What are your opinions about rope skegs? I have had wire skegs and like the ability to trim them precisely.

I am looking at maybe getting another kayak but the ones I have found have rope skegs. Can these be effectively trimmed?

Also, which is more reliable? It seem like some of the slider skegs give you a slight bit more leverage to push the skeg out vs. relying on gravity alone.

Which do you prefer?



Vote # 1 for Wire

I’ll Start
MHO…I prefer wire skegs.

Rope skegs have one distinct advantage, they can be repaired in the field relatively easily. If you are an expeditioner, there is value in that advantage.

Wire skegs are easier to deploy, adjust, etc. They can get jammed and then get a kinked cable that cannot usually be repaired in the field.

So, If the ability to repair a skeg in the field is important to you, go with the rope skeg. If ease of use is more important, go with the wire skeg.

PS. I recently talked to someone in the industry that has demoed a new wire skeg from NDK that cannot be jammed/kinked. He tried and tried to damage it and couldn’t.

So not a direct answer to your but as
newbie’s we ordered our boats with wire skegs because we did not see ourselves going on long expeditions. The boats we ordered are 16’ boats and we plan to use them mostly as day boats with some overnights sprinkled in here and there. If we were buying expedition boats then our choice would have been for rope skegs because we understand they are easier to field repair.

Do you plan to do mostly day trips or expeditions? Definately a kink in a wire skeg would be harder to field repair.

Aquanaut – rear rope skeg impossible.
I was literally unable to retract it while sitting in the cockpit – could not apply enough tension on the line to get it up. I had to stand next to the boat and pull with both hands and some good old torso rotation.

So, I got a slider skeg. The way Valley now constructs them – with a rigid tube, I believe – they appear virtualy unkinkable. That’s a big improvement from a few years ago when a crosseyed look would kink an Avocet cable.

The reason some cognoscenti prefer ropes is that they are easier to repair in the field. But if it never breaks in the field, so what.

I can’t speak for other manufacturers, however, so YMWV.


Cable/wire skegs work best
I’ve got boats with both and there’s no comparison in function; the cable skeg wins hands down. As for field repairs, you can replace a cable in 10 minutes as long as you have a spare and the necessary allen wrench. Realistically, it’s not too likely that you’ll need to. In order to kink the cable, you generally have to do something pretty stupid, like trying to force a jammed skeg down. I’ve never had one kink in normal use.

Not all cables are created =
Some cables are much stronger than others. I have paddled with more than one boat that had problems with the rope system. No failures or need for field repair, they just wouldn’t stay set in rough wet conditions…

Anyone have information on the new
Boreal skegs with the spin dials to set the skeg depth. Are they a gravity drop or aided by something like a bungie to help lower?

I agree with Bry. fields repair of either system is a PITA but if you have ever had a rope skeg totally apart and the feeding of the lines back down the tube and re-tying the knots and such is just as difficult (if not more) than a simple hex wrench and cable replacement.


New hydralic skeg from NDK
Very surpisingly NDK is beginning to offer a new hydralic skeg.

They tout it’s utility by the fact it AUTO retracts when you hit the beach or whatever, which is where most sleq ropes and wires get messed up.

I saw a picture of it recently and it looks simple and sturdy. Whether it is field fixable is another question, one which ranks high on my list of everything that can go worng will and on a Friday too.


here is the link the the Hydraulic Skeg

It does look fairly simple, but, it looks like it would be heavy, and just the thought of something else that could leak doesn’t appeal to me. As I mentioned earlier, NDK has a wire skeg that is un-kinkable, although I don’t know of the details or availability.

Cable field repair
It does depend on manufacturer. My wifes Impex has the end at the skeg epoxied in place. So, to replace the skeg cable, you need to drill out the epoxy to remove the cable, and then re-epoxy the new cable into the skeg. This would make a field repair difficult.

Regardless, Brian is correct, wire skegs work very well, and are difficult to damage with normal use.

the impex and current designs cables are epoxied in and it would take a few extra minutes to 5-min epoxy ‘em back in, in the field…while it’s raining, blowing and …a PITA, fo’ sho’.

best option is DO NOT BREAK EM.


Cable in a rigid tube is a no brainer…

– Last Updated: Dec-03-05 12:13 PM EST –

So should retracting it before slamming into the beach be ....

Some of the boats I have seen have a pretty large gap between the hull and the skeg and this makes it easy for stuff to get up in there. (IMO) 'gravity feed' is not thought out as there is no sensitivity, skeg has to be heavier (non bouyant) and installed loose and floppy. Spring loaded not much better.

We have always set our boats up with the semi-rigid tube + slider .... the slight friction in the system lets the skeg stay put anywhere but ' kick up ' by itself pushing the slider forward for combat landings. Really nothing that can go wrong... said tongue in cheek here.

Put enough pressure on it to break it and that might be the least of your problems.

Just had a look at the hydraulic thing ..... just because something CAN be done doesn't mean it should.

Surprisingly hard to remain open to new
I too find it hard to be open to this. But then again, one of the biggest challenges it seems to me as we get older is remaining open to new things.

I can’t imagine the real need for a hydraulic skeg… I have seen the Valley and NDK cable skeg with the stainless rod at the end where at the slider handle. Great idea, the rod can’t kink.

I’ve got the older NDK cable skeg, and kinked it once. Now that I know more about it, I’m more careful, but it was still useable when kinked. And replacement just takes a spare, metric allen wrench, screwdriver and a couple of minutes.

I don’t plan on replacing the boat, but if I did my first choice would be the wire/rod slider. Second choice would be what I have now.

Not my experience
I like skegs. I’ve owned a bunch including rope skegs. In my assortment of boats throughout the years I’ve found that a wider space around the skeg blade results in less jamming. I’ve played about with very tight toleranced systems on test boats and had far more jamming. ???

I like the idea of hydraulics very much, as it’s a simple concept that if executed well would be very reliable in all weather. I’m curious to see what NDK has done here, and applaud them for trying to innovate!

Necky took the approach of a non-kinking exotic alloy wire rather than a cable. As I understand it, they have had zero failures with the wire itself. Cables are strong in tension, but are prone to kink in compression. The only drawback for some with their set-up is the straighter routing of the wire/tube that makes packing the rear compartment slightly. It was not an issue for me, and I could not make the wire kink. To me it’s a great compromise, but for others may not be. I’ve retrofitted an Avocet and Impex with such wire and had no issues. It’s expensive stuff though. I did have to straighten the routing tubes slightly.

Most systems work fine with care and maintenance. The bungie activated rope skeg on my Nordkapp required regular adjustment of the bungie, and was harder to fine tune.

Rope Skeg
Between my friend and I, we have over 20 years of using our rope skegs. The rope grip on the Pintail is fwd mounted and on the Anas it’s aft mounted. Neither boat has needed skeg system repair other than to have the bungee replaced after 10 years of use. So what’s not to like about a cheap simple system that works?

I’ve had both and…
I much prefer the rope mounted behind me which is how my NDK Explorer is setup. The slider was a problem for me on my P&H Capella and Nigel Foster Legend and Silhouette because 1)I would hit my hand on it while paddling and 2) it was in the way of my knee.


Can’t give it all away … but the

– Last Updated: Dec-04-05 3:24 AM EST –

wire to skeg interface is not fully thought out.

Neither is slider placement where it interferes with hands or knees...... all avoidable with a a modcum of thought. Don't know why I am complaining when I should be happy. I just feel for you guys dealing with this stuff.

Big gaps let big stuff in.