Adding a skeg to WW boat?

Just curious, are there any cheap and easy to add skegs or fins that I could put on a 8-9 foot WW boat for something resembling a tracking on flat water for short paddles?

They should be removable or retractable so that the boat can still do what it has been designed for -:wink:


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No. You could make one, but it would
be a lot of trouble. What whitewater boat are you wanting to paddle in coastal waters? There are a few that will do tolerably without a skeg. I own a couple. I think, though, that you might want to watch for a good buy on a used touring kayak.

now you’re talking crazy talk

Crazy talk!

Whitewater boat aren’t supposed to track straight.

Try using a short high angle stroke and see if you can make it track with your technique.


Thanks to the replies and back to
the question: are there any generic low cost skeg kits you can suggest?

Of course I can make it go straight with my stroke, but it has absolutely no glide in a straight line as it turns pretty much immediately left or right as soon as I stop paddling (normal). So, why not help myself a bit? I have a Pyranha Burn that I would mostly lend to my 13 yr old daughter to paddle about in calm water - that’s why I want the skeg/fins so that she can go some distance.

Short surfing boats do come with fins and they are not that dissimilar from a flat-hull WW boat except for the sharper edges. And these track better than WW boats and are perfectly adequate for a morning exercise paddle on the lake. A friend has one (14lb sit on top custom surfing board) and that is great on the local lake, when you don’t have the time to take it to the ocean for what it was really meant to do.

Don’t bother.
Like g2d said above, it would not be worth the trouble/time to put a skeg on a ww boat that didn’t come with one. If not an expert, preserve the manufacturer’s hull integrity on your ww boat at all cost(it’s use in ww is of far more value than any piddling around on a lake.) You’ll never have one yak that can do everything well, each has it’s compromises. I’d save up a few extra bucks and get myself an over-10’ (if not over 12’)rec boat for the flat stuff. Or, if lucky enough, find a good used long touring yak. (For less than $500, sometimes a great boat can be found).

Another option, is to perhaps get something like a Dagger Approach (a 10’ hybrid ww boat that comes with a drop down skeg.)

Future Fins
Hi kocho,

I know you are not getting the kind of answer you are looking for. I get what you want to do and have a possible solution.

Check out future fins:

This surfboard fin technology allows you to swap out fins or remove them altogether with a small allen wrench. There are two parts to the system, the slotted cartridge and the fin. They offer a wide assortment of fins. You might choose a larger fin and cut its length down to a more kayak-like profile.

I bought some of their cartridges and fins. I chose fins that look more hydrodynamic for paddling purposes. I was planning on experimenting with them in a composite sea kayak, but never did anything with them. I will sell the assortment to you for $40 plus shipping if you want to give them a try. I spent over a hundred bucks on the parts a few years ago and they continue to sit in the box they came in.

The challenge for you with this system or any other is how to mount it to your HDPE kayak. Not much adheres to HDPE. I think you may have to use mechanical fasteners like T-bolts to mount the cartridge to your boat.

You may want to use a pair of fins and angle them toward the bow like on the WW surf boats. This will help the boat carve if you ever do some surfing and will provide a little more tracking.

I hope this is the type of advice you were looking for.


This looks precisely like what I would want to put on the boat. Not sure if I will takey you on your offer though - the point about adhesion is valid and I may have to put a lot of work to make this particular design stay in place securely and without leaks. If properly done, I think it will not weaken the boat, but the plastic will be tricky to seal well.

I may rign-up a “drop-down” or removable version that attaches to the already installed fasteners for the carry/safety handle.

Another idea

I have another idea. How about fabricating a simple fixed skeg that you hang over the transom? It would look like an overstern rudder, but does not need to pivot like a skeg. This elinates the challenge of sealing the HDPE boat below the waterline. It also eliminates any permanent modifications.

Again the key is mounting. You may have some pad eye, handles, bungee or some hardware already in place that you could latch on to.

One idea is a two-sided box open at one end and the marine ply sides joing in a seam at the aft edge. Probably with a triangular shaped top with a hole in it to lock it onto some existing hardware. It would drop snugly over your transom. The blade would be fixed to the trailing edge.

Good Luck!

Dagger Approach
I don’t know about adding a skeg, but the Dagger Approach is a so-called “crossover” boat that is supposed to be able to run rivers, and it has a drop-down skeg. I know that the Approach is controversial among WW kayakers, and Dagger lists it as a recreational boat, not a WW boat, but it will take a sprayskirt and it has thigh hooks, etc.

Probably not a good boat to take down a challenging WW river, but OK for milder, Class II water, and perhaps for learning some basic WW techniques.

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It’s been done.

– Last Updated: Jun-07-08 4:50 PM EST –

Dave Church out in Oregon sells a mounting box that you can put O-Fish fins in. It mounts with screws in a poly boat so you don't have to glass it in like you would in a wave ski or surfboat.. A couple of years ago several folks were modifying whitewater boats to take fins for surfing. I think Sing may have done it to one his boats.

