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Bumfortable Kayak Seat

It all started
    with a pain in the bum . . .

Everything else was awesome, my paddling skills were ripping, and I was paddling like the wind! But it hurt, my bum and my kayak seat just weren't getting along.

There’s a famous saying: “energy flows where attention goes” and most of my attention was going to the pain instead of fun and good technique. My energy was bottoming out instead of heading forward fast.

The duration I could train for was limited by pain too. I was desperate to make my kayaking comfortable, I wanted a smile on my face and I wanted to win races.

I was working as a graduate design engineer in the foam plastics industry, so it was inevitable I suppose, that I, a competitive racing kayaker, would invent a solution for sore bums and numb legs! … I was sitting on some good information!

As soon as I’d chopped and glued a foam seat masterpiece together for myself, my mates wanted one too - I must have had an annoying grin as I kayaked past them! So I gathered a list of all of the pains and ailments that paddlers suffered from. The number one complaint I got from my research was numb legs, followed by sore “sit bones”, then chafing, then cramps and coldness. Then I spent a couple of months developing and testing the best seat that I could to solve our combined posterior problems.

The results?  The comfortable Bumfortable.

  • Forgiving: The inbuilt softness reduces pressure points and allows extra rotation.
  • Smooth surface finish allows ease of rotation to aid in paddle efficiency.
  • The Bumfortable closed cell foam can be custom moulded to your particular bum shape by gentle use of heat, (eg hairdryer, hot-water bottle, or domestic fan heater), if you so desire. It is also easy to cut, grind and glue.
  • Light weight & completely non-absorbent
  • Warm closed cell foam - the Gurney Gears Bumfortable is warmer on cold mornings and more comfortable than fibreglass. Less abrasive and much less likely to make your legs fall asleep.

Good for your body:

  • Reduced pressure on ischial tuberosity (bum bones) by concavities in the underside of the Bumfortable.
  • Designed to prevent chaffing by structurally supporting your back while kayaking through proper posture, rather than allowing pressure on flesh where chaffing occurs.
  • Extended length into the hamstring area to reduce pressure and keep hamstings warm. This aids circulation and reduces cramps.

Good for your kayak:

  • Lowers your centre of gravity which increases kayak stability (choose the model to suit your kayak's dimensions)
  • Reduced incidence of kayak hull damage - A rigid seat structure is more likely to hole the kayak when a rock scrapes along the hull because it represents a sudden change in elastic flexibility of the hull. A Bumfortable, by comparison, will allow the hull to continue elastically flexing as the hull passes along the obstruction highly reducing the chances of structural damage and subsequent required repair.
  • Available factory installed: Increasingly, kayak manufacturers are offering the Bumfortable as an option when ordering new boats. If you are a manufacturer and are interested in more information on OEM, [21|please contact us].

Packed with features

  • Bilge pump flow tunnels incorporated into the underside allow liquid to flow to your bilge pump (bilge pump not included)
  • Back strap option through the moulded backstrap tunnel. (25 mm webbing)
  • Side mounts available to firmly attach your seat into any cockpit.

The bottom line

I rate kayak comfort as more important than hull speed, 
          to finish first, first you must finish! So why not get your hands on the most comfortable kayak seat available?

Steve Gurney paddling the coast to coast adventure race - kayak seat BumfortableYour bottom will breathe a sigh of relief!


Do your legs go numb?
Can you hardly feel your bum?

Does your kayak chafe?
Does your bum often ache?

Do you get leg cramps?

Are you sick of cold, rigid and unfriendly fibreglass seats?

There’s no need to crack under pressure!

Enjoy the comfortable, Bumfortable today!


Q: Hi Steve, A question for you about the bumfortable. I have one fitted to my kayak, which has solved my short term seating issues, however I'm starting to have problems with my upper hamstrings in paddles over 1 hour. It seems to hit me at the 1 hour 30 min point. I get a pain in my leg just about where the front edge of the seat sits. Is this similar to what people that you had tilt the seat forward suffered? Thanks!

A: Great to hear you've been able to extend your paddle time to 1 1/2 before the problems hit. Let's see what we can do about the remaing issues

Kayak seating can indeed be a very challenging issue for endurance paddlers.  And that's why I developed the Bumfortable to be a customisable seat, and with nice soft foam.  I also extended the Hamstring area by quite a few centimeters to reduce pressure. So this helps for most folks.

Everyone has different anatomy, previous injuries, tightness etc etc that makes for individual fitting.  The bumfortable is a great solution for the majority of paddlers, but I can't guarantee it works for all. However, with a bit of adjustment it's likely we can figure it for you.  Here are my thoughts and ideas for you to try:

  1. Yoga: Many paddlers have tight hamstrings. Are you're unusually tight? Do you need to start some yoga? ("downward facing dog" is brilliant)
  2. Footrest position: Try shifting your footrest away one or tow notches. This will load the lower hamstring onto the seat a bit more , taking the pressure off upper.  Or try shifting footrest closer one or 2 notches, your hamstring might have a sensitive bit that needs to be loaded differently. 

    As a general rule i like to have footrest to seat distance such that I can alternately straighten one leg to the bottom of the hull, whilst the other knee is bent up to touch the deck. Paddle like the Olympians with pumping knees so that circulation is maintained.

