A rudder isn’t necessary for kayaking, but it can be handy while angling, in windy conditions and for long trips. Fewer paddling corrections need to be made in a kayak with a rudder, but it can be an expensive add-on. If you decide to put a rudder on your kayak yourself, installation is dependent on the model of kayak and kit you use, but some features of rudder kits and kayaks tend to be similar.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
- Kayak with rudder option Rudder kit compatible with your kayak Drill Hot glue gun Basic tool set (screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, hammer, knife, tape measure) Permanent marker Small block of wood Duct tape
- Kayak with rudder option
- Rudder kit compatible with your kayak
- Hot glue gun
- Basic tool set (screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, hammer, knife, tape measure)
- Permanent marker
- Small block of wood
- Duct tape
Read over the instruction manual that came with your rudder kit. Lay out parts on a clean, flat surface in order of installation. Measure and notch with your knife where holes must be drilled for rudder steering control wire grommets and tubing. Drill holes using wood block as backing and insert tubing guides.
Insert tubing and steering wires through the grommets on each side of the kayak. Attach steering tracks above the furthest adjustment for each foot rest. Hit screw hardware with dab of hot glue before tightening screw hardware.
Sit in the kayak and adjust steering pedals for your comfort. Center the steering slide lever in place and duct tape it so it won’t move while you install the rudder assembly.
Mark, notch and drill for the hardware to connect the rudder assembly on the stern as directed by your particular make and model. Hot glue the through-the-hull screw holes just before tightening.
Attach and snug the steering lines to the rudder assembly. Bring rudder retraction line forward to the right rear of the cockpit and locate the cam cleat and mounting hardware for your comfort and reach, measuring, drilling and gluing as before.