The JK Hip Pads that come standard in all our boats are very versatile and easy to use. You can easily add foam shims (4 shims are included with a purchase of a new Jackson Kayak) into the hip pads to help snug you into the kayak. But what are you to do if you are already too snug in the hip pad area and need a little extra space?
I have seen several paddlers over the years just pull the hip pads out of the boat and this works, but it is not the most comfortable option for sure! I discovered upon getting my new Karma Unlimited that my hips were overly snug in the hip pad area, because the cockpit size is closer to a medium size cockpit instead of a large cockpit like I am use too.
I did not want to completely remove my hip pads and be sitting against hard plastic all the time. But I also could not move the hip pads in any direction to relieve the over pressure I was experiencing from being squeezed to tight into the boat. So I tried an outfitting trick that ended up working great and now I am super comfy in my Unlimited! This trick should help anyone who is having this squeeze issue in their kayak cockpit area. This outfitting trick will gain you about 1.5-2.5” of space in your hip area if you need the extra space.
What you will need: Sharp Knife – I used a fishing fillet knife, but I’m sure a razor blade utility knife will work fine too.
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Step 1: Remove hip pad from the sidewall of the kayak by pulling loose the Velcro and unstrapping the buckle. The hip pad strap can remain in the cockpit holes it is going into and out of the cockpit rim to make re-install easier (re-feeding that strap through the cockpit holes can be tricky – trust me you want to leave them in there for this simple operation!).
Step 2: Flip the hip pad over to its back side and open the Velcro cover to expose the interior foam of the hip pad. Locate the thicker part of the hip pad at the top and if you desire trace out this area on the foam as your cut lines to remove this thicker section of foam in the hip pad.
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Step 3: Cut into the foam of the hip pad around the perimeter of thicker top area, but be careful not to push the knife completely through the hip pad or you will cut the material also.
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Step 4: After cutting a loop around the perimeter of the thicker foam, use you hand to pull that thicker foam away from the material it is adhered too. You can save this piece of removed foam to be re-glued back into the hip pad if you ever need to replace it.
Step 5: Fasten the Velcro flap back in place on the rear of the hip pad. Then reinstall hip pad back in place with the Velcro, strap & buckle.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 1-5 on other hip pad in kayak.
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Once you are done cutting the thicker foam areas out of the hip pads on both side and reinstall you should be able to jump back in your kayak and feel much more comfortable!