Rudder Paddling Q

New paddler here. I live on lake and have been churning around in a Perception Prodigy XS for morning workouts this summer; just listening to upbeat music and trying to keep my heartbeat up.

I’ve really enjoyed it and started watching videos on paddling technique and bought a used racing sea kayak (Rapier 18) to get a little more serious. The Rapier 18 relies heavily on the rudder. I cannot go where I intend without constantly adjusting on the pedals, or dropping an oar to aggressively correct.

Here’s my question - it doesn’t seem like I can use the pedals to maximize my stroke without impacting the rudder. Do you not use the pedals for power when using a rudder (as they do in sprinting)? Or do I need to learn to isolate the arch of my foot from my toes? If it makes a difference, I’m 5’6 120#. Any advice is appreciated!

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On my Epic the center of the foot rests are a solid bar and you steer by pointing one toe or the other. I have not had any issues with unintentional steering. Perhaps you have too much distance between seat and pedals? Try moving the seat forward or pedals aft a couple of notches. You want to solidly wedge in without pointing your toes.

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It sounds like you might have the dreaded sliding foot pedals. As @Kevburg has indicated there are other designs where the pedal is fixed while rudder control is accomplished with the forefront of the foot - rather like an auto’s accelerator pedal. With the fixed pedal you can exert force without affecting the rudder. I have installed the SEALECT Designs model to replace sliding foot pedals on my wife’s Looksha IV. I am not a handyman; this was straightforward.


If you haven’t read this Rapier 18 review, it might be of interest. The reviewer did, in fact, replace the rudder pedals on an older Rapier 18. It is not clear whether or not the replaced pedals were sliders, but there was something he did not like about them - perhaps the performance issue you described.

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probably Yakima sliders. Switch to Sea-lect pedals.

they won’t slide when you use your toes like a gas pedal. You’ll need to redo the pedal cables.

I’ve been sea kayaking for a lot of years. With every sport I’ve ever done, being on the balls of your feet, and not on your heels, is a key to higher performance. You react quicker and stronger from the balls of your feet. I’ve just recently been giving an Epic V10 some time on the water. I need to press off my heels, and it’s not an easy transition to avoid activating the top of my foot. Just time I think, but so far, it’s taking a lot of attention to keep the balls of my feet from inadvertently moving the rudder pedals. I’m getting more and more in a groove with it. But I’m still catching myself slipping out of it. It’s tried and true equipment. I’m just still learning to use it well.

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I’m afraid the pedals are fixed. I think I’m in a similar place to @CapeFear. Just need to spend some time figuring out positioning and leg drive that won’t throw off the rudder. Good to know it’s possible.

With my first psychotic Olympic boat i found something I can’t live without.

The T-bar, or Tiller, rudder control system. A longer flat bar stretches to mount and the T-bar pivots on that. Rudder cables are attached at the end of the legs.

You can use whatever you want as a footrest. I build mine out of 1/4 inch plywood and a piece of aluminum angle. I got old and just a 3/4 inch tube cramps my feet.

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you can adjust pedal heights if you need to also if they are to high.

you may have smart track pedals?

If you do have fixed primary pedals with the separate moving toe pedals to control the rudder, you can also adjust the cables to move the toe pedals further away from your toes. I have mine adjusted so that I have to stretch my toes forward a bit to reach the toe pedal. That way, I’m not inadvertently turning the rudder all the time.

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