I built the latest RavenWoods Curlew baidarka with a large cockpit to make it easier to get in and out. A small cockpit has big advantages for rolling and fitting a tuilik, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. While I was testing the baidarka I realized that I needed thigh braces. I considered numerous ways of doing that. I also thought about the problems of gluing foam to a flexible surface. As I was wandering around the shop in ‘design mode’ I passed a pile of steam bent, laminated, curved, yellow cedar beams and a light went on. I cut the beam to length and hopped into the Curlew to try it out. Voila! It felt perfect. It stays in place just with thigh pressure. It comes out easily when turned sideways. My body is already trained to use it. It’s wood. It will let me roll the kayak without feeling like my knees might pop out. My knee caps are cushioned by the skin of the kayak. The Curlew is only 21 inches wide so the fit is quite different from a much wider F1 which also has a large combing. The beam is a tight fit side to side so it will not slip out of place. It can be positioned fore and aft to suit the individual. The upward curve will help water drain off of the spray skirt or tuilik.
Then it occurred to me that most people with a Tahe Greenlander have a similar problem. I pulled my Tahe off the rack and tried it out. Another Voila! It felt right in the Tahe too although a thinner beam would fit better. I will experiment with other ideas such a velcro fastening. Many people have created modifications to the Tahe to enhance the knee brace. This the closest thing I have seen to a traditional masik in a Tahe.
I will be testing this idea on three different qayaqs and I will make this available once I am satisfied with the testing. I anticipate a price of about $30 plus shipping to order one of these for existing Tahe kayaks.