I am trying to advance my technique by watching youtube videos and reading articles. From what Ive watched on edging it looks like ocean kayaks edge to the outside of their turn while white water edge to the inside of their turn? I have recently purchased a “crossover” kayak (Dagger Axis 12) and was wondering which way I should be edging (I do not have it yet as its still being shipped). Is there a difference if I have the sceg up or down?


Most flat water and touring canoes and kayaks will tend to turn away from the side they are edged towards.

Whitewater boats with blunter noses often behave differently and they don’t necessarily all behave the same. In general, edging a whitewater boat toward either side will tend to facilitate a turn.

Most boaters who paddle whitewater or in strong current are in the habit of edging their boats toward the side they are turning to. That is because crossing a current differential while edging the other way invites a capsize.

Edging toward the inside of a turn has other advantages when using certain turning strokes. When using a reverse sweeping low brace to turn it is natural to edge toward the sweeping paddle blade and the sweeping brace provides a lot of support. When using a Duffek in one of the forward quadrants, most people feel much more secure edging toward the blade that is in the water. It is possible to edge away from the paddle plant, but it feels much less secure initially, and the reach to the water is greater.

You can get a feel for how your particular hull behaves by paddling it on flat water with the skeg up. Get going in as straight a line as possible with the hull perfectly flat. Lift your paddle out of the water trying not to induce any yaw while doing so. Try edging your boat toward one side and see what it does. Then repeat the exercise edging the opposite way. Do this a number of times. If your boat consistently turns either toward or away from the side it is edged toward you will have an answer.

But don’t be too surprised if the boat turns one way one time and the other way the next.

First, let me put it out there- I am not a white water expert. have done some class II and own a Jackson Karma RG which I mostly use for ocean rock play. No where near as knowledgeable there as I am with sea kayaking, where I am an open coast certified instructor (ACA lv 4).

In sea kayaks, you edge because it helps the kayak turn better. Normally you point the bottom of the boat the direction you want to turn, but you can actually do it either way. Going from having the boat flat to having on edge changes the waterline and how much of the boat is cutting in the water, so an edged boat normally turns easier.

But current white water kayaks are very flat bottom, so turn quite well when kept flat. Plus they are so short that they turn anyway. This is what I do with the Karma - no edging at all. It seems you are more edging when crossing eddylines to prevent the current catching your boat and flipping you.

Skeg will stiffen turning from edging

– Last Updated: Oct-09-16 10:51 AM EST –

Or from any other cause. Maneuvering aggressively usually works best with the skeg up.

The difference in edging between long boats and WW you are seeing is likely not actually different when you add in the current involved in WW. But you don't understand what you are seeing so it looks opposite. The typical recommendation is to edge so that if there is current the bottom of the boat is mooning it. So it you are crossing an eddy line the direction of the current can change from the direction of the main flow as you move across it, so the edge changes too.

Exceptions can be more numerous on flat water than in WW, because unless you are messing with tidal races or surf you are not going to get capsized by taking the wrong edge and having water pile up against the side of the boat. You just may find one side works better than the other.

There are also some boats that don't much care, the crossovers often being in that family. While over time you will likely gravitate towards dropping the outside edge, it doesn't mean the other side won't turn the boat.

However, even on flat water swims can be more likely edging to the inside than the outside of a turn. It is why new paddlers are usually started on outside edge.

I think about it differently,

– Last Updated: Oct-10-16 8:33 AM EST –

just get the front of your shoulders pointed the way you want to go and the boat will follow. We joke and say that if your looking at the object you don't want to hit then you are probably going to hit it.

In ww I'm a 99% turn on the inside edge person. What that means in my LLxp crossover is that I have to drop my knee a little bit on the side I'm turning. In my creeker I stay pretty flat. More skilled paddlers, like ww slalom paddlers, have some serious skills and use their outer edges a good bit.

I'm always amazed at the freestyle videos of canoes because of the opposite edge moves they make. Particularly because that may be their "off side". Not something at all in my skill set for a canoe or kayak but in terms of trying to get somewhere I do okay using the inside edge almost exclusively but admire what others are able to do.

Actualy FreeStyle is Bi
sometimes inside edge sometimes outside Depending on the anchored or carved turns

For most skegged kayaks the carved turn is more efficient on flat water( weight to the outside)

Draw right/left hull curves …where hull’s ‘edge’ is in water when leaned with body weight for ‘edging’

The hull curve enhances turning or COG in wind or current as a hull rudder like so…

(^ turns right

^) turns left

Push foot on hull opposite paddle stroke maybe ‘edging’ your hull

Pointing your chest in the direction you wish to turn towards will definitely facilitate your turn, regardless of which way you edge.

Reverse edging or “posting” (edging toward the outside of the turn) with whitewater boats on eddy turns makes for a very dynamic and sharp turn if your edge control is good enough to keep from pitching over.

I have seen some old video of Mark Clarke doing this while paddling whitewater OC-1 slalom in the edgy Mad River Twister he and Dave Paton designed.

if turning downstream headed upstream from an eddy…ok

but if turning going downstream into an eddy a dropped inside chine exposes too much hull to oncoming water pressure.

