Sliding rudder system and being short (5') in search for a suitable kayak

I am having difficulty in general with my short self and reaching the foot braces (also the rudder control) making matters worse is it is a sliding system (Necky Nooksha)

I would like to change the to brace/gas pedal type, I do not use the rudder alot but cannot stand the squishy braces when it is dropped down and cannot reach well. Also if installing the gas pedal style is everything changed out (minus the rudder itself)? Just needing to know if it is something I am capable of doing myself or need to drive to a kayak shop on a river out here and find someone to do it.

I am 5 feet tall and struggle in general finding a kayak where I can reach comfortably and have the thigh braces where my legs actual make contact and in the right area. (Im 120 pounds so I dont have tree trunks for legs lol)

Tomorrow we are going to look at a Elaho 16 and all my research has shown it is a more narrow beam and cockpit, so hoping that solves the, me feeling like im swimming n the Looksha, and not able to brace problem I seem to run into with kayaks.

Also we live in the midwest so no ocean kayaking unless we decide to travel, so the majority would be windy lakes or rivers/camping.
Just started kayaking this Spring.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

If you ever get to northern Michigan, I have an Eddyline Fathom LV which would fit you very well. Selling it only because I don’t need two long boats.

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I changed out the sliding rudder controls in my Wilderness Systems Tsunami for the Sea-lect gas pedal style a few months ago. If you are mechanically inclined, it’s doable on your own, with some tools. It can be a pain in the @$$ though, but in the end the swap was well worth it. A few things about the install process though…

Install instructions were seriously lacking. Even online videos didn’t address a few issues I ran into, outlined below.

-Install would have been easy, however because I paddle in salt water, the screws going through the hull were frozen in the factory aluminum rails, so I had to drill out the screws. If you have to drill out factory hardware on a plastic kayak, do this S-L-O-W-L-Y. Take your time and check frequently for temperature. If the screws get hot, they can melt through your hull. If you’re not sure how to do this, take it to a kayak shop. They’ll be happy to install these for a small fee.

  • If you have sliding rudder controls, you WILL NEED a longer rudder cable. One foot longer than your factory cable will do.

-The included hardware, the screws for the front fit, but the screws for the rear were 1/4 inch too short, resulting in a trip to the hardware store.

-Check your clearance height under the deck. I found that I had screws holding my deck bungees that protrude into the cockpit and interfere with my adjustment and use of these pedals. Sea-lect sells a lowering kit with hardware to drop the height of your pedals, though if you’re handy you can make your own out of 16"x3"x1/8" kydex. If you want to make this even tougher, use 1/4" thick kydex. Make sure you get appropriate screws for the added thickness.

Though the Install was not exactly simple, the work I feel was worth it. They’re comfortable, easily adjusted from inside the cockpit (which isn’t something you can usually do with sliding rudder control pedals), and they work fantastic allowing you to still use a rudder while having a firm foot brace. Worth the money in my opinion. Whether it’s worth the frustration to install, I’d do it again for sure, but it’s subjective and will be up to you to decide.

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Thank you so so much for the detailed email!
I’ll save this for sure! My ex husband is pretty handy but it may just be best to pay a shop in KC or some bigger city to do it lol sounds alot more above my skills lol.
This forum and website has been great on learning new things and everyone has been so nice!
Thank you again
Sarah (from Missouri)

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As NHTrucker said, you will probably need either longer rudder cables, or need to extend the cables that are there. On the Sea-Lect foot controls, the cables attach all the way forward at the front of the foot track. Plus, they make a zig-zag path where the foot pedals are which requires a bit of extra length on top of that. SmartTrack controls run the cable all the way to the front of the track, and back again to an adjuster at the back of the track. So, even longer cables are required for those.

The distance between the mounting holes might also be a little different on the new foot controls versus your existing ones.

I’m handy and have swapped out a couple of foot controls pretty easily. But if what I described sounds a little daunting then paying a shop to do the work might be best.

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Have you ever paddled a kayak with a skeg?

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I replaced the sliding foot brace style rudder system on my wife’s composite Looksha IV with the Sealect system. Luckily no old ‘frozen’ bolts to drill out. I am not at all handy, but found the job to be straightforward. Personally, I prefer a skeg … but my wife definitely prefers the rudder.

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Agree w above. Get a skegged boat and skip the rudder complications and cost of changing.

Where in the midwest, in case anyone here can find your size boat in sale listings. Not sure the Elaho 16 will be any better, probably stil too deep.

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No, just rudder.

Bolivar, Missouri
It’s not the HV, ive read forums where woman who are 5’1 and seen some 5’2 women say they have one and can reach.
I had been looking for an Eliza, but they are hard to come by and none here or in surrounding states that I had found

Don’t limit yourself. Paddle a skegged boat and skip all the stuff about reaching foot braces, etc. Easy peasy.

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I’ve done 8 composite CD hulls removing Yakima sliding pedals and installing Sea-lect pedals. You need new cables SS 1/16" at least 3 feet longer than rudder to front of pedal mounting bracket, 2 thimbles, 6 1/16" swages, mounting bolts for pedals, possibly height adjustment plate Sea-lect sells, swaging tool, possibly new hardware for rudder cables two bolts, 4 washers, and two nylock nuts. You need to set the angle of the pedals when you crush the swages. There is some adjustments in the pedals themselves. There is zero wrong with a rudder kayak. Not sure in your kayak how the cables are channeled in you kayak. Probably one hour job unless you can’t get old old sliders out easily. At least get a price on a conversion. You can get everything you need at


If you are in bigger windy lakes the fit is about more than reaching the foot pegs. You have to be able to put the boat on edge to handle some conditions, rudder or not. Too deep or too big volume of boat you will make you struggle to do that

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If you can’t use the pedals you don’t fit the kayak even if it’s molded to your body.

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