my new lookshah sport - some questions

i bought a looksha this weekend from a shop in Connecticut. i paid $1,000 for a new one. pretty decent price apparently.

this boat came with a rudder.

i’ve never owned a kayak before, much less one with a fancy foot pedal guided retractable rudder.

i’ve done a fair bit of comparing, and the Lookshah sport has a fair amount of rocker and a relatively narrow width compared to other similar plastic boats in the 14’ range.

my thoughts are that using the rudder will prevent me from really getting used to this boat. i’ve heard people complain that this boat is hard to keep tracking straight when the rudder is up. i dont really find this the case, i just think it requires more attention and body english, and the like.

so, my question is about removing the rudder system. do the screws drill into solid plastic, or will removing them turn my stern into swiss cheese?


keep ther rudder in the boat dude!
If you want to maximize your learning curve try not to use it. I’ve spent some time in a looksha 4 and in heavy wind I had that rudder down, you betcha!

True the Sport can be kept on track

– Last Updated: Jun-28-05 11:27 PM EST –

with a good lean. Even though I dislike rudders I would never go without one on that boat. You paid for it too, so I'd keep it.

Fun kayak though. Great in the surf area.

If you do anything, take out the hard seatback and put in a backband - it's much better.

Why not just keep the rudder up
like the rest of us do until you get into that rip current or big time quartering wind.

You will be mighty glad you have it then.



I agree
with leaving the rudder up. I paddle my Kyook with the rudder up most of the time, but if I do need to use it it is still there.

First off…
If you can take it back and get one with a skeg, I would do that. I bought a Looksha Sport at Outdoor Sport Center in Wilton,Ct(Mark B. is a great guy) about 5 years ago and used the rudder exactly once for about 15 minutes. The skeg will be much more useful. It isn’t the best tracking boat but at 14’4" you wouldn’t expect it to be. The fun of the boat is in the manoeverability.The boat is very responsive and with proper leans and strokes you should be able to get it to go wherever you want it to go in just about any conditions. I paddle a Tempest 170 most of the time these days but when conditions are right, I love taking the Sport out for a little surfing.----Rich

For an exercise …
… in self-flagellation and ideological penance, go read the voluminous threads here regarding the relative merits of rudder-vs.-skeg before exchanging your boat. As with most theological journeys, you probably won’t come away with any definitive answers, but you’ll be better informed.

As the owner of a Looksha Sport with a rudder, I can say I only use it about 10-20% of the time, but when I do, a skeg could not replace it. A skeg will indeed help with tracking in no- and low-wind conditions, but a good quartering headwind or crosswind will often require a bit of rudder deflection to maintain a straight course, something a skeg cannot do. And in rough conditions, your sweep strokes can be augmented and backed up by the ability to stomp a rudder pedal to avoid a broach or other hazard.

As others have already suggested here, learn to paddle and control your boat with the rudder up, especially in the early learning stages, even in progressively rougher conditions, so that you feel comfortable and confident without the rudder. As you gain more stroke proficiency, use the rudder wisely.

This is only my second season with my Looksha Sport, but so far I am very pleased with its combination of size, features, and paddling characteristics. Depending on your requirements, I personally think it is one of the best bargains around, and it should continue to grow with your skills.


i appreciate all the imput, and upon second thought, i will leave the rudder on…

however, no one answered my question

will removing the rudder system leave holes in my boat?


I removed the rudder from my Looksha
Sport, and the only holes which needed filling were those where the cables emerge from the hull. I left the rudder bracket and v-rest on the boat. They do no harm. But I think you will find that Necky did not drill the screw holes through the plastic hull.

I am a whitewater kayaker and C-1 paddler, and so of course I can’t see why one would need a rudder (or skeg) on such a short boat. Skeg action can be mimicked by forward or back lean, and of course this boat steers easily by tipping the hull.

Hope you got a composite Looksha. Otherwise it will make you sick that I got mine as a scuffed demo for $550 in an Olympic fund raiser.

I bought a new yak this year
which tracks very straight but weathercocks a bit in wind. The yak came rudder ready and I didn’t purchase a rudder. I’m glad I didn’t because I have learned the (beginning) mechanics of leaning.

As I recall …
The Looksha rudder mounting system has changed slightly from year to year, so what goes for my one-year-old model may not apply to your newer one. But I’m pretty sure that the one time I jammed my head into the rear hatch for a look-see, I spied a small aluminum backing plate in the stern, into which the rudder-mounting screws are threaded. So if you remove the whole darn rudder and mount, you’d probably want to run the screws right back through their original holes and into that plate, both to seal water out and to hold the plate in place(!) for when you opt to reinstall the rudder. Probably want to use some silly-cone sealant under the bolt heads too.

Alternatively, you could simply remove the main kingpin pivot bolt from the rudder assembly, removing the entire rudder and cables but leaving the mount on the stern. This might be easier, both for removing and for later reinstallation.

Even easier, just leave the rudder up! This involves no removal or reinstallation and recalibration of hardware. And have you considered how you intend to fix the pedals in place once their cables are gone? If you think you lack the self-discipline to leave it up when things get dicey, just use the included rudder-retention bungee to fix it in place!

Good luck!