Seawave 2: fitting a footrest tube

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Owning several Gumotex IKs with the rubbish footrest pillow (left), I came up with my footrest tube idea years ago. It’s since been copied (or maybe just implemented) by many manufacturers.
In a kayak, a footrest isn’t something you rest your tired feet on while watching Netflix. They’re something you lightly brace against to stop you sliding down in the seat and to improve your connection with the boat. To that end it wants to be solid like a pipe, not mushy like a pillow.

I was never really that happy with my original Seawave’s drainpipe arrangement (below): an adjustable strap running forward from the seat and a counter-tensioning elastic pulling from the bow to keep the tube in position. Too many straps, with entrapment and aesthetic issues.

Then I remembered a clever idea someone passed on to me: straps threaded through a small piece of plastic pipe. You can buy them ready-made to jam into car doors to lash stuff down. As was suggested, these anchor straps could also jam into the cavity/channel (left) you find on most tubed and even FD-S IKs with removable floors, where the floor meets the sides to make repositionable/removable lashing points. Also, they are dead easy to make.

As footrest tube strap anchor points they work especially well because the tension on the strap is sideways (towards the bow) for better jamming, and they can be slid forward along the channel when paddling two-up and beyond the adjustability of the strap. And best of all, no tedious 2-part D-ring gluing required.

I got to try out the new system on the Wey and it worked great. The location is solid, so much so that one lazily heat-welded strap broke and I learned fast how essential a footrest is. In bodging something up to get me home, I noticed in fact that the D-rings you can see on the right, below, are more or less in the right position (for me) as long as the footrest tube strap is nearly taught. All the better: it’s one less thing to do on set up.

Then, while rigging up a rudder which worked off a pivoting footrest, a bit like bicycle handlebars work for steering, I realised the two existing tensioning or ‘ladder’ buckles fixed on the boat’s floor can be used to thread a strap, with the footrest locked off midway. The footrest needs to be fixed in position along the strap in, most simply by knotting the tape inside the tube, behind the slots. This makes a very quick and neat way to swivel the tube front or back them paddling double or switching paddlers.
It’s possible the need to balance the tension on the centrally pivoting foot tube with your feet may not work so well when not steering a rudder.