Something that always bothered me about skin-on-frame qayaqs is the footbrace. I want the footbrace to be adjustable to accomodate different paddlers. I have always liked footboards that span the entire width of a kayak so I can move my feet around on a solid platform.
There are a few design problems to consider:
- The width of the kayak varies and the footboard needs to accomodate this.
- Screws in the gunwale should be avoided. They can be hazardous and hard to remove after the qayaq is skinned.
- There should be nothing on the bottom of the qayaq that gets in the way of sliding a float bag or dry bag into the bow.
- The footboard must be adjustable and removable by reaching forward from the cockpit.
I developed a prototype design that meets all of these requirements and installed it in a Sandpiper Kid's Kayak and a Beardarka. The footboard in my baidarka is very comfortable. It allows me to do a stronger forward stroke and makes rolling easier. It reduces backstrain on long paddles. It can be quickly removed so that I can slide a tapered dry bag into the bow. The removable footboard is more comfortable, adjustable and provides more room for storage in the bow.
- This footboard can be removed by reaching into the cockpit and unclipping the fastex buckle.
- The footboard can be removed by sliding it toward the cockpit above the pegs.
- The width of the board can be adjusted by loosening the wingnuts on the back and sliding the two sections apart.
- The strap can be adjusted to work at any of the four peg positions.
When I am building a qayaq with a customer, we can install a traditional footrest or an adjustable footboard. Each has it's own advantages.