16 August 2012

REVIEW: SEA-LECT Designs footbraces

I paddle kayaks without rudders that use skegs for directional stability.
Most of the kayaks I own came with footbraces that are mounted on rails attached to the hull.
The footbrace pegs have sliding adjustment fore and aft to allow different paddlers' leg lengths fit correctly.
I find most footbraces' surface rather small offering me limited support for my feet, often creating a pressure spot. In trying to maintain a good paddle stroke I tend to have a positive pressure against the pegs, that after an hour or so results in discomfort.
Wiggling my feet around and repositioning them frequently indicates that the footbraces are under engineered for my requirements. In some of my kayaks I have modified the pegs where I have added a bar spanning from side to side creating a much larger platform with infinite foot positions.
The bar works very well for me but when it comes to adjust it for a different paddler it is pretty tricky.
The bar needs to have some adjustment in the mounting holes since the hull of the kayak is tapered.
Pulling back the bar for a closer fit usually requires a bit wiggling, hard pulling and occasionally cursing to get the corroded mechanism (aluminium against stainless steel fastens)  to slide.
In my latest kayak I have not installed my modification since several people borrow that boat and adjustment of the brace would be a pain.

When SEA-LECT Designs offered me to test their footbraces I was very excited.
The design on their website looked good and I awaited the arrival of a set of replacement footbraces.

SeaLect vs Yakima_1

As described on their website the SEA-LECT Designs footbraces are a direct swap for most brands.
I removed my Yakima rails bolts and installed the new fasteners in the same existing holes, no modifications needed.
I was even very impressed with the detail of the fasteners; the bolt comes with a cupped washer that is backed by rubber to ensure a positive seal so no leaks will occur.

SeaLect fastener

SEA-LECT Designs offers also footbraces that will mount on hull-bonded studs, not just through bolts.
There are a couple of fundamental differences with SEA-LECT Designs footbraces.
The adjusting mechanism is all corrosion free and is accessible from the cockpit, while seated in the kayak.

SeaLect footbrace_1

If I need adjustment (bring the pegs closer) I just grab the tab on the rotating rod, flick it 90 degrees upwards and relocate the peg, all on-the-fly, while on the water. I can do that with Yakima footpegs too, wiggling my foot behind the peg and hopefully finding the release tab, but only works when new. After a few months corrosion sets in and the adjusting mechanism becomes very sticky.
The surface area of the SEA-LECT Designs pegs is larger and gently curved to spread the load of the feet-pushing action.
Despite wearing paddling shoes I still find Yakima's sharp pegs edges dig into my feet a bit; SEA-LECT pegs are much nicer on my feet.

SeaLect vs Yakima_2
SEA-LECT Design on the left, Yakima on the right.
There is one thing I don't like about the SEA-LECT Designs pegs: the angle relative to my feet.
Maybe it's a personal taste but I found the pegs oriented too much forward: I kind of like them more square.
In the process to test them thoroughly and offer the manufacturer comparison feedback I added a little plate that I bolted onto the pegs surface, angling it backwards.
After an initial paddle of 10 miles I found the modified angle more to my liking.



  1. Standard issue on all Nadgee kayaks ..good aren't they ,I love being able to adjust them on the fly even in an ocean cockpit boat .

  2. Forgot to mention .The ruddered footpegs are the same style/shape and still retain the ability to adjust leg length without needing to adjust the rudder cable ..now thats awesome

    1. Rudder? what's a rudder?.... haha. I will let you go away with that this time Laurie :-)

  3. I just bought these based on your recommendation. The guy at the kayak shop tried to convince me the Yakima's are better because they are more sturdy. However I've been continually frustrated with the Yakimas because I'll bump the back of the foot peg with foot when shifting around while paddling and then they're basically impossible to get back in to the right spot without getting out of the kayak and adjusting them. I'm willing to put up with replacing them every few years if they happen to break for the increased convenience.

    1. I had the opoportunity to test the SEA-LECT braces only for a short period so far but they look very sturdy to me; of course only time will tell.

  4. I'm so happy to see there is hope for improving foot peg design and function! It's one of the things I test now before buying a kayak, and some kayaks I leave behind just because of the foot pegs! Some, you can't easily adjust on the water, they don't lock well or slip, are hard to figure out, or aren't comfortable on the feet.

    Thanks for the review and for helping to improve foot peg design in kayaks.

  5. I've tried them also looking for a bigger more comfortable surface to put my foot against. One issue I have, however, is that my legs are very long and I had the yakima's adjust all the way forward past the last notch so they're against the bolt to get the most foot room possible (this is in an etain 17.5), and I can't really do that with the sea-lects, plus they're not flat so some length is lost there also. I've sat in the boat with the new foot pegs, but haven't been out paddling yet, so I'm not sure if they're going to be ok for me or not. -Don

    1. Don, if your legs are at the last notch, actually past the last notch on the Yakima maybe the rails are mounted too close for you. If the SEA-LECT don't fit, it would not take too much to drill new holes and anchor the rails of the footbraces further forward. I have re-positioned rails in one kayak and I plugged the existing holes with a little patch of fiberglass (inside the hull) and matched the gel coat on the outside. If you aren't that handy with epoxy I am sure it wouldn't cost the earth to get it done professionally: it's a rather simple job.

    2. I've thought about moving the footbraces further forward, but I haven't done that sort of thing yet and it's still a relatively new boat. I plan to eventually try working with fiberglass/gel coat but I'm just going to see how it goes as is for now. -Don

  6. I just came across this. I used these foot braces for a long time. I have small feet and actually switched the pedals to opposite tracts and turned them upside down so the fatter part is at the bottom and flag still goes downward to lock. It lowered the pedal and put more of the meat of the pedal lower where the balls of feet reach it better.

  7. Have these on a number of hire and tour kayaks and they are beginning to fail under normal use. They are slipping forward even though the flag has been properly pushed down. Not happy looking at replacing them with Yakima foot peg system. Much better to hire and tour operation. have never had a problem or complaint with old style system.

    1. that is very interesting indeed as the mechanism seems so solid (the teeth engage with plenty of overlap). I had way more trouble with Yakima (in salt water) where the spring was not strong enough to let the latch engage. Have you contacted the manufacturer?


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