Should I install a rudder or skeg?

I’ve gotten a ton of good advice skulking about on this site already. So, thank you, everyone, for that. Now, to my question. I am a new owner of an older model Dagger Vortex. So far, it seems to mostly enjoy spinning like a top, going fast and trying to dump me. I’m having a blast with it. However, sometimes I want to cross some flat water – like when kayaking with the wife or my flat-water buddies. So, I’m thinking about installing a retractable skeg, or maybe even a rudder. Skegs are fairly common with newer “cross-over boats” so why not DIY one for my old-school craft? However, I worry about unanticipated consequences. I do have a Walden I use for flat water, but am interested in having the option of being able to launch two boats. So, any thoughts?

One rudder options
Here’s a link to the rudder I’m thinking about. I would also have to buy a mount, which would have, I am sure, to be adapted. Plus, there is dealing with mounting screws that far back in a narrow boat. Anyway, here is the link:

Sorry, buddy, the Vortex was a faulty
design. But it doesn’t spin any easier than my ww kayaks do.

You need to learn to paddle “cab forward”, reaching well forward, with a firm catch, and ending your stroke as soon as your paddle passes your knee and nears your hip. Your kayak will veer back and forth a little, but it will cheerfully go forward.

You might want to start shopping for a better kayak.

Proper technique
Any WW boat can be paddled to go forward. How do you think WW paddlers get through the flat sections on the river? Get some lessons and practice.

yep, working on that
Yep, I’m working on my paddling technique. I just wonder if adding hardware to the stern sometime in the future will affect how the boat performes in whitewater.

I wouldn’t want a rudder in white water
It will only confuse the issue and mess you up

Jack L

I can’t comment on the issue with the overall design. But as someone above said, you really have to paddle these boats forward. You can’t draw the paddle blade back as far as in the rec boat you have or all you will do is spin.

The eBay ad did suggest that the boat was designed for a smaller paddler. If this is true, are you sinking the boat quite deeply? That can make straight harder.

But honestly, these boats were not designed to be about making it easy to paddle straight for a distance. Even if you sort out your paddling stroke, the hull design could be quite slow compared to that of other lake type boats you could be paddling with. A skeg won’t alter the fact that it’ll be more work to propel a boat like the Vortex in a flat water paddle than one more suited to that purpose. For the overhead and cost of trying to mount a skeg on the Vortex you could probably pick up a used rec boat at the end of season from a livery, in just several weeks.

Try a Strap on
Skeg that is

Take it off for whitewater

In addition to short stroke
your paddle shaft should be more vertical than horizontal with your offside hand being near the jaw on that side.

Actually, the Vortex was intended
by Dagger to be a big guy’s version of the successful Crossfire.

Thanks, everyone
Thanks everyone, for taking the time to comment on my question. I know the Dagger Vortex – which is rated for my weight – has its detractors, but some folks think it’s a fine beginner boat. I know this because of this site. In any case, I am both cheap and poor and I got an awesome price on this one. As to speed, I hang with folks who have 10 to 11 foot flat-water boats and the Dagger will smoke them. (Once I learn how to control that spinning. ) So, I’m going to stick with this boat until I know whitewater is what I want. Thanks to your wise counsel, I will put aside thoughts of a skeg or rudder and focus on technique. However, I may later try to work up a DIY version of that strap on! Anyway, i’m psyched. A spray skirt and helmet will arrive soon and I’m going to go roll away a a few hot summer days Thanks again for all your help. This is a great site for guys like me, who don’t happen to be surrounded by experienced friends to get advice from on this particular topic.

Cheapest and easiest. Attach add leeboard. You’ll be the talk of the water and these boards too !

what size paddle?
maybe you need a shorter one so you can more easily paddle with a high-angle stroke.