The Viking Kayaks Rudder Kit helps you gain control and efficiency in wind or fast current. Designed for both the Viking Kayaks Profish Reload and Profish 400, The Viking Kayaks Rudder Kit sits flush with the bottom of the boat when in the down position so that it will not drag the bottom in shallow water. This kit includes all the necessary parts, hardware, and instructions to install a rudder on your boat. The kit is now designed as a toe control rudder giving you even more freedom and easy steering.
This installed fairly easily on my Viking Profish 400. The current Profish 400 has the tubes that the rudder line runs through already installed. I did however have to drill out a few holes to get the line to properly fit. There is supposed to be a hole at the end of the foot track that the line will fit through but not so on my kayak, and the line would not fit through the hole in the toe pedal without drilling it out a bit. Still no big deal. This rudder really helps in windy conditions where your kayak will weathercock into the wind, makes for less work. The one negative for me is that the rudder stays down all the time which means when I unload my kayak and set it on it's stern the first contact is with the rudder, not good. It does not look like the rudder will stow in an up position as it's already tight once installed. The way I'm going to get around this is to put a cotter pin in below the rudder and remove it and bungee it in the rear of the tankwell, while unloading and loading again, put the cotter pin back in when I'm ready to paddle. I don't regret buying it, it will be welcome on big windy water. As always Austin will take care of your needs in a timely fashion, and for what you want for your kayak, I think they are second to none.
This particular rudder works well as it's supposed to. There are a couple things I don't like about it though. First there is no way to flip it up and pull it out of the water in a fixed position. Yes you can rotate it up out of the water, but it is tensioned so that it goes right back down. Now I know this is a safety feature so that it kicks up if you hit something under water while paddling to prevent damage to the rudder, but that means it's permanently in the water all the time. Also the toe controls are right above the foot rests and the natural motion of rowing and using your feet as an anchor to get the most force from the paddle in the water also turns the rudder very easily. It can be frustrating constantly paddling and then using the rudder to straighten yourself out. What I finally had to do was flip the paddle upward and hold it that way because of the tension, drill a small hole in it, run a piece of 550 cord and anchor it to an eyelet on the boat. This way the rudder still turns as you apply pressure on the pedals, but it's facing upward, so no having to course adjust. Maybe since I'm new to using a rudder, there is something I'm doing wrong in pushing on the foot rests as an anchor to get more thrust from my paddle while paddling, but with the rudder controls to easily sending me off course after doing this, it's frustrating. For open water or a windy day, it's great, but for simple maneuvering, it can be frustrating. Viking should have designed it to where the rudder easily flips up and out of the water if you want to do that in case you don't want to use the rudder, or if you are lazily river kayaking and have no real use for the rudder.