Kayaking Technique Forum

Find advice on all aspects of kayaking and using small boats on big water

Re: Stern Rudder..be careful

My experience is mostly large lake wind swells and small surf. I've paddled moderate ocean surf on a wave ski, and thats great fun, and a tremendous learning experience, but a very different experience from handling a sea kayak.

Agree that stern rudder may help, but in my experience it is very difficult to apply with enough force to correct a serious broach without risking a capsize downwave. My natural tendency is to lean towards the rudder side to increase effort, but that is disaster in the making. I know the correct way is to lean the boat into the wave while stern ruddering on the opposite side, which I find is very hard to do. Personally I use a strong sweep stroke early in the broach and if that doesn't work, I get ready for a high brace and actually try to pull myself back off the wave. Sometimes if the wave is just a large wind swell, I will try to surf the top of the crest rather than the front side. This lets me back off the wave if things get out of hand.