Best 5 Kayak Rudders

Kayak Rudders

When used properly, Kayak Rudders can make kayaking more enthralling and engaging. Of course, turning the kayak is the main job of a fully functional kayak rudder but its job is not limited to this only. They also ensure that the kayak is moving straight on open water (this is known as tracking in the world of paddling).

Is kayak rudder kit a must have kayaking accessory? Well, there is no such straightforward answer. Technically, you don’t need a kayak rudder to track on water but having a kayak rudder in place can make your job a hell lot easier. No matter how adventurous you are or how daredevil your attitude is, sometimes you need something that can help you keep your boat firm and steady on choppy water. This is the reason why even seasoned paddlers tend to install kayak rudder.

Best 5 Kayak Rudder

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1. New Black Plastic Watercraft Kayak Rudder 

New Black Plastic Watercraft Kayak Rudder is strong built and is made from high density plastic to increase its longevity. This kayak rudder allows you to have complete control on the course of your kayak. It works seamlessly with foot control system. The collapsible and compact design of New Black Plastic Watercraft Kayak Rudder has added to its wow factor. It is extremely lightweight and the installation process is very simple as well.

Fasteners are not included which is quite frustrating. And no clear installation guide is available as well. So, you might have to figure out all by yourself how to get this thing install on your kayak.

2. Borogo Kayak Rudder

Designed for angling boats and sea kayaks, Borogo Kayak Rudder is made from stainless steel and Nylon. It is extremely robust and sturdy in nature. It allows kayakers to wield greater control over the kayak in turbulent conditions. Mounted vertically, Borogo Kayak Rudder can be controlled easily with the feet. Wires connect the blade to the foot braces.


  • Made from premium quality materials that add to its strength and durability.
  • Easy to install; no tools needed.
  • Extremely well built.


  • Some boats may need minor modifications to get this kayak rudder mounted on it.
  • The holes, which are used to insert the cable, are too close and run the risk of getting broken if not used properly.

3. Crack of Dawn Kayak Rudder with Mounting Kit

Crack of Dawn Kayak Rudder is a premier kayak rudder that allows a paddler to maneuver a kayak without using correction strokes like crazy. It can be attached to almost all types of kayaks irrespective of their brands. Included are – foot paddles, assembly parts, tracking systems and more.

All you need is a surface area of around 3″x3″ to get it mounted properly. Installing this kayak rudder is a piece of cake and it allows boats track really well in windy weather. Hand-free steering is what you can expect with Crack of Dawn Kayak Rudder with Mounting Kit.  

4. Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit

With Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit, you will be able to make it back safely to the shore in case you have to deal with strong wind, torrential rain or monster waves. Be it a PBG kayak, P13, Tetra or Trident kayak, Ocean Kayak Rudder Kit can easily be installed on it. Details installation instructions are provided in this kit. By utilizing the pull cord, you will be able to lower it down easily and effortlessly. Steering side-to-side is made possible with foot pedals. However, whenever you enter shallow water, you will have to raise the rudder back up.


  • 1 Year manufacturing warranty.
  • Offers greater control
  • Well built and durable

5. Walmeck Canoe Kayak Boat Tail Kayak Rudder

Walmeck Canoe Kayak Boat Tail Kayak Rudder allow you to steer your kayak straight even when the weather turns turbulent. Easy to mount, Walmeck Canoe Kayak Boat Tail Kayak Rudder is designed meticulously to offer maximum level of support while paddling on choppy water.

What is A Kayak Rudder?

Those of you who paddle on still water, can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to kayak on a roaring river. You will sweat it out just to keep the kayak steady. Even the most experienced kayakers struggle to keep moving forward without losing the direction or losing control. No matter how many forward strokes you have made so far, things might still go out of control. So, what is the solution then? Should you call it a home? Well, of course not. All you have to do is to get a rudder kit installed on your kayak and it will make paddling on choppy water as easy as pie.

Made from metals, kayak rudders help keep a boat run straight. Contrary to what most people believe, turning a kayak is not the objective of a kayak rudder rather its main purpose is quite the opposite – keeping the kayak steer straight.  No matter how strong the crosswind is, kayak rudder can help you paddle straight and reach your destination. Without these rudders, you would have to stroke harder on one side to stop the kayak turn into the wind. And it is not the kayaks that need rudders, big ships and large marine vehicles also need a rudder to steer straight on the water.

