Were you really paddling constantly through the surf zone or were you paddling through choppy water with some breaking wind waves and confused seas?
In really rough confused seas, a rudder can catch unexpectedly and cause momentary issues with control and balance. Normally if its just chop and regular beaking waves it's not too bad to compensate, but in really rough water a rudder becomes almost useless. You'll find that most kayakers who play in tide races, rough water and surf don't use rudders.
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