You may want to consider taking these kind of handles off or replacing them with something more flexible like webbing? We have heard of instances where paddlers who have huli'ed in high winds have inadvertently had their fingers stuck under such bars while trying to hold onto or grab their skis as their skis have flipped over their heads - wrenching their fingers and hands backwards. Is the design for Think skis (as of 2023) with the curve better than the straight bars that some Epics have, or is the Epic smaller gap between handle and boat less likely to snag and trap fingers?
Anything added to your deck should be low-profile and tidy - particularly if placed anywhere near your seat cockpit. You do not want to be catching your clothes or body parts on anything when you are falling out of or remounting your craft.
Many surfskis are poorly designed for quick and convenient drainage of water that gets inside the ski hull. One potential improvement is to adopt the bung hole/pressure relief tube style used in many outrigger canoes. Such bung hole plugs are inexpensive and readily available from outrigger companies. And drilling a hole at the rear end of your ski for such a plug is also quite easy. Use techniques recommended for drilling through fiberglass (tons of youtube videos for this) like putting painter's tape over the hole area, starting with an awl to make a small pilot hole, and using your drill in reverse mode (with a good hole bit - like a Forstner) to avoid fiber splintering.
Photo: Paul Reavley - Click to enlarge
In cold water when wearing bulky water shoes it can be difficult to get your feet back into the foot straps. This is especially true in big waves and when you have individual straps for each foot. By taping semi-rigid rubber inside the foot straps they will hold their shape so you can quickly get your feet into position and back to paddling. Some companies also sell footstrap covers that can also help hold footstrap shape.
A watch can be mounted onto the foot strap by strapping a piece of closed cell foam to the foot strap with zip ties. Then wrap the wrist band around the foam and the foot strap. The watch face is closer to see and to reach than mounting on the front of the footwell. GPS Deck Mount Examples
Surfskis are generally not set up for carrying a lot of gear. Some of the heavier, more stable boats occasionally do have hatches. And one can potentially use existing bungee mounts to also attach gear and gear bags, though adding stuff to your deck will decrease stability as more weight gets added.
Technique can be the cause (bad technique) or cure (good technique) of a variety of discomforts in a surfski. But good technique does not solve all misfits between individual anatomy and surfski seating. Finding a surfski cockpit that fits your body is a good start and will help some paddlers more than others. Beyond that a paddler has to work on adjusting the shape of a cockpit to work as well as it can with the shape of their body while still striving to prevent those adjustments from interfering with good technique. For more drastic changes in seat configuration consider options discussed in bucket surgery.
Padding is often needed in the seat area to adjust cockpits for better fit or to eliminate rubbing from hip rotation. If rubbing in the coccyx area is a problem, padding (with a non-absorbent material like closed-cell foam) with a channel in the center which will slightly raise each side of the buttocks leaving a channel for the coccyx (like bicycle seats) can be helpful. Likewise, rubbing in back at the base of the lower lumbar vertebrae can be alleviated by padding with a channel at the rear of your cockpit. You want to avoid friction and/or interference with proper hip rotation, so you may have to experiment with some combination of slick tape and paddling shorts (specifically designed to slide easily without seams to rub in the wrong places) to arrive at your ideal seat setup. Talking to other paddlers and checking out their solutions can be very helpful. But some paddlers apparently just grin and bear it, building up scar tissue in the afflicted area. If you use padding in the bottom of your seat it can possibly give you better leverage with your stroke, but be aware that it does not take very much elevation of your seat height to affect your balance and stability (read next paragraph)
Padding may also be used for balance and stability practice. Raising your seat height by a small amount can have an unexpectedly large effect on you sense of balance and stability. Conversely, some paddlers pad their seat bottoms to intentionally achieve this effect so they can practice with a tippier boat, improving their balance and experiencing greater stability when they remove such padding.
Listen to Paddle2Fitness podcast seat pads for efficiency
To avoid the sticky residue left by duct tape, use black electric tape (wider tape like 1.5“ is easier to use). No messy cleanup after removing your race number.
Weed guards with flat aprons can be attached simply with a good, waterproof tape (pipe wrap, etc.). This allows a non-permanent installation for testing and may also reduce damage in the event of running it into something.