Stuck In A Rudder

Hi folks. I just joined and this is my first posting. Please be easy on me. I have been a sit on top kayaker for the last 5 years or so (14’ 7" Dimension Voyager) which has been a very nice kayak. I am in the market to buy a sit in one in the next few months and have my mind set on a Boreal Design 13’ Ookpic. I am sure this question has been asked many times, but do I need a rudder or not? If paddling my sit on top is any indication, I don’t. Hope you can help before I make my purchase. Thanks


uhoh …
he said the “R” word …

You Funny, Liv2.

R Word
I guess the R word is a bad word. Sorry and thanks for the help.

how much beer?
If you order the boat without a rudder, you wind up with a lot of beer money. After you drink all the beer and find you can paddle it straight when 3 sheets to the wind, you know you chose correctly.

But if the wind is blowing (3 sheets or less) and you cannot keep a course, then you can always retrofit a rudder. Of course, you will have to go without beer for awhile.

It costs a few more pints to retrofit than to order the boat with a rudder installed.

Think I will have to go out for pint, now.


R Word
I hear ya Karl. Thanks


haven’t paddled one
but looking at their website I’d say no,


– Last Updated: Feb-28-06 7:29 PM EST –

It is a stable kayak and does not need a skeg or rudder.

Demo One On A Windy Day
Still chuckling about Dan and Rex’s comments. As a paddler who has a boat with a equipped with the “R” appendage, I am getting used to folks looking at it as kind of wierd.

In any case, I am not familiar with your boat but I imagine the dealer would let you demo one and you could see for yourself.

Happy Paddling,



– Last Updated: Feb-28-06 8:42 PM EST –

The R word isn't a bad word. Folks seem to have strong opinions about rudders & skegs or the lack thereof. Since JackL is indisposed I'll tell you what he says... a rudder is a safety device. Hopefully you can do without it, but if you need it, it's there.

What MarkinNC down there says is on target also. Try the boat on a windy day. That's when you know if you'll use a rudder.

The kind of paddling you do makes a difference also. If you like to go on big, open water for very long trips, I would definitely want a rudder... not necessarily to use... but to have if I needed it.

That said, I don't know nuthin' about a Ookpik. If you DO want to go long distances on bigger water, you might consider a longer, leaner boat.

In what conditions?
As above and according to the manufacturer, for non-challenged paddling it doesn’t appear that you’d miss a rudder. But it is a little shorter than the boat you have now, and because of that you may find that it would feel a little different in some conditions like following seas or higher winds - if you paddle in that.

I’m not much of a fan of rudders myself these days, and if you’ve been living without one it’d probably be best to at least start out without the darned thing. But they do have their place depending on your paddling needs, and the advice to try and demo one in conditions is good.

That’s a new one. You imply that a skeg or rudder increases the kayak’s stability.

I don’t think so!

You don’t need one
I have an Ookpic that I only use for running rivers in spring or as a loaner boat. It’s a nice balance between tracking and turning,in other words it’s easy to make corrections if blown off course. It’s not a big water boat anyway so keep away from the dreaded “R” appendage and just buy some closed cell foam to outfit the outragously oversized cockpit.

One thing I like about my Ookpic is the plastic is quite stiff and not prone to oilcanning.I cartop it rightside up in the cradles with no problem.

Probably the hardchine helps reinforce the hull.



– Last Updated: Mar-01-06 7:58 AM EST –

Thanks for everyones help with the rudder decision. Especially Bert who has the same model that I am thinking of getting. Just a further note as to why I am going with this Boreal Design 13' Ookpic. I am 6' 4" (225lbs) and needed a slightly larger cockpit. Also, my 17' travel trailer has a rear door in it. I can actually slide up to a 14' kayak right in the back door for travelling purposes while also carrying my sit on top on top of our van.

‘directional’ stability
a skeg or rudder increases the ‘directional’ stability. It does nothing for the ‘roll’ stability.

funny how the website link says: “Excellent directional stability allows use /without/ a skeg or rudder.”

AND then:

Ookpik model comes standard with Rear Hatch & Rudder

make up-a-your mind!



In the past I have dealt with Boreal Designs and have sold numerous Ookpiks. It is an easy kayak to paddle and really does not need a rudder.

The Boreal Designs kayaks are pretty well built, good workmanship and good quality.

I’d not bother with a rudder, it doesn’t need one.


Thanks Joe. It’s official. No rudder needed on this particular kayak.


Test paddle first, before buying
As always, the best thing is to test paddle a kayak before buying it. The more times you try the same kayak, the more you will know if you want to buy it or not.

IMHO, stay away from Boreal. I made the mistake of buying a Boreal kayak once. I was not happy with it after I had it a short while, and tried to get the dealer and Boreal’s attention. I was nice about it, and explained myself thoroughly in several e-mails.

Boreal, after a while, told me to quit bothering tham, as there was nothing wrong with their kayak. I was really upset, and felt abandoned. You can read my review here on P-net on the Boreal “Nanook”. The dealer was no help either, he took Boreal’s side.

I will do whatever I can to convince anyone else not to buy a Boreal kayak, and being subjected to this treatment, should they have a problem or concern. I finally sold the like new kayak at a loss, just to get rid of it. (I did let the new owner know of my problem, and had him read my review here on P-Net)

Buy an “Impex” kayak. They stand behind whey they sell, and make a great performing, high quality line of kayaks. I love my Impex “Assateague”.

Happy Paddling!

then why
does it come standard with one?


No Steve, the rudder is optional.