Kneeling Part 1

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We have a new article, by Tim Burris, in the Crosspost, the journal of the Freestyle Committee of the United States Canoeing Association. It is titled KNEELING PART 1 and is the 1st of a 3 part series. This article and many more are available for viewing at https://freestylecanoeing.com/blog/
 

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Glenn MacGrady

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I kneel 100% of the time in whitewater and 90+% of the time in flat water on low seats, about 9" off the floor. Kneeling allows a lower center of gravity in narrow canoes and greater boat control, especially for turns and bow strokes from centralized solo seats.

As Tim Burris points out in the article, the proper footwear is critical. Because the top of your foot (instep) is constantly pressed close to the bottom of the boat, footwear must be very stretchy from toe to the high ankle. Leather hiking or hard rubber boots are impossible unless I am kneeling on a very high seat in a very stable canoe. I usually use some form of low cut or neoprene bootie. In colder water and weather, calf-covering neoprene NRS Boundary Boots and the old neoprene Chotas are stretchy enough.

My favorite kneeling footwear that is also tough enough for rough portages is the old self-draining NRS Attack Shoe, but I had to remove the gray fabric strip along instep to increase the top stretchiness.

NRS Attack Shoe.jpg
 
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Part 2 of Tim's article, KNEELING, has been published in the CROSSPOST, the journal of the FreeStyle Committee of the United States Canoe Association. Read it here. https://freestylecanoeing.com/kneel...IYflM6DP1G4kn00Ja3mVlahSESV3peHthyTDERWlE01GY
Kneeling, Part 2 – FreeStyle Canoeing

freestylecanoeing.com
Kneeling, Part 2 – FreeStyle Canoeing
By Tim Burris Why Kneel? In my last article, we discussed different things to make kneeling more comfortable for people who have had bad experiences. In this article I’ll talk about some of the advantages to kneeling in a canoe. For me, comfort is near the top of the reasons why kneeling is prefer...
 
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Wish I could. I have an implant that does not allow as much bend as a natural knee. When I kneel its extraordinarily painful
I was wondering the same...I had my second knee replacement 10 weeks ago today, and wonder how it will affect kneeling. Fortunately my ROM seems to be just about the same as it was before, and maybe even a little bit better (0 to 128 degrees right now). @yellowcanoe - is your implant a replacement as well?
 
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I have no problems kneeling and rarely use a pad, I think my knees are desensitized from a lot of paddling and a career as a cement mason. What I would like to be able to do is kneel comfortably for long periods without the use of a seat or thwart. Lately for some unknown reason I find myself compelled to either sit or kneel directly on the floor.
 
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The front rail of the seat or a kneeling thwart provides a third point of contact with the boat and allows for greater control in some situations. A good pad, in addition to providing cushioning, increases the friction between the knees and the bottom of the boat, again providing more control.
 
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I was wondering the same...I had my second knee replacement 10 weeks ago today, and wonder how it will affect kneeling. Fortunately my ROM seems to be just about the same as it was before, and maybe even a little bit better (0 to 128 degrees right now). @yellowcanoe - is your implant a replacement as well?
nope. The first. I may just have to grit my teeth and practice more. I can kneel in a canoe to get out.. Swinging my legs over the gunwale displeases the other end of the boat. He does not like the surprise bath. I am at about 125 but kneeling requires a little more. My kneeling seat is pretty high already.. I would need invisible marionette strings to stay upright perhaps in waves.
I think my replacement was just too big. But it does not bother me otherwise. Just kneeling in a canoe
 
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If anyone has any tricks to make kneeling for long periods of time more comfortable, please let me know. Had a torn quad (just above the knee cap) repaired about 8 years ago, and since then I'm only good for about 10 consecutive minutes of kneeling. Maybe raising my seat a little bit. In my later years, I also get pain in the front of my ankles as they are unnaturally stretched out. Tried a piece of swimming pool noodle, but that increases the angle of the bend in the knees. Getting old is no fun.:mad:
 
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I kneel about half the time because it takes all the pressure off my lower back. If anyone has compressed discs or problems with sciatica, then kneeling is the perfect solution. My ability to be in a boat for a long time is a function of being able to change position frequently. Whenever I kneel in a canoe it reminds me of my father, who didn't canoe, but was able to spend extended periods kneeling on the ground, thigh and shin folded flat, with feet folded over each other. For me it comes naturally because I've done it all my life, but I imagine if you haven't it takes some getting used to over time. Bucking firewood with a chainsaw on the ground is easy for me, but most people struggle.

