. . . flat knee pads glued onto the hull bottom. In my experience, 1/2" textured raw neoprene (no nylon surface) is the best. Anything thicker and you lose the water contact feeling through your knee bones. I've also used a lot of 3/8" black or tan ensolite from sleeping pads. However, the neoprene is more durable and has more bounce and rebound than the ensolite.
The shape of the flat pads is a matter of preference. For a tripping canoe I use two rounded squares with a space in between for water to slosh through. The space also allows a kneeling paddler to slide feet under, or out from, the seat easier than over a rubber surface. For a freestyle canoe I use a bigger single sheet of foam to climb further up to the rails and to extend further forward for bow pitching.
I don't like cups on a flatwater canoe because they are inconsistent with position changes. Cups make a lot more sense in a thigh-strapped whitewater hull.
I certainly don't want anything that comes loose and could float away in an upset, especially in multiple pieces. Nor do I want to carry some big honker loose mat if I'm portaging.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
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