Back in April I wrote a post about seat backs, and the novices love of a big comfortable seat back that replicates the lazy boy in their living room. I mentioned that I was considering installing a simple Immersion Research back band into my Delta. I had actually been told by someone from Delta that it would fit in the boat. About a month ago I was doing some research and contacted Delta about which IR back band fit my seventeen, and if they knew how to Install it. I had a great conversation with someone there that said it would fit, though I would have to do some work to make it happen, but that they had their own - similar - back band that would not require I change anything. He explained that it was still a prototype, but if I was interested they would sell me one - It actually cost half what the IR back band would have cost - and that they would like my feedback. It arrived about a week later.
Clearly a prototype, it has no Delta logos or markings on it. It came in a padded envelope with no instructions for installation. But upon looking at it, and the seat in my kayak, it seemed pretty straight forward in terms of Installation. I had it installed in about 10 minutes, which I would say is pretty good time considering I had no one telling me how to do it. I did have to peel back the thigh brace on the right side to release the end of the cord that supports the seat back - I have since learned there may be a way to install it without doing this - so I need to re-glue this thigh pad.
As you can see in the photo it is much smaller than the standard Delta seat, and it is fairly flexible. It sits comfortably at the small of my back actually mimicking the contact I got with my standard seat reclined all the way. Though I should point out having the standard seat reclined all the way was rubbing on the cockpit coaming, and after 21 days in Alaska it looked like someone took sand paper to the coaming.
My initial response to this change in my cockpit was very positive, once I got it adjusted it wasn't long before I forgot it was there - which is perfect! It was comfortable and flexed nicely with me.
The week after I installed it was the 2nd annual Paddling Otaku Expedition Skills camp (ESK2) and I got to use it for an extended period of time. It really was sensational. It did everything I wanted, offered a little support to my lower back, without getting in the way of anything I wanted to do. I am sure someone skilled in greenland style rolling would be very happy with this addition.
My only concern is that it may be too flexible. I worry how it will do over time - will it weaken from flexing - with the flip side being I might not like it if it were stiffer. Colin at Delta was very receptive to my feedback and I was very receptive to a new seat back.
I like it's minimalist sensibilities, and I like that it isn't more than I need it to be. I look forward to seeing how it does long term.