Seats in kayaks seem to be often a deal breaker: some folk won't buy a kayak if the seat is not comfortable for them. Some kayak seats seem to fit more paddlers than others but there are also some seats that cause a lot of grief and paddlers go to great lengths to fix them.
The most common complaint I hear and read about from sea kayakers is the dreaded dead leg syndrome; after a while on the water (sometimes as brief as half an hour) some paddlers start to feel pins and needles or loose the feel of the legs altogether.
I am one of them: I find a lot of sea kayak seats not suitable for me. Maybe is my chunky thighs that force me to extend my legs lower to make them fit or something but I find most seats too short and too "peaked" (high up front) for my anatomy.
One seat that I have removed from more kayaks than any other one is the Valley plastic seat and the current model seems to be just as aggravating as the previous one.
In Adventuretess' Nordkapp LV I removed the seat and replaced it with a DIY fibreglass one removing the back band and replacing it with a foam block.
Steavatron recently borrowed Adventuretess's Nordkapp LV (Sialuk) and was amazed by the difference in feel and stability of the kayak.
Within half an hour of paddling Sialuk, he politely asked me if a similar seat was possible to be had in his own Nordkapp LV.
I agreed that with his help we could fabricate one for this kayak too, and we might as well go "bling".
The plastic VCP seat is easy to remove: 4 bolts on the outside of the coaming hold the seat in place.
Once the fsteners were removed the seat came right out but revealed a little problem; the edge of the seat has been "shaving" the hull and a few layers of fibreglass have already been carved away by the motion of the seat slightly swinging when paddling. If not caught in time it would have holed the kayak from the inside out (the same problem occurred in Sialuk).
Patching that divot was dead easy and we restored the hull to full strength.
The new seat is made from a laminate of glass fibre, double bias carbon under the sitting area and a veneer of the oh-so-sexy twill carbon fibre on top, for looks of course :-)
The edges of the seat have been reinforced with Kevlar to prevent the typical cracking that I have experienced in other factory chopped-mat kayak seats.
The new seat does not hang on its own but I used "L" brackets to support it. The original VCP hardware was re-utilized and new stainless steel bolts are anchoring the carbon seat to the bracket.
Stevatron was happy to reuse the original back band and hip pads. The back bands sling is attached to the seat with a short piece of webbing and a "D" ring. Existing straps firmly secure the back band to the rear bulkhead to prevent dislodgment when entering the cockpit.
After the maiden voyage Stevatron was happy with the position and height of the new seat and it was then finally secured to his kayak with a few dobs of polyurethane (Sikaflex) sealant to prevent any swinging and deliver a solid feel. In the event the seat would have to be removed for any reason a spatula will be inserted under the seat to break away those few spots of sealant.
Stevatorn finds the new seat a vast improvement on the stock VCP plastic one. The centre of gravity has been lowered and he finds that the Nordkapp LV has changed personality.
He is more confident on putting his kayak on edge and has gained stabilty when in textured waters.
Since the change and after a few paddles of several hours he no longer experiences the dead legs.