DK rudders

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2 months 1 week ago #39760 by Epicpaddler
DK rudders was created by Epicpaddler
Just an observation about the high chord DK rudder.

I had a DK 9" high chord rudder made for me after a rough water race last fall. I paddled with it all winter and it's great, but I've never really put it to the test until a great downwinder last week. The biggest thing I noticed was better tracking on an angle across the waves.

Yesterday since it was only blowing about 10 knots with 1' waves I switched back to the original Epic small weedless rudder. I never realized how much a stabilizing effect the 9" DK rudder provided. The hull felt so much twitchier and I had to throw a few brace stokes on the powerboat wakes.

My suggestion to anyone looking to move up to a more advanced boat should paddle a boat with a couple different rudders. You may be able to handle a more advanced boat with a DK or big rudder.

I think for every day paddling I'm going to keep the DK rudder on since it provides more stability and I can spend more time focusing on my stroke and less time worrying about balance.

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2 months 1 week ago #39762 by tve
Replied by tve on topic DK rudders
Good point. I think the converse is that once you're comfortable you should downsize rudder to push your balance a bit, hmmm, I guess this means I need to send more money to DK :-)

I'm actually rather divided about big rudders. The bigger the rudder the faster it slows your surfski down when you press too hard. If you're in the right place on the wave, you shouldn't need much rudder action, even going diagonal. I find I can get more benefit from a strong sweeping paddle stroke than a lead foot on the rudder and I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to place myself instead of stomping on the rudder.
The other situation in which I've wanted a bigger rudder is in big intersecting waves: they tend to push the surfski around a lot. But now I've gotten used to just rolling with it: if a wave turns my surfski 90 degrees then so be it, I just ride it and then turn back to where I wanted to go.

But you're right, getting a bigger rudder when moving to a less stable surfski is a good idea initially.

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2 months 1 week ago #39763 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic DK rudders
Big rudders are more drag, and they turn the boat by applying the brakes to one side. The extra stability is also compensating for the fact that you are on a boat more advanced than your ability in the conditions. So if they are your everyday rudder rather than just for when you are pushing the conditions, you may not be on the right boat.

Not knocking them if it enables you to push the conditions you can handle, but in an idea world you should be trying to use the least rudder as possible. But then its not an ideal world and we are not all Oscars..lol

I occasionally just use a flatwater (k1 size, smaller than epics weedless) on mild days just to practice boat handling. Rudders will also mask assymetrical paddling styles and other such bad habits. On my k1 I dont touch the rudder at all unless its a tight corner,. Once I started this approached paddle technique significantly improved. Off course its a big ask on open water to completely avoid the rudder,

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2 months 1 week ago #39765 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic DK rudders
"Big rudders are more drag, and they turn the boat by applying the brakes to one side"

Yep. Noticed this big time. The longer rudder also reaches down a bit further when a wave is lifting the boat from behind and provides that brief second of traction when I chose the angle to surf down the wave. Whether real or perceived it seems to create more drag in general. The DK rudder provides so much lateral stability it makes the hull feel a bit numb in typical conditions.


I guess this is a "horses for courses" situation. Some of the guys that race flatwater near me have cut down Epic rudders or homemade rudders no more than 2".

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1 month 4 weeks ago #39831 by Bearded
Replied by Bearded on topic DK rudders
Curious.. I've recently installed the rather aggressive DK 9" high chord rudder on my Elite S and had tried to honestly analyze the difference it makes in my boat behavior in a variety of available conditions. I've filmed it here:



and here:



and here:



and finally here:




All the while I was very much aware of the stability claim that a bigger rudder should (among other things) bring to the table. However, despite me looking out for it, I really couldn't tell whether it does that in real world conditions.. That is not to say I don't like the rudder. In fact I'm enraptured by it.

Most notably I love the addition of those few meters to the left and right of the triangle in front of the downwinder ( that were always just out of reach). By making my "downwinding field" wider the rudder allows me to catch more waves with the same effort (albeit with more analyzing and head-turning and zigzaging). And, of course, the added ease when surfing diagonally is also nice, although there are some caveats there.

Sure, it has to come with some measure of extra drag, even when in neutral position, but I think it can only be felt (or measured) in a flatwater sprint scenario; the very scenario I try to avoid at all costs. As for the extra drag when the rudder is engaged - I think the right way of looking at it is that you're converting forward speed into sharper turn in hopes of catching a more promising wave to the side, and getting more speed out of it. It's an investment, not a waste (whether a smart one depends on the paddlers acumen). It's a little like converting speed into grip by braking into a corner thus transferring weight to the wheels that matter..

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1 month 4 weeks ago #39832 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic DK rudders
Awesome. Glad you like it. Looks like some nice paddling conditions. I only get to paddle in the ocean a few times a year so I’m a bit jealous.

I didn’t notice any difference at first either (except for the slight increase in drag). It wasn’t until I went back to the old stock rudder when I could tell a difference. That being said, I haven’t put the DK rudder in since that one good downwinder. Most of my summer paddling will be limited to a lake in Maine but I’ll bring the DK rudder for the Casco bay challenge( a 20 mile ocean race).

