kayak veering, turning to one side??

Now, this issue occured last summer. There were two kayaking sessions on the private lake I live near- small and flat. Both times I seemed to notice the kayak veering to the left side when I let it glide. I will admit- I have OCD, and was wondering if this could be phycological. See, I’ve been storing my kayak the same way for about 4 years, absolutley no difference. But one day- I had an OCD attack and thought the kayak’s hull didnt feel perfectly symetrical. I’d flip it over, and feel the chines on both sides, and just looked at it. Indeed, a symetrical looking kayak, with chines that felt about the same on both sides.

What I did notice though was how I only noticed this veering AFTER the OCD attack due to the fear of my kayak having deformed. Keep in mind-there was no difference in storage before and after the anxiety attack- and the hull looked symetrical and undeformed. A few weeks later, I took the Pamlico 140 to Horsetooth Reservoir, a lake so magnificent that the beauty cured my OCD, and the kayak handled beautifully. The same thing happened at Carter lake.

The first couple of years I owned the kayak my OCD hadnt developed yet, and my kayak never had problems performing. After the OCD anxiety attack, the kayak pulls to the left side. The kayak’s hull looks exactly the same, and there was no change in storage before and after the anxiety attack. For the first 3 years of storing the kayak it handled fine. I recall having some OCD attacks on the water about the veering.

Is it possible my Subconcious thoughts and fear of having a deformed kayak that would keep turning to one side make me paddle stronger on the right side and subconciously paddle more to one side?? As a flat-hulled kayak, by storing it on its hull both sides of the boat are equally supported, so I think it would be imposible to deform to an asymetrical form. I’m not whining, I just want a logical answer. I’m worried about noticing it again come spring time. Could it I wasnt centered enough in the kayak?

heavier on one side?
From lots of farm work my right side is heavier. I did put foam by my right side to push me over half an inch. You might try hot glueing a level in front of cockpit.

Thanks for the input
Even though I am left handed for writing, When it comes to physical, My right arm is stronger than my left, so I may try paddling weaker on the right side. Its possible my right arm got stronger than my left.

experiment with edging
on a calm wind day play around with edging while gliding. If you shift your weight to your right butt cheek, lift your left knee and drop and push with your right foot then you should turn left. Try edging on both sides alternately with some paddling at times to get some speed back. If you still veer the same way regardless of edging then observe your paddles entering the water and make sure one isn’t sloppy (bad angle, less depth, etc.).

Trying someone elses kayak is yet another way to eliminate the kayak from the equation.

May it be phsycalogical?
Because the veering was worst when I was on that real calm lake which I’ve been on so many times theres nothing to see and I was alone on the lake with my thoughts, but on horsetooth reservoir where the kayak was fine there were motorboats and other kayakers, as well as my father, and much choppier and rougher waters that required attention, and the lake had amazing scenery. So maybe becuase I was alone on that calm lake I let my thoughts get to me, But at horsetooth I was distracted and I didnt have that problem. Maybe when I worry about it I subconciously pull to the left.

Sometimes on the more magnificent large open lakes I do not think about it so much and at times even think “Oh no I’m pulling to on side, but wait, Its the right side!!” However, I still have a fear from those two sessions where I REALLY noticed the pulling to the left. It was only those two sessions. I went out on horsetooth and carter afterwards and the problem was gone. Plus, I do not see deformation in the kayak.

I turn right a lot. In my case, it has to do with my right arm being weaker and me not being terribly careful with my posture.

I’d suggest that you do some combination of the following things:

  1. Watch your posture. It’s important but not THAT important except in little WW spud boats.
  2. Practice reasonably for consistent power on each side.
  3. Relax and use a rudder now and then to straighten yourself out.

    If any of this is terrible advice for someone with OCD, then feel free to ignore any or all of it.

  • Big D

Actually, that helped alot with my OCD
Thanks!! Since the kayak is valueable to me, I fear having it deform. Knowing it may be me not the kayak is helpfull. Thanks!! I can correct those things, and I’ll be happy to knowing my kayaks fine!

more likely than not there is nothing
wrong with your kayak—it’s probably in your paddlestrokes, most people have a tendancy to go more to one side than the other—just work on keeping your stroke smooth and even–when you have to make a corrective stroke, use a forward sweep to bring it back into line—or, if you prefer install a rudder on it–but that in my opinion detracts fromt the look of the boat.


– Last Updated: Dec-31-08 9:00 PM EST –

After reading these posts relief is filling me. I think indeed my kayak is fine. I thought I was the only paddler with this issue. Is it more common than I thought?

I have this problem too.
I just pick an island or bay or cove that has a circumference equal to the arc of veering due to my psycalogical boat deformation and do a lot of circumnavigations. Works for me.

Without being there, it isn’t possible
for me to know whether your boat is veering to a functionally significant degree. You see, it is very difficult to make a boat so perfect, so symmetrical, that it will veer, by chance, equally to one side or the other. And all of them veer… even my 27’ single scull veered, though very little. Whitewater boats don’t just veer, they collapse into a skid.

So first, I would expect a boat, especially a poly boat, to have a preferred direction of veer. And second, I wouldn’t worry about it unless it is interfering with what the boat does while you are paddling actively. You should be able to overcome the boat’s tendency to veer to its preferred side by just shifting your butt and edging to make it coast in an arc in the other direction.

Not your kayak
If you paddle your eponymous kayak, it’s not your kayak. The amount of deformity it would take to cause a 14’ rec boat to pull to one side or another would be readily visible. I’ve paddled previously pinned canoes that were CLEARLY deformed and they didn’t pull more than I could correct with easy stroke corrections. My guess is that you’re relaxed and not concentrating on your paddling (a good thing in my opinion - it’s usually what I’m seeking on the river) and are getting a little sloppy with your technique. No big deal. Just do a rudder stroke to correct your course and keep moving on.

  • Big D

Have other paddlers try the boat!
then you’ll know.

Check your seat
I’m not familiar with your boat. Is it possible that your seat shifted to one side. This happened to me once, took me a long time to figure out. Until I noticed that the bolts were not tight.

Also is there a possibility that you forgot to take your wallet out of your back pocket. There by cocking your hips and in affect edging the boat.


It’s not you
the entire country has been veering to the left a little lately. After 4 to 8 years, it’ll start veering the other way in all likelihood.

Seriously, on a calm day on a calm lake, it’s almost got to be that you are leaning a little or that your forward stroke is different from left to right. Watch the hand position, blade angle in the water, stroke length, blade depth, etc., and the way your boat leans as you paddle on each side to find what you are doing different.

It’s not the boat.


if it’s right side up…
…don’t worry about it.

Operator error
I had a very similiar issue. Folks told me it was me. I thought no way, I know how to paddle the kayak, it has to be the kayak.

Short story: It was 100% me. My technique.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

why do you think
we discontinued the Pamlico-140?


Thanks everyone!!
Really appreciate this input- I will keeep all of it in mind come Late March. And, I really appreciate everyone for being so straight forward and friendly. Thanks to everybody!!

why did you guys at WS discountinue the Pamlico fourteen??

I wont get mad or anything I’d just like a true and legit answer as to what is the reason behind the choice. I understand companies have to do this sometimes to survive in the current economy. But what was the reason behind its termination?? who made this choice? Was it Sue Rechner??