Back band installed.

This afternoon after work I had time to get the back band and its suspension installed. This involved mounting a couple of hard pad eyes under the cockpit coaming, which made me nervous in a way that almost no other process in building the entire kayak did. To make the pilot holes for the fasteners I had to turn the kayak upside down and use a 90 degree drill adapter to drill through the underside of the deck and into the cockpit coaming. I was worried about not drilling straight and blowing out the side of the coaming, or even drilling right through the top of the coaming. Either would have been a disaster. It was only four little holes for the fasteners, but it sure felt to me like there was not much margin for error. It worked out fine. I wish I’d put them an inch further aft, but they seem to work fine, so all’s well that ends well I suppose.

You may be saying “Hey! That’s not a Pygmy back band.” Nope. I bought a Snap Dragon back band from Cape Falcon Kayak. I made all of the measurements for the hip braces and the position of the holes for the back band to Pygmy specs, and the same goes for the pad eyes for the suspension. So if I decide that I don’t like the Snap Dragon band I can always install the stock Pygmy band.

The shock cord suspension keeps the back band in the correct position for normal paddling, but if I attempt a lay-back (Greenland style) roll the band moves down out of the way as I lean back. When I sit back up the band returns to the upright position. Simple and effective.
Above you can see the port side pad eye mounted under the cockpit coaming. Drilling the pilot holes for the fasteners made me nervous. I’m not sure why. I am careful and pay attention to detail, but I was overthinking it and worked myself up about how things could go wrong. My advice is, don’t do that.
Starboard side pad eye and suspension.