bizarre skeg issue....

so the other day i’m out on the water raising my skeg and it jams right at the midway point. i gently lower it back down and try to coax it back up easily: it continues to stick in the same mid point.

after a 4 maybe 5 tries it raises. then it lowers and raises no problem for a minute or two and then gets stuck again.

i take the boat out of the water: the skeg works flawlessly over and over again. i’m thinking i musta picked up some weeds or debris.

back in the water after a few minutes of paddling. the same result it sticks mid-way.

I check the cable: it appears fine. i check the slider and it works perfectly.

it’s now been doing this for a few weeks.

what gives? any ideas?

(do you think water is geting into the cable housing and prevents it from sliding?)


What’s the
make and model?

when you checked the skeg OUT of the water was the boat right side up or did you turn it over?

put the boat on a stand and operate the skeg with the boat right side up, and see if it sticks.

boat was right side up
worked flawlessly.

the boat is a kajaksport viking. it hasn’t been a problem until recently.

great boat. pretty simple mechanism-no real funky curves or bends in the line–must be something unusual.

Based on my extensive experience
I have NO experience with skegs.

But I have much experience with cable-actuated shifting and braking systems (bicycles). I’m betting that there is a frayed cable wire within the housing. It allows the skeg to lower, but hangs up when raised. It may not hang up every time, so it may be necessary to remove the skeg fin and pull the cable out of the housing. Areas of suspicion would be the skeg box/housing joint and the bend immediately above the box.


Could the hangup be in the
control knob/slide bar by the cockpit? I’m trying to remeber how it looks (I have an Artisan Millenium). I’ll have to look it over when I get home. Mine has always functioned flawlessly, even after dragging it over sand, or forgetting to retract on exit and setting boat on extended skeg.

but then why…
would it only jam while in the water?

Important question …
On the water, does it jam when you are sitting still or moving ? Honestly, this matters.

i want to say its while i’m moving…but i’m not 100% sure hasn’t happened at rest.

i usually paddle in a stiff current so regardles there’s water moving beneath my boat.

i’m curious to hear your diagnosis…


I am in awe…only you would think to ask this question!

(we are not worthy, we are not worthy, etc.)


check the cable
I’d pull the cable out of the boat and take a good look at it. Cables like this really aren’t designed to push, and if there’s anything that’s making the skeg stick, it will add resistance to it. That cable can probably lift your car, but it won’t take much to damage it by pushing on it.

It’ll only take a couple of minutes and it sounds like the best chance of where the problem is. I haven’t seen the skeg on a Kajaksport, but on my NDK it’s really easy.

Just had a thought
Is there any possibility that the control knob could be sliding along the cable?


though i can’t be totally sure
i really don’t think that’s where the problem is. it certainly doesn’t feel that way and the slider is a bar anyway so slippage is unlikely.


Another possibility…
The frayed cable Jsaults mentioned could be it but it would probably get worse real fast.

Not sure if the cable is 1X19 (Stiff for standing rigging but the best to use for push/pull skegs) or the more flexable 7X7 style …

Does the slider feel ‘spongy’ when the skeg will not come all the way up ?

This might indicate a very slight kink just above the skeg itself just as it goes into the tube… So sometimes the cable would be happy sliding in sometimes it would not… the 7X7 wire would eventually fatigue a bit but would effect dropping the skeg. The 1X19 wire if it were to get a kink in it (just over the skeg) would always drop fine but would not always want to come up. Then it would feel spongy @ the slider.

Literature shows what appears to be a full-cable control system. Claims to be 3mm cable.

Would the stiffer cable coil as tightly as shown in the picture?


unnaturally interested in a subject in which I have no stake whatsoever!

What I really think it is…
Not sure exactly how this skeg sits in the boat.

But it sounds to me like the skeg’s pivot hole has elongated to the point that the skeg itself is shifting forward and back horizontally and the skeg is catching in the housing cassette on it’s was down. If you were moving forwards the slight drag on the skeg would pull it backwards and jam it up easier than if you were setting still. Everything would still look normal upon inspection too. Again,not sure of exact set up but I guess the pivot @ the cable-to-skeg interface could cause it to bind too.

not sure what spongy feels like exactly
but yeah, kinda spongy. but how does that explain why it works so well on dry land?

My guess
I would guess that your cable is kinked and it works fine without any resitance. On the water when you are moving you have enough resistance that the cable is bending inside your skeg box instead of pushing the skeg down.


1 x 19
I’m sure it’s 1 x 19 cable. All the ones I’ve seen are, and since it’s the stiffest it’s really the only one that will work. Again, it’s designed for a pull load, not a push load - so it still can kink.

I must have had a metric sized cable in my NDK, because the 3/32" I used to replace it is just a little looser. Makes sense, anyway. You’ll need to use stainless cable which you can find at a sailboat rigging shop, but this stuff is very hard to cut. It can be coiled like it shows in the Kajaksport picture, too.

I still think that you’ll find the problem if you pull the cable out, there isn’t much to these things!

I had a similar problem and Eddyline kayaks replaced it for free. I took the old one out and it was frayed and was bunching up. the picture that was posted looked just like the one I replaced. It was easy to do by myself. I did lube it as well with bike lube. Hope that helps.