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Kayaking 101


Bulkhead Adjustment for Safety and Comfort

Instructions for Safe and Comfortable bulkhead adjustment

Adjust and tighten the seat and thigh braces to their desired location prior to bulkhead adjustment.
To ensure best fit, make sure you are wearing the footwear you plan to use when paddling.
1.    Adjusting the length of the bulkhead:
  1. Remove both yellow poly-knobs from the studs that hold the side rails in place.
  2. Pull the side rails inward and off of the stud.
  3. Sitting in the boat, slide the bulkhead forward or backward; The balls of your feet should be the only part of the foot in contact with the bulkhead. You should be able to plant them firmly as if you were standing on them. You will know you’ve found the correct position when flexing your toes forward (applying pressure to the balls of your feet) provides secure thigh brace engagement.

CAUTION: If you find your desired bulkhead position requires the use of any of the holes covered by the SAFETY WARNING STICKER, it is NECESSARY to utilize the foam shims (provided with your boat) to move the bulkhead back toward the bow of the boat. See step 2 for details.

2.    Once you have found your desired bulkhead position, its time to account for the foam that you will be adding. This foam is provided for both comfort and safety. If possible, we recommend using all 6 pieces of foam. More is better.

Your outfitting kit includes:  2 x 3” &  4 x ¾” foam spacers.

NOTE: As tempting as it might be, do not peel and stick the foam spacers yet!

Now it’s time to ask yourself an important question. “How much foam do I want to add to my bulkhead?” Not life changing but nevertheless, important.  Once you’ve selected the number of foam pads. Bulkhead adjustment is as follows.

Use your current hole as the start reference and move the bulkhead forward (toward the bow)…
One piece of foam = one hole. Two pieces = two holes. The three inch piece of foam = 3 holes. The rest is addition and subtraction.

3.    Now that you’ve selected the number of pads and hole location that best suits you, its time to expand the bulkhead plates and rails to ensure a proper fit. This ensures maximum coverage of the bow cavity.
  1. Using a # 2 Philips screw driver LOOSEN BUT DO NOT REMOVE the 4 screws (2 per side) on the face of the bulkhead plates.
  2. Now adjust your bulkhead in two directions (up and out) to ensure maximum coverage and safety.

    First, slide the side rails out (toward the side of the boat) as far as possible. Second, slide the plates up and out filling in the gaps above and to the side of the bulkhead.

  3. When everything is fully expanded retighten the 4 screws.
  4. Re-install the yellow Poly-Knobs onto the studs to secure the bulkhead in place.

The image above shows the bulkhead in the compressed position; plates slid in and down and side rails slid all the way inboard.

This images shows the bulkhead in the expanded position; plates slid out and up and side rails slid all the way outboard.

4.    Now that your bulkhead is adjusted, you finally get to peel the backing off of your foam and apply your pre-determined number of foam pads to each side of the bulkhead. For best adhesive bonding, this should be done in a warm, dry and clean environment. In other words, dropping your pads in the mud = poor adhesion.
  1. Referencing the image below… This is the right bulkhead pad. Make sure yours matches this orientation. The left is the mirror image. The adhesive backing is on the other side.
  2. Peel the backing off the foam, carefully reach down inside the boat and press it onto the bulkhead. The pads should stick to the bulkhead. If they stick to your hand, you’ve somehow managed to put them on the wrong side.
  3. Sit in the boat and firmly press onto the foam using your feet to ensure a good bond.   

PRO TIP:   To make a more shock absorbent bulkhead use a 1” hole saw to bore out the  3” pieces of foam making it look like Swiss cheese.  Place one of the 3/4” pieces of foam over the hole side to prevent dirt collecting in these holes.  This “Crush Bulk-head” can potentially reduce the amount of abuse your legs and ankles will receive in the event of a piton.