Finally got out on the water with my Seda, I have some questions

After 2 weeks of washing/waxing/patching/replacing deck lines, my new (old) boat was finally ready for the water so I took her out today on a large tidal river. Overall it was a lovely dip but there was a strong wind coming up the river off the ocean and the tide was low so I was scooping a lot of mud with my paddle. On to questions…

  1. My feet and leg got tingly/went numb after 20-30 minutes. I stretched them out to wake them up periodically and they felt ok but when I got out of the boat after 90 minutes I felt very wobbly. I’m a bit worried that the boat might be too small. I got the foot pegs adjusted right (I think) but the top deck feels low, like my knees are squished down too far. I plan to take the thigh brace padding out but is there anything else I can do? There is no padding whatsoever on the seat and the sides hug my hips nicely. Would padding on the seat help? There’s no room for any on the sides.

  2. I could not make this thing go straight to save my life. Heading out into the wind wasn’t too bad, but still rather zig zaggy in crosswinds and especially whenever the river or tide turned. But returning with the wind at my back…ooof. Despite using broad sweep strokes and getting as far on edge as I could, it still wouldn’t correct course. I was doing a lot of stern ruddering and then would over correct and the wind would knock me 90 degrees in the other direction. I was certainly taking the ‘scenic’ route from bank to bank lol. Is this a me problem? Is it the wind? Is it the boat? It doesn’t have a skeg or rudder. What can I do?

I have some paddling experience and have taken some classes on maneuvering (bracing/edging/etc) and rescues but I’m still very much a beginner and this is the first time I’ve ever been out on my own boat. So I’m all ears for any advice y’all are willing to send in my direction. Thanks for your help!


No. 1
Could be tight piriformis. This exercise worked wonders for me: Piriformis Stretch For Back Pain and Sciatica...Done Right! - YouTube

No. 2. Lots of seat time and practicing weight shifts and slight edge changes are your best bet, preferably on days when you won’t have to fight the wind.

Don’t hesitate to play with a stern draw: 6 Steps To Learn The Kayak Stern Draw Technique - Paddling Magazine

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My friends Seda Glider had a rudder on it. you can see it in this photo of him paddling with a long piece of driftwood.

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What size are you?

What does the seat look like?

I thought Seda’s has rudders?

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My left leg goes numb a lot. I finally figured it out.

I leave my wallet in the car (or put it in a hatch)!

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A gel seat pad sometimes helps. I had to get one after losing a lot of weight due to a health issue. Others find that some sort of padding just in front of the seat help, like a rolled up towel. Others have found moving your butt an inch or two up from the back of the seat to take some pressure off of your thighs at the front of the seat helps. Sometimes just toughing it out for a bit as you body becomes used to being in the boat will eventually solve the problem. Last option might be changing out the seat.

Regarding handling problems in wind, Sedas could be ordered with an optional Feathercraft K2 rudder system, and most took this option. This rudder system as a kit does not seem to be available anymore, but there are other rudder kits that can be retrofitted with a fair amount of work and skill. It seems with how the boat is loaded, it needs a rudder in your case. Many rudder kits are specific to certain brands and a lot use the sliding foot pegs which few people like these days, as opposed to the gas pedal style. Your best bet might be to contact Seda. Rudder kits are expensive, and if done by a competent shop is likely to be much more so due to the work involved in running the control cables if the boat is not set up for this.

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Thanks everyone! This is all very helpful. To answer some questions:

I am 5’7" 175 lbs.

The boat is a 2005 Seda Vida 14’. A later model in the 2007 catalog appears to have a skeg but unfortunately mine does not.

Retrofitting would certainly be nice, but if I can overcome the problem with a bit of practice and skill then I’m inclined to try that route first (thank you @Rookie for the link!). I don’t mind spending money to solve problems but I paid so little for the boat in the first place that after a certain threshold I might be more tempted to just get a second (and longer) boat.

I will also look into some form of seat padding and see what works out.

Thanks again!

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Most kayaks can be paddled in windy conditions without a rudder or skeg. It will just be slower and require more effort.

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For a rudder retrofit, I’ve used this “from China” rudder and foot controls from ebay and the components work very well. So you can get most of what you need pretty cheaply. You still need a rudder bracket for the kayak and rudder cables as well.

SEA-LECT pedals are 80 rudder assembly 150. Smart Track Rudder System is 220 assembly & pedals. Not hard to install.

Doing some more reading…

Has anyone tried the “trailing string” technique?

Pretty boat!

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What is that?

If one of your group is in a short kayak and has real difficulty going in a straight line, (s)he will soon get tired. Consider attaching a rope to the back of his/her kayak, as a tail. It works like magic. You can use a tail anything from 5 to 30 feet long. A tow-belt is perfect for this.”

Sounds super easy, it’d be cool if it works. I guess there’s no harm in trying it. Just have to be careful that the line doesn’t get caught on anything.

FWIW, I had to actually make the seat in one of my,kayaks flatter to stop it from kicking off sciatica. Try a rolled up towel in front of the seat first, but you may be odd like me and need to fill in the bucket.

I recommend cementing a thin layer of minicell to the bottom of the seat anyway, make it less hard.

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Yeah, some padding for the butt and some support for the thighs like a rolled up towel or pool noodle might make a big difference. A section of pool noodle or an old, flattened foam block under the ankles/calves can increase your comfort level. And yeah, you want the rudder for windy days if you don’t want to work work work to stay on course.

Some folks like to paddle with their legs fairly straight; knees unbent. That is NOT good for me. Part of this kayak thing is figuring out what is good for you. Best of luck.

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The risk of entanglement would outweigh the benefit imho.


You want your cockpit clear.

Regarding the Sea-Lect (formerly Sea-Dog) and Smart Track I strongly recommend the Sea-Lect. The Smart Track came with QCC kayaks which my wife has. Because of the way the cables are routed at the pedals it puts a lot of strain on them. We’ve had to replace the cables twice due to broken and frayed cables. On the advice of Annapolis Canoe and Kayak we finally replaced them with the Sea-Lect foot pedals and cables. A few years later, and no problems. I’m not sure but I think we kept the Smart Track rudder assembly itself as it has been no problem and still works with the Sea-Lect foot pedals and cables.

The challenge in retrofitting a boat without a rudder is routing the control cables while keeping the stern hatch storage area watertight. Takes a little work. You also have to install fittings for the line that deploys the rudder and a fitting to park the rudder.

Trailing a line with enough drag to enhance tracking seems like the drag would significantly slow the kayak.

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Ok here’s the plan: I bought sheets of 1/4" and 1/2" minicell along with one of these nifty looking seat pads and I found a pool noodle in the garage. I’m going to remove the thigh brace foam and experiment with seat padding and once I figure that out I’ll start working on installing/shaping new thigh braces (I bought enough of each size foam to use for both purposes just in case).

As for the rudder… sounds like a good idea but also sounds like a bit more of a project than I want to take on right now. I’m a lot more interested in paddling right now, especially because I have the weather for it. If the rest of the season turns out to be a drag because of the weathercocking, then maybe the rudder will be a good winter project.

Thanks again for all the advice! I’ll report back with results when I have them.