Rudders on a recreational kayak?

Has anyone added one? I’ve seen articles about doing it with a sit-on-top, but not a sit inside. Can it be done? Is it worth doing? Good for turning? Prevent weathercocking with a little wind? New paddler, old sailor. Keep looking for the tiller. Help a newbie out?

You can add them to some models.
Check with your kayaks maker.

Why not learn to paddle.
Paddling without a rudder when and where you think one would be helpful will teach you good boat handling skills.

I wouldn’t waste my money trying to add a rudder to a rec kayak. If you want a rudder then why not buy a rec kayak with one. It will probably be cheaper in the long run.

Rec kayaks aren’t for touring or ocean crossing. Go out in the wind and waves and learn to paddle. Battle it out and learn to paddle against the elements. I enjoy it.


Why add?
I’ve had two kayaks with rudders. Other than using each one time (literally) just to assure myself that it would lower, raise, and turn, I never used them. They just happened to be attached to used boats that I bought. If I was ordering new, or had my choice, no rudder.

it depends
there have plenty of times that i have used my rec kayak on lakes with a lot of wind and current, to the point that i was paddling on one side only to go straight. it situations like that a rudder would be nice. if you are going to paddle only when it’s “nice” paddling weather, then you don’t really need one.

to answer your question, depending on how handy you are, you can put a rudder on any kayak. i put one on mine and was told that it wouldn’t work with a rudder, works just fine.

Old Town will sell you a rudder for its
rec kayaks, though I’ve never seen much need with the Loon. The 138 tracks true and isn’t difficult to keep on course even in the 20+ mmph winds we often get near the Gulf Coast. Now, I wouldn’t mind having one for drift fishing.

I have a Wilderness Pungo 140
tracks well, but getting it to go in a straight line when there’s a breeze is not something I do very well. At least not yet.

Get a strap-on
Skeg, that is…get your mind out of the gutter! :wink:

Seriously, if all you’re interested in is preventing weathercocking, a strap-on skeg will do the trick nicely, and doesn’t require any boat mods. Feathercraft makes a good one, and if you’re handy, you can make one yourself out of flat webbing and plywood.

For turning and such, learn to edge and use proper paddle strokes. It’s easier than mounting and rigging a rudder.

Have fun!


– Last Updated: Aug-27-07 1:48 PM EST –

You don't need a rudder on a recreational boat to -turn- it. It's easy enough to learn how to turn a boat (almost -any- boat) with the paddle. Note that you have to be moving to be able to turn a boat with a rudder.

It's possible that a rudder might be helpful to keep the boat going straight or for handling weathercocking.

You don't say whether you have a recreational boat currently and what that boat is (if you have one). If you have a boat, I'd suggest seeing how you like it without the rudder.

You caught me off guard…
when I read that.

I thought…What the hell.

…still laughing.

You win!!!

Good suggestions.
I have a Pungo 140. Nice boat. Tracks pretty well. And I’m going to spend more time paddling before I go into boat mods. Or trading boats. Took me trying out about 8-10 boats before I settled on the Pungo.