Rudder or Skädda?

Roder eller Skädda?

Rudder or paddle - a common and not infrequently infected topic of discussion in paddling circles. Experienced paddlers and beginners alike can use either a paddle kayak or a rudder kayak - there is no 'correct' or 'more professional', although it may seem so when you hear people debate the matter. But they fulfill, at least partially, different functions and work in slightly different ways. Here is an attempt to sort out the differences.

Simply put, you steer with the rudder and keep the course with the oars (it's not quite true, but almost!). The fact that some kayaks have rudders and others have rudders is largely due to the shape of the hull:
long and straight keel line – rudder; curved, banana-shaped keel line – keeled.

Want to paddle fast? Choose rudder!

There are two categories of kayaks where rudders are most common: beginner kayaks for rent and racing kayaks (which are really NOT for beginners. Even Gert Fredriksson is said to have capsized the first time he sat in a racing kayak). The long, straight bottom of a racing kayak makes it fast (think Olympics). However, it does not like high waves and it is difficult to turn, because the waterline becomes very long. After all, the kayak has contact with the water right from the tip and all the way to the rear end. It becomes, so to speak, "a lot of kayak" that has to be turned around in the water when you turn. To facilitate the turn, a rudder is placed there.

A distinctively shaped kayak has a banana-shaped hull and has a much shorter waterline (the bow and stern end up in the air). This means that it will not be as fast as a competition kayak, but in return it is much easier to turn (you turn with the paddle or the body or both). It also thrives in high waves. Yes, you will be surprised at how high waves they can actually handle! This type is often called a British kayak or sea ​​kayak .

So easy to swing. However, it can sometimes be tricky to keep a straight course, and that's when you use the shovel. So you don't have the skædden to swing with, but to paddle straight with it!

How then should you use the spoon?

You can do as I did in the beginning: if I found it difficult to paddle straight, I lowered the paddle, if I wanted to make a sharp turn, I pulled it up.

Skedda: take advantage of the wind!

But the real finesse of skædda is being able to use the wind, or perhaps rather the direction of the wind, to one's own advantage. And here are three very simple tips:

+ If you paddle against the wind: no harm done
+ If you are paddling with the wind (i.e. the wind from behind): full blown
+ If you are paddling with the wind from the side: half-shoved

This is really all you need to know!

All boats that are moving forward through the water have one thing in common: they have good grip at the front and poor grip at the back. When the boat slides forward in the water, turbulence forms under the stern which causes it to skid this way and that, while the bow is pretty much still. This applies to all boats, from kayaks and Canadians to oil tankers, and really everything in between. This is also the reason why the rudder is at the back of boats and not at the front.

If we take it in order:

Imagine you are paddling directly against the wind . Then you usually need have no harm at all . Because even if the stern is a bit sloppy, the headwind keeps the stern in place - somewhat.

But do you paddle away from the wind , i.e. with the wind at your back, it is wisest to do so fold down the spoon completely, at least if it's freshening up a bit. Because if you end up the slightest bit crooked, the wind wants to grab your stern - which has a poor grip after all - so that it slips away from the wind more and more. In the end, you lie with big waves right in from the side. But if you have the whole skein down, you "lock" the stern in the water, and then the stern stays nicely where it should.

Sometimes you have to cross a fjord with strong winds from the side, whether you want to or not. Now imagine that you are trying without a scratch. As I said: good grip in the bow, bad in the stern. And you've probably already figured out what happens: the wind of course grabs the stern and pushes it away from the wind, and pretty soon you're lying with your nose pointed straight into the wind, no matter how much you fight against it.

This is something that affects many types of boats and there is a term for it: they say the boat is greedy. It wants to "promise" - by which it means that it wants to lie down with its nose to the wind.

Now imagine the opposite: you're paddling out with the entire paddle down. As I said: with the entire spade folded down, you "lock" the stern in the water. This means that you now suddenly, for the sake of unusualness, have better grip in the stern than in the bow. Then, of course, the opposite happens: the wind wants to grab the bow instead, and pushes it away from the wind, as it just did with the stern.

So: do you want to cross a fjord with hard side wind - pull the lever back halfway. Then you will come straight across.

These are the approximate basics. The fact that I write approximate is because boats behave differently, kayaks are individuals. You have to try your hand a little to see what works with your particular kayak. Also try paddling angled into the wind or angled away from the wind - you'll soon notice roughly how much skein you need.

But if you only have the three basics with you, then you can handle most situations you may find yourself in. And then you dare to go out in quite such harsh weather in a shell kayak.

Straight keel line or auxiliary sail - choose rudder!

But rowing then? Well, you can have a rudder on a sea kayak too. But if the kayak's keel line is too bent, a rudder is not of much use - if it sits at the back, it will barely reach down to the water. On really long kayaks, on the other hand, such as ocean racers, surfskis and the like, rudder is almost necessary to be able to turn. And if you are competitively paddling on flat water, only rudders apply. If you want to paddle with an auxiliary sail, you should also choose a rowing kayak.

With a rudder, you can put more energy into the forward paddling itself, because you don't need to use the paddle for steering. However, be careful not to press too hard on the pedals and angle the rudder too much. Then it brakes more than it steers. Think of changing lanes on a motorway: you don't turn, but slide over, almost without turning the steering wheel.

The rudder allows you to concentrate on paddling forward, fast. The skædden, on the other hand, forces you to become a more technical paddler. You will soon learn different steering moves, edging, countering, etc. Paddlers who want to play in the waves - roll ( make Eskimo turns ), surf and rock jump - like to choose skids, often (but not always) in combination with Greenland Paddle .

If you want an Olympic medal, however – bet on rowing!