Anyone who has done some serious kayaking understands the need for a good kayak fishing seat. They also know that good posture is key to avoiding a condition known as ‘yak back’. This condition is caused when undue pressure is put on the lumbar region of the spine for long periods of time, such as in the position a kayaker sits in when paddling their boat. Without a good kayak fishing seat in your kayak, you could be setting yourself up for this condition.
The very first kayaks, the ones made by the arctic peoples, didn’t have a backrest in them. This was because the original kayakers were used to sitting in what is known as the ‘L’ position. The ‘L’ position is where a person sits with their spine straight and their legs stretched out in front of them. For the arctic people, this was a very natural sitting position. They did it on an everyday basis. However, when Westerners started to kayak they found this position very difficult to maintain and there was no kayak comfort. To resolve this, they added a backrest and braces for the feet to keep them in the ‘L’ position. You could say this was the very first kayak fishing seat.
Unfortunately, sitting at this angle causes pressure on the lumbar region of the spine, pressure that usually is only relieved by standing, walking or stretching. This is a bit impossible when you are out on the water so then you develop ‘yak back’. You will feel pain in your lower back and ignoring it will only cause back injury that takes a long time to recover from. However, there are some things you can do to lengthen the time you spend in your kayak seat without suffering from ‘yak back’ and even worse back injuries.
The first thing you need to consider before running out and purchasing a good kayak seat is your posture.
Are you sitting up as straight as you possibly could be in order to row in a more efficient way? Posture is very important as it helps you move your torso easily and in the right way in order to paddle your kayak. Additionally, consider increasing your body’s flexibility by taking some yoga classes and then stretching your body prior to going out on the water. Focus on stretching the backs of the legs, especially the hamstrings. This will allow you to anchor your body in the kayak without adding any additional pressure to your back by pushing it into your kayak fishing seat.
Finally, and probably the most important thing you can do to avoid suffering from ‘yak back’, is to invest in a kayak fishing seat that offers you the ability to sit in your kayak in such a way that you are not locked into the harmful ‘L’ position and supports the lumbar region of your back. You do not want to rely on a kayak seat that just offers lumbar support. Why? You may actually damage your back more severely but never know it because it takes longer for your back to start hurting.
There are kayak fishing seats available that resemble a standard bicycle seat. These seats force you to sit in such a way that your legs support your body in a posture that is similar to bike riding or walking. It does not put any undue pressure on your back and it allows you to switch your position without ever having to leave the water and provides the perfect kayak comfort.