Constant turn

Hello all. I’m new to kayaking and new to this message board. I recently bought a used Prijon Kodiak that I intend to use for long trips on the Ohio river.

Currently I’m learning to use the kayak in a small lake near my house. My problem is the kayak always follows a clockwise path through the water. Even if I do repeated strokes on the starboard side and none on the port side the kayak travels to the right.

What am I doing wrong? I try to keep the stroke length and effort equal on both sides. One person has suggested it is the way I am sitting in the boat. I’ve tried leaning to the left but to no avail.

I had the same problem with my Prijon
Turns out there was a huge dimple in the hull caused by the roof racks on my car. I carry it bottom down and the weight, always being in the same place, put a big dimple(oil can?. I popped the dimple and the problem was solved. Now I alternate how I load the boat on the roof racks and also don’t pull down so hard on the cam straps.

Most kayaks turn the sharpest with an offside lean (opposite to a bicycle). In other words, if you lean to the LEFT, the kayak will want to turn to the RIGHT. Try leaning a bit to the right and see if that helps.

Assuming that the hull is not damaged or distorted,

ensure that you are holding the paddle evenly spaced, are sitting upright and centered and are applying equal power on each side. Have someone look at you in the boat. Sometimes it’s not easy to feel it when something is off, and oftentimes it’s clear as day to an observer.

Greg Stamer

A way to learn and stay dry
Try this

Click on the British flag for english

Thank you all for the replies. I have checked the hull for distortions and was forewarned about tightening straps too much when loading and transporting the kayak.

Seems counter intuitive that a left lean would create a right turn but I will try leaning a little right next time I’m out. Will also try to pay closer attention to posture and being centered in the kayak. Maybe in the near future I can find an experienced kayaker in the area that can observe my posture etc.

The link provided is helpful–Thanks!

Counter-intuitive leaning.
Which direction to lean won’t seem counter-intuitive once you think about the reason that it works. Most boats have a lot less end-to-end curvature along the bottom of the hull than they do along each side. So, if you lean sharply to the left, the curved edge of the hull is partly lifted out of the water on the right side, so right “side” of the boat becomes the bottom of the hull, so now the right “side” of the boat has a lot less end-to-end curvature than the left side. That strongly-curved left side, causes the boat to carve a turn to the right as the confining water makes the boat try to follow that line of curvature.

Wow, I have never seen that site before.
Pretty Nice!

Video clip…
I found on youtube by Ken Whiting demonstrated exactly what you and guideboatguy are explaining to me about leaning and the kayaks natural tendency to turn opposite of the lean. Combining the video with your explanations really helped me understand the issue—Thanks!!

Now I wish I didn’t feel so tippy in the kayak but I guess that will come with time.

Tried leaning right

I followed your advice and tried leaning right. It took a lot of lean to keep the kayak going close to a straight track. the amount of lean reminded me of the discussion on weathercocking. I also tried sitting to the right of center which had a slight effect on correct the tendency to track to the right. After a short break, I focused on sitting on the centerline as well as sitting straight up similar to a guy I saw in smaller kayak. This resulted in the best track but sadly I lost the correct posture due to weak hip flexors and lower abs. Your advice has been very helpful. Thank you.

My kayak was bent
I bought a very used T170 and it always turned to the right. I would lean the boat to the right quite a bit and it would still turn that way. A strong stroke on the right in calm water and the boat would coast to a stop slowly and to the right. This was not a problem in other boats including a rental T170.

I finally started to look at my boat from a distance upside down and saw that it was just bent. The keel curved at the point where the bottom of the boat goes from being mostly flat to being just a vertical fin shape at the back.

I had someone else look at it without telling them what to look for and they saw it too. I was not nuts.

I put the boat on my car and then clamped some wood to it with pipe clamps and used the pipes as leverage to bend the keel. Wood and clamp placement had to be well thought out to not screw things up in some other way. A little heat (lots really) from a torch and now the boat is straight.

The bend was really more of a twist at the back of the boat causing the bottom of the keel to curve off to one side while the top of the boat was still straight.

Look along the bottom of the boat from a distance. Maybe it really is bent. It would take a very small bend or twist to be a noticeable problem.


Haven’t ruled out…
the possibility that there might be a bend or twist in the boat. Just looking at it, it seems fine but I’m thinking of referencing it against a straight edge or line just to make sure.

Get someone else to paddle it
Assuming your paddle is symmetrical and not causing the issue, let someone else paddle your boat to see if it turns for them.

I too have seen a couple of boats with the hulls obviously out of symmetry. Both were like that from the factory, one was a Hurricane Tracer 165, the other a P&H Delphin. I did not paddle either - they were obviously defective… The Tracer I could see but not feel the problem as it was in the front. With the Delphin I felt it when I sat in it, then looked for the problem and noticed it - that came uneven from the mould…