Perception Rudder - removable?

I am on the fence about buying a Carolina 15.5, mainly because of the rudder. At first I thought I needed one, but after sitting in one yesterday and realizing the foot rests double as the rudder control, I’m not so sure. My question is this - is there any difference in the boat whether you get the rudder or not? I would think at a minimum, the footrest assembly would have to be different to provide rigid support for a non-rudder model. The reason I ask is because I would like to purchase it sans rudder at first, but would be much more comfortable in the decision if I knew I could add a rudder later without some massive modifications to the boat, should I decide I need one.

For any of you that have the rudder on a perception, have you found the footrests to be stable enough when the rudder is up and locked? I push off very hard on them and am a bit skeptical.

Thanks a million for any responses, hoping to seal the deal on this possibly this weekend!

Dave Wallace

Cinci, O.

Rudders & sliding footbraces
If you decide to remove the rudder you ought to be able to remove the footbraces, remove the channel they slide in, and re-mount the footbraces directly to the hull.

Yes, the footbraces will be spongy if you keep the rudder. YMMV, but heavy “pushers” are often not happy with sliding setups.

Rudders are problematic in terms of design and maintenance. Get in the way during recoveries & rescues. But if conditions warrant, you will be happy to have one. The old adage is that “rudders make a boat go straight” - You need them most to correct for beam winds.

So it comes down to a personal decision. I would get a dozen days in on the water, under varying conditions before you decide to scrap teh rudder. Hasty judgements and all that.


removing sliders
Might be easier to drill through the slider & track and bolt them together to make a rigid footbrace. Easily undone if you want to use the rudder. Just be sure to deburr the holes so the parts can slide if you want them to.

i had the same dillema
I sort of like the idea of a rudder being there if i really need it,but absolutely hate the spongy slider footpegs most rudder systems use. With my new elaho i used it a half dozen times in different conditions and never dropped the rudder. still reluctant to just remove the damn thing i went with gas pedal footbraces from Seaward. lock solidly in place for good footing but i had to cut a chunk out of the pedals to clear the deck so rudder action is reduced by a fair bit. Oh well a compromise i lived with happily so far and still never used the rudder except when trying it out. If i was to sell it i can always reinstall the factory footpeg system. The carolina looks like a much “roomier” boat than the elaho so you could probably install seaward pegs with no modifications.

Is this the system you have installed?

Think it would work in the Carolina then? Would be nice to know I could add this later if I wanted to…

yes they are stable enough, but
sooner or later you will break the cable or have it come apart where it connects to the rudder.

I have had a perception kayak for about twelve years, and the only time I use it now is in down river WW races.

When I do them I leave the rudder up on the deck and locked in place, and as you can imagine I put a bunch of pressure on the foot braces. They seem just as solid as the ones in my QCC, but something has to give and on mine the cable has already boken once.

My wife also uses her Perception yak the same way, and she was putting so much pressure on the pedals that one side of the rubber holder that the rudder nests in broke.



it’s the exact system i installed in my Necky. I had to modify the pedals to fit(stock wouldn’t clear the recessed deck rigging bumps on underside of the deck) and had to modify the rail a bit (holes in the hull were about 1/4’’ more spread out than the holes in the seaward rail. easily solved by filing one of the holes longer and making a little aluminum piece that slid into the rail to act as a big washer-all resulted in a somewhat long tedious job to fit the first side,then the second was easy to just copy what i did on the first piece… the result works fine and feels totaly solid)

Phew. Seaward also sells the standard Yakima solid footpegs,standard issue on a lot of boats. The aluminum rails are actually identical to the ones used with their gaspedal system. you could just get those if you realize youre not using the rudder.

Sea Dog footbraces
The Seaward braces are beautiful & probably bombproof, but I estimate that they cost around US$100.

These look good, although I do not know how rigid they might be. The system is much simplet than the Sealines, and you are not forced to use a cable with a stop swedged onto one end.

Anybody have experience with these?


At the bottom of the vertical pin on which the Perception rudder rotates, there is a fragile circular piece of wire the purpose of which is to prevent the pin from leaving the boat. During bracing practice, you guessed it, the wire disappeared and the assembly collapsed. We replaced the thin original wire ring with a stronger stainless steel one that we bought at a dive shop.

Forewarned is forearmed.