‘Most boaters who paddle whitewater or in strong current are in the habit of edging their boats toward the side they are turning to. That is because crossing a current differential while edging the other way invites a capsize.’

comment before I drown

Symmetric shapes
Many canoes used for freestyle also have symmetrical hulls, which tends to even out the effectiveness between inside and outside edging for turning. If there are any kayaks with thst characteristic, it would likely just be some of the older designs like maybe the Dagger Meridian or an old P&H Sirius. Not sure of that bur my recall is they are both pretty evenly roundm

Edge isn’t everything. If the hull has enough rocker, it will turn towards the direction of lean, following the rockered curve of the hull.

I had a kayak (Kanoe Latveja) that would carve the rocker if leaned moderately, but if you leaned more, would carve the chines. It was my first kayak and kept me very confused. I knew it was supposed to turn away from the lean, and it would, if I leaned far enough, but would turn towards the less severe lean.

WW boats are usually highly rockered. That’s very convenient for eddy turns, because you don’t really want to go into an eddy leaning downstream (glug, glug).

So, for the OP, I think it goes back to trying it out and seeing how the boat responds.


if im understanding
It sounds like edging is more about lessening the effects of the keel and getting the boat “off” the keel then it is about the shape of the hull “carving” the water to turn like a snowboarder would?

Edging sorta ‘breaks it loose’. I would love to have a sea kayak that would just turn the way I leaned it (or the opposite way I leaned it) but I’ve never met that boat

Well, its complicated

– Last Updated: Oct-10-16 5:06 PM EST –

One thing that edging does is reduce the waterline length and free up the stems of the canoe or kayak. Watch some videos, especially of free style paddlers and see how the ends of the boat come up out of the water when heeled over. This effect occurs no matter which way you heel the boat. Obviously, a boat with a shorter water line is going to be quicker and easier to turn.

In general, longish, straight keeled boats with sharp entry lines will want to carve away from the side they are heeled towards. As Chip points out, whitewater boats with a lot of rocker will most often turn towards the side they are heeled towards, although in my experience not always.

But what happens can also depend on the trim of your boat. Heeling the boat substitutes a symmetrical water footprint for one that is prismatic. The prismatic nature of that footprint is what induces a turn. But which way the boat turns may depend on whether that prismatic footprint is centered, forward, or aft of amidships.

For boats with very sharp chines, like some whitewater boats or Greenlandic kayaks, when you heel the boat you substitute the straight central keel line for the chine. But the line of the chine is distinctly "bent" and the boat tends to follow the line of that curvature, which is away from the side the boat is heeled towards.

This article from Andrew Westwood might clarify, or perhaps more likely confuse the issue:


I’ve only been in

– Last Updated: Oct-11-16 8:27 AM EST –

a "sea kayak" one time. Castoff hooked me up. For me it was a very alien experience. So the difference in how boats are designed is dramatic. The sea kayaks were designed to go straight while the ww boats I'm typically in are designed to turn. I found myself really struggling with both the stability and turning in the sea kayaks.

I think half the fun is figuring out how to paddle the boat you are in. So I look at the challenge as a good thing.

In an edgier whitewater boat you come in "flatter" unless you want to ride the edge. Typically the edges are more pronounced in the stern. So unless you want a lot of edge you might find yourself leaning a tad forward. It's not just a side to side thing but also a weighting of the bow and stern. In general the edgier the boat in ww, the flippier the boat, but you can get some really nice crisp turns.

shared this vid before but does highlight use of edges
Bernie mostly riding the inside edge (black boat) and Mike weighting the stern and outside edge to initiate a pivot (squirt) turn. You see that when he sinks the stern and unpins the bow. In the hollowform (whiteboat) I'm just turning the shoulders and going, very little edge involved. C1er out of his element trying to kayak since Bernie needed my skirt for his C1.


Yes, but

– Last Updated: Oct-11-16 11:13 PM EST –

"It sounds like edging is more about lessening the effects of the keel and getting the boat "off" the keel then it is about the shape of the hull "carving" the water to turn like a snowboarder would?"

It's not just one thing. There're several factors in play.

But you're quite right, shortening the waterline is ONE of the effect of edging! It has the most effect on long kayaks, i.e. sea kayaks.

Seakayaks are mostly design to go straight. After all, that's their main function, to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way. Some "rough water" kayaks however, has build in a lot of other "features" to facilitate quick turning while trying to minimize any negative effect on forward efficiency. Multi-chine is one of the most obvious. You edge to make the side chine the new keel. That's the main reason why you edge AWAY from the turn.

WW kayak are used in water with a lot of current and the boats are typically going across the current a good portion of the time. And being much shorter than sea kayak, turning on flat water is relatively easy. Much of WW kayak's hull shape is design to either take advantage or resist the current that goes over it. Edging is expected and necessary to counter the current's tendency to grab the boat and flip it! That's why most of the WW moves are done edging inward of the turn. It just so happens eddy turn and peel out are done in current that tend to grab the boat on the outside edge and flip it. So edging inward is NECESSARY or you'll be taking a drink.

There're exception to that rule though. For stern squirt, you lean outward to purposely expose the stern's outside edge to the current. But instead of capsizing, you sink the stern so the bow come out of the water.

hull as rudder is vastly lager than hull without rudder.

paddling left is more energy efficient then using th hull as rudder.

otherwise you are using the hull as NOT RUDDER.

torso turning is a very effective motion…seemingly placing weight on the edging side gluteus.

for the OP, if practicing paddle left foot right paddle right foot left then this essential exercise brings edging into your skills repertory

3 motions way above thrashing around.