There have been a lot of questions on how to do this right. So, here's a couple hints on how to do it right:
How to Outfit your Jackson Kayak
Jackson Kayak has improved comfort and performance in kayaking. They have designed what is called “boat armor” outfitting that works great and is easy to use and modify. Jackson Fun and Jackson Star series are outfitted with Sweet Cheeks seat cover, the Happy Feet foot system, and adjustable hip-pads, seats and backbands. These are all designed to be comfortable, lightweight and easy to use. Here are a few tips to get your Jackson Kayak fit for you.
Moving the Seat
The first thing you need to do when you get in your Jackson Kayak is make sure your knees fit comfortably in the knee cups. Move the seat forward or backwards until your bent knees are supported comfortably in the padded knee braces. You also want your boat to “trim ou” in the water when you sitting up straight (the parting line of your kayak should be the same height out of the water in the front and back).
If you are short and heavy with alot of room in front of your feet, move your seat forward to the front notch. If you are medium height and weight and have some room in front of your feet, keep it neutral. If you are tall and lightweight and have no room in front of your feet, move it to the back position.
To adjust the seat forward and backwards, move the hip-pads out of the way. Reach in the side of the seat and loosen the thumb screws that stabilize the seat. Move the seat forward or backwards and tighten the screws when you have found the perfect position.
The Happy Footbag has a beanbag compartment with a valve and an air bladder with a pump. To form it to your feet, open the blow tube valve and blow air into the beanbag. Fold the front of the footbag in on itself to make a small pocket that goes across the entire front of the bag. Tuck your toes into the pocket you made and push your feet into the beanbag until they make comfortable foot pockets with your legs in the thighbraces. Close the valve and your footprint will be placed in the Happy Feet Footbag. Suck the remaining air from the beanbag tube and close it tight (keep it closed from now on unless you want to change it).
Next, make sure you are sitting up straight and tighten the backband. Using the bulb (make sure the valve is closed) pump up the air bladder. Tighten the bag until you have the right amount of pressure to give you the control you like. When you get to the bottom of the rapid or into an eddy you can hit the release valve. This allows for excess room to lift your knees out and relax.
The Sweet Cheeks is an adjustable, inflatable, nylon, beanbag seat cover for firm butt support. It is a perfectly locked down pad that won’t slip around on your seat. The bottom of the pad is made of Velcro and it stays in place firmly on the Velcro in your kayak. It deflates to form around your rear and makes a perfect bucket seat. The Sweet Cheeks is great because there are no pressure points and it prevents you from sliding around on your seat.
When you sit on the Sweet Cheeks your legs make the beans into a wedge in front of your crotch to prevent you from slipping forward. The back of the Sweet Cheeks meets up with the backband behind your rear for firm support and to protect your tailbone.
To use the Sweet Cheeks, open the valve and inflate it about 4 breaths. Get into your kayak. When you sit down the air will rush out of the tube while the beans rush around and settle. When the majority of air is out, lock the beans in place by sucking the remaining air out like a vacuum pack and closing the valve.
If you want to be higher up in your boat for better leverage and knee support, blow air into the Sweet Cheeks before getting into your kayak to allow more beans under your butt cheeks. Suck most of the air out before you get into your boat. Get in and wiggle around just a little to make it comfortable.
For a lower seat, blow lots of air in. Get in your boat and wiggle around while the air is being forced out. When all the air is out, lift yourself off the seat while staying in the boat. Blow two or three breaths of air in and sit down again. Wiggle around while the beans form around you and move from under your butt. Do this as many times as you want until you are the height you want to be.
Adjusting the Backband
Backbands can be easily adjusted while sitting in the kayak. The “prostraps” or nylon straps on the sides of the backband should be loose so that you will be able to tighten the backband far enough to pull you forward in the seat
Once you establish proper seat position, sit up straight and pull the prostraps that are above the knee braces. These are connected to the backband so that when you pull in towards the center of your boat it tightens the backband up against your lower back. Pull until you get good support and lock the cord into position by pulling forward and out to the side.
To adjust the hip-pads, loosen the webbing securing the hip-pad to the seat. Pull the Velcro hip-pad off the seat. They are designed with a pocket on the backside. Each boat comes with 2” and 4” foam shams. To prevent your butt from coming out of your seat and prevent side to side movement, add or remove shams into the back pocket until your hips are supported snugly in the seat. If the hip-pads are too tight, pull them off the Velcro seat pan and rotate the front of the hip pads upward. Move the entire hip-pad back far enough to prevent it from extending beyond the front of the seat.
When you find a comfortable position, secure the webbing around the side of the seat and tighten the strap down. The hip-pads will stay in place with the full Velcro coverage.