessions where you are going to be doing intense rolling practise just to prevent bruising. You already know you don't need the padding to roll, it is just for comfort when practising.

Like others I have a range of boats with a range of different outfitting configurations.
Freestyle kayak - very tightly padded, get pins and needles/numbness after a few minutes of sitting in the eddy (actually doing tricks maintains blood flow and feels fine)
Creek kayak - fairly tight around hips but with ratchet backstrap so I can slacken off on flat sections, tighten up for rapids.
Slalom Kayak - just enough foam on the seat and above knees to stop me sliding around in it
Slalom C1 - never tight enough! even with thigh straps I can still slip
WWR kayak - seat is quite narrow on me but no padding to allow maximum roatation of my hips, thigh bars and footrest positioned so I can sit reaxed without pressing on the thigh bars to help with efficient paddling, but also can spread my knees and lock in tight enough on rough sections
WWR C1 - work in progress, similar to slalom C1 outfit but different geometry - I am aiming to lock my legs into the boat but will still have full rotation at the hips because I'm kneeling.
OC1 - Pretty tightly padded, knees go into holes in the bulkhead and feet onto pegs behind me lower body fairly well locked in. I have a high backrest on the saddle (to help keep my forward in the knee holes) but don't use hip pads (many people do) because I like to be able to move my hips/waist around
Sea kayaks - Fairly loose all things told. I am a backrest user and my footrests are set so I can move my knees around to different positions a bit like in WWR so I can be loose and relaxed or get a grip in rougher conditions.

The boats I capsize most tend to be the tightest padded - Freestyle is about deliberately capsizing in stylish ways, my sea kayaks with virtually no padding, I still haven't actually capsized.

I think it was Chris Bolton who pointed out once, that marathon boats rarely capsize, the paddlers might fall out a lot but having tipped enough to eject the paddler, the boat normally stays upright - so if we can keep ourselves properly in balance in the boat (I can't) we don't need to padded to the boat, we are only using contact for transferring power and steering, not for stability.... I suspect that would be an unattainable ideal for many of us, but it might be worth working towards?

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Chris Bolton »

marathon boats rarely capsize, the paddlers might fall out a lot but having tipped enough to eject the paddler, the boat normally stays upright
True for my high-kneeler C1, I haven't spent enough time in a K1 to fall out. I'm sure, Jim, you could do a calculation for metacentric height with the paddler's mass at their CofG rigidly attached to the boat, and with the same mass placed on the seat with nominal thickness (which, I think, is what is effectively happening if you are balancing yourself in the boat).

Re WWR C1, you do need to be tight to the bottom of the hull, but I would not recommend spreading your knees like a slalom boat (if that's your plan). You need to be able to edge to your offside to help steering. It helps to have a hip pad at cockpit rim level but, as you say, not tight.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Jim »

I think my WWR C1 knee position is a bit wider than some but is not as wide as I go in slalom C1 - I wasn't planning to change that because it seems to work (just needs practice), but I do need to make a slightly wider seat with a back part to help me stay in the straps if I go upside down again. I have been chatting to our top current C1 paddlers about outfitting, just need to find time to do it, and practice.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by seawolf856 »

When I first got into sea kayaking a mere 5 years ago, I was fortunate enough to accidentally find myself being taught by one of the top sea kayak coaches, based on Anglesey. The first and best piece if advice I was given was to loosen my points of contact. That was an absolute revelation and ever since, I have tried to paddle my sea boat with as little permanent contact as possible. When sat in the boat for hours and hours in swell and chop, you have to be relaxed and comfortable and the boat has to be able to move around without being continually corrected by the paddler, otherwise the whole experience feels twitchy and tense. If you are too tight in the boat, every slight bit of tension transfers to the boat and that is why beginners especially experience that 'tippy' feeling in a sea kayak.
When it comes to rolling a sea kayak, no matter how much practice you get in a pool, the sea is a very different place and it is imperative that you learn to roll and continue to practice your roll with all your clothing, dry suit, pfd and safety gear on. Even with a loose fit, the amount of clothing you will be wearing when 'dressed for immersion' will offer you a degree of padding.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by PeterG »

I'm very loose in the boat but with an ocean cockpit something always grips somewhere if needed. Repeated rolling in the pool can give me bruises, especially trying something new and snappy. However, in the real world the odd roll in surf or breaking waves is always painless. I go back to a relaxed style, no particular hurry, constant leg pressure until I'm floating out to the side, a last check if the paddle is anywhere suitable and a gentle final twist of the whole body. Nothing is pressing hard anywhere.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Grian »

PeterG wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:08 pm
a last check if the paddle is anywhere suitable...
You make that sound so lovely and whimsical!

It's very true as pointed out by several people that I'm unlikely to spend two hours in the sea practicing repeatedly while wearing a very thin layer, so a contusion in that context is unlikely. I'll be sure to set up to prevent it for my next pool session though - it seems adipose tissue bruises particularly easily...!

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by GrahamC »

I came to sea kayaking after paddling K1 marathon boats where there is very little contact, and certainly no hip padding. I do find that some padding is useful (a gap of probably and inch or so each side) and I also don't use a seat back. I find the freedom that this gives allows me far easier re-entry and flexibility (full laybacks) in the boat yet I can still use my thighs to grip the boat and stay in. When I paddle boats with a seat back I feel far too restricted.
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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Colin C »

For me its a balance of being able to transfer intended movement when rolling, and begin comfortable in the boat for long periods. As you are aware most of the rolling movement is from the body and if you cant have contact with the boat or have a long distance to travel before connecting then I feel you are wasting energy and opportunity to start coming up. I balance this with the requirement to be comfortable, and being able to move about in the boat.If your roll is efficient and sound I think that this would allow you to have a little more room than would otherwise be the case. I have enough space, but if I tense up key body parts come in contact with the boat, but when relaxed I can move about, my hips have some space but I prefer to only have to move a little to lock in.

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Re: Padding - how snug

Post by Chris Bolton »

Provided your position in the boat is something you control, a bit of movement can help rolling. I can twist my position in the boat so that I can get my upper body in the right place to start the roll, paddle on the surface, etc. When I was younger I had the flexibility to do that while my lower half was fixed solidly, but I can't do that now. That same ability to move within the boat means I can use knee pressure etc to flick the boat upright once I've started the roll.

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