Kayaking in a crosswind

Hi all! I’m a relatively inexperienced flatwater-only kayaker, but I ran into a problem this last weekend, and can’t find any help online.

I was on a lake with a significant wind and some little baby-sized wind “waves” or ripples. I needed to get across the lake, but the wind and minor current were sort of crossways to where I needed to go. If I paddled normally, with even strokes on each side, I just slowly spun around in a small circle. I ended up paddling on my right hand side only. With a few corrections, that took me in the general direction I needed to go. Are there any resources on good form for this? Is there some way I could have pointed the Kayak at an angle to paddle normally? How do you paddle when you need to skip strokes on one side occasionally? Or entirely?
Thanks for any pointers! Cheers

keep kayak going sraight:
any of the below:
skeg, rudder, choke up on the paddle toward one side, lean, what you did

going from point A to point B in straight line:
gps, transit

Did the kayak you were paddling have a skeg or a rudder? Either of those would help. Otherwise you can use a sweep stroke on the upwind side, and edge the kayak towards the wind. Both of these will help turn away from the wind but you will probably occasionally still need to skip a few paddle strokes on the downwind side if the kayak has no rudder or skeg.

I was paddling in similar conditions yesterday (windy but protected flat water) and saw a lot of people doing exactly what you were doing- going in circles!

@Brodie --Thank you! Yes the kayak has a pull-up skeg, and it was down, but it is rather small. I suppose, now that I think about it, I wasn’t really doing proper full pull sweep strokes on the right; alternating that with normal strokes on the left might have done it. I’ll look into form for sweeps, and practice next time I’m out; Thanks!

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Thank you, I didn’t know about that transit strategy, I’ll have to try it next time I’m out! Also, I found myself sort of automatically grabbing the paddle closer to one side, and kept trying to “correct” back to my normal mid-paddle hold position. I should have realized that adjusting the hold point could have improved my power. Thank you!

Most kayaks will turn up into the a side wind. This is called “weather cocking”. Based on design, some kayaks do this more than others. Rudders and skeggs are tools used to try to offset this.

Is the boat turning into the wind (weathercocking) or downwind (leecocking) with the skeg down? If it’s turning downwind, try adjusting the depth of the skeg. If it is weathercocking, even with the skeg fully deployed, you might want to play with the trim of the boat. sometime adding some ballast in the stern will help.

Ideally, with a skeg or rudder you should be able to find a position for either where you can paddle straight with a normal forward stroke. With a strong crosswind, this may not always be possible and may require additional corrective paddle strokes or adjusting the trim of the boat before setting out.

I often give in and paddle a bow wave into wind at 45 degrees to a point high on course then turn down wind on the quarter. Sometimes I can catch some surf. Once a sailboater always a sailboater.

You can also edge the boat.

But you didn’t say what you were paddling. Some boats , ie short wide things don’t do wind well.

hi @rstevens15. I suppose it was turning away from the wind–paddling got easier as it turned, I just didn’t go in the direction I needed. But I’m not totally sure, I was sort of mixed up after a bit! I didn’t have very much loading at all, but I was possibly sitting a bit forward in the boat since I’m short and couldn’t quite get the foot-rests when I wanted them exactly. Or maybe just generally a bit off-center. I didn’t realize that how much the skeg was down could matter, so I’ll have to experiment with having it partially up.

@Overstreet, I’m glad to hear that you use that technique, I was trying that myself (I took a sailing course way back in college for PE!). Maybe with more practice, I could get that to work smoothly.

I was using a TuckTek foldable kayak, only my second time out on the water with it, and my first significant trip. I’m thinking of returning it, since the seat support and foot pedals aren’t as adjustable as I had hoped. I just upgraded from my little inflatable Intex Challenger K1. I don’t have a lot of room for storage…

If this is what you are paddling it is for playing around. Not distance, wind or waves…

Yes, I’m afraid that is what I am using. I wasn’t expecting much wind on a small lake, but I was in a new area I wasn’t too familiar with. I’m considering returning it…