White Water Kayak Outfitting - Get yourself connected
Outfitting is all the parts inside your kayak that connect you to the shell. It’s there for a good reason and it’s the link between you, the kayak and the water. Having it set-up correctly will make a massive difference to your boats performance, your comfort and ultimately your performance.
All the manufacturers offer different levels of outfitting, and this is reflected in the price of your craft. If your kayak does not have all the bells and whistles, there is still a few things you can do to improve your outfitting.
I recently took ownership of a new Dagger Axiom 8.5 Action spec. As the mid- range model for outfitting it doesn’t come full kitted out so I had to do a few things to get it how I want it, here are the things I done to get my Axiom super fitting and responsive. Axiom with standard Action outfitting.
Step 1: Add hip pads. You can glue or Velcro minicell foam directly to the seat pillar or for around €25 you can retro fit asset of hip pads that will be neater and more comfortable.
Having snug but not restrictive hip pads will make a massive difference to how you kayak reacts to your body rotation and movements. It will also improve stability!
Step 2: Raise Seat
This is not for everyone but I like to add a shim of foam to my seat to make me sit higher in the kayak. The reason is to give me a slightly more positive position and allows me to reach further with my stroke. However you do have to compromise some stability, so it’s worth trying it out to see if it works for you. Simply cut a piece of camping mat to fit your seat. You can just sit directly on it or place it under the seat pad.
Top Tip:If you sit directly on it you can use the piece of foam as a nice insulated seat for lunch on the river or for a casualty!
If you’re confident you want to keep it in your boat just pop out one of the seat buttons to slide it underneath.
Step 3: Thigh braces.
Lastly you need to adjust your thigh braces. When kayaks come out of the factory they are usually set up so anyone can jump in on the shop floor, so thigh braces are at the max forward and the seat is fully back.
It’s important to set them to fit you. So your thigh braces should be exactly that- thigh braces, not knee braces. Get your screw driver out and move them around to fit the best fit. Be careful not to over loosen some nuts, they can be a nightmare to get back!
Top Tip:Don’t over tighten your backrest, I often see paddlers hoping into their kayak and ratcheting up like crazy. You want support but not restriction of movement!
Know you are ready to hit the river and shred some lines. The difference will be incredible and you can start to unleash your kayaks and your full potential.
Ready to go, fully outfitted Axiom
This review has been put together by David Horkan, David owns and operates paddleandpedal.ie based out of Ballina in Co. Mayo. David paddles, a lot. Best thing is he paddles lots of things, different things. This gives David a unique perspective on paddle sports. David is class, try and be like David. Paddle stuff, use stuff, lots of different types of stuff.
Check him out on FB @PaddlePedal or on Instagram @dhkayaking