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Bow Rudder


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I was really enjoying the evolving discussion on the use of a bow rudder and it's effect on speed reduction as discussed on the "Eddy Lines, Boils and Rips" thread. Phil appropriately suggested that this topic might deserve it's own thread. So here we go.

I really like the bow rudder and have concerns that it might become my "go-to" stroke that I use when ever I want to turn the kayak. I believe it is intended for turning the bow into the wind when the wind speed is moderate or higher. In lower wind speeds the sweep is the preferred stroke since you experience less loss in speed. I am interested in perfecting a crisp forward stroke transition from a bow rudder, being certain not to accidently employ a sweep. I think the combination may lessen the loss in speed. I am curious regarding the placement of the blade relative to the knees. When I was turning into the wind at speeds of approximately 15 mph or greater, I found it better not to place the blade too far forward since paddle flutter was in evidence. I do believe I suffered some effectiveness in the turn with the more "conservative" blade placement. I am curious as to the "best practice" methods used by our more experienced paddlers.

While on the topic of "best practices" how about the top hand placement relative to your sight line in the execution of the bow rudder? I have seen the top hand and fore arm both above and below the sight line. For me, it feels more comfortable to be below the sight line, but I am concerned that it may be problematic in rough water conditions. Any thoughts?


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I'll leave the advice to the pedants and experts but keep in mind that you can deploy the bow rudder in close quarters where you might not want, or be able, to deploy a sweep stroke. I also find a sharper turn can be achieved (with the bow rudder).

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