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Which rudder blade concept is better: the short Angler style or the longer KS system
12:50AM 10th Jan 16

The question of which rudder blade concept is better: the short Angler style or the longer KS system has created plenty of discussion. Unfortunately there's often more to this simple seeming question than many posing the questions or offering answers realize.
 
Here are a series of bullet points based on test paddling over the years that will hopefully help:
 
1. The Profish Reload has been designed with a full length keel strip and a swept back stern to assist with tracking, making the kayak comparatively easy to control without a rudder if needed. This might be by choice (e.g. kayaking from bigger mother ships where rudders can cause havoc on deck) or by accident (e.g. if a rudder has been damaged when on remote expedition -  I've been in this situation myself and had no problems completing the next two days without a rudder on the Reload).
 
2. The short Angler rudder blade offers adequate turning capability - the slower rate sometimes commented on is more a function of the keel and stern of the Reload resisting the turn than the shortness of the Angler rudder blade. Standard turn testing on a neutrally trimmed Reload with a normal weight paddler and fishing tackle load showed similar turn radius's and rates of turn for both blade styles unless the long blade was made excessively long (600mm or longer)
 
3. The short Angler rudder blade offers a number of benefits:
- requires no up haul mechanism
- easy to operate in weed / lily pad / kelp / shallow water areas without snagging or requiring lifting from the water. This is significant as it allows us to use a rudder in conditions where paddle blade control and railing the kayak may not provide the assistance needed
- since the blade rides in the turbulence at the stern of the kayak when in the neutral position it adds no significant drag to the kayak, especially valuable when covering long distance trolling lures at speed. The long blade rudder designs measurably slow a kayak, especially when the paddler is already using considerable effort to overcome the drag of diving lures
 
4. The long blade offers benefits too:
- may work better for smaller/lighter paddlers, especially those paddling an unladen kayak in windy conditions
- the long blade definitely works better for those with their kayak trimmed bow-down e.g. at the beginning of the day with gear loaded in the bow but no fish yet added to the stern well. This is more a function of kayak trim than than rudder performance, most commonly seen with using a full sized Tackle Pod (not the Twin Pod) as a live bait tank for game fish baits - this adds considerable weight in front of the paddler.
 
There's much more that could be added to the discussion, but hopefully this gives an insight into the thought processes with the designs of both the Reload and the short bladed rudder system. The key is that everything kayaking is about working compromises, whether it's hull shape, length, paddle type, rudder length, etc., etc.
 
Stephen Tapp says  -  "I find I prefer the short blade design for it's simplicity, that I can rely on it when in kelp zones or hunting weed banks, and that it doesn't add drag during some of the sometimes considerable distances I cover each day.
 
That said, I'm constantly testing performance and challenging my results to make sure we're bringing the best solutions to our paddlers around the world. I've just assembled a new Reload for myself (sand/red/black colour mix) and will be putting it and the long and short rudders through their paces again."