Skeg v. Rudder

Beginner here. Please give me your thoughts on the relative merits of skeg vs. rudder for use on lakes and slow rivers. Thanks.

rudder for me
I like the rudder for what you described because it gives me the capability of gliding into areas steering without the paddle. I also paddle very close to other people and it allows me to steer a little without varying my stroke. The skeg box can take up some room in the back compartment also. In larger open waters I like my boat with the skeg.

Get the rudder first, learn to paddle it without the rudder, start looking for another boat, by it with a skeg, start looking for another boat, buy it made out of glass, start looking for another boat, etc. It will go something like that if you get hooked.

It doesn’t really matter at this point. Buy a boat and get on the water. Go from there.

No shortage of opinions

– Last Updated: Jun-18-08 9:31 PM EST –

It's one of the great debates in kayaking.....

For slow rivers and small lakes, I probably wouldn't use either. For big lakes with significant wind exposure either can be nice to have.

rudder vs skeg vs nothing
rudders are for people who are too inadequate to paddle the way god intended, with a skeg

skegs are for people who lack the skills to paddle without a crutch, rudderless

ruddlerless boats are for people too dumb to take advantage of technology that will help them go further faster

basically, we’re all losers. do whatever makes you happy.

Rudderless and naked,
like God made us.

Unless you want a skeg… or a rudder.

For boats in the 11 to 14 foot range a skeg can really help your tracking.

For long boats, 16+, a rudder is often nice to help it turn and track straight on big water.

I think learning to paddle without either is a good thing. Turns out you can learn to paddle straight in any boat and you can turn any boat without either.


I wouldn’t want a kayak without…
a rudder, unless I was strictly paddling rivers in which case I wouldn’t want either a rudder or a skeg, but would want some rocker.

But then again, I am a complete newbie and have a lot to learn about paddling.



Oh no…
Someone above said it - get the boat that you like and take whatever comes on it. Both rudder and skeg serve useful purposes, and if you’ve read those archived threads yet you’ll probably have found that most of the arguments don’t mean a lot to you because you don’t have time in a boat yet to get the context.

As to the boat part, I was next to a beginner/renter in a Catalyst two nights ago on a local river paddle. The boat seemed to have those squishy pedals to the rudder, so every time she stroked off balance the boat went somewhere unintended. I was having no luck suggesting that she pull up the rudder. The cockpit was huge on her, an average sized woman, but she wasn’t exactly at the stage of asking for rolling instruction either.

Can’t decide? Choose both!

Seems very cool, anybody had a chance to try one?

boy are you asking for it

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 2:06 PM EST –

topic is up there on the controversy scale with pfd v. no pfd, handguns or not, BCU v. non BCU etc---all that having been said, real men need neither a rudder or a skeg, we know how to hold our couse unaided(BTW I use a skeg going downwind)


Love it! Short sweet and to the point! :wink:

You aren’t describing conditions that would require either. Skegs jam and take up stowage. Rudders mess with the pegs and break.

Both = Skrudder? NM