Full Version: How to use a skeg
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As the introduction hopefully made clear, a skeg is not an all or nothing device.
The key to effective skeg use is deploying the right amount of skeg for the wind conditions (direction and strength).

The attached diagram (click to enlarge) shows a general rule of thumb.

However, as every sea kayak exhibits different handling characteristics in windy conditions some patience and trial and error in your own sea kayak will allow you to decide:

- When to deploy the skeg and;
- How much skeg to deploy

Trim refers to ‘balance’ of the sea kayak between the bow and stern. A neutral trim would mean an equal distribution of weight along the length of the kayak so the bow and stern were equally weighted.
You can increase the effectiveness of, or in lighter winds reduce the need for, the skeg by packing any weight towards the stern of the sea kayak. This anchors the stern slightly thus reducing it’s tendency to be blown down wind.

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When To Raise the Skeg

Apart from the obvious answer of when you reach shallow water, you should also think about raising the skeg when you wish to perform tight turns and other more dynamic moves. Try spinning the sea kayak 360 degrees using sweep strokes with the skeg raised and then lowered to see the affect it has! However, bear in mind that the skeg can be used to assist turning. Want to turn into the wind, then raise the skeg, need to turn downwind, then lower the skeg to help you.


Hopefully this short article will help paddlers who are as uninitiated as I was into the most effective way to use their skeg. A word of warning however. The skeg is a mechanical part of your sea kayak and therefore prone to failure. Along with learning how to maintain and if required repair your skeg, it is worth considering and practicing the other techniques for avoiding weather cocking mentioned in the introduction to this article. This will make finishing a paddle with a broken skeg all the more comfortable and enjoyable!

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Πολυ καλο ποστ και εψαχνα ενα συντομο και περιεκτικο αρθρο για την σωστη χρηση του skeg...ευχαριστουμε Στελιο...Αν και δεν εχω προς το παρον skeg boat με ενθουσιαζει η χρηση του skeg καθως εχω βιωσει σε πορειες ανω των 30 ν.μ. με τον καιρο πριμα φιλο μου με skeg να διαγραφει απιστευτα σταθερο ιχνος χωρις να παιδευεται οπως εγω με το πηδαλιο κανοντας ζιγκ ζαγκ