Here is a link to buy the mounting clamps for the fin boxes.

I have a 5" fin on my Cobra strike, works great for surfing, the fin gives you grip on the wave face, and at high speed, some directional stability but for paddling it does not really affect how straight you go, paddles the same without or without the fin.

Same with the 3.5 inch fins in my Aquarius surf boat. I notice no difference in tracking with or without the fins at slow speed.

You might try to find a Cobra Wave Witch for your daughter, its a very good little sit on top and has a rudder, the boat is not made any more but you might be able to find one used. Or have Hunt Johnson make you one of his glass models for about $1500 ... very nice boats. The pocket rocket would work well for a young paddler.

Removable skeg
Take a look at the removable skeg offered on Innova and Aire inflatable kayaks. Necky used to have a removable skeg on some of their better rec kayaks. Easy on and off, good ideas to glean. I’ve done a considerable number of gps trials with and without skeg on a white water boat and my conclusion is you can go 1/2 mph faster with a skeg in normal weather, but where a skeg really helps is in crosswinds, it helps keep you on line. With the skeg your strokes are all power strokes and little need for correction strokes. However, there is a point where your extra speed builds up a bow wave that will actually slow you down and no amount of hard paddling will increase your speed beyond that point. For my Prijon Chopper the top cruising speed with minimal effort is 3.5 mph. The Dagger Approach is IMHO a great boat. It turns almost as well as my Chopper and is almost as fast and it has a lot more volume so big waves don’t bother it much. Last year I paddled one about 50 miles on Class II-III rivers and always felt secure. It can be rolled, it will hold a ton of camping gear and it comes in two sizes now. Don’t be put off by paddlers who pooh pooh the idea of skegs on whitewater boats. Your point is well taken; if it can increase your speed and decrease your effort then its worth doing. Have fun and enjoy the journey, and never stop thinking outside the box.

Alternative Solutin
The post above is talking about 10’ kayaks you are talking about an 8ft foot creeker? I don’t think adding a fin is going to do you any good.

Why not look for an old Dancer or Pirouette on Craigslist. They go for about $150 bucks around here. It would paddle fairly well in a straight line and not be too much volume for a 13 year old girl to handle. Easy to roll too.

Tow something
Quick and dirty fix is to tie a tennis shoe to the stern grab handle. Works well enough and something more hydro dynamic might be more appropriate for your needs.

Or ask the greenland paddlers about the removable skegs used on traditional/SOF kayaks. I’m sure you could find a pictue of one but basically its a skeg/fin mounted perpendicular to something flat. The flat thing is attached to the kayak with bits of string tied around the stern so it can be slid around the kayak to be in or out of the water. Seems to me you could make some thing pretty cheap and easy, use elastic to attach it and not have to cut into the kayak.

If you go the new kayak route (I dont think you need to but…) look at the Pyranah Master, Good surfing hull, runs grade 3 WW and comes with a retractable skeg for getting to more remote play areas.

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8-9’ ww boats…?

– Last Updated: Jun-08-08 10:44 AM EST –

As mentioned...hulls, other than generic flatwater canoes, are designed to take specific courses when paddled...whatever mods you do to change the type of ride, the more you're simply going to slow it down... One can do many different(ie wild/crazy) things with a short canoe(Bell Flashfire);-), but that isn't your everyday run of the mill rec-boat.


Skeg article in here:

I have seen an article about adding surf fin boxes to a plastic WW boat.

Feathercraft makes a strap-on skeg:

You could probably make something similar.

Maybe try this cheap idea …

– Last Updated: Jun-11-08 2:05 PM EST –

Use the prep method from the first post just above this (but leave it smoother?), but then stick a homemade plastic/? skeg on with the super strength 3M doublestick adhesive for a trial run -- the foam type will deteriorate in water, so figure out some kind of adhesive that will work for longer-term installation after roughing it up and prepping it again, or just buy and reapply the 3M stuff each trip or as necessary.

This adhesive picking tool might help:

Easy to yank it off and hit the rapids with that way, too.

Thanks guys
Some really good suggestions (including the ones like “don’t bother - get another boat”, seriously!)

I’m not that actively looking into it, just gathering information should I really decide to try it…

Dagger Approach 9.0
I just got the Dagger Approach 9.0 this spring. Works well, but the skeg sticks sometimes. May have to modify it.

I gave-up on this idea, it seems
I’ll stick with separate boats for different conditions.

I did paddle the approach over the weekend for a quick demo and it is a nice boat paddles OK but IMO does nothing very well. May be part of the reason it did not impress me enough was that it was not a good fit for me size-wise - I think I tried the longer model. And yes, it also had a stuck skeg…