Pygmy Kayak

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
175
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
And from this comes my idea of a"foot swell". A 1.5" higher deck over the adjustment range of the foot pegs would allow a whole lot more people to fit inside, and fo those that want more knee room, even coming up 2-2.5" would be very helpful. I am a newbie for sure, and I have not attained a lot of experience yet with a whole lot of different kayaks, but those I have seem to fit into this design limitations a lot.
Maybe that THE reason I am seeing them for sale?
:)
It seems to me some kayaks are designed to look good and to slip through water in certain ways, but the fit of the person in the kayak seems to be an after thought. Or maybe the industry believe nearly all kayaks have size 8 feet of smaller,r and 97% weight less then 150 pounds.
Not all. MY Chatham is roomy enough for men with feet up to size 10, but it the deck were to have been made 1" taller for just that 8" over the pegs it would fit a lot more paddlers. I wear 9 and I get my feet into it easily, but only in socks or shoes with NO protrusion of the heel at all. My wife's kayak takes her size 9 woman's foot well, but I can't get into it with comfort even barefooted. I have turned down 6 used kayaks so far because of the fact I could not get into them with bare feet
Because I am not a mold maker or kayak designer, I may be missing something here, but for myself I see NO reason such decks are even made. 1" to 1.5 inches of deck height for only 8" or maybe 10" of deck length fore and aft would seem to have NO down side at all. If a paddler had room over the toes, it can't hurt them so a person with size 7 feet could fit with total comfort in such a design. But someone with a size 11 or size 12 is just unable to use (and there has not reason to buy) such a kayak. For kayak manufacturers, it seems silly to destroy 50% of your market base before you try to sell the first boat that you make. I just can't see whey they are made that way.

If and when I do start building kayaks that is one feature I intend to address. Maybe then I'll learn there IS some reason for such low decks over the foot section, but so far I can't see why ANY kayak is made with a deck that low in that area.
It just makes no sense to me at all.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,265
Location
Victoria, BC
Steve: if you paddle a few 'Freightliners' and 'barges' you will experience the opposite problem of flopping around inside a bathtub of a boat.
And short/petite people have a lot of trouble finding a commercial boat that will fit them, too.
I wear size 10 shoes and haven't had trouble getting into commecial boats I've tried (though the list isn't extremely long), wearing non-bulky paddling shoes.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
175
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Hummmm that's interesting John.

Maybe the ones I have looked at used are being sold because of that reason. I have never been to a kayak shop and as far as I know, there isn't one in those whole state. So other then the 2 new kayaks my wife bough from Old Town, I have never even seen a new kayak. But I have now seen about 25 used ones for sale and in fact have bought several of them for our little fleet, so we can loan them to the kids and parents who want to try kayaking with us.

But so far I have yet to find a "barge" or "freight-liner" for sale. The roomiest one I have ever seen or paddled so far is the own I own, the Necky Chatham17, and it is large enough for me and fit me pretty well, but if my feet were much larger it wouldn't and I only wear a 9. I have thick legs and I found the thigh braces were a bit short and only hooked over to about 11:00 on my left side and about 1:00 on my right. So it certainly was not too large in the area of my legs and feet. EVERY other sea kayak I have looked at is smaller then my Chatham. But I have never got to see any new ones. 2 others I bought for friends and brought to Wyoming recently are 2 Perception kayaks, one at 16-1/2 feet and one at 17 feet. Both are good fits for me but neither had any extra room around my toes. I fit into them, but the area over my toes was very close.


What I am finding I like is a close fit on my whole lower body from lower back to knees, but with room enough to move my feet at least 1" up and down. I can in my Chatham but only about 1/2 inch.


In my wife's Wilderness Systems Piccolo I have to point my toes forward and can't let my feet relax. Yes, I know it was made as a small persons kayak, and so I can forgive the lack of room in it for my feet. I am short at 5' 6" but I am not "small" I weigh 190 pounds. I still can use it well, and it's a fast and easy kayak to paddle and maneuver. My wife is tall at near 5' 11" and had long feet for a woman, but she can get into the Piccolo and her toes touch the deck when her heels rest on the hull. She is slim at 145 pounds. She cannot wear any shoes at all however, unless she also points her toes. I have to point mine even barefoot. It could have been made with a bit more room over the foot section and not suffered in any way ----- as far as I can see. We both like the close fit of the rest of the boat. It's easy to edge and turn, and very nice for rolling.


So in the future I hope to make some kayaks and I'll make them for individual owners, but one thing I can't see any down-side to is simply making the deck a little higher only over where the paddlers toes will be Such a clearance can't hurt anything as far as I can see. Am I missing something there? Is there any reason a clearance of about 1 to 1.5 inches over the toes would hurt? If I were to make the deck swell up about 1" over the width of the deck and about 8" back to front I am only talking about adding a very small amount of internal volume. As far as I can see the foot braces only adjust about 1 foot anyway, so having room behind the rearmost setting of the pegs is not needed, and would do nothing at all for the use of the kayak or any handling benefits. The ONLY thing I want to add is room for the toes of the paddler.

To all those out there that do have experience in kayak design; I am very interested in what I can learn from you.

