Having issues keeping my kayak going straight

Buy an Extreme your problem will reverse itself. Only kidding.

Your boat is 10ft long and 30in wide. My kayak is 17ft long and 20in wide. The description of your boat mentions “flat hull design” and “maneuverability.” Maybe it’s the wrong boat if you want to go straight. If it’s not an asymmetrical hull problem, rather that fighting the design, maybe look for a 10ft long kayak that is designed to track straighter.

It’s likely your paddle stroke and not the kayak that is causing your issue. But keep in mind that shorter kayaks tend to be more maneuverable (i.e. they turn very easily) but do not track as straight as longer kayaks. They will also be more affected by currents and wind (weathercocking) so keep this in mind as well. I would suggest getting a boat with a retractable skeg to aid in tracking but if you are limited to 10ft then you may not be able to find a boat that short with a skeg (again, shorter boats are meant for higher maneuverability and a skeg would defeat this purpose).

Learning the bow rudder (more advanced) and stern rudder (easier to master) strokes will go a long way to helping you keep your kayak on course without losing too much speed and momentum. I have a 17ft sea kayak with a retractable skeg which I almost never deploy because I like to manage my boat with paddle strokes rather than being locked on course by a skeg. I use the stern rudder stroke quite a lot and have learned to smoothly transition from a stern rudder right into a power forward stroke without missing a beat. The key to using either the bow or stern rudder is to become very focused on your boat’s tracking and use the rudder stroke to correct course sooner, thereby requiring only subtly rudder strokes to keep the kayak on course. Beginners often react too late and require much bigger corrective strokes and then they overcompensate and have to correct back the other way.

I noticed that there is an accessory available for you boat - a 5in removable rubber fin. It’s description says “paddle straighter.” It might do the trick.

Well whatever I decide to do will now have to wait until next year, I was in a motorcycle accident on Saturday and fractured some bones. After this accident, I have made the decision to give up motorcycling so once I sell off my motorcycles and gear, it should give me some extra money to buy a better yak and I am really considering the Wilderness Systems Aspire 100 as it has a retractable skeg. But before I do anything I will see if I can find a place near me that will allow me to test a few yaks, to see if a better yak will be better and to even see if I will be able to paddle as I fractured another vertebrae, my other clavicle and a few more ribs.

Wow, sorry to hear about your accident. Heal well and quickly!

That’s a big bummer. Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, Aschamne.

Yeah, I hope to be back to kayaking by next spring, I just hope my injuries don’t put a stop to it

Ow! Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. I think if you want to paddle you will in time. Testing a few boats is always good… You will have a clue what’s going on if all of them turn left or right.

Anyway for now just take care!

Thank you very much

I hope you heal well and fully. I have some serious empathy for you. Been there. Done that.
I can offer my two cents. Back and bone injuries. Once, the minute, the bone has knitted, begin your therapy. Backs in particular. They are all recoverable from, but with pain. (A rather hard landing under a parachute.) Crutches and canes for 9 months, full recovery 3 or 4 years. You just keep working it, pain be damned. Bone will reshape to the use and stress you put on it. Even joints and cartilage to a lesser extent. And it is all just one bucket of pain. Pour it out slowly and the pain may take 10 years to go away, pour it out fast and you may be fully recovered in a year.
Annnndd at 70 years old, it all just hurts. Can’t tell if it was a hard day at work, or if it just the norm for day number 25,367. But, within the past 6 months I have made 3, 100 mile or longer canoe/camp along the way, trips, and may be doing another one next month.
Yeah, it hurts. Some aspirin and a shot of Drambuie, I’m good.

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One of the best paddling gifts you can give yourself is to take a paddling lesson or two from a good instructor. If you know your strokes, this turning problem becomes a non issue. While you’re at it, make sure you can get back into your kayak in deep water if you capsize. Good classes for that as well. And always wear your PFD and make sure it’s properly adjusted so that it doesn’t “ride up” around your ears.

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Lessons seem to be expensive. Videos are free sometimes
Take the lesson. It’s an investment that repays you over and over
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