Skeg vs Rudder

Thought it would be worth it just to see the responses! Looking at a boat with a skeg as my first boat (Impex). Can I have the positives and negatives on both devices? So bring it on!!!

Ah’s a canooist
Dun’t need no stinkin’ skeg or rudder!


Yep, both have

– Last Updated: May-30-08 11:42 PM EST –

Pros and cons.

The reason for a skeg is improve tracking, especially weather cocking.

The wind blows from the side and pushes the back of the boat sideways. The less it weather cocks the less maneuverable the boat is. The key is to find a boat turns well and tracks well. The skeg or rudder isn't going to slow you down, so the key is for the boat to turn well when it is up, then track well when it's down.

The skeg is deployed to improve tracking when the wind is blowing you off course. A slight amount of weather cocking can be countered by leaning the boat and corrective paddle strokes.

To get this desired balance or equilibrium you also need the right size paddle.

The rudder steers the boat so you don’t have to counter weather cocking, which is more efficient. But you have to do this with your feet so they aren’t firmly set on the regular foot braces.

Either way isn’t going to make that much of a difference. IMHO.

The retractable skeg will kink at the cable if you run over something or if a pebble gets jammed in the skeg box. Basically the cable is forced and bends or kinks very easily and you have to replace the cable. $15-$40.

The new Valleys have a not kinking slider which helps from kinking at the slider.

I kinked my skeg cable on my first voyage, because some know it all who was trying to help me launch, pulled my stern back up on the shore which jammed a pebble in the skeg box and when the wind hit and went to deploy the skeg the wire kinked. It was easy to replace the skeg and cable.

You have to remember to retract the skeg when landing or in shallow area. PITA.

Still most people prefer the retractable skeg.

For a beginner it would be better to learn with a skeg. IMO

OMG! :open_mouth:

You could have searched…
This forum for yourself and gotten 10,000 discussions… unless you’re trolling…

thank dog.
it’s been far too long, way to be a sport. probably pseudo trollish though, i’m predicting a distinct lack of vitriol and an underwhelming thread volume.

Skegs aide skeggily keeled boats.
Rudders aide ruddery keeled boats.

Skeggily ?!?
Then shouldn’t the opposing view be Rudderly?

Skeggily, Skeggily, Skeggily

say it faster :wink:

I knew a skag once…

Did she smoke after



If you want to be a purist
like some of the blue noses here don’t get either.

If you want to be straight for the rest of your life get a skeg.

If you want to enjoy paddling like the rest of us happy go lucky slobs get a rudder.



If you want to develop the best possible
stroke, buy a well designed and balanced boat that has neither skeg nor rudder. It was this way for thousands of years, but even the native peoples designed a skeg like stern section to assist with tracking. An important part of balance is loading, don’t buy a boat too large for you or an expedition boat that will never be loaded. I owned some boats that were enormously different with a change in load. If the boat is designed properly, and used as designed, you should not need either. Having said that, all of my boats have a skeg except the SOF I am building. Hypocrite!

depends on your style
It seems I keep using that word a lot lately.

There are pro’s and con’s to both, but what it really comes down to is what fits you the best. I used a kayak with a rudder for several years. Then I decided to try paddling without a rudder to improve my boat control. Now, when I use a rudder it feels all out of whack simply because I am not accustom to it. So find what you like and enjoy it.

Are you involved in other sports? What do you enjoy about them? What draws you to them? If you are a road cyclist and enjoy racing then consider a kayak designed for speed. If you like biking along twisty trails then consider a kayak designed for maneuvering.

the boat, not the rudder
And the use.

Look at the boat first. Paddle it. See how it performs without a rudder or skeg. See how easy it is to turn or keep straight without skeg or rudder. And see how comfortable it is for you in the conditions in which you plan to paddle.

I would never buy a boat on the factor of whether it had a rudder if I was shopping for a standard sea kayak. If I was shopping for a surf ski? You betcha.

If you really can’t decide . . .
. . . get a boat that has both. See

don’t forget the kickstand
and cupholder

in other words
If I were buying an impex for the purpose for which it was intended (I’m assuming one of the touring or open water boats), I certainly wouldn’t let a lack of a rudder get in my way. They make some great boats and they don’t need rudders.

You answered yourself
Didn’t you say you were “looking for a skegged boat?” It seems you already know what you think you might want.

Obviously you are just trying to get a rise out of us. It’s good to see the big mouths (me included) not falling for it.

Maybe you should ask about what kind of paddle you should buy?

?? Never looked…

Yep, missed that one … Ruddery and
and skeggy are the terms I actually use when talking to myself.

Seriously, the designer has a hard choice when deciding / working on the aft keel section of the boat. A few square inches can define the boat’s performance in the wind with or without appandage.