Sealution noob questions etc

I just got my first real kayak, a Sealution 16’. I’ve been using some smaller rec kayaks (8-10’), off and on for a while.

For most of my life I’ve been boating in the Gulf of Mexico (Florida coast), and Lake Ontario (mouth of the Salmon River by the Selkirk lighthouse). I’ve lived on the Atlantic side of Florida for 7 years now, but have never owned a boat here. I recently brought down a 8’ kayak from NY for my kids to use. That turned into getting another kayak so I could go with one of them. And then most recently, I bought the Sealution from FB marketplace so I have something more my size.

I’ve been reading on here a bunch, about paddling techniques, how to roll, safety equipment I should have etc, but still have a few noob questions.

I’m in the process of replacing the rudder control cables in my kayak (one snapped). While I was looking in the cockpit, I noticed there is a bungee by the left foot pedal. What would this have been for, and can I remove it? Seems like it might catch my foot if I need to get out (wet exit). It’s attached to a fitting on the side.

My Sealution is the poly version. I’m not quite sure what the year is, but going by the Wilderness Systems site, it’s either a 1993 or 2003. I think all the early ones were fiberglass, so maybe it’s a 2003. S/N WKY123102F393. It’s supposed to be the last four digits are the month (letter F), the year (ends with 3), and then the model number (93).

I’ve read that since my kayak is plastic, I don’t need to wax the bottom, and should just use some Aerospace 303 to protect it. Mine has some scratches on the bottom (typical FL boat, there is a lot of sharp stuff at the bottom). I cut the pieces of plastic hanging off with a razor. There isn’t any type of buffing I can do on the bottom of this to smooth it out more? I’ve read I shouldn’t use anything abrasive on it.

My last question involves the paddle. Right now I have a cheaper Amazon paddle. It weighs right at 35oz. I’ve read I should buy the lightest paddle I can afford. At what weight will I notice a significant difference while paddling? Something 5oz lighter? 10oz lighter?

My goals for kayaking are to go a few times a week on the intracoastal. It’s about half a mile from me. I cycle around 7k miles a year, and want to add in kayaking for more of an upper body workout. So, 1 hour Kayak trips going for speed and efficiency. I’ve already noticed the Sealution is much faster than the smaller kayaks I was using before.

There will of course be more family oriented trips where we go the speed a 9 and 11 year old can handle:).

Thanks for any input you have.

Looking at my picture again, I noticed there is another bungee wrapped the right pedal bracket also. What are these for?

Yes, definitely make sure that bungee is at least secured where it can’t trap you if you capsize. Do it ASAP. The way the one on the right looks, they appear to be used as tension on the rudder cables that would make the rudder stay straight if you aren’t trying to turn it. Problem with that would be that the tension on them would have to be the same on both sides, otherwise it would cock your rudder one direction or the other without you actively putting pressure on one of them keep the rudder straight. Never seen that before.

Ah, that makes sense about the bungees being there to return the rudder to the center. When I install my new cables, I’ll see about getting the bungees on there tighter or replacing them. The one looks a little worn.

I think this kayak has been stored for a while, and just needs a little work. The rudder system just seemed a little loose, and then the cable snapped without putting too much pressure on it.
I’ve already taken the rudder off and lubed the pivot points. After the new cables, hopefully it will work good as new.

I had one for while… Very maneuverable boat with the rudder up and nice tracking with the rudder deployed, really like two different boats. I would think it’s a 1993.

If it’s a 1993 I feel like it’s in good shape for its age. It’s not very faded at all. I have it in my garage right now to replace the rudder cables (waiting on Amazon to come right now). When I take it outside again I’ll take some pics.

The only time I tried to use it with the rudder I snapped the cable. I’ll get some rudder down impressions soon.
I was paddling back to my house with the tide coming in (current pushing against me), and I really could have used the rudder.

When you guys practice rolls in a boat with a rudder, what position do you put the rudder in? Seems like I would want it straight to the back so I don’t tear it off.

Here’s a 1992 catalog. I started kayaking in 2001 and don’t remember seeing new ones in the shop. II,e
I remember a girl had one without a rudder and always complained. I got one on a trade and couldn’t believe the difference with/without a rudder.
Kinda neat though like having two different boats.

Wow yours is in great shape. Mine doesn’t look that nice. I like the white.

It’s interesting that the regular Sealution in the catalog is 50 lbs. I think that’s the fiberglass version. Mine is the poly version and is 58 lbs.

From my research there were a few different versions. The first was fiberglass. The second (Sealution II) was poly, and had black hatches and webbing handles. I’ve heard some of those had hull issues, but mine doesn’t look like it does.
The third version was poly and had color matching hatches, and T handles on the bow and stern. And then they had the XS and XL.

Thanks… but that pic is about 15 years old. I liked it but had other boats that I liked better. I had a ski that no one wanted and swapping it for the Sealution was the best offer I had. Looking back it was good boat but I didn’t have the room.
to keep it.

As far as paddle weight, I’ve found that around 30 oz or less feels “light” while paddling. I have paddles weighing 26 and 30 (and a heavier river beater), and really don’t notice much difference between the two lighter ones in effort or fatigue after a day of paddling. But I’m just one data point, of course.

