SKEG vs Rudder for older paddlers

Beautiful kayak PaddleDog52. Looks elegant. :blush:


I like performance and I need to like them visually. I like to sit and stare at my kayaks.

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This is off topic, but I recommend that you and your husband also consider the Delta 14. There’s a good chance that it would handle all the types of water you mentioned—in fact, even the Delta 12 is considered a sea kayak. I recommend getting the shortest kayak that will handle safely and efficiently in the planned conditions, and going longer only if you have a specific reason. Shorter = lighter, more maneuverable, easier to put on the car, more likely to get used more often. Those things become more important as you get older. Deltas, perhaps more than any other brand, are very stable and safe even in the shorter lengths, like the 12.10. The Delta 14 has very good speed. Make sure you know why you’re buyer a longer kayak—what are its specific advantages?

Longer is easier to load for me.

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Hi Waterbird. I appreciate your advice. Seriously. Initially I looked at the Delta 12s. We took a 3-hour private sea kayaking lesson paddling 14.5’ Daggers with skegs. They were very easy. No trouble controlling it. A bit too small for my husband.

I was able to sit in a Delta 14 and a Delta 15s. The Delta 15s fit me. The 14 was actually bigger. The shop owner thought the Delta 15s was a good size. I compared it to the Delta 12s and that one was larger than the 15s. Surprised. I like that a “s” kayak is built better for smaller women - and men. I have a 8.5’ Innova inflatable kayak. It is a recreational one. I have paddled in a protected area by San Rafael in San Francisco in the same model. Small is nice. But have to say I’d felt more secure in a lake with it.

Delta 12s L: 12′ W: 24″ D: 12″ Wt:38 lbs Cockpit: 16.5″ x 31.5″

Delta 12.10 L:12’10″ W: 25″ D: 13.5″ W:t 41 lbs Cockpit: 17″ x 32″

Delta 14 L:14′ W:23.5″ D: 13″ Wt: 45lbs Cockpit: 17″ x 32″

Delta 15 L:15’ W: 22″ D: 11.5″. Wt. 44 lbs. Cockpit: 16.5″x31.5″

Both the 14’ and 15’ have either a skeg or rudder. Both have a paddle park on front deck and one for a spare paddle on the back deck. The 15’ also has an interesting safety feature, Paddle Float Rescue System that has raised lines and a scalloped deck to make paddle float re-entry easier.

The 12s and 12.10 do not have skegs or rudders.

I wouldn’t hesitate paddling either the 12s or 12.10 on the Willamette River in Portland or on lakes. We hope to paddle on the ocean and really want to paddle on Puget Sound. Do you think they would be good up there? Logic tells me that since Delta is in BC, their 12s and 12.10 kayaks probably are used. I will look into trying them out. I think the reason the 15s felt snugger to me is because of its width and its depth as my upper torso and arms are short, so paddling is easier. I will say wheeling the 14.5’ Dagger from Portland Kayak down to the river was challenging making turns, so a smaller kayak is easier to maneuver on land.

So thank you. You’ve given me sound reasons for considering a smaller boat.


Hi WaterBird.
I have re-looked at the 12s and re-read reviews. Some of the reviewers mention being in rough water and waves. If big enough to handle bays and near shore ocean and Puget Sound, then it might be worth a serious look. It seems like the size would feel comparable to the 15s. It’s depth is 1/2 inch deeper than the 15s and the cockpit measurement is the same. 38# is nicer to lift than 44#. I will try it. I should be able to demo the 12s and 15s. I do like more shallow cockpits. Again, my thanks for your advice. Sheila

Comment on shorter boats -
Try loading a 12 footer onto your car. I know that, short of the Hullivator, 12 foot is too short to load easily onto my Rav4. The roof is too tall and at 12 foot I can’t as easily prop it ground to Roller Loader as my 14 foot boat.

I would not take a boat without skeg or rudder into Puget Sound. Or any salty stuff. At some point you will need a tracking device to counter wind. It is not an if but a when.

Baot depth yes, does matter. You need an S. But apparently that is available in the longer length.

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That is a good generalization, but there are exceptions. The Broze Bros. Mariners being such a case. Matt Broze was one of the authors of “Sea Kayaker’s Deep Trouble” along with Gronseth and Cunningham.

I saw a Mariner being used to do the Maine Island Trail. Had a lovely conversation with the older gentleman who was paddling it on Thief. He had just rounded Pemaquid in quite favorable conditions. He is since gone.

But he was a hell of a lot more experienced paddler than the OPer is - or me or most on this board.


The Mariners, long out of production, are still sought after here in the Northwest; suprising to hear of one so far east. I currently have a CD Slipstream in my fleet. It is very neutral, scarcely any windcocking. Yet I am very happy that the skeg is there when I need it.

Thank you, Celia. Very grateful. I wouldn’t have figured that it would have been harder to load— but most importantly, is the safety issue on the Sound or other salt water spot. I don’t want to be Skegless in Seattle! :face_with_spiral_eyes:

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I retracted my last post because I think I had maybe the wrong guy. I am having a hard time making things match up. It was a while ago.
But I am fairly sure the boat was a Kruger Sea Wind.