help_outline Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
To post in forums, please register as a member and log in, there is a free forum only membership option.

Greenland Forum

Hip Pain in Tahe Greenland
Author Last Post

The 3.5 inch foam blocks were glued on the inside of the hull to extend the surface area to support my upper legs. 

My North Shore Calypso originally came with a back band. When I added the foam blocks, I kept the same location for the back band. After 10 years, I needed to replace the back band. I found local person who did auto/marine upholstery. I lent her my back band, and she made me a replica. Her back band has lasted 17 years...and I think it's good for a few more!

Glad you are enjoying your Freewater. I love my Calypso...and I love my Greenland skin-on-frame kayak I built. That one is like a little sports car, but there's no place to carry lunch. The Calypso is the workhorse, great for multi-day backcountry camping trips.

Best wishes,

Ms Jenny, I would like to know a little more about the modification to your North Shore seat. I recently acquired, and have about 15+ hours of initial paddling in a North Shore Freewater (16 ft.). I believe it has the same seat as a Calypso. There is always a short time needed for a body to adjust. I’m doing ok at that, for now, but looking at foam seat and masik enhancements, if not just carving a whole new seat for this kayak.

Did your foam blocks, set 3 1/2 inches forward, allow you to sit that far ahead, or we’re they meant to support upper legs? I rely on a backband (but not as a backrest). If you use one, was it moved forward as well?

Finding this Freewater was just pure luck. I am very impressed with the build quality and the way this hull design behaves under way.

Thank you,

Mark L.

Quoted Text

… I glued two pieces of mini-cell foam in front of the seat, leaving a gap in the center to allow water to move inside the hull from the front bulkhead to the rear bulk head. Then I shaped the top of the mini-cell foam blocks to match the height and curve of the front of the seat. The foam blocks extend about 3.5 inches in front of the seat.


I extended the seat and got rid of my foot pegs in my North Shore Calypso and my comfort level increased.

The Calypso has a fiberglass seat. I glued two pieces of mini-cell foam in front of the seat, leaving a gap in the center to allow water to move inside the hull from the front bulkhead to the rear bulk head. Then I shaped the top of the mini-cell foam blocks to match the height and curve of the front of the seat. The foam blocks extend about 3.5 inches in front of the seat. 

Inspired by Bob Zelley, I removed the foot pegs and replaced them with an upside down U-shaped mini-cell foam form. I cut a piece of hard plastic to match the cockpit side of the front bulkhead and then glued mini-cell to the plastic. The plastic and foam U-shaped form is removeable. The U-shape allows for a variety of places where I can brace my feet and the open part of the "U" allows me to stretch my feet (point my toes). Bob had replaced his foot pegs with mini-cell foam shaped like a donut. The center of the foam was carved to a diameter large enough where he could store his cook pot on kayak camping trips.  

Hope you will be able to extend the length of time paddling the Tahe.

All the best,

I have sciatica that flares up in any boat but if I stretch (on and off the water) it has helped quite a bit.


Sent from my iPhone

Thought I'd add a word of encouragement -- I built a Shrike-R for rolling and made it as compact as possible for my frame. First paddles this spring were not encouraging - lots of back pain from sitting on a 3/4" foam pad, legs almost straight out. There was no room to adjust the boat, so I worked on adjusting the body with yoga style stretching exercises. I'm 70 and have more than a bit of arthritis in my bones, but the exercises have made a huge difference. I now start to get uncomfortable after about a half-hour of paddling and rolling, but this is far better than it was at first, and I find I can continue to improve my flexibility. It's not always a boat issue!

Good question. A back rest that assist you sit upright will take some of the tension out of your hip flexors and may help a bit. One exercise that could help you start to lengthen your hamstrings is a standing forward fold.


I don't know about Moulton but you described my situation exactly! I don't need to do your experiment because I already know that I can't sit on the floor with my legs straight in front of me, let alone if my feet were raised. I'm experimenting with raising the seat in my Avocet until it becomes too unstable to paddle comfortably. What do you think about adding a back rest of some kind? It would interfere with rolling but maybe I could make it detachable.

Hey Moulton. 
In the Tahe I suspect your feet (heals) are higher than your butt. Creating an acute angle under 90 degrees) at your hips. This is creating the greater tension in the hip flexors. The foam masik will make the problem worse as it will reduce your ability to move and wiggle in the cockpit. I have removed all mine and replaced them with thin sheets of foam under the deck to help pad the knees. I also use a center “bump” the sticks downwards so my knee can push sideways towards the center when necessary, otherwise then tend to slide towards the center. The bump being in the center does not restrict the upwards motion, leaving me room to wiggle.
One way to determine if the leg position is the issue is to get a 8” wide board about 4’long, prob one end up 2” and sit on the low end with your heals on the far end, legs straight. Now sit there for thirty minutes reading a book or watching tv. Do you develop the acute hip flexor pain? Most of us older folks will, our connective tissues is harder and stiffer and shorter than it used to be.


