Kayak's left tires might need more air

One of my kayaks I use for day trips, rock gardens and surfing seems to be turning to the left. If I paddle on flat water then stop paddling and let the kayak glide…it likes to slowly turn to the left.

Is it because I’m left brain dominant? or big heart…


I just thought it was interesting part of evaluating a boat for purchase. We all seem to be talking about leaky hatches, cracked hulls, troublesome skegs etc … but I haven’t heard much about evaluating the symmetry of the hull and the potential of deformations during the regular lifespan of a kayak.

And the material is?

Test paddle
I test paddled an antique fiberglass kayak that had a pronounced left turn to it when coasting. It had been stored by the owner strapped on its side to the top of a van in the driveway, for quite a while, apparently. He seemed surprised that I noticed…

That does happen
I had a new kayak replaced because of a twist. I noticed it immediately when I first I used it. The twist was visible under very careful inspection, but not something you would notice if you weren’t looking for it.

Suspect it’s poly, can’t store them all the time on the same side or they’ll change shape. Need to alternate sides on occasion, on the car too.

Bill H.

Maybe it’s just coriolus force.

There’s an idea, take it to the southern hemisphere - if it starts turning right you have your answer…

I’m going downstairs to pitch the idea to my wife.

string test
Have you tried running a taut line from bow to stern to eyeball centerline? Other factor might be stroke. I tend to veer to left when tired or unobservant due to poor symmetry

When my dog lays
off center I have to compensate or shove him over a bit. Are you carrying bricks in your left pocket?

I will try that
good idea. Thanks Andy.

move to the lower hemisphere
Then, it will tend to turn right.

This is why ecuador is a canoeist’s paradise.

Most people tend to turn to the left because their right side is stronger and they pull a bit more with their right side. If one of your boats is a straight tracker you might not notice until you get into a more “playful” boat.

What type of kayak is turning on you, what’s your other kayak, paddle length, etc…? more info might help.

I had a deformed boat
I bought a Pungo that looked fine but pulled to one side like you described. The defect was only apparent when I looked at the boat from the front and from ground (or water) level. The funny part is that the defect was a warped cockpit; it dipped on the front corner; and although the hull looked symetrical it still caused the boat the pull. The rep at WS said it was probably taken out of the mold too soon.

molasses and ball bearings
A kayak bow is said to plow through molasses as the stern rides on ball bearings. Meaning, the slightest nudge while coasting along can set up a turn. A slight breeze, some imperceptible bit of body english, favoring one butt cheek over another, a paddle blade dragging in the air, can all start your boat turning. If you let it go long enough, it will eventually swap ends! I tend to favor my right side for some reason. All my boats, from 10.5’ to 18’ veer right slightly in still water. It’s me, not the boats.