Mark
 

Glenn MacGrady

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If anyone has any tricks to make kneeling for long periods of time more comfortable, please let me know.

Stretching the top of your foot may help if you can bend your knees enough to kneel on the floor. Serious whitewater paddlers, who always paddle on their knees, would frequently use the winter months to sit on their heels on the floor for long periods (in front of TV, for example), so as to stretch the top of the foot and ankle. Maybe start slow for a few minutes and work up to longer and longer periods. Even old muscles and tendons can be stretched carefully, unless injuries prevent that.
 
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To extend kneeling time use the relief position from time to time….extend one leg in front while keeping other leg kneeled. Switch periodically. Keeps COG lower than sitting by a bit and retains good control. Prefer to paddle barefoot if coditions permit but even with footwear try putting instep of one foot on top of the bottom of the other while the lay flat as it sort of takes the place of the pool noodle option.
 
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Thanks Glenn. My injury to the quad prevents me from doing this. Lacking about 10 degrees to get to where I was before surgery.

Thanks stevet. Was once able to do that while lake travelling. Now one side is limited.

G.
 
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Gerald ,almost all my seats are raised to the gunnels and when I kneel my legs are not compressed so raising them might help. I also do a lot more sitting now. Is you boat too unstable for it?
 
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lowangle said:
Gerald ,almost all my seats are raised to the gunnels and when I kneel my legs are not compressed so raising them might help. I also do a lot more sitting now. Is your boat too unstable for it?

A higher seat would probably be of help now. No, the canoe is not unstable seated, but I prefer the stability and paddling ease kneeling brings. I may not have a choice. Thanks.
 
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My kneeling thwart brings some relief, giving me an approximate seat sit situated between seat height and a full hull bottom kneel, if you know what I mean. I first saw the hull bottom bum pillow idea IIRC from Bill Mason and never imagined my joints would ever be so needy and thankful. Before I installed a kneeling thwart I relied on a small pack as that pillow. It was a true friend for my (work and play related) damaged joints. For years, each and every trip I would go and play solo on a soft summer evening, finding that sweet spot with heeled hull and tucked knees. My knees never lasted very long but in recent years have improved with stretching and exercise. A nagging hamstring (both) injury plagues me however. That came after a long term ankle injury, overcome with scar tissue break down and stretching. One can never stretch and strengthen enough it seems. Use it (wisely) or lose it.
 
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In my own canoe, I sit most of the time and only drop to my knees when it is very windy or if I am in rapids. I'm also lucky to never have had a serious knee/foot injury, so none of the discussion about knee or ankle pain while canoeing has ever really resonated with me, thankfully.

This past week, however, I borrowed a friend's canoe with a saddle seat and thigh straps. This was my first experience with that kind of set up. Three and a half hours of constant kneeling later, my knees were ok (even though his saddle was a bit low for me). But, oh, yeah, my ankles were definitely sore and my feet were tingling and well on their way to being asleep at the take out. If I ever paddle a boat with a saddle again, I'll try the pool noodle or some foam pipe insulation under my insteps.
 
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alsg, I was just going to ask if anyone uses a saddle for tripping in a solo canoe. The saddle would probably be light enough if made from closed cell material. Also, would a sliding closed cell saddle, such as those used in white water solos boats, clear enough headspace when portaging? I tried out a dedicated ww solo with a saddle a few years back and did find the set-up more comfy than a bench with knee pads. Any comments appreciated.

PS: By the way, 3.5 hours of constant keeling and only tingling and ankles being asleep = man, I envy your knees.
 
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PS: By the way, 3.5 hours of constant keeling and only tingling and ankles being asleep = man, I envy your knees.
Yes, I almost felt guilty writing that. But at age 57, I may be a bit younger than the site's core demographic and serious knee/ankle pain may be in my future.
 
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