I’ve spent a lot of time recently working on the outfitting in my boats and thought that it may help others if I pass on some of what I’ve learnt…
Why bother with the faff?
You buy a boat because it fits you, right? Well, yes – to a point. Falling within the right weight range and being able to cram in to it, doesn’t mean that it fits your properly. That’s why boats come with extra padding and moving bits to mess around with. But even when you’ve set up the standard outfitting, there’s still a few tweaks you can make to your outfitting to get the best out of your boat. Once it’s set up perfectly for you it should be more comfortable to sit in all day and much more responsive on the river.
Where to start?…
Your kayak needs to be trimmed correctly from bow to stern. The easiest way to do this is to get your boat on the water and sit upright in it, in the paddling position. Have a friend take a photo of your boat from the side, to show you how the boat is trimmed. Hopefully the boat should be balanced properly end to end, with the bow and the stern in line.
If the bow looks low in the water, you need to move your seat backwards
If the stern looks low in the water, you need to move your seat forwards
What you’re aiming for is a boat that is trimmed evenly, perhaps a little higher at the bow on a white water boat. In a boat with a short stern, or lots of kit in the back, this may mean moving the seat forwards to get it back to neutral. Set the trim of the boat by moving the seat, then move the footrest to adjust for leg room. This is the bit that often causes trouble with short playboats – tall paddlers often sit too far back to fit in the boat, accidentally trimming the stern too low.
It is easier to initiate the bow of a playboat on flat water with the seat further forwards, but remember, you don’t want the bow to dig in when paddling normally, or surfing a wave!
Thanks to Sammy of Jackson Kayak Coaching for the photograph!
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