Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

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NTR
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Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by NTR » Mon May 20, 2019 12:57 am

I’m starting to think about a fast sea kayak and the obvious models to demo are spread across the country (US). In my quest to narrow the search I’ve identified the crux of what I’m looking for—a cockpit design that allows surfski-like hip rotation/leg position AND knee braces that would support edging and rolling with a minor shift. I switch between a euroblade and a wing. I’m 180cm tall, ~74kg. Tiderace/Nelo, Stellar, Rockpool, Epic, can all be sourced but demoing their fast tourers is a different matter. Is there an obvious place to focus my energy?

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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by SJD » Mon May 20, 2019 4:39 pm

I can’t really answer your fit question but do have a lead for two potential kayaks. Kayak Academy in the Seattle area has a couple of Valley Rapiers on sale for pretty attractive prices.

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Jim
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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by Jim » Tue May 21, 2019 2:17 am

I haven't been out in my Taran as much as I should recently but have been developing my paddle stroke in WWR a lot, including hip rotation and leg drive.
Last weekend I did a 3 hour event in my Taran and whilst it was very calm so I didn't require any bracing or rolling I felt my setup would have been fine for engaging the thigh grips if I had needed to. I know I was getting good rotation and drive because I could feel it working properly throughpout the event, and about 10 minutes from the end I even started getting cramp in my left leg and could feel the difference as I worked on stretching it out whilst continuing to paddle. After using it for a sprint session on Wednesday just to re-acquaint myself before using it at the weekend, I did take the back strap out to facilitate rotation and found that made a massive improvement, the seat back is high enough to stop me pushing myself over the back, but low enough to allow rotation.

I'm afraid I don't know how other designs compare, or if I have roughly the same leg proportions as you (similar height, more weight), but based on my experience I would say the Taran is worth tracking down to try.

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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by John Goldhurst » Wed May 22, 2019 3:04 am

Where are you Located ? You are going to need to demo before deciding.

NTR
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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by NTR » Wed May 22, 2019 6:11 am

Oxnard, Cali. Agreed on demoing but if I were to try a taran, for example, it’d mean a flight. Trying to see if there’s a more local contender.

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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed May 22, 2019 9:23 am

I haven't paddled any of the designs mentioned, nor a ski, but I think I understand the rotation and leg action you're after. It's also used in sprint and marathon, and I'd expect any fast kayak to be designed to facilitate it; I'd also expect any sea kayak to be designed to allow rolling and bracing. The Taran was designed by John Willacy, who was British Champion in downriver racing for many years, and uses wings. He will have designed it to suit the way he paddles and the environment he planned to paddle it in, but I'm sure the designers of other fast sea kayaks will have had the same intent.

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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by Graham T » Wed May 22, 2019 12:42 pm

There is a lot more to a design than the criteria your looking at. The try before you buy as others have said and you acknowledge is most important no point in getting the ability for rotation of the hips and leg drive as well as to be able to roll if the package doesn't meet your other needs or you just hate the paddling characteristics.
For Surf Ski like freedom of rotation you need IMO to have no impediment from the cockpit rim. This means a rim which is either high enough, that with your own desired degree of knee bend your knees remain below the level of the rim or there is enough space to bring your knees together and up inside the rim.
I am the opposite end of the spectrum to yourself at 163cm tall and can paddle knees together in an Epic 18, Freya Hoffmeister who is around 6ft could do the same. In a Taran 16 or 18 I can have my knees below the level of the rim and do the same, but the handling of the Epic 18 and Tarans is IMO very different and the Pace Tour 17 different again.
The Epic allowed for/aft adjustment of seat position which may help, but seat shape and comfort also are important and in the Tiderace the seat surface is different and may or may not suit you for max rotation as it is not as slippery.
The Epic has a full width carbon peddle system whereas the others use foot pegs bolted to the sides of the kayaks so youre feet are positioned very differently and the leg angles changed.
For good technique a narrow catch helps and in this respect I found the Epic less good than say a Taran your mileage may vary.
If your skills/balance are up to it then while I have not paddled one the Valley Rapier is perhaps by design the kayak most likely to fit the specs youre trying to find and given Ian Tordoffs? speed in one but then can you stop mid crossing and take a pee in it er perhaps not.
They are all compromises and I hope you find one that you love to paddle, personaly I love the Tarans but now I paddle a surf ski

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Re: Cockpit design balancing hip rotation and bracing

Post by NTR » Wed May 22, 2019 8:11 pm

All fair points, and so far the anecdotal responses are helpful in affirming (if not narrowing) my focus. Nothing beats a demo but when a demo is a whole planned trip away, it’s helpful to at least know somebody w my approx shape can achieve great leg drive in a certain cockpit.

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