Rudder kit, universal or specific?

I have a CD Whistler-145 to which I wish to add a rudder kit.
CD sells them for around $200 with a local shop costing almost as much to install.
All the kits I see seem to be pretty similar with the rudder mount being the big thing (the Whistler has a rudder pin hole in the stern).
Do I NEED the CD rudder kit for my boat or can I buy a much cheaper generic kit and mount it myself? Or should I ask if the generic kits will work on any/my boat?

Why do you need a rudder ?Paddling in stiff or cross currents or wind,?

You would need to find a kit that uses a pin in the back, and has a similar size pin to match the hole that comes with your boat. And that has similar system for running the cables. So there might be other kits out gthere and maybe you would save $50 or so on the parts price, but you may lose that in added labor by the shop as they try to make a non-made for the boat kit work on your boat. If the goal is just to sae a few $$s,I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to find.

But if the goal is to change pedals (often people change from sliding feet pedals to gas pedal style pedals - not sure which the CD kit uses), then maybe worth spending a little time searching for options. Price likely would increase.

@string said:
Why do you need a rudder ?Paddling in stiff or cross currents or wind,?

I say this too. I have a pair of doubles and end up using the rudder only in very serious currents or wind. Without inclement conditions I leave it retracted and we steer only with paddles and edging.

What I mean is that a boat should be steered only with the paddle and stroke (with some edging) and the rudder is for trim and trim alone. Failure to do this and relying on the rudder to steer is a risk because being a mechanical device it’s prone to failure and if you can’t steer your boat without one then you’re up a smelly creek without a paddle if it ever breaks. And the times you are most likely to need it are in confined spaces with lots of obstacles, docks or boats such as in a narrow channel or restricted waters where it is more likely the shallow water will force you to raise the rudder (or have it break) anyway!

Plus rudder creates drag and is a less efficient way to steer. It also gives a tiny bit of drag just sitting there in the water.

Wind and waves.
Last Vets Day I did the Topock run of the Colorado with friends and on day-3 we his 35 knot winds off our aft starboard.
Had to fight this until we could find a place to beach.
A rudder would have made the run easier and safer.

$200 for a complete kit that’s designed for the kayak doesn’t seem too bad. You can get a rudder plus foot controls for $60 or so on ebay (from China), but you’d still need to get control cables and other little bits of hardware. If you’re a DIY type person, you could come out considerably cheaper in the end, but to have the system installed I’d expect a shop would charge more to make “universal” parts work. If you do go universal, both the pin length and diameter have to be right (some pins might be too short). And you’ll need new foot tracks. If those don’t match the spacing of the mounting holes on your current setup, you’ll end up having to drill extra holes in your hull.