Kayak going in circles. Why?

As far as I can see, it is not the twistyness, which is the problem in your photos.

So I stand by my statement.

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It’s not the boat. You need a mentor. Someone in your group that does it right and do what they do. Or perhaps some formal instruction.

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That nails it.

Sea kayaks are great for open water, wind, waves , but chined hulls do not seem to do well in river current/outgoing tidal waters. As a perrenial recreational paddler who has owned more kayaks that I care to admit, I am convinced there is no “Swiss Army Knife” kayak; whitewater, sea kayak, and recreational …each design shines in a limited set of conditions/enviroments. Skegs, rudders - in my experience, might help track better but I have noticed a reduction in speed. Many factors = a trade off. But maybe in your case, there is no solution… a deformed hull? Some veteran posters have had bad experiences with known/trusted models - one owned a Carolina that would not track k straight; my Lookshah Sport was terrible at tracking. After that I owned a Prison Calabria, Pungo’s od different lengths, Tsunami’s without any complaints. If your kayak has a deformed hull, investing in hull modifications might not be the answer. Good luck.

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You’re right. The top picture is an example where I was bonking both bow and stern of a 15 foot canoe simultaneously while trying to maneuver through downfall so adding two feet would not have been helpful. The bottom pic shows a situation where a solo canoe allows one “easy” pullover followed by one pretty easy short carry to get around a big mess in about 5 minutes (maybe 10 for me). Neither had to do with pure maneuverability, just stuff one finds on our small local twisty rivers. I can easily accept that a 17 foot sea kayak with a skilled paddler may maneuver just as well as a 17 foot tandem canoe.

Overstreet, I sometimes paddle with a young man that’s working on a guide to small Midwest rivers. He stands up in his solo canoe approaching downed trees and hops onto the tree like a squirrel, then pulls the boat over and hops back in (I’m slow and careful). He bought his first solo canoe because he was spending so much time dealing with obstacles in his kayak. I prefer places that are maintained so I can just paddle but I don’t mind doing a little work occasionally to explore new or isolated places.

For what it’s worth… your boat looks like it was made to roll. If you don’t have a roll that boat looks like an excellent one to learn in.

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I’ve paddled Weeki many times in kayaks from 12.5 - 18 feet. Any of them work just fine. It’s about 6 miles upriver if you go all the way up - I would definitely not want to paddle the river runner upstream on that river - too much current.

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Thank you!

La Shin I would classify your ww kayak as a “point and shoot” kind of boat. Meaning that when you get it up to speed after 4 or 5 strokes it should be “able to hold a line” if you continue to actively paddle it. While all ww boats are designed to turn, the earlier models, like your river runner, are much “faster” than the current crop of creekers and river runners.

Paddling against the current is going to expose any flaws in your technique but it will also help you hone your technique for the forward stroke.

Try this: Paddle your boat aggressively (up to speed) and then let it spin out. Count the number of rotations after you stop paddling. 2+ is pretty normal for a ww boat. That’s your boat’s natural inclination but there is no reason you can’t learn to control the spin and propel the boat forward. In fact, your boat should track pretty well when compared to other more modern ww or “river” kayaks. Assuming you keep the distances short and avoid the windy days, your boat could work. It will just take more effort to learn in it than a boat that is designed to go straight.

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Kayakhank is spot on. I also at times use my sea kayaks on twisty rivers, but those of us with time in our boats over many years and whether on a large body of water of a ‘twisty’ river, have learned to “read the water” and it’s not learned overnight. Sometimes when learning, it’s the mistakes you make and ending up in the water that makes the best teachers. Been there, done that! It will come in time and miles.

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Thanks! I’ll give that powering up, watching the spin thing a try next time I take it out. I just put a removable skeg on it today. That should help some. I put it fairly in the center so that it doesn’t so much act as a rudder, as it would a keel. And I agree that as a beginner my paddling technique leaves a lot to the imagination and it will take time and practice.

If you put in the center, it will just be a pivot point. It will not really offer any directional stability. It will cause the kayak to be blown less sideways, but that is not the problem you are describing.

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Spot on. Put the skeg as far back as you can but still below the waterline. Less likely to get damaged there too.

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OEM Skegs and rudders are designed to kick up if they hit an obstacle. If they cannot do this then there is the likelihood that they will either break or possibly capsize you. A fixed skeg will also make it extremely difficult if you have to drag your boat over an obstacle or walk it through a shallow spot.

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Lots of choices, a 8"x2" diagonal board glued to the bottom for a skeg, I have used. Strapped on fin keel, I have used too. Up to your immagination and gorella glue.

I have a flexible thick black rubber skeg that attaches under my hull via straps that clip to my deck lines for my Feathercraft folding kayaks. Not very large but makes a huge difference in correcting weathercocking and can’t be damaged by hitting anything. I have seen home-made versions of this cut and shaped from rubber stock but usually mounted to some sort of slotted structure affixed to the hull.

I bought this and attached it a foot behind where I would sit. My other kayak has a skeg and I find that it is too far back and is a problem in headwinds. I can’t remove this skeg while I’m on the water, but I can remove it to transport the kayak. Going to have to do. I don’t do tiny Rivers enough to justify getting a better kayak or a rudder.

Just this morning, I tested a temporary skeg just like the one pictured above. It worked wonderfully. I no longer have trouble tracking my whitewater boat when paddling on flat water. Perhaps I will one day get a second boat dedicated to flat water. But until then, this handy removable skeg solves my tracking problem for about $20. It takes considerably less space to store than a second boat. I used two NRS tie down straps and a rectangular piece of neoprene to keep the fin base in place.

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How did you attach it to your kayak? Does it include an adhesive base?

It’s funny how if you take a little bit of time and drill down on a topic, you find out that the answers are so simple. I used 100% silicone adhesive. I even found that the " Marine" adhesive was still just 100% silicone, but it cost four times as much. So far, solid as a rock.