I've been using the Chesapeake 17LT a fair bit recently but not as much as I hoped I would. The reasons? As well as things like life getting in the way I've also experienced quite a bit of discomfort when paddling around. The discomfort, which starts at the back of the ankles after about 15 - 20 minutes progresses to behind the knees eventually turns into painful legs and an inability to stand easily when I get out of the boat.

It's really putting me off but I'm quite a determined critter so I'm currently trying different seating arrangements - I have and use a rowing machine quite a lot as well as rowing a Skerry and I have some different seat pads available so I'm using them in addition to the moulded foam kayak seat I got from Fyne Boats in the UK. I'm also doing a lot of hamstring stretching to try and alleviate it but I'd welcome any suggestions on what might be the cause and some suitable remedies that I can try.I'm just under 6' tall so I doubt height is a problem and although I'm no youngster I'm still fit and healthy. 

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give me. 

11 replies:

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RE: Discomfort

   You might try adding some soleus stretches and gastrocnemius stretches to the hammies.  I'm recovering from pretty bad plantar fasciitus and soleus stretches are a really useful part of that.  Also, foot stretches.  Look up stretching therapy for plantar fasciitis and you'll find both foot/calf and hammie stretches.  Also, hydrate beforehand, and take breaks in the boat from paddling so you can wiggle everything around.  This whole getting old thing is for the birds!

RE: Discomfort

The foam seats that come with the kits is pretty minimalist.  We put the happy bottom seat in our boats and add Discovery seat and thigh cushions for longer paddles.  Also try different paddling shoes and/or foot peg positions to see if that helps. 

RE: Discomfort

Discomfort is a pretty awful thing. Assuming the boat is basically the correct size, the good news is that you can usually resolve the problem by experimenting with the seat.

basically the little pad that comes with the kit, IMHO, is typically inadequate for comfort.  i had a long bout of dealing with discomfort, but once i got it worked out, it was over with.

my first recommendation is that if you ever have sat in a kayak that was comfortable, closely examine its configuration.  that said, what you will typically find in comfortable high end kayaks is a relatively bucketed seat with significant upward pitch from the butt towards your thighs.

one way i have found to do this relatively inexpensively is to take a happy bottom pad or a hot seat grande and shim it to pitch it up with some spare minicell foam.  another option is to buy a pre-carved seat blank from redfish kayak http://www.redfishkayak.com/foam.htm which i have had great success with.  if you look at their site you will notice this upward pitch i am referring to.

you can, of course, carve your own seat.    

accept that it will be a bit of an experiment.....but it can get worked out.


RE: Discomfort

   Thanks for the replies. I live in Turkey so simply buying and trying different seats could be expensive with shipping costs and import taxes so I'll experiment with what I can find locally to start with. I Googled 'kayaking leg pain' and it would appear it's quite common. I came on this blog by a kayaker who is also a physiotherapist and he suggests more and different stretches so that will be happening. 

I'll let you know how it all goes!


RE: Discomfort

   Yes, I have the same thing. Perhaps with a little more "old bones."  In my case the back of the cockpit hit me too high up the back.  I raised the seat about 3/4" to 1".  I also got a new pair of water shoes with stiffer soles and better heal support (on the side). 

RE: Discomfort

   In relatively calm water I'll also lift the skirt and bend a knee up reliefing some of the stiffness. Note knee up out of the cockpit is not a stable position. 


I have also stopped in the shallows on a paddle where we couldn't go ashore and stood in knee deep water next to the boat to gain some relief. I have similar problems in both kayaks my Cheasapeak and my Old Towne. 

RE: Discomfort


You might want to consider the WD series. I have a 41 year old knee injury that, besides being a reasonably accurate barometer, doesn't want me keeping my leg in one position. With my WD12 I'm able to do the normal position, or lift one or both legs so that my knees ar pushing up against the skirt, or take one or both legs off the footrests entirely and lay them flat on the bottom or even cross my legs.

I can also hang either or both legs out of the cockpit. For a real change I can even slide forward and lie down in the boat, either on my back or roll onto my stomach.

All of those configurations are stable. For those of us whose misspent youth is finally demanding payment, the WD cockpit is a wonderful thing to have.



RE: Discomfort


You are likely right. But I'm in denighal. (sp?)  I still keep my agressive bonded alumium frame skinny tire road bike in the garage with fleeting dreams of another century. Just dreams.   WD 14 looks long enough. The 30" beam certainly adds stability and ability to carry a load, but how fast is it? Is it a 2 mph drifter or a 4-5 mph mover?  


I like my Cheasapeake 17. It holds a great deal for those camping trips. It is narrow enough I can be in the front of the group with ease, or go back and check on the stragglers. On the Suwannee when there is a particularily good shoal we will paddle back up stream so we can take it again. I wouldn't do that with my shorter, wider boats.


 My youngish wife paddles a high dollar fiberglass Valley seakayak. It is a "fast sea kayak" rating a step  above my "sea kayak" rated C-17.  She has to work to keep up when I paddle the C-17. ;-)  Besides I routinely paddle with a couple of 80 year old women. They are suprisingly fast.  I can't fall behind. 


RE: Discomfort

   Thought I would resurrect this thread to let those interested know that I seem to have found a solution to sore legs. Certainly stretching helped the legs but then I found that my feet were going numb. This didn't appear to be a circulation problem as I didn't get 'pins and needles' when the feeling came back but it was a bit disconcerting and thoughts of deep vein thrombosis started creeping into my head.

I needed to do something or maybe look for a buyer and I didn't really want to do that.  :(  Then somebody mentioned the 'Sweet Cheeks' seat so I dropped the Friday night beer consumption and purchased one on-line from the Canoe and Kayak store in the UK. Along with stretching exercises, the Sweet Cheeks' seems to have sorted the issue! Two hours continuous paddling today on a run around the coast and no pain, no numb feet, no discomfort. The Sweet Cheeks was a wee bit pricey for me but it seems to be worth it.  

RE: Discomfort

Paddling ok, but do the Sweet Cheeks the same  good job for rowers too?

RE: Discomfort

   I don't know ruud! Unfortunately I'll be taking the Skerry out of the water later this week so I won't be doing a rowing test until next May at the earliest. Sorry bud. 

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