How to replace an OC1 Rudder Cable

OC1 Rudder Cable RepairSo you got an awesome OC1. And you use it all the time. But with all great things, there may come a time where you need to do a little maintenance. And sometimes, it includes replacing your rudder cable. Whether because it snapped on a paddle, or you are being pro-active (good on you!) This article below is how to replace a rudder cable on an Outrigger Connection Stingray. While this is an older canoe, the parts and process are very similar to what you may be paddling (i.e. Hurricane, Kaku, Scorpius, Peuo, Ehukai, Anteres or Kahekai) so we hope this at least gets you on the right path for your repair.

Parts needed

I find the parts I need at West Marine. Any boating store should have these though, so bring the list with you and ask. Each pedal requires the same parts, so that is why each one is listed twice. My suggestion is that it is best to replace both at the same time, even if only one is broken. That said, quantities below are to replace one individual rudder cable. Double the recipe for both.

  • 12' of 1/16" wire gauge (7/19 strand/weave). ~$0.90/foot
  •  1x Washer (part#338657) ~ $0.12/each
  •  1x Cable Stop-Swage Ball 1/16 (MS20664C2) ~ $0.99/each. Make sure your pedel hole does not require a different size.
  • 1 x 1/16" (1.5mm) Thimble (Model #2684066 Stainless Steel). ~ $1.99=4 pack. 
  • 1x 1/16" (1.5mm) Oval Sleeve Swage (Model #2684157 Zinc Plate Copper). ~$1.29=4 pack
  • 1x 3"Long 1/4"'Diameter Heat Shrinking Tubing. ~$4.19=3 pack

The items above are sold above in the hardware and rigging area. See receipt and photos here:

Tools needed

  • Wire Cutters
  • Wrench
  • Plyers
  • Fire-wand/flame-thrower/matches
  • Crimping Tool (optional)
  • Swage Tool (or can use strong pliers to crimp swage ball)

OC1 Cable Repair

  • Have a friend. Keeping the pedals even with aligned rudder is easier with a second set of hands. Plus, who doesn't like company when working on a canoe?


I advise leaving one pedal attached as reference or better yet, taking lots of pictures before undoing the pedal and cable. I also recommend bringing your broken rudder cable parts with you to the store to compare and ask for equivalents.

Initial setup

Be sure to have your canoe placed in sturdy cradles and not leaning to the left or right. If you have the canoe leaning it makes the rudder shift to one side and can make it a little tougher to get it perfect. I also recommend taping your rudder into the neutral straight position.

  1. Take one end of your wire, one swage ball/cable stop, and your swage tool or pliers. Feed the wire end through the ball leaving 1-2 inches excess on the bigger ball side. The remaining 11+ feet will be on the smaller side of the cable stop.
    Using the tool place the ball into the 1/16 hole and clamp down on the tool by tightening with your wrench. This should crimp your ballstop tightly onto the wire cable and prevent it from slipping. Feel free to use pliers as well and really give the ball portion a hard crank to make sure no cable slippage will take place. This will be the portion that sits in each pedal. Also use your pliers to give the smaller metal portion of the cable stop a squeeze. If this ball were to come off it would effectively render the cable useless. That said, do take care to not directly squeeze on or distress the cable itself. Its integrity is critical.
    OC1 Cable Repair
  2. Feed one washer onto the cable from the open end and have it stop at the ball stop, with the small portion of the ball stop penetrating the washer.
  3. Now feed the cable through the hole of your rudder pedal from front to back, so the ball stop is on the non foot touching part. The ball stop should partially go into the pedal cable hole, but stop at the wide end.Hence the term, ball stop. :)
  4. Snip off excess wire so it is flush with the edge of the ball.Congrats, you have done the front portion of the rudder cable!

