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How to Install Kayak Hip Pads

Properly installed hip pads are an important part of the kayak outfitting that allows you to be one-with-your-boat for maximum control and ease of rolling. Without that snug fit you won’t be able to use the hip snap to execute high and low braces and complete your roll.

It’s easy to custom shape the foam pads with sandpaper and other cutting and shaping tools. Adjust the fit, then glue them in place with contact cement. This video gives you step-by-step installation instructions.

First determine where the pads need to be located. Climb in the boat and move the pads around to find that sweet spot where they give you good contact with the boat, but don’t prevent you from easily exiting the boat. If the shape isn’t quite right you can trim them down with sandpaper, “dragon skin”, a serrated knife or thin saw blade.

Masking, or painter’s, tape can be used to temporarily hold the pads in place and to mask off the area where the pad will be attached. Lightly roughen the area with sandpaper to improve adhesion. Use rubbing alcohol or acetone to clean the boat surface and back of the foam hip pad.

Now you’re ready to glue the pads on. As always when working with adhesives, wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. We also recommend you wear an organic fumes respirator. Apply a thin, even coat of H2 Glue to the hip pad and let it dry until “tacky.” Test for that stage by pressing your knuckle to the glue. When your knuckle sticks but doesn’t remove glue, that’s what we’re calling tacky.

Next apply another thin coat to the hip pad, and to the kayak. When their glue surfaces are tacky, carefully roll the hip pad into place. Remember, this is a contact adhesive and once the surfaces touch it will be difficult to relocate them.

Press firmly on all parts of the hip pad to ensure good adhesion. Repeat these steps for the other hip pad. Once the pads are in place use your solvent to clean up any excess glue. Let the glue cure for 2-4 hours before using the boat.