When I was about 16/17, I bought a Pyranha S6 that had these brilliant thigh braces called ‘Hookers’ that you could adjust not only back and forward but rotating them. This allowed you to make them easier to get out by having less coverage of your leg or, in my case, give you as much connectivity in the boat as possible but covering more of your leg.
I have been asked many times about the notion of fear and how to push the doors open and walk in a pasture free from fear. Below are some thoughts, these thoughts are a work in progress.
Many say that they feel fear when on the water. They feel scared, nervous of the rapids they are set to descend. How we deal with this fear is important, for it is the only guidance that we shall ever need.
In order to discuss the fear, first off we need to examine what is fear, or more precisely where it is manifest. Only then can we aim to control this. Fear of things we have control over is ludicrous. This is like saying ‘I am scared of cancer’ whilst puffing on 40 cigs a day. Whist fear of things we cannot control is posited with anxiety. If we cannot influence events, it is this lack of control that we fear, so to say, we fear been out of control. Although again this is looking awry. We let our children stumble from all fours to two, wobbling with each step of exploration. We allow the hooded darkness of inner city streets to grow with crime. We vote for a political system that will fail and yet we bypass this fear. We allow it to hold our hands through our daily lives. We accept this fear. Our true fear is a fear of our own making, not the making of a collected consciousness. When we allow fear to form from a collected ideal, we can no longer accept responsibility for it, its something else, somebody else – will take responsibility for it.
From the very first moment you sit in a boat you start to get “a feel for it”, how it fits and possibly even how it may perform. As beginners we start off in boats that may be used by many different size paddlers, which results in cockpits being kept clutter free. Loose, comfortable boats feel good on flat water, but they can make leaning and bracing difficult. Once the boat is padded to provide a close, body-hugging fit that still allows for quick and easy water exits, performance can dramatically improve. This same rule applies to all levels of kayakers, whether they’re paddling easy whitewater, big water runs or creeks. Customised outfitting helps transfer every trace in the river’s current through the kayak’s hull to your body, helping you sense your surroundings, make critical maneuvers and maintain your balance, thus staying upright!
Since paddlers press against their boat’s inner hull with the small of their backs, butts, hips, thighs, knees and feet, it is these key areas that should be customised to match the shape and size of the paddler. To make this as easy as possible I am going to break the cockpit into a handful of sections and tailor each one to help you get the best control possible from your boat. Many boat manufacturers have really stepped up their game and are providing some excellent outfitting as standard in their kayaks. However these systems still need adapting in some way to ensure that they fit YOU correctly.
Adrian Durrant takes us through a Pyranha Thighbrace Install upgrade.
Lots of people lately have been purchasing Pyranha club spec boats and asking about upgrading the boat with thigh braces, this is a really simple job to do and will take about 10 minutes to complete.
By adding thigh braces will give you much better control of the boat especially in moving water whilst edging the boat, it also allows you to upgrade to a ratchet backrest with the thigh braces pre drilled to take a ratchet.
Here’s a quick step by step guide to fitting Connect thigh braces into a club spec Z-One.
An active paddle blade is a great way to help you stay upright. By having a blade in the water at all times you can quickly use it to brace or to turn, there is no need to have your paddle just sitting above the water, small pushes and braces will allow you to react to anything that you might encounter. So practice an active paddle blade in the water both on the flat water and whitewater. Continue reading