Retro Fit Skeg

We are looking at a used Hurricane Tracer and will more than likely need to add a skeg to keep the misses happy.

Any suggestions or experience with it.


If you want a skeg
Keep looking. Retrofitting a skeg isn’t very easy and will run at the very least $350 in parts.

can be done, if you can tinker yourself
I have recently retro fitted a carbon/Kevlar kayak with a skeg.

Now the kayak is great.

If interested in the process check:

Run Don’t Walk Away…
A friend bought one without a skeg, boat was unmanageable. Spent a lot installing a skeg.

The early ones didn’t have skegs… Keep looking and find one with a skeg for the same $$ and save a lot of grief.


For under 150 bucks?
Rope Skeg Retro Fit Kit Ref: RSK01

A self install rope skeg kit. Part of Kari-Tek/SKUK’s newly developed Skeg Systems range, this rope skeg DIY kit is suitable for most sea kayaks - both fibreglass and plastic. For paddlers who like the simplicity of the rope skeg, this version is easier to use than its predecessors. The kit comes with full fitting instructions. A knowledge of fibreglassing is required.

This ain’t fiberglass. I sent Hurricane a note asking if they have a solution.

another option
if the stern has a flat spot

If it is just for tracking
or going straight, consider glueing an under-stern “fin” for a lack of a better name for it.

Basically, a thin long strip perpendicular to the hull going somewhere below the rear hatch and behind it. May be a foot and a half long or so and 2 inches deep or so.

That would of course make it a little tender for beach landings on rocks but would probably be cheap and will keep the kayak going straight.

While a Tracer without skeg would not be tracky, I think it may be educational to learn to paddle it without it. But a skeg would definitely be good to have for the long term.

My wife’s first try at a kayak was in my 8 foot WW river runner and I can tell you that she learned to have a symmetric stroke on both sides very fast -;). She later found the rec kayak we rented so much easier to paddle straight!

Nice glass work. Yours is the best
approach, whenever feasible.

It would be possible to improvise a skeg that is attached to the outside of the boat and controlled with an outside cable. This might work on some poly boats where an inside skeg box is more difficult to do.

Care in design would be needed so the skeg and mechanism would not be vulnerable to damage, but the situation probably is no worse than for a rudder system. And there should need to be only a single cable or control rope.

Just pointing this out because I have been thinking of a drop skeg for a narrow tandem whitewater canoe we take on our travels. A skeg box would not survive whitewater stern damage, but a drop skeg pivoting from the gunwales should be feasible, and would make the boat useful for sightseeing on lakes and flatwater rivers.

Yeah, that would screw onto the back
of my Necky Looksha Sport… where I just removed the rudder I found unnecessary.

Looks like a good option for those who own choptail poly kayaks.

Or get a strap-on
No kidding…Feathercraft makes a starp-on skeg that you can put on the boat whenever you feel you need it. It’s all or nothing, but it’s better than weathercocking all day long.

That said, I’ve also done a skeg retrofit, and it’s not all that bad. You just have to make sure you do it right the first time, because there is no second chance.


Must admit, it really was a handful and a half sans skeg. Little did we know -Sally having demoed one with a skeg -that when I bought Sally her Tracer as a surprise Christmas present 4 years ago it’d come smooth-hulled.

Oh, it COULD be paddled -but why work so damn hard to have fun? After trying to better our paddling strokes, and having to work twice as hard as everyone else to go half as far half as fast. we decided to get a skeg installed.

We had it retrofitted for $300 by a really good guy at a really good shop, but had to get thru several hurdles, including delayed shipping and then some wrong (mismatched) parts, so it took a goodly long time to finally get the thing installed.

You might also want to consider a rudder -ours was set up for one and would probably been an easier install had we gone that way, but we didn’t. Water under the keel…

If you have a really great deal on your hands, then you might think about a post-purchase installation. It’s not rocket science, but it IS slow, precision, painstaking work that really needs to be deliberately and methodically performed. And you should be up to working in small places at odd angles as well as handling not the healthiest of chemicals should you consider a DIY approach. Or be prepared -as is the case with almost any project these days, it seems -for more time than initially allocated to get a good job done, whether by you or a shop.

But for most of us, this is probably the best time of year to go thru a project like this -unlike here, where it’s been a bit breezy, but wonderfully temperate and sunny over the past week -in most of the country it’s not quite the best weather to


-Frank in Miami