This has been a very interesting thread for me! A couple of years ago (in my late 60s) it became almost impossible for me to paddle my Valley Avocet, which I've had for many years, because of pain/ cramping in my hip flexors. Like Moulton, the only relief I can get is from leaning back - not a very efficient paddling position. I can paddle a "rec boat" which gets my butt higher than my feet and has a seat back rather than just a back band. I think tight hamstrings are the primary problem but I haven't been very successful at stretching them. Maybe the yoga poses will help. Thanks everyone!

Hi Jane - Thank you so much for responding to my question. Could you send me a picture of your seat? I live in Vancouver, WA. There's a company in Port Townsend - that makes foam seats and I've been thinking about getting in touch with them to see what experience they have with Tahe Greenland kayaks. Just holding off because I was reluctant to remove the factory seat if there was a less drastic solution - and it would be a bummer to put in a foam one if it didn't solve the problem. That said, I can't paddle the Tahe for very long as things stand, so something has to change. Me, the kayak, or maybe both.

Christopher, thank you so much for your advice. I'll check out the Yoga stretches that you referenced. My right hip was replaced 15 years ago and my left one is due for one soon. I have to work around some stretches because of arthritis pain, but you've given me some new techniques to try. I'll keep you posted on this. I have noticed that the "butt" portion of the Tahe seat is lower than the front, and I think it's lower than the seat in my Nordkapp. Both are unpadded "hard" seats, but I have no problem with the Nordkapp. When I ordered the Nordkapp, I had the forward bulkhead custom made to my leg length, so there are no foot pegs. I'm seriously thinking about removing the pegs in the Tahe and adding a foam block. One other question: Do you think using a foam Masik in the Tahe would help? Again, my friend, I appreciate your help on this.

thanks! I will check it out.


- jane

Jane I did a whole series of blog posts on my web site about yoga for paddling they are still available from the home page 


DO you have a reference, or could you explain in more detail, what the "bound angle" pose is? I think I understand the "forward fold". What other yoga poses do you recommend for use greenland kayakers?

Moulton- Christopher has great suggestions for you: he's spot on with his remarks.

The hard seat, in the Tahe Greenland kayak, puts a stress on most folks. You might consider replacing the hard seat (if that is what you have) with a foam seat, and perhaps one that allows some flexion in the hips (the seat has an angle so that the area where your tailbone rests is a wee bit lower than the end where your thighs rest: I hope this makes sense). If you lived closer I'd let you borrow the foam seat that was made for my Tahe Greenland, to see if it helps.

My wife had a similar problem which was immediately relieved by placing support padding just in front of the seat, enough to get the pressure off her thighs from the seat. Of course, everyone's 'seat problem' is different. For example, I was quite happy in her kayak.

Moulton what you are describing is not unusual. Several things are going on with your anatomy. The lower deck the narrower hull and foot pegs will put your thighs in a different angle relative to your hips. Also I imagine you are using the standard Tahe seat with in mine was lacking in padding. 
Your legs are flatter your ankles are under pressure to turn your toes outwards and your knees are closer together than usual for a kayak. All this will take considerable time for your body to adjust to, especially if you don’t have a stretching and strengthening regimen working on your hips knees and ankles.

I recommend working on yoga poses like bound angle and forward fold, they helped me a lot. 

Adding some padding to the seat can be useful a to take pressure of the nerves running around your seat.


Fellow Paddlers-

I've owned one kayak since 1984 - a Valley Nordkapp - so I have very little experience paddling other kayaks. Several months ago I purchased a used Tahe Greenland. It has the same size ocean cockpit as my Nordkapp. It rolls and sculls like a dream, but after about 30 minutes, my hips start to hurt and it feels like I'm having difficulty sitting up straight - like I want to lean back to relieve the pain. After an hour or so, the pain is really distracting and the only relief I can find is by pulling my torso a little more upright by grabbing the deck lines. The pain arrives earlier when I'm rolling and sculling.

The Tahe has no Masik or padding of any sort under the deck. I've tried adjusting the backband and foot pegs in a variety of combinations and while that helped in some cases, the overall problem remains. My flexibility isn't all that great, but I only have this problem in the Tahe. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated. BTW - I haven't tried a Masik yet.

Thanks, Moulton Avery

Return to Forum

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events