I was looking at a paddle just under 29oz that isn’t too expensive. Its a hybrid of carbon and fiberglass. I might try it out.

I was also looking at some Chinese carbon paddles. I’ve bought some weight weenie carbon parts for my road bike from sites like Aliexpress. I was surprised how expensive carbon paddles are on there. I’m better off just buying something that ships from the US.

Basically, I’m not ready to spend more than I spent for the kayak on a paddle yet, but do want to upgrade :slight_smile:
I’m also keeping an eye out for a good used paddle.

If the rudder breaks due to roll practice, there was something wrong with the rudder. What little side pressures a roll would put on the blade are not enough to damage gear in good shape.

You say you are a noob, so going to give some basic advice that you may already know. On your broken rudder cable - make sure when you push the pedal on one side that you release the pedal on the other side. The cables make a continuous loop in the back, so if you increase pressure on one side without releasing on the other, there is a lot of strain on the system. This is a common cause of failure on rental/tour boats.

if the rudder has a set of lines going to just behind your seat which you would use to raise and lower the rudder, and their is a cleat for those lines, in most boats you don’t cleat the line when the rudder is in the down position (only up). You want the rudder to be loose so it can swing up if it hits something under water. If the rudder is locked down and you hit a rock with the rudder, the only way it can release is to break. (Not- I know know the specific boat, but the majority of boats from back then used this system. Yours may or may not).

Thank you for the advice.

I finished up the rudder cables last night. I took the one good cable off and made my new cables the same length. It basically centers the pedal sliders in their brackets. I also took the sliders apart and lubed up everything.

I used the rudder today in some shallowish water. My kayak does have the cleat and I did like you said, didn’t cleat the rudder in the down position so it could kick up.

Before you mentioned it, I didn’t know if that was the right thing to do, but based on my sailing experience I knew the rudder should be able to kick up should it hit something.

This is my first time in a kayak with a rudder. I have to say it’s pretty awesome.

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Ultimately you want a bomb proof roll. When you need it, it’s not your choice how the rudder is deployed. So practice should accommodate various rudder configurations.

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Gotcha. That makes sense.

I’ve been thinking of where I can practice my first rolls. I think I know of a spot where it’s deep enough during high tide, but close enough to shore that I could have my wife on standby just in case. She is my only kayaking buddy right now :slight_smile:

Get a helmet BEFORE going for the roll. All it takes is one unexpected rock where you r head ends up to make for a tragedy.

I finally splurged for a Shredder or similar, but WRSI makes comfortable and relatively inexpensive one for a decent price point. ProTec is more common but I never found any of theirs that didn’t give me a headache.

For some years a friend and I practiced rolling at a particular location on our local lake. The lake water is drawn down by 10 feet each winter so the lake bottom is visible in that location and luckily rock free (actually sand). In the early years one of us would stand by the ‘roller’ to assist in a failed roll attempt. We didn’t start our practicing in spring until the water reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But even then we wore dry suits to avoid hypothermia.

So dry suits are useful and, as Celia mentioned, a helmet when the bottom might be rocky.

I’m in St Augustine. I live really close to the water (Matanzas River area), but the area I was thinking about for practicing rolls is the Matanzas inlet (have you guys seen the YouTube video of the guy getting both paddle tips bitten there by a shark?:)?)

Anyways, there is a spot where we take our kids, and there are tide pools at low tide, but at high tide the water is deeper there while still being somewhat protected.
I’d like to practice in a swimming pool so I could see what I was doing, but don’t have one available to use.

Basically right now I’ve been staying pretty close to shore. The river runs along a road in my neighborhood and I could paddle for miles, while still being like 10’ from shore. I’d like to explore out towards the middle of the river, and eventually out towards the ocean. But first I want to be very comfortable in the boat, and also very comfortable with getting out (and back in) should something happen.
I’ve read the other threads on here, and I’m not planning any thousand mile kayak trips for a long, long time :slight_smile:

I would focus on learning other self-rescues before the roll.

Few are able to master a roll with lessons and a lot of time practicing (and failing). Even now, years after I learned to roll, my roll is not 100%. Especially bad now after being off for so long due to coronavirus and minor surgery.

But in non-whitewater situations, the roll isn’t required. Being able to get back in while in deep water in a reasonable time is what you need, and other methods that are easier to learn than the roll do fine.

Specifically paddlefloat rescue and then a cowboy scramble (cowboy requires more balance, so is a bit harder to learn than paddlefloat). If your wife is also on the water, you can learn t-rescue and bow rescue. Sounds like she will be in a recreational class boat, in which case she could rescue you but likely her boat wouldn’t allow her to be rescued should she flip. Links to articles and videos of most of these can be found at

The bow rescue is not shown there, but can be seen at This rescue is very useful in learning to roll, as someone else can offer their bow to you after you fail a roll, which saves you from wet exiting.

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Summer Haven river is surely sandy enough…except near the docks at the Matanzas /Summer Haven river intersection near the inlet. Look out for the granite rip rap on Rattle Snake island and the old piling near the docks. That’s all real shallow at low tide though.

We sometimes practice near the summer Haven boat ramp at high tide. One thing you don’t have to jerk your moves. Purposeful coordinated movements will work better than rushed.