Is it possible to do edge turns with a 27" beam kayak? I’m in a Current Design Kestrel 120 HV, with a 27" beam. I can hold it up for only a brief second, like one stroke of the paddle, then it drops back down as I struggle to hold it on edge. could the cockpit be too roomy or is this just something I need to spend more time practicing? Any comments or advice are truly appreciated, thanks!

Thighbraces & your size
From the pics there aren’t thighbraces on that model so depending on your dimensions wedging your knee under the deck to lift the kayak up on it’s secondary is going to be tough. How are you in the seat? Contact with the seat pillars or are you like a bean in a marocca? If you’re hips are making contact with the sides, it’ll help.

Provide your dimensions to help color in the picture.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



I think you can do edge turns

– Last Updated: Feb-22-15 9:20 PM EST –

but maybe not by using the same technique that you would use in a close fitting kayak. I do edge turns at times in my open tripping canoe loaded with gear.

practice always helps
But in a boat that wide you are fighting the boats inherent primary stability. On the other side, a boat that wide has a huge change in wetted hull profile when edged, with practice you may find it has a “sweet spot” that really aids directional change.

My wife can edge a 24" wide Necky Manatou and make it swerve faster than I can with a Valley Avocet. She learned this skill through practice and proper form.

Things that can inhibit…
Poor contact, as mentioned above. Like no thigh braces etc. One option is to just slide sideways so you have your body weight helping to sink the edge. It won’t make a loose boat fit tight, but it may give you some edge without having good contact.

The boat is tuned for a paddler bigger than you are. In that case, it is going to be harder to get the hull to sink on the edge side as well as harder to lift.

The thing that needs to be asked is whether you are trying to get a good edge because you have heard it might be a useful skill, or because you are anticipating situations where being able to knock off a quicker turn with edging could matter. If it is the latter, you probably should start keeping an eye out for a used boat that fits you more closely and has a narrower hull designed to respond in this fashion. As you have already found, that market is not what the Kestrel is designed around with its huge cockpit.

One thing no one above mentioned - I think everyone who responded so far is a guy hence a bigger person than me - is that trying to force a boat into an edge where the fit is so loose you are contorting is a guaranteed backache. And one that will keep giving long after you are out of the boat. If you can’t get an effective edge with sliding your weight over off-center, which is pretty back-safe, you likely should start shaping minicell foam to close up the fit.

distribution may enhance ‘edging’

Not that I know what I’m writing…CD describes your hull as not especially maneuverable but stable. The hull is a short inexpensive expensive hull in a category of mainly cheap inexpensive hulls.

For children or cheap.

The short stability doesn’t leave enough wettable surface shaped for edging relative to the length.

You may enhance this as C wrote with weight distribution. Your hull sports a hatch thru rear deck ?

Are you adding weight back there ? Added weight rearward may decrease ‘edging’ potential. Try adding weight forward at your feet. Try 10 pounds as an experiment not as equipment.

Increasing bite into oncoming water along hull’s run to bow from the wide (fat) midsection with weight may enhance ‘edging’

Edging tho is finesse not turning. If you’re trying to increase turning potential read thru CD’s yak descriptions for a better handling hull.

You could try a different move. Attach a paddle float to blade, lean over with your ear in the water and reverse sweep with draw. Maybe that will bring the little pig around.

Many thanks
To all who replied with the helpful info. So I’m summarizing that this boat is more or less strictly a rec boat, which is fine. I paddle mostly in upstate NY Finger Lakes so edging is not really needed in the flat waters I spend my time in. I’ve been kayaking for two seasons, and just stepped up from my starter 10’ 30" wide whiffle ball bat to the Kestrel. As my interest and love of kayaking keeps increasing, I have become interested in acquiring new skills. For the waters I am in, my 1/2 second forced edge is fine, until I move up to my next boat that is. But for this coming season I will try all the suggestions everyone has offered in this forum, again, thanks everyone for your help.

Hey Marshall,
I almost forgot to give you my info that you mentioned. I’m 5’10" 180lbs. There is lots of room in the seat between me and the pillars, like a couple of inches on each side. Currently, I put the foot pegs back far enough so that I’m slightly bow legged, but reasonably comfortable and my thighs and knees are locked under the cockpit rim.

Bubble o’ Bouyancy

– Last Updated: Feb-23-15 12:25 PM EST –

I can't seem to find a hull bottom pic to tell me for sure but it appears that under the cockpit area the hull is relatively flat. If that's the case plus with the space from your hip to the side of the hull you are trying to force down a considerable bubble of buoyancy that is going to take some effort to hold there not withstanding the slippage in the seat factor and knee cap contact for thigh braces. Some hip pads will likely help in control but that's not going to do anything about the Archimedes factor.

Just for the fun of it, try from a kneeling position. The Kestrel wasn't designed to be a C-1 but hey why not.

The plus side is once heeled over it should break the stems clear of the water and spin like a top. It's just getting it there.

Stick that 10lb brick that Data spoke of between the seat and the hull. It'll help on one side but it could be fun experiment and a hell of a Pilates workout for the off side.

Give a call or drop me a line if you want to try playing with some other models that will allow you to experiment without as much fight.

See you on the water,
The River Connection, Inc.
Hyde Park, NY

Based on your description
I might suggest you consider getting a narrower touring kayak sooner rather than later. Seems to me that you are enjoying the sport and working at improving skills. In my opinion closer fitting boat will help you improve faster and the boat your are in now may actually hold back your skill development. You are likely to adjust to a narrower boat quite quickly. It may feel uneasy at first - but in a matter of a week or so it will feel odd to be in a rec kayak. It will force you to develop good technique including body rotation and braces.

Your goal

– Last Updated: Feb-25-15 10:13 AM EST –

If your primary goal is to turn the boat effectively, you might want to go a whole different way from what you are doing at present.

You might, or might not have heard of a bow ruddering technique. There are a couple of varieties of this method; the one I use is extended somewhat toward the bow at an angle with the paddle inverted. Leaning the boat in the opposite direction--away from--the turn, increases the efficiency. Once this turning technique is learned and practiced, it becomes second nature and stern ruddering, brace turns, etc. probably will become secondary choices.

violin with a tuba…