Sea Dogs Rudder Control Install -How To Video series

One of the HCKACLUB members (Design Dawg) took the time to share with us how he installed rudder controls in his Kayak. Great “How to” instructional with Video. Check it out!

By: Ricky Turner

I finally decided to take action on fixing one of my biggest gripes about the rudder–the foot controls. As you can see in my original reviews, I didn’t have much good to say about them, and after a year of using them, I definitely knew I could do better. Besides, I also developed an issue with the rudder itself coming apart that I’ve attributed to two things: First, a modification I made to the rudder assembly itself might have weakened it somewhat. But also, I think the constant pressure the stock foot controls put on the rudder pin because of constantly supporting the full weight of your legs while sitting, and additional pressure while paddling has aggravated the condition, and caused premature failure of the rudder.

So, in hopes of salvaging the rudder and solving my dissatisfaction with the kit, I retrofitted a set of Sea Dogs Toe Pilot style foot controls ( –toward the bottom).

INSTALLATION WAS NOT COMPLETELY STRAIGHTFORWARD, and these kits aren’t really designed for SOT kayaks like we use here, so there are a lot of potential “gotchas” and little tips and tricks to be aware of if you are thinking about going with something like these. I decided, since I was going to be doing the project from scratch, I would take advantage of my new Christmas present (an Optio W90) and document the while process, with all the tips and potential issues and solutions along the way.

It’s a long series of 12 videos, so I hope someone can really benefit from my experience. I know when I’m looking for info about kayak gear, it’s hard to find any that’s as in-depth as I want, so when I decide to document something, I do it the way I wish I had found it. You’re gonna know this kit inside and out by the time you’re done. Enjoy!

Video 1 of 12:
Introduction of the Sea Dogs rudder controls and what to expect in the following videos as I review the Crack of Dawn rudder, the stock controls that came with it, and I give several tips and tricks as I install the new control system on my kayak.

Video 2 of 12:
Mini-review of the Crack of Dawn rudder after 1 year+ plus of use, demonstration of a problem I have developed with the rudder over time, and explanation of how I think the problem has occurred. I also get into a bit of a close-up examination of the Sea Dogs toe controls and why I think they are a better choice, and how they will help alleviate/avoid the problem I have developed.

Video 3 of 12
Mounting issues and considerations with the Sea Dogs controls–things to think about and be aware of before you mount them. Due to the pivoting design of these controls, even if you are able to use your existing mounting holes, you may want to consider not doing so. Plus, a surprise visit from a neighborhood friend we all know and love…

Video 4 of 12
Up-close look at the design of the Sea Dogs toe controls, how they’re designed, how they work, and parts to make sure you get before you install. There are some potential “gotchas” to consider when it comes time to mount these, and I’ll show you one of them in this video. The store I mentioned, Masthead Sailing Gear, is located on 1st Ave. S. in downtown St. Pete. Stop in or call and ask for Paul. Great guy with a great store, and pretty amazing prices. He sets the standard around here for service, in my opinion. Check him out at

Video 5 of 12
Determining placement of the braces in an X-Factor, and a tip to make sure you consider before you drill your first holes.

Video 6 of 12
A brief rundown of the hardware that comes with the kit, and what you will need to complete the installation.

Video 7 of 12
Control cable routing issues and considerations for placement of the controls. This is especially important if you are replacing an old sliding system, as the design of the toe controls substantially changes the direction of the cables.

Video 8 of 12
Mounted controls and demonstration of a couple of previously mentioned tips to look out for when mounting.

Video 9 of 12
Quick tip about drilling holes for mounting your braces.

Video 10 of 12
Close-up of mechanism for sliding and adjusting the foot braces and a look at the specifics of how to finally secure them with the supplied neoprene washers and nylok nuts.

Video 11 of 12
Quick and useful tip for running new cabling through the cable duct.

Video 12 of 12
Finishing up with running the cables. If you notice, by this time, the video quality is pretty borderline. I do want to stand up for the camera, though, and let you know that it was pretty much completely dark by the time I finished this video–an issue that was caused by my having done the entire process with one hand while filming it with the other, narrating instead of working, and–of course–losing my left control assembly for about an hour in the middle of the process. Considering how dark it was in real life, I’m pretty impressed that the video is as passable as it is. Great camera, so far.

Like I said, I hope someone is considering a change, or specifically looking into these and found this via a search or something. I always find well-documented reviews with lots of pictures or videos to be invaluable when I’m researching new gear, so I like to help out when I can and add something to the sport.

I mentioned it a few times in the videos, but I wanted to give a shout-out and a plug for Paul at Masthead Sailing Gear who actually stocks and sells these locally for the best price you’re going to find. He’s a great guy who is a big supporter of this and other forums around here, and cares a lot about service. Seriously, if you like these videos and want to get some of these, don’t even waste your time shopping online. Give Paul a call or just go to his store and he’ll set you up.

(727) 327-5361