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February 1, 2007

By Rafael Ortiz

Hey Ej! got a nice article for you, i was saving it but then my dad broke his foot, so it fit in very cool.. He is doing fine, he’ll have surgery maybe in a week. He wont be able to paddle in a while, things happen…

I’m attaching it with a cool pic haha


Sweet cheeks

Last weekend I was driving to the river and just couldn’t stand the seat I was sitting on. It was a fairly simple truck, missing any great luxuries like a nicely padded bucket seat. I kept sliding left and right, back and forth, trying to find the softest spot as my butt was getting numb. In this uncomfortable situation, I started considering the possibility of getting my Sweet Cheeks out of my kayak to ease the pain. Being a bit lazy, I took the numbness and kept driving. Finally in the river and in my boat, I kicked myself for needlessly suffered over the previous several hours, but ended up enjoying a really comfortable day in the water. This hard experience gave me some inspiration to write a bit about a real couch in a kayak: the Sweet Cheeks.

Before EJ came up with this awesome piece of luxury, we had all been sitting on one type of foam pad or another. The softest being the most comfortable, yet flimsy and low performance, while the hardest gave a terrible case of pancake ass, having you numb from the waist down.

For anyone who is not familiar with the Sweet Cheeks, here is a brief description. Basically, it is made from two seat shaped cut-outs of nylon sewn together and filled with a bunch of super soft minicel beans. The material of the bottom of the bag is cloth and attaches to velcro strips on the plastic seat. On either side it has webbing going around the seat posts, which keep the bag inside at all times. The bag itself is perfectly sealed and has a tube that allows you to blow some air in, or suck the air out.

The idea is that you start off inflating the bag a bit, in order to spread the beans uniformly. Next you open the valve, sitting in your regular position. Wiggle your butt around to get an ideal placement of the beans around your butt cheeks. Finally by sucking all the air out of the bag, you leave no more room for the beans to move around, casting a perfect mould of your cheeks on the seat.

So what makes Sweet cheeks so damn comfortable? The answer of this is given by simple physics, and is the same reason for a couch being far more comfortable than a chair. According to the formula, the amount of pressure is given by the force applied, divided by the area of contact (P=F/A). In simple words, the pressure in your bum increases when you reduce the surface between itself and the seat. Now picture a wooden chair and sit on it. Feel how your butt moulds onto the flatness of the chair, creating only a reduced area on which you are resting your whole weight. Stay still for ten minutes. Painful, isn’t it?

Lets change the scheme. This time imagine a big fluffy couch; one in which you can sit all day long watching kayaking videos. What happens is that the couch can actually mould to the shape of your butt when laying on it. This way, the same weight is distributed through so much more skin area, having less pounds per square inch on your hard parts.

This analogy works perfectly in relation to the Sweet cheeks. Whenever you sit on your Jackson Kayak, you have the bean bag moulding to the exact contour of your butt, physically increasing the area of contact so directly reducing the pressure.

In addition to the comfort factor, the Sweet cheeks are incredibly durable because they reduce the normal wear-off caused by the rubbing of an unsteady sitting position. They also have many other great uses, for example a cool pillow for overnighters, or a super solid and comfy splint for immobilizing. Let me tell a brief anecdote to round this up.

Last weekend, when finally on the water, we decided to take a break and chill for a while on some flat rocks on shore. When my dad got out of his boat and stood up, he happened to loose balance for one second because of the slipperiness of the surface. As he fell, his ankle decided to slide in an opposite direction, causing a massive disaster within his bones. Being in the river-run, basically standing in the middle of the jungle with no way out except paddling downstream, we had no other choice but finishing and taking out at the normal spot, still a couple of kilometers far from us. I looked around and saw sticks, rocks, my gear… that is when I remembered I had my Sweet cheeks handy. I unstrapped the thing from my kayak, and wrapped it around my dad’s foot using the same straps to make it hold steadily. Next step was getting him back in his boat, and later on, inflating the bag to turn it into an unbeateable splint. This way, we kept paddling through the following rapids, including a couple of class III’s in this accidented fashion. We just knew that a swim would be dramatic because my dad would not be able to exit his boat, so we took all the necessary precautions. Finally, we made it to the truck and transfered the injured to the town’s hospital. Three bone fractures and a severe dislocation, resulting in the need of surgery to install a plate plus a hole buch of screws. Thanks to the extra feature of my Jackson Kayak, we were able to solve an emergency that could have ended worse, in a very swift and neat way.

So next time you need a really comfortable seat or an additional safety accesory, grab your Sweet cheeks and enjoy the real comfort of a couch in your kayak.