Setting up the Masik and footrest

The Masik is the cross beam above your thighs. It’s best if it fits tight for good control over your kayak, but not as tight you can’t shift around for harder rolls without a paddle. Your Masik can be almost flat to quite curved, depending on how much leg room you want. Our goal was to find appropriately sized bent branches cut from local forests and treat them very gently to fit our uses. Most of them were actually found at a layup of fallen trees in Åland.

You can also go “modern” and laminate your masik from steam bent Oak or Ash. Both ways make for beautiful, durable Masiks where the wood grain follows the bend.

A common misconception is that you can get “stuck” in your kayak underwater if your kayak fit is too tight. Well, you can, but only if you panic. Don’t panic! Once in the water, you will be weightless and will slide out if you want to go for a swim, with very little effort. On the other hand, if you’re doing kayak surfing or other situations where you can get tumbled, don’t use an ocean cockpit at all but go for a keyhole style cockpit!

Once you temporary strap down your masik and cockpit, you can determine where to mount your footrest. The common formula of “one fist behind your back and slightly bent knees” seems to work for most people. Be careful to not accidentally move your center of gravity for your specific kayak build though!

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