skeg?? rudder?

What is the difference between a skeg and a rudder?

skeg vs rudder
A skeg is a rudder type piece that merely goes up out of the water or down into it, and does not move side to side as a rudder can.

A skeg keeps you from being pushed
sideways by the wind. A rudder is a directional device.

great—now I understand! Thanks

Most kayaks are trimmed
so that they turn into the wind (the wind pushes the stern more than the bow so they weathervane into the wind). A skeg counters this tendency. By adjusting the amount that you deploy the skeg you can hold any angle relative to the wind that you wish without having to constantly correct for the wind. This makes the skeg a tracking aid. A rudder is also a tracking aid (technically) but is often used to steer the kayak by those who don’t know better…:^)>

So those of us who “don’t know better”, steer around bouy turns in races with our rudders to get ahead of those with the skegs and the ones without rudders.

… And all this time I thought they didn’t know better.

Thanks for the education - not!!



I think that’s called cheating :wink:

being smart, as you -in this case, as quickly as possibly -make it ‘round the bend’ as you race to


-Frank in Miami

Rudders great for bird watching.
Help to maintaing heading in direction of bird while using hands to hold binoculars.

Yanoer, which hand do you paddle
with while looking through the glasses? Motor, eh!

I’m coasting, both hands on binoculars
What were you thinking?

Skeg and rudder discussions can be endless with no winner, like the Gibson vs. Fender debate in the guitar world or Greenland vs. standard paddles here. If you prefer a rudder be sure you can paddle without it when you’re on the sea and it’s broken. I have one kajak with rudder and one with skeg. The skeg is easy to handle and the boat tracks well, the other kajak really needs a rudder. In heavier seas I sometimes wish I had a rudder on the skeg boat, because edging in high waves to turn the kajak is always a risk.

My wife will second that.
Up in Alaska she got fabulous pictures by coasting up to the eagles, and other types of wild life by using her rudder to steer.



Not to start an argument or anything…
I NEVER do anything like that! But a proficient paddler can execute a rudderless turn quickly and well within the turning radius of any ruddered kayak. I’ve seen kayakers pivot 180 with a single extended paddle brace turn (not sure that’s the correct terminology) Yes, he will scrub off much of his forward speed in doing so but that can be regained in about 3-4 strokes of the paddle. I think this would be an interesting contest to perform at some time.

No argument from me
I know which one is best for turning.

You might want to have a chat with Greg Barton or some of the others who use rudders to make the quickest turns



No, really
I totally agree that rudders are best for racing. I am not convinced that turning around the bouy is where you make the gains though. I have done a bit of adventure racing and usually in ruddered boats. The rudder helps by allowing you to maintain course without corrective strokes and leaning, and this is where the speed advantage comes from.