Prefer skeg to rudder in fast kayak

Been doing A LOT of research and met MANY nice people via As I narrow down my search I have really come to prefer skeg to rudder. I’m looking for a kayak based on following;

  • 6’1" 190lbs
  • 80% training/exercise on lake or slow rivers
  • 10% day trips in ocean
  • 10% races flatwater (just want to compete ie. don’t need a K1 racer).
  • willing to sacrifice maneuverability for speed
  • lighter in weight (want glass or layup)

    My current short list includes (in order);

    QCC 700x

    Eddyline Falcon

    NC17 daytripper or NC19

    Anyone with other yaks they would add or comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.



The only comment that I would make
on those few races that you enter

If you take two equal paddlers in two equal boats except one has a rudder and the other has a skeg.

The guy with the rudder will beat the guy with the skeg.



ditto to what JackL wrote.


– Last Updated: May-27-07 7:50 AM EST –

The NDK Greenlander Pro is another very quick boat equipped with a skeg rather than a rudder. Check out the Boreal Ellesmere too if there's a dealer around you. Pretty fast for a 17 footer.

and another
Although I prefer a skeg to a rudder for the type of paddling I do, I’d be looking at ruddered boats if I wanted to crank off miles fast.

With the QCC you could get both on the same boat…

an impex oi, very fast, straight tracking–don’t even need skeg–and you can add rolling either to cool off or for fun. seriously, this boat was designed as a fast day tripper and easy roller, so unless you want a plumb bow really fast racer, the oi might be a good choice.

In addition…
While I’m going to side with jsmarch as I have an obviously strong bias towards Impex you might also consider an Epic 18X. Kinda rudder&skeg all rolled into one. Fast, good on manuvering, light (31lbs. in Ultra-Carbon).

OK back to my bias, Force 4!

Heading out on the Hudson now.

See you on the water,


Kajak Sport Millenium or Vivienne
Both are fast. Both have a skeg. Both can be easily equipped with a rudder. The piviting foot braces give you both a solid feel to brace against and control of the rudder if equipped.

The Eddyline Falcon is no longer made in glass. I don’t know if carbonlite is as stiff as glass but I think I would investigate before investing. The older glass versions had neither a skeg nor a rudder.

Explaination Please
I don’t understand why the rudder is faster. I am not disputing what you are saying, I just don’t understand.

It looks to me the rudder would cause drag every time it is touched because in order for it to work it must create lift. Lift is drag and this lift is in addition to the parasitic drag created by a fixed foil. A skeg would not creata lift so it would only create parasitic drag.

I may be able to understand it in rougher water where you have to pick your way efficiantly through swells to maintain an efficiant stroke.

Help me with this because I am getting ready to order a QCC 700.


very interested in the Falcon
thanks Disco, i’m going to demo the new Falcon when i can find one. from othe owners of Eddyline yaks, carbonlite seems to be durable and lighter (Falcon comes in at 50lb). also the new ones have option of skeg.


you can do that angstrom?
it is an option to get both skeg and rudder? is that common or is it overkill?



thanks ccarlsonnh

– Last Updated: May-27-07 2:00 PM EST –

yes, i just came across the NDK website last night after putting up my post. the greenlander pro looks impressive. i will have to add it to my list.
i will look into the Boreal Ellesmere too.

Rudder lets you hold your line in a
group too. Much faster and more accurate to hold course. Don’t forget that most production skegged boats have a H U G E L Y oversized-for-actual-skeg-size slot on the bottom there and that slot causes alot of drag as does the fixed in longitudinal axis place skeg when deployed.

Watch the stern of any kayak … long or short.

They all ’ waddle ’ a litle bit on every stroke.

The rudder when deployed ( as long as it pivots freely and is designed to be neutral ) will move ( get moved ) ever so slightly to balance itself between the forward speed and slight yawling force it is receiving as you paddle. A foiled blade will have even less drag as it is designed not to stall at all for some degrees …

The deployed skeg held in place by it’s housing can and will not do this so you have a little drag bucket working against you back there.

Eric, I like the skating example.

it can be done
Since QCC builds every boat to order, they can do it if you want it. It would be unusual.

A few rough cohorts
When talking of ‘fast’ sea kayaks, there are some different groups/cohorts.

Very fast sea kayaks which seem to be really racing kayaks which fit the definition of sea kayak such as the Valley Rapier.

Fast sea kayaks that create notably less drag at 6 knots than most, such as the Q700 and Epic Endurance 18.

Pretty fast for sea kayaks such as the Foster Legend, Outer Island, Azul Sultan, Greenlander Pro, etc…

Faster than average sea kayaks such as the Valley Aquanaut, Boreal Ellesmere, etc…

If you are serious about racing, then it might be hard to do better than a Rapier. For many ‘amateaur’ sea kayak races, Epics and QCCs seem to be boats frequently paddled by leaders/winners.

perfect answer, thank you wilsonj2

– Last Updated: May-28-07 7:48 AM EST –

after all that is said above probably going to change my search though. time to cross over to the RUDDER it seems.

Greenlander Pro
Thanks for the overview. Yes many takes on what a fast sea kayak is

There are of cause much more radical kayaks designed for ocean racing than the Rapier.

I must say I often wonder when someone label the Greenlander Pro as a fast sea kayak.

On a recent multiday trip a fellow paddler left his Inuk at home in favor of a Greenlander Pro.

The GP guy kept his frustration in check until day #2 where he started calling his GP ‘the frige’. It got some resemblance alright.

Two of us paddled Inuks and it was obvious we had an easier time in the following sea.

Enough anecdotal evidence. I’m sure the GP is a great kayak - but fast it isn’t.


fast boat
a rudder is the way to go. wife and i both have current design extreme’s which are now called nomad. they are 19 ft. long and fly. we both race and have come in first place a few times. i have even beaten current design’s stratous which is there fastest boat. once you try it you will love the feel of the boat and the speed. we paddle lake superior so we know big water and feel safe.