Below are just a few of the modifications
I have made over the years to make boats more to my
liking for general paddling and self-support. I do not
recommend any of these modifications. They may cause
your boat to become unsafe. This information is for
the purpose of sharing and documenting my experiences
only. If you make any of these or similar modifications,
do so at your own risk!
Check this page periodically for updates.
Miscellaneous kayak mods
Not only is the
Riot Magnum an excellent performer, its very low weight
(comparatively speaking), easy
stern access and unique
pillar/seat configuration makes it a stellar self-support
boat for the 175 pound and under crowd (72
model). Some of its outfitting however, is a
little deficient. Luckily, most of these issues are
exceedingly easy to correct or improve. Below are modifications
I made to mine as well as my wife’s Astro and
Thunder who share the same outfitting and issues.
part of the seat was further weakened with the factory
backband slot (A). This also happens to line up
with the weakest area of cockpit rim. To counter,
I spaned the slot from under the seat with a 2"
wide piece of aluminum (B); fastened it to the seat
with 8 rivets; then braced it with foam that rests
on the hull. Being that I no longer use the slot
(A), I could have done something else here that
was more effective. As shown, the gains are likely
Stock, the factory
seat moved side to side enough (1.5" each
way) that I could feel it while paddling, especially
bracing. And the gap between the top of the seat
& underside of the cockpit rim created a flex
point in its most vulnerable spot. The foam on
the top (A) takes out most of the flex while the
foam between seat & sidewall (B) nearly eliminates
side to side movement. This simple & quick
little fix made the boat feel noticably better
while paddling. Excellent returns!
Gluing hip pads in produces cleaner results than
duct tape but, in an attempt to minimize my chemical
body burdon as much as possible, I quit using
adhesives. Hippie chrome works & is much faster.
||Feeling too far back
& too low, I pulled the stock band out of the
seat slot (A); moved it forward 3/4"; rested
it on top of the seat; & held it in place with
a hose clamp (B). A small slot was cut in the band
& seat to accept the clamp. To further stabilize
the band, I ran an 1/8" Ø bungee cord
(C) from the cockpit rim to the backbands D ring
(D). I used a hook (E) on the end of the bungee
so the band could be unhooked & folded out of
the way for stern access. A simple mod that gives
some improvement. (pictured is a Riot Astro) UPDATE:
to bring the band up higher, simply drill
2 extra holes under the existing holes and re-insert
the thumb screw & rubber expansion nut. Everything
else can then be left "stock". Takes 2
Here are 3 very
simple & easy mods. To facilitate egress,
I chamfered both sides of the pillar (A). The
holes in the bulkheads foam (B) adds a little
shock absorbtion. (C) is a bungee cord water bottle
holder. I used a plastic tube from a ball point
pen to keep the bungee from pullling through the
foam. Here's how I did it: poked
hole in foam 3" from edge with phillips head
screwdriver; pulled it out; inserted pen tube
over screwdriver & pushed it in hole; pulled
out screwdriver & run bungee through.
original Riot backband adjustment system creates
unnecessary friction. Its geometry also wants
to naturally pull the band downward rather than
forward. The way it is configured in the above
photo, the band is pulled in a straight line and
with no friction. Getting this band tight to your
back is far easier and faster than with the conventional
ratchet system. To tighten, I simply pull rather
After numerous configurations,
this is by far the best I have come up with. I
left the original strap and ratchet in place for
a back-up. It can be made operational in one to
two minutes. The backband is a modified Riot band...the
same one shown here.
Tightening is done by pulling on the whiteish
colored toggles seen hanging below the thigh braces.
The ratchet straps run through toothed spring
loaded pieces salvaged from the older Riot thigh
strap system (like a ratchet without the ratchet
lever). These are fastened to the existing holes
used for the thigh brace adjustment and reinforced
with aluminum plates.
add a more detailed description and photos as
time allows. Until then, feel to email me with
Here's an old thermo
formed seat I cut the back out of (indicated by
the red arrows) and reinforced with machined aluminum.
The aluminum against the existing the pillar pocket
(A) was welded to a 3" wide piece of aluminum
which was also part of the 1.25" wide band
(B) that wrapped around the back of the seat.
This band assembly was then attached to the seat
with thirteen rivets as can be seen in the top
2 pics. Finally, (A) was attached to the existing
pillar pocket via one 1”x1" aluminum
angle (indicated by green arrow) per side and
a total of ten 1/8" Ø button head
Cutting the seat
like this severely weakened its structural integrity.
With the aluminum bracing, it recovered an estimated
85% of its original integrity. I justified the
15% loss due to this particular kayaks unusually
high shell strength.
For this seat and
boat, this mod worked well. It greatly improved
the access, allowed some of the weight to be carried
lower and closer to my butt and provided storage
space under the seat.
Below are some modifications I did
to a Dagger CFS including the installation of an old
roto molded Wave Sport X seat and building a new backband.
Stock, the CFS was one of the more
difficult boats to load I have used. After these mods,
it was amongst the easiest of pillared kayaks. The boat
also lost two pounds in the process and retained most
of its structural integrity... and possibly gained in
some areas. Prior to this swap, I cut the back out of
the stock seat similarly to the photos above but due
to the stock seats configuration, the overall gains
were so small, I ended up throwing it in the trash (recycling
center wouldn’t take it).
cut the top part of the X pillar pocket out (A)
to accomodate the CFS pillar (B). To provide extra
pillar/seat connection, I extended this pocket towards
the stern 3" with machined aluminum (E). This
same piece of aluminum overlaps the seat 3"
per side (F) and is attached with 20 rivets. For
additional lateral stability, I also extended the
pocket vertically (D) to the underside of the cockpit
rim & ran a 1/4' Ø bolt through this
& the pillar. The nut & head were covered
with minicell (C) to prevent snagging or undue wear
to my drybags. To further facilitate ease of loading,
the minicell was chamfered with a rasp (B) (C).
|The padded part of
this backband was salvaged from an old Pyranha.
I made the rest including the machined aluminum
brackets that attach it to the seat. The red ball
inside the circled area is the loose end of the
adjustment strap which extends just past my hip
when pulled. Once in the boat, I reach behind, grab
the ball, pull to tighten, drop it behind &
put on my skirt. Simple, light and fast.
|Ready to load. This
shows the backband folded out of the way...a process
easily done in 3 seconds by loosening the metal
cam buckle & unhooking the bungee cords. The
red ball on the loose end of the adjustment strap
can be seen lying in the center of the seat. I salvaged
this ball from a rescue PFD quick release.
|(A) indicates the
metal cam buckle and (B) the extra long adjustment
strap. The red ball on the end of this strap is
lying in the stern and not visible in this photo.
|This is the hook
the backband bungee cords attach to. It's shaped
like a T with the top part held to the cockpit rim
with four rivets. The slot indicated by the red
arrows allowed the aluminum to bend more easily
|Here's the front
pillar connection. I just notched the top area of
the X seat (A) enough (2") to accomadate the
plastic CFS pillar (B), inserted solid plastic spacers
inside (indicated by red arrows) & bolted it
together with one 1/4" Ø bolt. Though
not sharp, the nut sticks out enough to have cut
my ankle in a hasty exit. It should have been covered
with chamfered minicell or something similar.