Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Pimp my Ride: with Knee Blocks
On this edition of Pimp my Ride I'll be making the suggestion of knee blocks. The use of foam knee blocks will greatly improve one's boat control and comfort while kayaking. Knee blocks allow both legs to work together as a team. As one knee is lifting up to lift an edge the other knee is able to push down. This allows greater boat control because the knees are always in contact with the boat. I use the analogy, "If your knees are not in contact with the boat it is the same as driving a car without your hands on the steering wheel." In addition to performance, foam knee blocks will greatly improve the comfort level of your boat. Having the knee rest against a piece of foam is much better than the knee resting against the boat plastic.
Why Knee Blocks?
-Greater boat control due to the knees always having contact with the boat.
-Knee blocks allows ones knees to rest in an, "engaged," position. If you aren't using knee blocks you will use more energy by engaging your abdominal muscles to hold your legs in place. Basically you are always doing a sit-up. Knee blocks will allow you to use less energy for holding good posture so you can save your energy for maneuvering the kayak.
-Knee blocks will help resist the urge of straighting the legs when one goes into a defensive position.
-People with smaller builds will find it makes the boat a custom fit. I have a small build and often times I feel like I'm swimming inside a creek boat. This takes care of that problem.
-Foam is much more comfortable than boat plastic.
-With foam everyone can make a custom fit.
Riot provides a pair of knee blocks with their creek and river running boats. I like the knee blocks so much I have also installed them in my playboat. If you don't paddle a Riot boat you can still make a pair of knee blocks and glue them in your personal boat. Try it and I promise you'll love it.
Installing knee blocks:
1. Cut out and shape foam to look like the knee blocks in the photos.
2. Sit in your boat with good posture pulling up slightly on your knees. Place the knee block in position so that it is holding your leg in place. Once you have it where you want it take a magic marker and outline all around the knee block.
3. Add glue, (I use DAP contact cement) to both the knee blocks and the boat. I like to add one layer of glue, let it dry for about five minutes then add two more layers. I find that three layers is perfect and will almost always hold the foam in place.
4. Once the glue looks dry place it inside the kayak where you outlined the position of the knee blocks. I will usually go about 1/2 inch higher than the outline because I like a snug fit.
5. Let it dry about 24 hours, go kayaking and enjoy a custom fit boat.
Hope this helps.