There is a good chance you will get into an inflatable kayak for the first time this summer. Before your maiden voyage, knowing what type of paddle is best for your inflatable kayak and what sort of skeg is recommended is essential.
To help you find the right paddles, let’s explore some critical distinctions between rowing and sculling as they apply to our favorite watercraft. Today, we will ensure you fully understand what a skeg for a kayak is before heading out.
What is a Skeg for a Kayak?
Skegs are one of the essential parts of any kayak because they help improve handling speed by turning the kayak into a more efficient hydrofoil. There are two types of skeg systems: fixed-blade skegs and v-shaped foil fins.
A fixed-blade system typically has blades attached to each hull side, which works well in calm weather and inclement conditions. A foil system uses two v-shaped fins attached to your kayak’s back.
These fins are usually aluminum, stainless steel, or carbon fiber. V-shaped fins turn the kayak into an efficient hydrofoil, which allows for more speed after turning.
How to Use a Skeg System
When you attach a skeg system to your kayak, it will be essential to ensure you attach it properly.
Typically, you should install the skegs on each side of your boat and use them whenever possible when paddling through a strong current or waves.
In calm weather conditions, you can use a fixed-blade system like the Dagger Skegs and Hedco DuraFoil Blade Systems. Dagger also offers a drop-stitch fin system for kayaks, which uses two fins attached to a central mounting point.
When ready to use the skeg for your kayak, remove the blade or fin from storage and attach it to the rear of your kayak. The fins should be fully inserted into their slots, and make sure they are locked in place by using the nuts supplied with your system.
How to Protect your Skeg
You must know how to protect your skeg if you use your kayak to fish and paddle in shallow waters. If your kayak is meant for fishing, make sure that you keep a bucket in the back of the boat to store any gear you may have.
It will keep the skeg from snagged on the bottom of the lake or river while fishing and can prevent unwanted damage to your equipment.
It would help if you also tried to keep your gear as dry as possible, reducing corrosion on metal parts like aluminum fins or dagger blade system blades.
Whitewater Rapids with a Skeg
If you are planning on heading to whitewater rapids in your kayak, you must try to keep moving forward and avoid standing up to help your skeg perform properly.
Typically, if you are trying to turn sharply with just the skeg, they will begin to chatter back and forth. If this happens, try adjusting your paddle placement so you can avoid this from happening.
The best thing you can do while paddling in rapids is to rely on proper paddle technique and get into an ideal position as quickly as possible so that there is no need for additional control features like the skegs.
Have a way to attach it
Alternatively, you can use your boat’s kit bags with a hookup system. The bags are often used when transporting your kayak, so as long as you do not have any sharp pointy things hanging from the bag, or anything that could catch on the skeg, then it should be okay with the kayak.
Some kits you can use allow you to tie off the skegs without actually having them attached to your boat, so it will still allow for airflow through them but won’t cause any damage or wear to the skeg system if they are not used properly.
Most kayaks aren’t comprehensive and won’t give you much protection, particularly on the sides. It can make falls more dangerous, as you could bang into something underwater that could injure your head.
We recommend wearing a helmet to protect against head injuries and keep the kayaking fun instead of dangerous.
Even wearing a helmet, you could still get cut or hurt on the hands. Wear gloves to protect the palms of your hands, and ensure they cover your fingers at all times in case you fall into the water. It will prevent any accidental cuts or scrapes.
3. Life jacket
While not necessary, it can be helpful to wear a life jacket while kayaking, particularly if you kayak in more than one direction.
You could quickly turn around to look at something that catches your eye and not be able to turn back to see an oncoming wave or something else that could be a severe threat.
4. Toe Socks
A little water resistance can go a long way during warm days and paddle on flats, but if you still get too much water in your shoes, they will be useless and could cause severe damage. To prevent this, wear dry socks designed explicitly for paddling with accuracy over toes.
5. Kayak modifications
Attaching a skeg system to your kayak makes it faster and more maneuverable, and several kayaks have this installed from the factory.
However, you should always check with the manufacturer before buying a second-hand or used kayak to ensure it has a skeg system.
They can be quite expensive when purchased separately, and it is not worth buying a used kayak that doesn’t have one.
6. Waterproof Phone Case
You don’t want to be separated from your phone in the water, so keep it in a waterproof case for maximum protection. If you don’t have a waterproof case or none, do not attempt to kayak without one.
If you are going to kayak in the ocean or anywhere that is windy, then it is essential to take certain precautions. One of these precautions is attaching a skeg system to your kayak.
The most significant factor in considering whether or not you should have a skeg system attached to your kayak is where you plan on paddling. The next step is to ensure that you have all the pieces to your skeg system before starting.
If you are going on a very long journey and don’t know where it will take you, then it is not a great idea to have a skeg system installed on your kayak, as the jagged rocks could damage the skeg system.