How to Install Foot Braces on a Kayak

Written by keith dooley
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How to Install Foot Braces on a Kayak
Install foot braces in a kayak for stability and control. (Kayak image by Janet Wall from

Paddling a kayak requires that the paddler sit in the opening -- or cockpit -- with his legs extending forward. It is advantageous when paddling to have a means of support for the feet; this support helps with boat control and prevents shifting. Some paddlers install foot braces in kayaks for added stability and control.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 hardwood strips, 1 inch-by-1 inch-by-16 inches
  • Foot braces
  • Permanent marker
  • Drill with bit
  • Wood file
  • Sandpaper
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Epoxy
  • Sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Select a 1- by-1-inch strip of hardwood that is 16 inches long. Choose maple, oak or similar hardwood for the project. Avoid using soft woods like pine.

  2. 2

    Sit on the ground with your back against a wall. Bend your knees slightly. Measure the distance from the wall to the bottom of your foot to determine an installation position. Move to the kayak, and measure froward from the back of the cockpit seat. Mark the previously determined installation position.

  3. 3

    Hold one of the hardwood strips inside the kayak at the marked installation position. Use a wood file and sandpaper to shape the hardwood strip so it will fit flush against the inside of the kayak.

  4. 4

    Hold the foot brace on the hardwood strip, and mark the location of mounting holes with the permanent marker.

  5. 5

    Drill two holes for mounting the foot brace to the hardwood strip. Attach the brace to the hardwood strip with stainless steel screws and a screwdriver.

  6. 6

    Apply two to three coats of epoxy to the 16-inch long hardwood strip; this is to ensure water resistance. Allow each coat of epoxy to dry before applying the next.

  7. 7

    Rough up the installation points on the inside of the kayak. Use sandpaper to prepare the kayak surface for installation of the hardwood strips and foot braces.

  8. 8

    Apply epoxy to the mounting side of the hardwood strip. Press into place at the marked installation point inside the kayak. Consider using a quickset epoxy for this application. Repeat the steps for installing a second foot brace on the opposite side of the kayak.

Tips and warnings

  • Allow the epoxy to cure thoroughly overnight before attempting to use the kayak foot braces.

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