  3. Increase the width of the seat: Numbness is often caused by too much "wedging" action. If your hull is very narrow, then the sides of the hull may squeeze in too tight in a subtle way so that you don't notice it till an hour or more.

    Test this by sitting up higher a few millimeters, (place a couple of flannels, piece of sheepskin, folds of fleece off-cut etc, down your pants)

    If this is the problem, then you can raise your Bumfortable by glueing a strip of closed cell foam sleeping mat under the Bumfortable to lift it up. Make sure it's only under the bottom of the Bumfortable and not around the sides, otherwise it will just create the same problem, approx 12 cm wide.

    However, this will make the kayak slightly more tippy (but better to paddle by getting "over" the paddle more). If you want the stability to be the same and you find this is the issue, then it's easy to fix, grind of cut some of the sides of the bumfortable away in the region where the pressure is on the sides of your bum. You can do this on the hidden side of the Bumfortable with very coarse sandpaper, so the surface is not disturbed, or if you need more relief, then cut the entire sides out in that area. There are [15|diagrams on this website] that show this.

  4. Change your tilt:

    You can change the amount of pressure on hamstrings by playing around with the forward or backward tilt. Either add more forward tilt, or backward tilt.

    Forward tilt will take pressure off hamstrings and increase pressure slightly on other areas such as ischial tuberosity which might solve your numbness.

    Backward tilt will put more pressure on hamstrings, but this might be useful for your particular anatomy.

    I usually sell tilt kits, but since the earthquake, my machinery is still unserviceable. I'll eventually be able to get back into manufacture, but till then you can make your own tilt by closed cell foam sleeping mats. Cut strips as in the picture, but laminate varying length strips to get the wedge.

  5. Paddling Technique

    Make sure you're pumping your knees like an Olympic paddler. Rotate your bum in the seat as you pump, once again, in the same way Olympic paddlers do.

    This gets blood circulating and cyclically relieves pressure.


Am just returned from week’s paddling journey around the Orkney islands here in northern Scotland.  I had great hopes that the newly installed ‘bumfortable’ would ease the awful sciatica which has plagued my paddling for the last three years……………and it did.  No pain for the whole week…….wonderful.  Paddling some big old north Atlantic seas with plenty wind on top and, for the first time in three years, I was able to look up and engage fully with the natural wonders all about us rather than sit hunched under the pain and popping endless diclofenac.
This seat does exactly what it says on the tin.  Thanks for a great product.

Comfort is only half of the seat's story in my view.. It's more what the Bumfortable does to open up kayak choice for the mid-size guy. 'Buy the seat first, then go find your kayak'. So many intermediate kayaks mock my L to XL body type by being too snug in the cockpit/seat area. A standard Swallow seat was a smidge too tight but your seat easily overcame that with the hangers removed. Same problem ruled me out of Opus, Firebolt and other boats I squeezed my backside into along the way. I bought my near-new TE from a tall but slender chap without trying it, based on having paddled one some years back. Horrors when I found JKK now markets two cockpits and apparently the old cockpit is now an XL. My one has a much narrower seat set-up with uncompromising hangars. My bum had no chance of getting past the bolt heads. Thirty minutes with my multi-tool and a sanding block, and eureka, the intrusive hangers were gone to make way for the Bumfortable. Problem solved. I can honestly say that your seat opens up a lot more choices for the kayak buyer with mildly child-bearing hips .. . . and a multi-tool.

It fits perfectly in my Nelo - I tested it yesterday on a cold and windy lake and felt I could paddle forever - and it even kept my backside warm.

There are a lot of kayaks with {not very good} seats ... I have started learning the Greenlander Paddle rolls and find the Bumfortable great as it doesn't restrict sweeping my body low over the back deck ... & provides a firm fit to allow body rotation and hip flick to aid the roll.

Just used the Bumfortables in the Wild Descent Kayak Race and found they were great and would be keen to stock them in my shop Prokayaks." {The Bumfortable is now available at ProKayaks}

I recently purchased a Bumfortable seat. I wish I had bought one when they first became available. This was literally the first time in 27 years of paddling my Isere that I didn't get tailbone pain. And I didn't need my extra thigh supports.
My feet and legs don't fall asleep anymore with the Bumfortable! The seat was super easy to install and a big bonus is that it also fits my Dart. So I can race the USCA downriver class comfortably now.
The Bumfortable seat is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the paddling experience that I have come across in almost 3 decades of kayaking.

I bought a Bumfortable for my Time Traveller and never looked back.

Thanks again!  I was just at the Western Michigan Coastal Kayak Association symposium this weekend and a few people were quite interested in the seat. I got the idea that I wanted one after seeing Paul's last year. I sat in my boat teaching, which is stressful for my bony butt, all morning and all afternoon and had no pain. Love it!

I received my Bumfortable last week, installed in it my Time Traveller in time for the weekend and then had one of the most rewarding and comfortable paddles I've had for quite some time.  Thanks !!!
I was on the verge of giving up on this boat, not being able to get more than an hour of paddling before I lost the feeling in my legs, and experiencing considerable bum and back pain as a result.
After fitting the Bumfortable, for the first time in 18 months I was able to paddle for over three hours, without any discomfort at all.....what a revelation.

I competed in the RASDEX Classic yesterday in an AR Duo and just wanted to say how absolutely amazing your Bumfortable seat was. Never been so comfortable and felt like the seat was a custom design just for me.