Rudder controls

This weekend, I demoed a Wilderness Tsunami 14’. This is the first yak that I’ve tried that had a rudder, and I had some problems getting used to the controls. Push down on the right, turn right. This actually felt counter-intuitive to me. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get used to it. Is this standard among all kayaks? If not, I might look into seeing if the cables can somehow be reversed. If this is standard, I’ll just have to get used to it.

Kayaks and airplanes…
…Kayaks and airplanes are both the same. You push the rudder, on the side you want to go. If you want to go right, you push with your right foot. If you want to go left, you push with the left foot…

… They are all the same.

Happy Paddling!! :slight_smile:

i agree its wacky
to push right to go right. its the opposite of good paddling technique. and its standard on most ruddered boats. my ruddered boat has the wires crossed at the back. very simple to do on most boats. so i can push with the ‘powered side’ foot to turn on any of my boats, ruddered or not, : )

Ahhh Grasshopper…
I think most people who get into their first ruddered boat feel the same way. But as you become comfortable with the boat, and assuming that you will turn the boat with strokes & leans you will discover that using the rudder as a tracking aid (not for steering) teh setup acatually makes sense. Boat weathercocking to the right? You want a more leftward course? Pedal left.


PS I tried the crossed wire trick in my Corona, but went back to stock.

yep Bingo
what J man said!!

so do you paddle just one boat?

– Last Updated: Oct-12-04 2:26 PM EST –

i learned to do edged turns with a rudderless boat. to turn right, lift the right knee to lean the boat to the left, push with left foot and sweep with left paddle to turn right. maybe people with rudders dont do edged turns. furthermore, if i was weathercocking i would do a corrective stroke similar to an edged turn. if i was weathercocking to the right i would be leaning the boat right, pressing my right foot, and sweeping on the right to go left. the opposite of pressing left to go left. so do you do edged turns? how?

Now we’re gettin complicated!
I paddle a QCC500, and have it padded out to allow J-leans, but I must admit that in a strong beam wind I tend to use the rudder instead of the lean. I do make use of leans for subtle turns most other times though.

I’m Jim, and I’ve been a rudder user for four years.

when i started paddling 2yrs ago, i tried both rudder and rudderless boats - no problem, as i’d not yet learned to lean - about a month ago, i was thinking about buying a second, shorter “creek” boat, and thought a rudder would be the thing - wrong (for me) - i had to keep thinking about what i was doing, as my natural ingrained sense told me if i wanted to go right, push down with my left foot - i finally housed the rudder, and had a fine paddle - - i think a rudder certainly has it’s place, but i find jumping back and forth between leaning, and using a rudder takes a lot of the fun out of the trip, as you’re having to spend too much time thinking, and that’s exactly what i paddle to get away from !!!

Don’t you turn your vehicle …
…steering wheel to the right to turn right?

I don’t understand why you want to do the opposite.



well i keep hammering

– Last Updated: Oct-12-04 8:15 PM EST –

if you have a ruddered boat, do you paddle it like you do your non ruddered boat? i have several boats and i paddle in conditions. no time to figure out, oh yea, i'm in my ruddered boat. press left to go left. i practice often so my reactions will hopefully become automatic. i'm not an expert. just a survivor. my yaks are not airplanes and they dont have steering wheels. more like a bicycle. press the right handlebar, go left.

Hi, Jim…

since you can’t learn to steer a car by leaning, you learn one way only - by steering with a wheel - - as stated, i find when i tried to mix the two types of steering, i had to think about it - not like a car, where no choice of learning different styles ever existed

It will eventually become natural to you. It took me several times to master edging (leaning) in the opposite direction of my turn after 30+ years of motorcycling. Being a pilot, rudder system on a yak is a no-brainer. Bob

Well yes, but…
Let’s go with your steering wheel example. Let’s say that you were steering with your feet. You’ve got pegs on each side of the steering wheel, and you steer by pushing the pegs with your feet. To steer to the right, you’d have to push forward on the left side of the wheel.

you do have a point there - - however, the last time i did that, i got a ticket !! =:-)

i am a tiny minority
and i say pushing your right foot to go right in a kayak is learning bad habits. kayaks without rudders are controlled the opposite way. so do you want to relearn how to paddle and turn when (if) you graduate to a more sophisticated, skegged or rudderless boat?

I agree, but…
I’m fairly new to kayaking, and my current boat is a recreational Dagger Element. Nice little boat, but my ambitions have quickly outgrown it. My primary gripe about it is that it tracks pitifully. I find that I’m constantly paddling to correct the direction. About every 3rd stroke is a sweep stroke.

During the summer, I met a guy with a Dagger Charleston 15 who let me take it for a ride. It tracked like a dream with the skeg down. I earmarked it for my absolute next boat until I went to a local kayak shop on a lake and demoed their Charlston. Heading diagonally into a stiff wind, the boat wanted to veer away from the wind, even with the skeg down. That’s when I decided that a rudder would be a better idea.

If I want to change direction, leaning is the method that I’d use (with the rudder up, obviously). But if I’m heading straight across a windy bay, I’d like to keep my paddling for forward thrust and tweak the rudder controls to keep myself on course.

i’m not saying rudders are bad,
my ruddered boat is difficult to paddle without one. i am suggesting that if you cross the wires at the back so that when you push left to go right, then you can use similar techniques in ruddered and non ruddered boats. i dont know about your particular boat but it was very simple to disconnect the wires at the rudder, cross them, and reconnect on my boat so that pushing left results in a right turn.

i’ve never tried your method, but i believe (please forgive me, patrick, if i’m misquoting)that patrick works of onno/tideline suggested the same - should i ever dedide to buy a ruddered second boat, i’d definately give it a trial