Over the let 12 months or so I have had a handful of occasions where the left hand, plastic adjustable footrests in my P&H Cetus has popped off the rail. To replace it requires the whole footrest to be removed so the footrest can be slid back into place. I’d also noticed a certain amount of flex in the footrest particularly swapping between sea kayaks with the Yakima footrests which feel so much more solid. Having bumped into a couple of other paddlers who had been experiencing a similar issue with their adjustable footrests I decided to swap out the footrests in my P&H Cetus for a set of Yakima’s.

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Equipment Needed

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Equipment Needed

The good news is that the Yakima footrests are an option for P&H boats when you order them and as such the 2 holes on either side of the boat will take either the P&H adjustable footrest or Yakima footrests without the need for any re-drilling or repositioning of holes.

This means the tools needed for this job are quite simple.

  1. The new Yakima Footrests
  2. A phillips head screwdriver.
  3. A set of Allen Keys.

Step 1: Remove Adjustable Footrests

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Removing Bolts

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Removing Bolts

Using the allen keys, remove the bolts from the current set of adjustable footrests. These bolts tighten through a nut set inside the plastic rail of the footrest so be sure to rescue these if they drop into the boat. Also ensure you grab the foam spacer which sits between the rail and hull of the boat. Take the time to clean up any grime that is left of the outside and inside of the hull.

Step 2 – Organising the new footrests

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Drainage Channels

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Drainage Channels

The Yakima footrests need to be inserted the right way up. There are drainage channels cut into the rails of these footrests. You need to ensure you place the footrest into the boat so this is facing downwards.

Step 3 – Bolt In Yakima Footrests

Fitting Yakima Footrest - In Place

Fitting Yakima Footrest - In Place

The Yakima footrests do not use a nut and bolt system. Instead the bolt screws directly through a thread in the rail on the footrests. This means they can be a little tricky to line up, particularly the end furthest into the cockpit. Unless you have two people to hand – one to hold the rail in place and one to screw in from the outside, it can be a very tricky task.

The method I found worked best fitting them on my own was to fix and reasonably tighten the bolt through the rail closest to the cockpit which is in easy arms reach. This allows you to position the rail in line with the hole in the hull. I then pushed the second bolt slightly into the hull, pushed the foam and metal washer on the bolt and pushed the rail onto the tip of the bolt. This means you can then screw in the bolt from the outside without needing to hold onto the rail/bolt inside the kayak.

Step 4 – Keep the left over pieces!

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Storing Leftover Pieces

Fitting Yakima Footrest - Storing Leftover Pieces

Even though I have swapped out the old footrests, they could still prove useful in the future so I’ve made sure all the screws/bolts etc are all screwed back into the footrest so I can store them safely just in case they are needed.

Step 5 – Get out and paddle!

Testing New Yakima Footrests

Testing New Yakima Footrests

All thats left is to set up the footrests and get out paddling! The two key things I’ve noticed immeadiately from switching to the Yakima’s are:

  1. Firmer under the foot – no flexing whilst paddling
  2. More footroom – thinner, smaller foot plates

In particular, I’ve been able to wear my 5.10 Canyoneers inside the Cetus, something I wasnt able to do before. With my size 10 Lomo boots on, I also notice the extra foot room. A pleasing result.

Obviously, it is a little soon to comment on long term performance, however having spent a lot of time in boats using these footrests I’ve been happy with their performance as long as they are kept clean and washed out from grit etc. I’ve also picked up a cracking tip from MikeB on the UK Rivers Guidebook where there is a post on retro-fitting Yakima footrests that is well worth a read.

Lube the pivots on the adjustment levers with some Waxoyle ever year or so. A light smear on the tracks helps too.

I’ll update this post later in the year with some feedback on the Yakima’s long term performance.