  5. The next few steps are tricky as there are may moving elements. Having a second set of hands is helpful. I recommend you tape the pedal(s) to your desired neutral position. You will be working with the wire a lot here and pulling the pedal can happen. You don't want to shift its placement in the next steps and finish, only to realize your pedal is too far forward or back, or uneven with the other pedal.
  6. Feed your wire through the canoe to the back rudder area. This could have been done in the beginning as well, but I like to have all my excess wire on the rudder end.
  7. With your wire, now feed it through one heat shrink tubing and send the tubing away from the rudder bar area for now so its floating loosely out of the way. Failing to do this now is bad news.
  8. With your wire now feed it through one sleeve.
  9. There should be one hole on each side of a metal rudder bar for each rudder cable to connect to. Place a thimble on the rudder bar hole for the cable you are currently replacing. the rounded part should be on the hole. The terminating ends should be towards the cable.
  10. Feed your cable through the hole of the rudder bar and back to the front of the canoe. Line it into the track of the dangling thimble.
  11. Feed the end of the wire through the hole of the sleeve, so that now the sleeve contains two runs of the cable. The cable end should be pointed towards the front end of the canoe at this point if done correctly.
  12. Pulling the wire snug, but not so much as to loosen the rudder or pedal from the tape jobs, slide the sleeve so it is flush with the thumble. Making sure to keep the wire tight and not loose.
  13. Making sure a) your pedal is placed correctly still, b) the rudder is still straight, and c) the wire is taunt, use pliers or a crimping tool or perhaps even the swage tool, to crimp the sleeve so that the oval becomes a figure 8, with each wire residing in one hole of the "8" when it is all crimped. Strong pressure here is critical. If the crimp is not strong enough, the wire will slip and you will not have a properly functioning system. Make sure the sleeve is still next to the thimble.
  14. At this point relax and take a breather. Chances are you had to spend some time resetting items to get it just right. It can be frustrating and we wish we had more hands. A friend here was probably helpful...or in the way. :)
  15. Test the system and make sure the pedal operates the rudder correctly. Make sure your crimp and swage ball snug. Make sure your cable did not get clipped at all during the process.
  16. Once you are set and confident everything is perfect we have a little tidying up to do. Use wire cutters to remove all but an inch of the excess wire.
  17. Feed the black heat tubing now over the excess wire, the sleeve, and as much of the thimble as you can fit into it. the goal here is to cover and protect as much of these areas as we can with the tubing.
  18. Once it is placed, take your flame-thrower or matches and place the flame over the tubing. The head will make the tube shrink and wrap around the wire and sleeve and thimble. Make sure you don't burn your canoe with the flame.
    OC1 Cable Repair

VIOLA! you are done. Repeat the steps for the other cable and trust that you will have some new found life in your rudder system.

OC1 Rudder Cable Repair - Rudder Bar


  • Always inspect your rudder cables before a paddle.
  • Rinse all metal components after each paddle with fresh water to prevent corrosive salt water from eating away at your cable system.
  • Change out your cables once a year. This is a good chance to put some TLC into your canoe, inspect for dings and give it a nice wax with some OnIt Pro. :)
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  • Tyler Irwin - September 27, 2016

    Nice write-up Clarke. One thing to look for with the cable is to try to get 316 stainless if available. It has a higher corrosion resistance than 304. It will be a tad more expensive but worth it in the end.

  • James B Rojas - September 27, 2016

    For my old Huki, I taped it to the existing cable before I pulled the wire out so the old cable guided the Spectra line through. When Micah set up my Ehukai, he just fed it through. He said it was stiff enough to do so. Mind you, when he did that, the channel was brand new and smooth. I suggest the method I used with the Huki.

  • Clarke - September 27, 2016

    James, awesome suggestion, and this is something I see in surfskis now as well. That said, how do you feed the spectra through the channel? Being that it is not rigid, I woudl think it needs to be fed in from something else, like wire, then pulled through.

  • James B. Rojas - September 27, 2016

    Great article, Clarke. I’ve given up on the wire and started using Braided Spectra Speargun Reel Line. It’s cheaper, has a 550lb tensile strength, and the wire, I feel, rusted too quickly. Puakea uses something similar on the Ehukai, and when Micah used it when replacing my Hurricane cables.

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