OZO Footplates are common in multisport boats. The club fleet has many boats with this type of footplate/rudder pedal arrangement. The purpose of this information is to enable proper setup of the footplate and rudder to:
- Optimise leg position for stability and power transfer.
- Optimise directional control over the boat.
- Prevent damage to the pedals and rudder system.
Components of the System
The components of the system are shown in Figure 1. Below is a brief description of each.
The rail is fastened to the inside of the kayak hull and features a guide for the footrest to slide on and a series of holes for the footrest lock to engage in.
The footrest is mounted to the guide rail and includes a locking mechanism to engage in the Rail. The footrest is designed to provide a place to rest the ball of your foot load your leg to create drive for hip rotation.
The rudder pedals are hinged from the top of the footrest and attached to the rudder adjustment straps. There is an elastic bungy on the back of the pedals. This is designed to keep a small amount of tension on the rudder lines.
Rubber Adjustment Straps
The rudder adjustment straps join the rudder pedals to the rudder lines via a buckle. The purpose of the adjustment is to:
- Enable the position of the pedals to be adjusted to suit paddlers with different leg lengths.
- Enable the relative length of the two rudder lines to be adjusted to ensure that the rudder sits straight with the pedals in the neutral position.
The rudder lines are strings or cables that run through the stern of the kayak to connect to the rudder.
Adjustment of the System
Whenever you use one of the club boats that have OZO pedals, you should check that the setup is correct before paddling off on the river. The steps required depend on whether you need to shorten the system (your legs are shorter than the last person who used the boat), or lengthen the system (your legs are longer than the last person to use the boat).
To Lengthen the System
- Release the Tension on the Rudder Lines
Adjust the Footrest
- Lift the buckle and allow the rudder adjustment strap to slide through the buckle to make the rudder line longer.
- There should be no need to release the strap from the buckle completely.
- Do this for both sides.
Adjust the Rudder Lines
- Release the footrest lock and slide the footrest forward until it is in the correct position for your leg length.
- Do this for both pedals.
- You can count the number of visible holes in front of the footrest to get the footrests even.
- Ensure that the footrests are locked in position.
- Check the position of the rudder on the stern of the boat. It should be in line with the centreline of the boat.
- It can be helpful to get someone else to hold it in position.
- In sea kayaks with the retractable rudder, the rudder may be able to sit in the slot on the deck to keep it aligned.
- Adjust the length of the rudder adjustment strap so that the rudder pedal is sitting just forward of vertical.
- If the rudder lines are too long, the bungee will pull the pedals forward making them difficult to reach with your foot/toes to steer (Figure 2).
- If the rudder lines are too short you will risk damaging/breaking the rudder line, strap or pedal (Figure 3).
- This will cause you grief as you will lose steering/control.
- This will cause other club members grief as the gear will be out of action until it can be fixed.
- This will cause the clubs equipment maintenance volunteers grief as they get frustrated by having to repeatedly fix broken rudder systems.
To Shorten the System
Same process as for lengthening above, without the need to release the tension on the rudder lines first.