My playboat (not a Jackson) came with happy feet. used them for 2 days and shaped up a foam block. Now I have consistent lock into my boat and something that wont give for lose volume and I get a little cold water in my boat. It does however make a comfy seat when by the campfire. Thinking about trying to install a woopy cushion like valve on the inflation hose so I can make it multifunctional. hehe
I loved the happy feet in my Jackson Fun and hate them in my Allstar because of my height. If you dial them in properly they tend to stay pretty well in the Fun, but the shape of the bow in the All star and the angle your feet enter in at usually cause it to slide around more in that boat. Your mileage may vary, try different combos and do what feels the most comfortable while giving you the appropriate trim for your boat.
Happy Seat with the thruster is awesome. The happy seat lifts my knees into the knee sockets and somewhat holds them in there. Pretty darn comfortable when your crammed into a little boat. I am 6' 2" with size 11 feet so I will take every ounce of comfort I can get in my playboat.
In either case if it isn't comfortable figure out how it is comfortable and sell what you don't use. There are always people looking to buy the happy feet and happy seat for other boats that aren't as comfy.
I can't say I really understand the OP's question since the only necessity for playboating is a boat with some nomiinal degree of outfitting - even a backband isn't "necessary". Furthermore, since only Jackson's come with the Happy Feet and there a lot of good playboats from other companies, how could they be "necessary"?
That being said, here's my take:
Happy Feet - If - and this is a big if - you understand the concept (i.e., suck out as much air as possible from the beanbag to form a near vacuum seal), they work reasonably well. But even when used correctly, they do have a bit more movement than foam and may need readjustment every few weeks. AFaust made an interesting observation that I hadn't quite connected before - the Happy Feet did seem to move less in my old 4Fun than in the Allstar. Conclusion - Not a necessity, but not that bad. Foam is better in the long run.
Happy Seat (The airbag that goes in front of the seat to support your legs) - Personally, I love the Happy Seat, with one exception - it makes sponging out a bit harder. Fully adjustable to either just support your legs or really lock you in the boat when you are really throwing it around. I feel way loose in the boat if I don't use mine. While foam knee blocks can kind of get the same feeling, I find the Happy Seat much more comfortable and versatile. Conclusion - Not a necessity, but darn close.
Sweet Cheeks (bean bag that goes on the seat) - Not on the OP's list, but someone mentioned it. From what I have seen a lot of people that don't like these or complain about them moving around, just do not get the concept of how they work. Either they blow air into it or just don't suck all the air out. Here's how it works. With some air in the sweet cheeks, move the beads around til they are where you think you want them, seat in the boat, wiggle a bit until you are sure that everything is comfortable and where it should be, then pretend you are a Hoover vacuum and suck ALL the air out of the seat (you should be able to distinct outlines of the beads. This will create a nice solid seat pad that is custom molded to your butt and should last for weeks or months as long as the sweet cheeks don't have a leak. If you find that seat puts you in an uncomfortable position, blow a little air into the bag and readjust the beads until it is comfortable. Conclusion - Not a necessity but a lot easier than trying to customize your seat with foam and a SurForm.
Nothing "happy" about happy feet. have to adjust them all the time, don't give the support foam gives. i think they're really just a gimmick. My feet move all over the place and I never feel I have anything solid to push against when playboating. I am ready to pull the system out and put in a good old fashioned foam block. Today I had to replace the chord on my jackson backband--on a star I just purchased new last fall. It was totally shredded. Great boat, not so great outfitting.
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