One thing I like about the idea of building is the ability to actually fit the sizing to the owners. I can't see much wisdom in re-designing hulls. I am sure that is something that's been perfected many years ago. The deck and seat, back bands, thigh and hip braces, foot pegs and foot room could all be adjusted to individuals without modifying the hulls much. If I was to set myself up to make 3-4 different hulls, (narrower to wider and shorter to longer) I believe I could finish a kayak to fit almost anyoone. ( I think.)

Am I wrong?
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,265
Location
Victoria, BC
I've never designed a kayak. Building even using 'quick and dirty' techniques still takes quite a bit of time and money, so for me kayak design is akin to being my own surgeon or lawyer. Modifying an existing design (changing LOA, recessing the coskpit, raising the deck) is as far as I've gotten
I think most buyers wouldn't find the practical nature of a kayak with a 'bump-up' for the feet to be enough to compensate for the 'unnatural' appearance. People opt for (or against) particular boats based on quite superficial features sometimes. And I say this as the owner of a Thomasson Frej with a bump-up for my feet. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
175
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Yes, I see that in many aspects of the consumers world. Looks often motivate better then function.

And I'd agree about trying to design a hull. For one thing, I doubt anyone can make anything better then what the pros have given us many years ago. All my ideas to make a kayak to the exact specs I want are about slight mods to the deck and combing. I have given some thought to a shorter cockpit combing. I have short legs with only a 28" inseam, but they are thick. So a short cockpit for myself is not hard to enter or exit, but if it's short front to back it makes bracing my thighs easier and more comfortable. I don't think I want to make one round, but a short "egg" would be something I'd like to try. For those I'd make for friends I'd stick with the more standard sizes. The average cockpit fits most folks very well. That's why they are averaged. My shape is odd. Arms length, leg length and height all match a small man's proportions for someone about 5 foot 6 inches, but such men usually weigh about 130 to 135. I weigh 190-195 and I have very little body fat. Caliper tests office at my doctor say I have 6%-7% body fat. So I am thick and bulky, and buying anything that fits me perfectly (including kayaks -- so it seems) is all but impossible. I get by just fine, but to get a perfect fit I have to customize almost everything.
I have a friend named Len. I just picked up the last kayak for him and he's coming out to my place in Wyoming to pick it up from me soon. He's also a skilled wood worker and he and I are co-conspiring to set things up here for kayak making in the future. It just sounds like a lot of fun. I expect he'll be building before I am. he's retired now. I have a few years to go before I am caught up on my gunsmithing. But I like the idea of getting things thought out and ready before you need them, not just when you need them.
 
Last edited:

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,265
Location
Victoria, BC
So a short cockpit for myself is not hard to enter or exit, but if it's short front to back it makes bracing my thighs easier and more comfortable. I don't think I want to make one round, but a short "egg" would be something I'd like to try. For those I'd make for friends I'd stick with the more standard sizes. The average cockpit fits most folks very well.
Something you might find intersting is to start collecting 'specs' of the decks as kayaks pass through your hands as you find them for friends, etc. . Cockpit openings vary in shape in interesting ways and it only takes a few minutes and some posterboard to make a tracing of the inside and outside of the coaming. Placement of hatches and deck fittings varies quite a lot, too, and some (not all!) ideas are worth saving.
......kayak making in the future. It just sounds like a lot of fun.
:thumbsup:
It is. And like most crafts pursued in detail, it can be so satisfying that it seems 'addictive'. I saw this with hobby guitar building, and you must have felt the same as you dedicated your career to craftmanship at a very high level.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
175
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
My wife is trying to teach me how to use "Solid Works" on the computer, (she's a systems design engineer) but it's a steep learning curve for me. I have very close to ZERO knowledge about computers, the jargon of them, and the whole cyber world. But if I can I'll make some designs for what I want to build later, then I can make paper prints I can transfer to wood or metal frames. I know a few tricks I can use to make an inner frame to build on which will allow me to make about any shape I'd like from wood. Even deep coves and radius's are forms I learned to do many years ago in my trade doing restorations on antiques.

The issue may be if the amount of work is worth the expenditure of money and time. If it's quite expensive and/or time consuming and it doesn't actually add anything to the performance or beauty of the craft it may be something to reject right off the starting line.

I guess I'll have to see for myself.

By the time I actually start making parts I'll have quite a lot of "book learning" behind me. Looks like I am officially now in "Kayak Makers School" I expert to take a few years to get up to speed, but why not? If getting old only holds the promise of dying it would not be much fun. I want to get old and have a lot more fun doing it. (Getting old is mandatory. Growing up is optional)

So.........To you that make kayaks I'd ask:
Can I expect a lot of satisfaction and achievement
----
or can I expect the men in the white coats with the sedative drugs to visit me.
 

mick_allen

Paddler & Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
3,413
To you that make kayaks I'd ask:
Can I expect a lot of satisfaction and achievement
It's extremely simple: the more you're interested, the more satisfaction; the more useful, the more achieved.

. . . it sounds to me that you're interested and intrigued, so follow the path and modify the direction if you're attracted by side-paths along the way
. . . and the white coaters will be intrigued and may end up helping . . . and sell the drugs for materials and software or maybe flush them because you'll need capable you or capable helpers or capable consumers.
 
Top