Skegs for WW River Boats

I was recently given a long,old school,river boat. (Perception Mirage) Took it home pretty much for the fun of it. It’s a blast to take out and beats muscling around the poly sea kayak. Although I do want to eventually get out on the WW, it doesn’t track worth a darn on flat water with the slightest wind. I know this kind of Hokey but is anyone aware of a temporary skeg on the market that can be attached to a boat like this to make it track a little better?

Feathercraft sells one, but I don’t know how well it works.

I’ve seen pictures of skegs attached to a conical adapter that fit over the stern of old whitewater boats.

You could try something like cutting a fin and a base out of thin plywood, joining them with aluminum angle, and attaching it with a couple of straps. All are materials that you can find at a building or hardware store, and if it doesn’t work you haven’t spent much.

A more elegant way might be to make a fiberglass one – cover the stern with plastic wrap, lay up a couple of layers of glass to make a cone, and glass on a skeg.

Take It As An Opportunity To Work

– Last Updated: Mar-08-06 1:33 PM EST –

your forward stroke. :)

The older, longer ww boats actually track better than the newer, shorter ones. I don't find tracking to be an issue if I focus on my stroking technique -- plant and catch near the feet and exit at the hips. Use a more vertical stroke that brings the blade path right next to the gunwales. If the stroke is out there and overly long, there is more of a sweep component that leads to yawing.

If you're gonna go long distance, forget about it and just use a longer, trackier boat that does not require your constant attention. The nature of white water boats is more rocker for quicker maneuvering. It's the right tool being applied to the wrong venue.


skegs on ww boats
i have two old ww boats, 13’+, that i use for general rec paddling, they make very fun and versatile dayboats. much fun to surf boat wakes and small waves with them. heres some pics

Very Interesting.
are they DIY skegs? I am looking and thinking that it would not be too hard to make them. I don’t think I would want to go back into white water with the same boat though once the skeg is installed because of possible injury from the skeg in a swim.


Maybe an R5 skeg?

If I remember correctly, it has ends similar to a Mirage.


old-style boats

– Last Updated: Mar-08-06 2:54 PM EST –

Looks like an "old-school" boat with a drop skeg. Neat!

Cross Overs

yes diy

– Last Updated: Mar-08-06 6:35 PM EST –

they are made from 1/10" tempered aluminum (salvaged highway sign) and there's nothing complicated about making them with a jig saw, file, drill, etc. the one on the 'greenland boat' was a prototype just to test if i wanted a keg on that boat or not, better without it. the ww boats are fg, one has a 1/8" slot cut into the stern, sealed with an end pour of expanding foam. its the best most elegant solution but i dont know if it would work with a poly boat. while we are on the subject ; ) i have considered a drop skeg on the greenland boat right behind the cockpit that could help surfing (prevent sideslip) and provide some help with weathercocking. waddya think? i know surf boats have skegs just behind the cockpit too. the skeg at the rear spun me into a broach on a steep boat wake, i took it off immediately but i think a skeg just behind the cockpit could be useful

Do it and you’ll
love it. I put a skeg on my old Animas and my friends Blast both old WW boats. We go up river more often than we go down and the skegs make it possible to power through the shutes that the WW guys have built up. Up water is the only way to go. All those little eddys and rips that are completly missed going down. It is an easily removed afair. We went to Ky recently ran the quick stuff hung the skegs on and paddled/ floated the flats,laying back cruising. Do it, you’ll love it.


Just buy a rec boat…
…why screw up a WW boat with a skeg?

Actually, el brillianto, I am designing
a drop skeg for my Mad River Synergy. It is fast enough as a tandem for us to use it on lakes, even for poking along Lake Superior inlets, but it has sucky tracking. A drop skeg, retrievable with a line to the middle of the boat, will make it track well on flat water, and the ease of raising the skeg will mean the boat will be ready for occasional class 2-3 rapids.

I’m not sure why Disco finds a skeg helpful on an Animas for going upstream, though it would certainly make the boat more relaxing to paddle on flatwater. With my supermonkey reach, I can paddle so near the bow of my Animas that getting it to track even in turbulent water is no problem.

Check out my current avatar on BT. My 1982 Noah Magma, kind of evil handling, but as fast as most rec boats, and much better in whitewater. That Noah is an attainment superboat, faster upstream than a slalom kayak.

skeg further towards the back would be much more effective for weatherhelming issues since it locks the stern in better.

For surfing, yes, a skeg nearer to the cockpit would would work better because that’s where your weight is. The skeg there will help prevent slippage on a diagonal run on a waveface. Combined this with a shore side stern rudder, you have better carve on the face and directional control.

Speaking of fins, I ordered a huge piece of HDPE (high density polyethelene) to make surf fins with. I just realized that this is the same material that is used for a skeg in my Impex Montauk. Could be be use for a skeg project on a white water boat too I guess. In case anyone is interested, HDPE is the same stuff as that used to make white plastic cutting boards.


“screw up” is in the eye of the beholder. If adding a skeg makes the boat do what he wants it to, why is that wrong? Yes, you’ll never make a WW boat into a great flatwater tourer, but they can work just fine for low-speed exploring.

Besides, they’re a lot easier to roll than a rec boat!

I’ve done it…
and have learned a bit…let me know if you would like pics of what I’ve done, and a bit of advice of what I’d do next time.

Ps. It’s worth it. I can track reasonably well, or I can lift the skeg and spin like a top.