Sea-Dog Rudder Control Foot Braces click here to read or make an observation about this  article
Review By Chris Rowan - Brownsville, Texas - USA

Hi Chuck,

Thank you for inviting me to the messabout. Next time, I'll bring a sailboat! The waters there are just not good for kayaking. Or maybe I should say that the waters there are not good for kayakers like me.

I think I know why those who could stayed overnight in their sailboats, out on the water. Since Magnolia Beach park is free, it must attract some of the most obnoxious, inconsiderate people within a 50 mile radius. My next door camper and his girlfriend were a prime example. The girl must have called it a night early, but the guy stayed up til past 2 AM drinking, belching, and singing along to a variety of heavy metal tunes (Alice in Chains, Metallica, etc.) - very poorly and very loudly. It would have been funny if I hadn't wanted to get some sleep.

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So I wasn't in the best of shape when I crawled out of my tent Saturday morning. Still, I was determined to make the best of it.

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So I wasn't in the best of shape when I crawled out of my tent Saturday morning. Still, I was determined to make the best of it. The wind and water conditions were ideal. The surface of the water was nearly smooth, and there was just barely the hint of a breeze. I brewed a pot of coffee, ate a ham sandwich, and set out for Sand Point as quickly as my foggy brain would allow.

I made good time until I got about halfway across the channel. That's when the wind kicked up and serious wave action started. I wouldn't characterize what I experienced as "chop'; these were WAVES that came crashing over the bow of my kayak.

If I hadn't installed the pivoting foot braces that I bought from Duckworks, I wouldn't have made it even halfway across. I'd have capsized somewhere near the middle of the channel. The "squishy" braces that came with the kayak left me with nothing solid to push against when waves came at me from either side. I always felt like I was on the verge of tipping over, and not having something solid to push against was physically draining. It's similar to having someone hold your feet to the floor while you perform sit-ups. It's easier to do sit-ups when someone holds your feet to the floor, right? You don't have to use your abdominal muscles as much.

The new pivoting foot braces give me a solid brace to push against while giving me total directional control. All I had to do was push down with my left heel, and that's where the kayak turned. Push down with my right heel, and the kayak "heeled" right. I felt a lot more stable in my kayak with the pivoting braces, that's for sure. But what really saved me was the energy I conserved as a result of having a solid brace to push against.

The new pivoting foot braces give me a solid brace to push against while giving me total directional control.

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Anyway, with solid foot braces I was able to use my leg muscles to "pull" the kayak through the water and could relax my arm, shoulder, and abdominal muscles considerably.

I finally made it to the other side of the channel, just northeast of Sand Point (approx. 28°34'50.51"N, 96°28'57.27"W according to Google Earth). I was tired, but not nearly as tired as I would have been with "squishy" foot braces.

The trip across was bad enough, but the way back was positively nightmarish. Now I was paddling almost directly into the wind with waves crashing into me about 70 deg to port. I should say that MOST of the waves came at me from that direction, but certainly not all. Some waves came from the front, some from behind. I have been in some rough water over the past few years, but this was by far the worst. It took all of my resolve, all of my energy, to make it back across. I am not exaggerating. If I hadn't installed those pivoting foot braces from Duckworks, I wouldn't have made it back across. It's as simple as that.

Pardon the pun, but that journey across and back was a pivotal moment in my life. I can't say it was pleasant or enjoyable, but I did learn something about myself. I am not a quitter and can be as tough as the situation demands. That realization alone was worth ten such trips.

Thanks again for inviting me. And many, MANY thanks for creating and maintaining the Duckworks online store. I wouldn't have pivoting foot braces were it not for Duckworks, and as such would most likely not be here now.

Regards,

Chris Rowan
Brownsville, TX

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