How Does A Kayak Rudder Actually Work?

Kayak’s mechanics are not that complicated. The mechanism involves releasing and pulling a cable in order to maneuver the kayak. This pulling and releasing mechanism allows the kayak to turn on one side. When the rudder gets pulled on one side, more drag gets created on that side of the boat and this makes the kayak tilt on that direction. When the kayak gets pushed to one side by either wave, currents or by a strong wind, this pulling and releasing mechanism can help a paddler track a kayak straight.

Once the rudder is turned on one side, a drag gets created on that particular side and this is what slows down the movement of that side of the kayak. Whereas the opposite side of the kayak maintains its momentum at the same time. This is what helps a paddler keeps the kayak straight. However, the same can be achieved by making proper paddling strokes but that can exhaust even a seasoned paddler. So, it is up to you whether you want to go rudderless or with a fully functional rudder in your next expedition.

When Kayak Rudder Is Needed?

A kayak rudder is definitely not another fancy kayaking accessory rather it is a lifesaving item that has saved lives hundred of kayakers on rough days. You simply can’t expect the weather to play nicely every single day. Things can go haywire any moment and therefore you need to get yourself prepared to deal with windy weather or torrential rains.

Especially, those of you who are planning to paddle on the coast, you need to get a kayak rudder installed on the boat otherwise you will risk your boat getting swept out in the strong wind or huge waves. In windy or stormy weather, it is virtually impossible for a newbie to paddle a kayak in a straight line without utilizing rudder.

The Rudder or The Skeg?

People have been debating for decades whether skegs are better than rudders or vice versa. However, some people are dead against the idea of installing another kayaking accessory because they believe it interferes with the spirit of kayaking. A fully functional kayak and a wealth of kayaking experience are what most people need are what they think and there is no way you can change the mind of these purists and perfectionists. Though there is no denying of the fact that rudder or skegs are essential kayaking equipment, they do help kayak paddling in rough weather. When the waves are high or the wind has suddenly picked up speed, a rubber or a skeg can save your day.

Difference between a rudder and a skeg?

A skeg is basically a blade that can be retracted. It is considered to be an extension of the boat’s keel and usually, on its centerline, the rudder is mounted. On the side of the cockpit is a slider which is mainly used to retract or drop the skeg.

Attached to a kayak’s stern is a blade that can be pivoted from one side to another and this blade is known as a rudder. Foot pedals are used to control a kayak rudder. The rudder is usually connected to this foot pedal with a strong cable (which is usually made from stainless steel) and this foot pedal is in general placed in the cockpit.

Pros and Cons of Rudders

Pros of Kayak Rudder

  • Rudder allows the paddler to control the kayak easily and effortlessly even in the face of extreme weather. Even when you are battling it out with the dreaded weather-cocking effect, you don’t have to opt for extreme edging in order to negate the impact of weather-cocking. With the rudder, it becomes extremely easy for a paddler to keep the kayak on the right track without edging the hull too much.
  • Rudder does not eat up too much space which is definitely one of its main advantages.
  • When stowed, there will be less drag in the water.
  • Without an iota of doubt, kayak rudder does offer greater control over the course of the kayak. It helps the kayak to track straight.

Cons of Kayak Rudder

  • Compared to installing a clean hull or a full-fledged skeg system, rudder installation costs more.
  • Another major problem with rudder is that it has got way too many moving parts. There is no way you can keep a close watch on all its part when going into the sea or a river. If you somehow lose one cotter pin or a screw, you are totally screwed. Your rudder will become a useless junk and you might have to rely on your inner strength, experience, and abilities to maneuver the boat in the right direction.
  • Rudder doesn’t offer much support when the boat gets crashed by big waves since it stays above the water level 25% of the time. We need to realize the obvious fact that a rudder is usually mounted at the edge of a boat and that means, you will have to rely on your skills 75% of the time when battling it out with big waves.


Posted by
Arthur G. Moore

Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.

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