Thigh straps (leg loops or knee braces) in Inflatables: Are they dangerous?

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There are a few IK paddlers on this forum and I am looking for stories about drownings or near drownings or head injuries with thigh straps in an IK.

If you don't have any such stories, what's your take on thigh straps in inflatable kayaks? Are they valuable? Are they dangerous? What makes them dangerous?


riverplay's picture

I doubt there are a few IK paddlers on this forum but I'd like to know if there are too...

I have an NRS maverIK solo with thigh braces, a gumotex K2 with thigh Braces and a Hyside paddliac double without thigh braces. I have only had the maverIK a short time but the thigh braces make the boat primo for running drops and big holes. I seldom wear them when paddling a double mainly beacuse of how stable they are.

In my experience Ican't see any increased risk from thigh braces but would be keen to hear about any incidents. I paddle class 4 in my single and have paddled class 5 in a double (propbably wouldn't anymore!) I think a good quality IK has many safety advantages over hardshell kayaks i.e. very small risk of any pin or broach, open cockpit enables easy exit if pinned, self resuce mid stream possible, getting in and out in micro eddies eaiser, impact injuries don't happen, boat always float and cannot be swamped etc...

IK's are seen as inferior white water boats in NZ and generally frowned upon by the kayaking fraterinty,

Helicopter pilots love them, easist boats ever to hike in and throw them in the boot! I'm sure I won't convert a pack rafter though, LOL.