After the second time the seat broke in my Nigel Dennis (Now Sea Kayaking UK) Explorer, it was time to replace it. I used a pre-formed Valley foam seat and cut the back rest from mini-cell. The piece in front of the seat is an extender that I put in when the original seat was in place to stop my legs from going numb. When I removed the old seat, I just left it in place. Now as you follow along, note that I’m a “down-n-dirty” type repair person. I just want a seat. Period. There are many folks who will do a better, prettier, classier seat replacement than this. But this quick guide will certainly get you visualizing what kayak seat replacement involves.
1. An empty cock pit – I had to clean and sand it. Then mark where the new seat would go. Notice the old “seat extension” I left in place.
2. The bits & Bobs – So I got out the seat and then eyeballed a quick rough cut for the back brace.
3. Then the fussy filing begins with the “dragon skin”. This took the most time trying to get it right. The key to getting it comfortable was indenting the middle to support my spine.
4. I would shave it, then set it in the boat. Sit in it, shave it, set it in . . . . Until I had it where I wanted.
5. When everything was ready I glued each bit in place with H20 glue. (make sure it’s all clean first) Notice I added small square sections of foam on each side of the back rest to support it when I’m rolling or rotating. It may not look like it, but this is darn comfortable!
Update: Coming back at this almost 6 years later, I can say I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t paddle this boat as much anymore but I still love the feel of the seat with the simple back rest. For folks with somewhat wider frames, the small rest makes torso rotation for paddling and rolling much easier. The foam in front of the seat is still a wonderful, comfortable addition and my legs never fall asleep in this boat. Everyone who’s paddled this boat has really loved the way the seat feels.. even if it looks a bit like a Frankenstein.
To see more information about kayak modification & repairs I’ve attempted view the “Repairs & Modifications” archive on the blog by clicking here.