Installing thigh braces into a kayak is important to create an ergonomic fit that allows your body to move as one with the kayak. Thigh braces increase your ability to make complicated manoeuvres quickly and successfully by stopping the legs from moving in an adverse way to the torso and paddling positions. When there is too much space at the sides of the thighs, it creates an unstable kayak resulting from uneven weight distribution because the legs slide from side to side. Fitting thigh braces alleviates the problem and creates a better fit to improve kayaking performance.
Using a push broom, sweep the ground of the work area clean of stones and debris that may damage the underside of the kayak. Place a blanket onto the ground to protect the kayak from scratches. Sit in the kayak in your normal paddling position with your back straight and seat centred in the cockpit.
Use a measuring tape, and measure straight across from the outer side of one thigh to the inside of the kayak hull. Take width measurements across from the top, middle and bottom of the thigh to the hull, and measure the length of your thigh. Repeat the measuring process for your other thigh.
Cut the marine-grade ready foam to the length of your thigh measurement, using a utility knife. Using the width measurements, shape the ready foam with a utility knife to match the gap between your thigh and the side of the kayak. Repeat the procedure for the other thigh brace measurements.
Sit in the kayak and hold the thigh brace into position to make sure it fits. Use a marker pen and draw around the thigh brace on the inside of the hull. Repeat the process for the second thigh brace on the other side of the cockpit.
Spread marine-grade epoxy or contact cement with a flexible plastic spreader on to the areas you marked in the hull. Spread the epoxy on to the surface of each thigh brace that adheres to the hull. Allow the glued surfaces to become tacky.
Position the thigh brace onto the glued area and hold it in position for one minute. Fasten the second thigh brace into position and hold it in place for one minute. Allow the epoxy or contact cement to cure for at least 24 hours before using the kayak.
Work in a well ventilated area while using solvent-based glue.
Tips and warnings
- Work in a well ventilated area while using solvent-based glue.