Thigh Braces

Braces to the outside of your thigh is the single biggest improvement that you can make to the stock outfitting of a play boat. As you make an aggressive reach with your paddle (like for a stern squirt or a cartwheel) your torso will twist and the leg on the opposing side of your body will attempt to go straight. These blocks will keep your lower body from shifting when your upper body is wound up. The end result is more torque. Also when you are relaxing, your knees can fall straight down on to the pads reducing fatigue.

Despite one manufactures claim to have invented this concept, these have been used in slalom boats for years. I first saw them in Eric Jacksons slalom boat in 1997. That same year squirt boaters like Mark Travis started using them and play boaters soon followed.

Originally this was done by gluing blocks to the hull and is no longer the preferred method.

We have still included info on that method here though because it can be a better way to go for a lower volume cockpit area. The dimensions of the blocks used in these pictures are a 3" piece cut 9" across and 5" high. The cut on the top corner is to ease entry and exit of your ankles. For this cut about 2" down and 3" across. The only advantage of making the block wide like you see in these pics is to inhibit them from ripping out. A bigger surface area to glue will make them stronger.

If you wish to make your blocks less likely to obstruct exit then the method in the next section further down this page.

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The preferred method is to glue a much smaller piece to the side wall.

Now with spud boat cockpits being quite deep you will not need to glue off of the bottom of the boat and will glue onto the side wall. You just glue a small pad up higher along the chine high enough to be snug against your knee. This method is much safer as it is less likely for your foot to catch on it when getting out, it less likely to pin you legs in if the boat were to wrap, and has a higher possibility of being ripped free if someone had to physically pull you out of a pinned boat.

Below is a picture of the desired shape which is basically an upside down hip pad.

To achieve the fit sit in the boat and place the pad in place on the outside of your knee and then trace with a heavy pen. Get out of the boat and glue in place on the side wall where your trace has indicated. Then sand for a fine tuned fit.

Here are some examples of the thigh blocks in place.  

kingpin thigh pad 

Dagger Kingpin 6.3.   This is a very typical placement. For most people the pad will be in roughly this area and about this size. .  

space cadet thigh

Liquid Logic Space Cadet. This is not a very typical outfitting job but it may give you some ideas. The thigh risers built off of the seat and hull aren't completely necessary but do give some additional support .   

The thigh pad here is quite long at over 7". Width this boat the cockpit feels a little lower making the knees not as high in the cockpit.  

The longer pad seemed to work nice in this situation as a large portion of it does actually contact the outside of the knee.