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1 month 4 weeks ago #39833 by tve
Replied by tve on topic DK rudders

Curious.. I've recently installed the rather aggressive DK 9" high chord rudder on my Elite S

Funny, I'm going in the opposite direction :-) Just tried the small epic weedless rudder instead of DK 8" 35 degree swept rudder. The epic is 6" deep and 5" chord, so actually quite big. No big conditions to try out in, but overall it seemed surprisingly responsive. But the boat is a bit more tippy.

I exchanged some emails with Don and he wrote "a lot of opinions out there". I think it depends a lot on boat, conditions, skill level, and expectations. I don't expect that I can just put my foot down and turn the surfski around no matter where I am on the wave. My experience with that is that it very rarely results in the outcome I'm looking for anyway. I'm much better off going with the flow and learning how to make the surfski do the right thing with as little rudder as possible....

So now I have a 4" and 6" ordered with Don, we'll see which one ends up on my boat a few weeks down the road...

NB: he reminded me that a straight rudder is far more powerful and responsive than a swept back rudder of the same area, and even of the same depth and slightly larger area. I just don't have a choice, too much kelp and weed in the waters for straight rudders.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #39834 by downwinda
Replied by downwinda on topic DK rudders
I don't really think that a large rudder helps overall stability. It does help primary stability by resisting the skis propensity to tip, however once you go past that certain point, it also resists bringing it back. It's a lot easier to bring back a ski with a small rudder with a quick brace, whereas a large rudder you may throw a brace and still hang there in that critical zone and then end up swimming.

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1 month 4 weeks ago #39835 by waverider
Replied by waverider on topic DK rudders

I don't really think that a large rudder helps overall stability. It does help primary stability by resisting the skis propensity to tip, however once you go past that certain point, it also resists bringing it back. It's a lot easier to bring back a ski with a small rudder with a quick brace, whereas a large rudder you may throw a brace and still hang there in that critical zone and then end up swimming.

Correct which is why it is often a prop, by adding extra initial stability, for someone who is on a ski, or in conditions, past their comfort zone . Its also useful in this way to help transitioning initially to a tippier boat. Once you have the confidence in the boat and conditions you can apply more control by other means. The extra initial stability may give you more confidence in your developing stage to put more weight on your blade and lean as required. Which otherwise is the first thing that goes when you are not fully confident in the conditions

As far as extra drag issue that is mainly when you are going straight not using, or needing it. When turning a larger drag rudder will simply mean less application as you are asking whatever rudder you have to apply X amount of drag on one side to initiate the required amount of turning force.

The tendency to position rudders further forward in modern designs alleviates a lot of the rudder lifting out of the water concerns.

Not forgetting of course bigger rudders are a bigger pain of grounding out and potential damage.

On my V10 g3 I have epics surf, weedless and a custom sturdy solid flatwater k1 sized one. The boat is way more fun and responsive to edging etc on the tiny rudder when i can get away with it. but would be hopeless on any kind of waves. I also paddle a DR wildwater boat and the buzz of throwing boats around without the rail like tracking of overly authorative rudders is a buzz.

So use them when there is a real advantage, but long term goal is not to rely on them for everyday use

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1 month 1 day ago - 1 month 1 day ago #39954 by tve
Replied by tve on topic DK rudders
Well, this thread ended up being awesome for me. And "expensive" as it prompted the order of two new rudders:

That's a new 4" DK rudder, an Epic small weedless, a new 6" DK, and my older 8" DK. The 8" was great... until I tried the 6"! Quite the revelation. Everything flows better, it doesn't act as a brake: if it's time to turn it turns the ski in a blink, if it's not time to turn nothing happens. The latter is a feature: it teaches me when I'm putting my lead foot down at the wrong moment! With the 8" I ended up possibly turning a tad but surely stopping. With the 6" it's like "oh, I'm sorry, I didn't really mean to, I'll time it better next time!" Or to put it differently, my surfskiing went from "oh, there's a good wave, lemme turn there to get it" to "I'm at the top, time to decide where to go, lemme apply rudder now" (and often leaning the boat and taking the right stroke suffices).
Overall the ski is also more lively, which I like. I haven't tried the 4" yet, been too enamored with the 6", I suspect it's too small in waves but may be fun on the (flat) lake...
NB: Don was awesome to order from, I got great advice, rudders arrived in a blink, are well priced, and look great.
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Last edit: 1 month 1 day ago by tve.

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1 month 1 day ago #39956 by Epicpaddler
Replied by Epicpaddler on topic DK rudders
Nice. The 6” looks like the sweet spot.

Just curious why yours are white. Was that an option?

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1 month 22 hours ago - 1 month 22 hours ago #39957 by downwinda
Replied by downwinda on topic DK rudders
The white ones are 3D printed plastic and a bit cheaper than the carbon rudders. They are stiff, strong, and work just as well as the carbon ones.
Last edit: 1 month 22 hours ago by downwinda. Reason: typo, and I'm pedantic

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