The old sliding foot pegs could probably be replaced by a newer fixed peg “gas pedal” design like the Smart Track model, although my experience is the comparable Sea-Lect pedal system is superior as far as wear and reliability.
It might take a bit of work if the rail mounting holes don’t line up and/or the cables need to be replaced, but not overly difficult. Sea-Lect makes several kits with different installation components.
I’ve never used my rudder enough to bother changing the foot peg system. The foot pegs are fairly secure if the rudder is in the stowed position.
Some of the Manitou and Chatham kayaks had skegs.
I’m also not aware of any that utilized the SmartTrack rudder or comparable design.
FWIW, my carbon fiber Looksha IV came with a SmartTrack system.
Mysterious are the ways of Johnson Outdoors, who killed off a number of great kayaks. The sliding rudder pedals certainly needed improvement though. Does anyone manufacture boats with these anymore?
That’s great. You already know how to adjust the foot pedal position. Now per Celia’s advice, you want the foot positions so that you “have your thighs/knees about to contact the thigh braces”. Note that I’d recommend that you keep the rudder retracted unless you need it to help you keep the kayak going straight (retracted = up on deck, nested in the vee that locks it on the centerline of the kayak). As others have said, the rudder is really there to help you combat the wind or waves wanting to turn the kayak in a direction you don’t want to go, such as turning into the wind, causing you to have to paddle much harder on only one side of the kayak.
Note that there is zero requirement you paddle with the rudder down, if it’ll help with a more solid feeling on the pedals. For less aggressive paddling, in fairly mild conditions, there isn’t anything you can do with the rudder that you can’t also do with the paddle and edging.
The only way to lock the pedals with a sliding pedal system is with the rudder up and stowed in the rudder rest on the back deck. There will still be a bit of pedal movement if there is any slack in the cables.
Yes, I am basically suggesting to leave the rudder stowed until some basic paddling time has gone by. Coming into cooler weather so it’d be a good time for milder paddles in a lot of the northern part of the country.
We got out yesterday and played in the Zoar and Looksha for about 4 hours.
We did deploy the rudders just to see how they worked. We found out that neither kayak wanted to let us deploy them from the cockpit. They didn’t want to budge! We put them nearly down before we got in the water and we’re able to finish it up once floating, but we were unable to put them back up. Talk about a hassle when I tried to get into shallow water to get out of my boat!
One other thing to solve is going to be seating. My other kayak didn’t bother me, but the Zoar made my butt sore! The last hour was quite painful. I don’t think the padding is the issue. It’s most likely the sculpted shake of the seat.
We did have a glorious outing though. The weather was touch and go with drizzle, but the sun came out some and the leaves are changing finally. My life vest fits perfectly and didn’t impede my paddling at all. Two thumbs way up!
For those who have helped me so much with advice, thank you! Here are a few of pictures from the day.
And again, a life jacket is MIA. Can’t tell if that orange thing on your deck is a PFD.
Here’s a fun exercise for you: Paddle your kayak to deep water, then capsize and try to get your life jacket on while hanging on to your boat and your paddle. Better yet, do it on a windy day with some wave action. But do have a safety boat near by. Will be a great learning experience.
Yes, it’s important to get into the habit of always wearing your PFD. Plus I was looking forward to seeing how snazzy you look in your Cruiser
It looks like that boat suits you well and I’m glad you had a good time. The seat issue shouldn’t be too hard to resolve, but much like a new car, take time to adjust to the seat and you may be surprised. Regarding the rudder, oftentimes older rudder lines get stiff and chalky and don’t roll well. Wash the lines and rudder assembly really well with soap and water and work the rudder mechanism up/down numerous times.
I’m wearing mine. I’m in the blue boat (Zoar) behind the camera. My partner refuses to wear a pfd. I can’t change anyone else, but I have my cruiser on. She didn’t take any pictures of me.
I was wearing my new life jacket. It fits really well. My partner didn’t take any pictures of me.
Good for you! So glad you’re wearing one and found it comfortable.
Suggest your partner do that little exercise of capsizing in deep water. But still have an experienced paddler in the mix who is precise with boat control and has rescue experience.
I just don’t get why some people refuse to wear safety gear since the consequences can be so devastating.
Maybe she needs a Cruiser for her birthday. Glad you like yours!
So true. There was a time when I wouldn’t wear a PFD. They either felt too bulky, hot, or while wearing an expensive (automatic) loose fitting inflatable, they would get snagged on things.
But then came a very, very lucky day for learning a valuable lesson. While preparing to go out on the water, working on the foredeck (a sailboat) berthed in a deep water slip (with high docks) I lost my balance and snagged a foot in a loose line - tripping overboard and free falling (past posts, cleats, cross boards, loose nails and large sharp edged dock hardware) between the hull and the docks into the (deep, filthy dark) water. No ladder. No people anywhere within earshot. Nothing to hang onto. NO PFD. Just a dazed and confused person treading water and not knowing if there were injuries or not - nor completely understanding how serious the situation might be. It is so much more difficult to think straight during a moment of surprise. One thing leads to another; the “chain of errors”, as it is often referred to, can lead someone from a simple momentary loss of balance to more serious consequences, even death, in a very short time.
Wearing a PFD while on the water, one that is comfortable and suitable for the current activity, can effectively interrupt (break a ‘link’ in…) the “chain of errors”.
Swimming to safety won’t always be possible, desirable, or practical.
Oh dang. Wow. That’s the reason I opted to order one for myself. I wear glasses. I’m nearly blind without them. I have ear pieces attached to them to secure them to my head, but I really don’t want to capsize in open water. Even as a test.
If the worst case ever happens, I know I’ll be rendered temporarily stupid. I’ll be grasping for my glasses, paddle, camera… everything that probably doesn’t matter. So I want to be secure that while in being dumb, I don’t make my situation worse by flailing or swallowing water. Yes, I know how to swim, but I don’t want to trust I’ll have my head in the right place to stay calm and oriented.
Glad to see you’re having a great time. That’s what it’s all about!
As far as the rudder being hard to deploy, the pivot mechanism can get stiff, especially where the sides of the rudder slide against the sides of the rudder bracket. Make sure there’s no sand in there and maybe just work the rudder up and down by hand a bunch of times to see if it loosens up. Also, the thin rope that you pull to deploy and retract the rudder can get stiff after years of exposure to the sun making it a source of friction wherever it makes a bend. So it may help to replace that rope.
Continuing what Wolf said, give the pivot mechanism a HOT, soapy bath to flush out any grit in there. It may take a couple flushes to work it out. Hot water & Dawn dish soap works miracles to salty, sandy frozen kayak & kayak paddle parts.