My father has been an avid kayaker lately. Since he is about to retire, I wanted to buy him a rudder kit to add to his Loon 138 kayak. However, Old Town says they no longer sell this model, and I would have to find an aftermarket one somewhere.
I’ve searched online, in stores, and every other place I could think of and have not been able to find one of these. Does anyone have any suggestions of a good website that I could go to find such an accessory?
The rudder is something that many newbie paddlers jump to early on when they find out they can’t paddle well enough yet to handle wind, and their paddling goals still tend to be going straight faster. I’m not saying this boat couldn’t use one, just that there may be other things that would also help your father with his kayaking. If you are having a hard time finding the rudder, here are some other ideas that he may appreciate:
A new paddle - Usually people start out with cheapo, heavy paddles, skipping the good paddle to focus on the boat. I’ve gone out and purchased better paddles to save the joints of the rec boaters in my family, and they’ve always been grateful. EMS has some Aquabonds that are really a great deal for the money.
Lessons - Just a couple of classes on the basics, either pool sessions over the winter or work this coming spring. That could include basic work on strokes as well as self-rescue practice. Peace of mind for everyone, and your dad might learn some tools to help with paddling in wind.
Basic safety stuff - VHF radio if near the ocean, for cell phones something simple like a couple of Otter boxes. Very low cost to protect a critical device and much more effective than the ziplock bag theory that many start with. Or a white light, waterproof headlamp etc.
Clothing - Splash jacket, good gloves if he is going to paddle into cold weather, a neoprene hood like NRS’s Mystery hood, etc. Maybe a gift certificate to a paddle shop if he needs warmer paddling shoes/boots. Some of this stuff doesn’t have to be real pricey, but could be a huge factor in an emergency.
For a Loon
Float bags would be a very good idea. It does float, and will support the paddler if it does swamp. But it like a log. Float bags will help it float higher in the water, and make a self rescue possible. It’s boringly stable, but not impossible to tip over.
A seat cushion would also be a good idea, or cockpit cover, spray skirt.