List of Kayaks designed for rudder use

Many kayaks have rudders. But some are added on as afterthoughts. I want to find a list of kayaks that were meant to be used with rudders from the design stage. If you know of such a list, please share.




on the list is

Epic 16X and 18x
Don’t know about a list, but it is pretty clear that the two Epics, with their articulated stern design, are intended for fulltime rudder use.

Not necessarily.
The Trackmaster Plus rudder system on the 16X can be partially or fully retracted and used as a skeg or a rudder.

I use my 16X 90% of the time without the rudder deployed, but I don’t paddle in challenging conditions.

Old ones but…

– Last Updated: Oct-11-15 4:24 PM EST –

Current Designs Squall and Storm
Necky Looksha 14
Necky Elaho, models after the dropped skeg first two years

In particular, I am looking for a sit-in, touring kayak, so those Epics are not on my radar.

I think kayaks designed for rudders will not feature upswept, raked sterns, though that is just a guess on my part.

I think if I was designing for a rudder, I’d end the boat with a lowish, blunted stern so that the rudder didn’t have to extend a long way to get into the water. And if the kayak has a sharply raked stern, there isn’t much of an area to attach the rudder. However, those are just inklings and I am not a kayak designer.

I’m told the CD Solstice was designed to use a rudder, and it sort of reflects my inklings.


The Squall and Storm are Solstice hulls
And there were other Solstice series boats, the GT and the GTS, but I think one of them may have been intended to work with or without depending on the paddler’s inclination. Can’t recall details on that though.

North American Kayaks
Yes! I just looked at the CD site again and see all the kayaks in their category “North American” have rudders and blunted sterns.

Is that what “North American kayak” means?

The Looksha, Elias and Eliza series from Necky have low sterns that are even more squared off than the CD boats. Thanks, Ceila. We’ve got the start of a list here.


clarify, maybe?

– Last Updated: Oct-11-15 5:01 PM EST –

The fact that all kayak rudders that I am aware of can be flipped up out of the water pretty much reinforces that this is an optional piece of equipment. If the boat was designed around rudder placement, it would be fixed in place, right? Obviously if a kayak is designed with a rockered keel that allows it to turn easily, adding a rudder or skeg is even more desirable to correct tracking when straight line travel is wanted. Is that what you are looking for?

There are some boats that weathercock badly due to design flaws and a rudder can be helpful with those. I had an Aquaterra Scimitar that tracked like a drunken dizzy pig and was completely miserable to paddle without dragging the rudder. Other than that boat, I have usually removed the rudders from any of my kayaks that came with them because I don't care for them.

My impression is that the majority of touring kayaks were always offered with the option of a rudder and ( I imagine for simplicity in manufacturing and stocking) many were only available with one (usually removable). There have probably been hundreds of such models in the past 4 decades, kind of doubt anybody could account for all of them. 6 of the 7 rotomold touring kayaks I have owned in my life came with a rudder or skeg and the one that did not had the fittings to install one built in.

The only kayak that comes to mind where the design of the hull is different in the same model dependent upon whether it comes with or without a rudder is the folding Feathercraft Wisper. The standard Wisper (the one I was paddling at Saguenay) has an upswept stern that can't be fitted with a rudder whereas the ruddered version (Wisper XP) has a different lower stern design that will fit one.

There are kayaks that have a skeg-like extension built into the keel line. My West Greenland skin on frame has one that helps keep the low volume stern in line following the heavier bow. In this case that tracking extension is an integral and necessary feature of the boat and part of the design. It does the trick without the drag, weight and potential mechanical hassles of a rudder.

I think Venture's recent "scudder" design seems closer to what you are describing in close to the water deployment, as shown in this video:

Epic 16X is sit-in touring.
So is the 18X.

What kind of kayak dis you think they were?

Are you looking for a SINK with a rudder
If so, check out the QCC’s.

They are made for rudders, skegs or nothing

Jack L

Meaning of North American
For CD North American appears to be directly related to a rudder-dependent design. And by the way, the rudder is considered part of the boat’s windage etc in those boats. These are also older designs typical of their era - higher decks, on the trackier side compared to many newer offerings from Great Britain and, in the case of many of the Solstice series boats, ridiculously hefty secondary stability points. I recall hanging out over the water giggling in a friend’s GT - no way I was going to take that thing over on flat water at my size unless I physically kicked it into a capsize.

But I doubt you can make that a universal definition. Yes, the north american made boats by larger manufacturers (not that any of them were actually large by current corporate standards) were more about loaded touring straight than playing in waves boats. And in general North American manufacturers favored ruddered boats for quite a while.

But people who know the north american boat manufacturers well, including smaller outfits on the west coast, can likely pull up a list of exceptions to any such generalization. I would hesitate to call that anything other than CD’s way of sorting out their kayaks.

At some point I tripped over a statement that the rudder up was considered in the windage calculations for my Squall. That is the major reason I never removed it - heck knows I never used the thing and over time it became more of a PITA than it was worth. But if it meant something to how the boat handled sitting in its stored position I didn’t want to mess with that. Obviously once it is in the water it should work the same or more effectively… though I quickly found out it was in the wrong place for hobbyhorsing thru waves. Spent half of its time up in the air - that was a stiff hull.

Why rudder as a criteria?
There are places and purposes where I have suggested people get a ruddered boat. But having lived with one in my first sea kayak, I found it to be a royal pain when I didn’t need it. Which was pretty much all the time. I did some overnight kayak camping, but never found the darned thing useful for that level of tripping.

I like Jack’s idea, try something like a QCC that can live with or without it one then add it as needed. Unless you are talking loaded distance touring… in that case a rudder can make a long day a little less long.

Why Rudder?
I like the option to single blade. I often single blade in my skegged Azul Sultan, switching sides every 3 - 5 strokes to maintain direction. I was recently paddling a ruddered kayak and found single blading it was pure joy. I was able to concentrate on making a good forward stroke while my toes kept the boat pointing where I wanted to go, and it seemed more effective. The experience got me jonesing for a ruddered kayak.

I know they retrofit almost any kayak with rudders, but the literature suggests that kayaks built to be used with a rudder perform better than kayaks to which a rudder is added as a an afterthought.


yawl know the airflow diagrams ?

the Epic costs but for what ?

I dunno…less drag on the straights ?

a blunt stern creates more eddy and drag then uses a larger rudder to boot.

what’s the feel here or numbers?

in the ad material its EPIC but in reality ?

for a cloddler like me using the rudder to ‘effortlessly’ tack upwind against a quartering tide flow…the NA rudder works.

as in cycling, people ask should I MTB or TdF frame ? or Tour classically Japanese/Raleigh

and you ask…what’s the path straight or continuously curvy ?

what would the comparative diagram look like with all rudder designs superimposed then laid over the average of all ?

we would see a GPS track for Celia’s voyages or any rocker hulled Greenland paddled hull.

Thank you Yanoer and JackL, add those to the list. Although that QCC rudder sticking straight up has me worried–I gash my head enough as it is, and that rudder would be hanging straight down behind the truck. Ouch!

I looked at the Epic with articulating stern, which is a SOT, and I thought all Epics were SOT. My mistake.


Think about the footpegs then
Fixed or sliding. For your purposes the fixed might be more comfortable over a distance. Usually a toe part to set the rudder angle.

subject deserves