When I first paddled the Skip I thought. "man this is fun but wow it hurts my feet" I dropped down some hard earned cash and immediately before even paddling it I swallowed hard and set about modifying it.

You will need: 4 hours, beer, car jack, 2x4, 1/4-20 size bolts, neoprene foam, caulk, relaxing music, contact cement, saw, plastic signboard.

All the images on this page are thumbnails. Click them to see a larger picture.

jack To make the feet more comfortable I raised the knee area higher so your feet can come closer back to you. This was achieved by jacking up the area and heating it with a blowtorch. Absolutely do not try to do this without first taking out the thigh braces and the metal screws. The metal will attract heat and you will make a big hole in your boat. You will also put more pressure on the hot bolts if you leave them in and the heat will stretch the holes and ruin the boat. In this picture you see a hydraulic jack. I found that this did not work as good in this particular boat because of room and switched to a regular car scissors jack. I used a 2x4 positioned across the knee area to apply the pressure. Choose your length of board carefully as it will determine how the pressure is applied and where.
You can see in this picture that the thigh area is getting jacked up once heat has been applied to the area that has pressure on it. Take extraordinary care. Use many cycles of heating and cooling. If your plastic is getting shiny back off. I was very careful with my process and did about 7 heating and cooling cycles in the course of two sessions and still managed to have some distortion of the bolt holes. Focus your attention on not heating the bolt holes directly. If you apply too much heat to the bolt holes you will open them up and create a leaky boat.

Move the board around and heat and cool in different places to raise about a 6 inch area so your thighs and knees can be raised and you will reduce the amount of recess of the cockpit rim.
I distorted the shape of the boat enough that it ended up that I couldn't use the stock bolts because they were now too short. You can go to the hardware store and get regular 1/4-20 size bolts if you encounter this problem. Use care when threading because the blue anodized aluminum strips very easily. Cutting the excess length off a long bolt with a dremel is a pain in the ass but it is a reasonable alternative to a stripped thread.

On the outside of the boat I made a gasket of 1/8th inch adhesive neoprene foam. On the inside I put a small amount of silicone caulk around the bolt hole.
Sit on the ground to start sorting out the cut of your foot block. You want the toes hanging out. You wont be needing support there. Any pushing will be on the heel half of your feet. Shave around on the top so the top of your foot can curl over it a bit. Pictured here is my first cut. I ended up coming back later and making the area around the heels wider by adding 1 inch foam.
Now it is time for our old friend plastic signboard that you will remember from our elbows and center wall sections. Slice the foot block up the center to within an inch or so of the front. By not cutting to the end you minimize the possibility that the two halves will seperate. Cut your plastic piece so that it is 1/4 inch or higher than the foot block. The plastic will serve the function of stiffening the foot area but will also pump the area up for more foot room.
Laminate the piece into the block with contact cement. Heat the deck of your boat with a blowtorch before wedging the block in. This helps isolate the boat distortion to the deck and hopefully won't effect the intended hull shape.

Look at the larger version of this pic to see the added foam on my original cut. The additional width toward the front of the block increased comfort greatly.

Outfitting the Skip

Thigh braces are a big help in comfort. You will not need the pre cut hip pads that are supplied with the boat as the hips. They are better used as the outside thigh braces. Cut about 1 inch off of the narrow end. Turn the pad upside down. Sit in your boat and place the pad where it gives the most support and trace the boat with a felt tip pen. In this pic you can see that the pad is placed pretty far back toward the seat. I also placed a smaller foam pad foreward of this point at about where the knee bone is. Glue so that it is pretty snug and then shave for comfort with a rasp.

With your outside thigh pads in place in combination with the stock back band wratched system you really do not need hip pads. All that is necessary is a 1/8 th or 1/4 self adhesive neoprene to add grippiness so you are not sliding around.

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