My Walden Passage is tracking left on me

I’m certainly a newbie and will learn, so please take that into account…first time out on my used Walden Passage and it was a bit frustrating. It kept tracking left on me and even with paddling on the left side it was difficult to bring it back to center or I should say harder to bring back than when it was tracking right and bringing it back to center. Any ideas on this? I was focusing on body position and balance, paddling evening on both sides, nothing. The seat doesn’t appear to have any type of adjustments and it didnt appear to be offer center at all? Thanks for any tips/ideas

What I have learned

– Last Updated: Jun-15-12 10:42 AM EST –

so far, as I am a complete newbie to kayaking, is that you may be leaning ever so slightly to the right which will make the kayak tend to turn to the left. There is a thread on here started by me a few weeks ago titled Constant turn. Take a look at that as the folks were really helpful. Also what I am slowly learning is how weathercocking affects the kayak. I am noticing it slightly with even in a slight wind. There are threads recently that talk about that as well.

torso rotation stroke
What you’re experiencing is more common than not for a first-timer, so don’t worry.

If a first-timer is pulling to the left consistently, it’s usually because they’re trying to use their arms to pull the paddle through the water, rather than using their whole upper body to make the stroke happen. Short of getting yourself into a class with a qualified instructor, take a look at some videos online regarding torso rotation and the correct forward paddle stroke. Get those arms out in front of you, and make your back muscles and rotation do the work for you.

tracking left
thanks for the tips and links. Just got frustrating after trying different body positions, leaning left, leaning right, what I thought was perfectly neutral, it would gradually move left - even when not paddling. Ill keep at it!

What do you weigh? Perhaps if you’re
light, the hull isn’t fully engaged in the water and wants to sit on one side or the other. Also, light weight and shorter legs can affect the fore/aft trim.

I haven’t seen a Walden in quite a while, but Thoreau was kind of a libertarian leftist, and that may explain it.

What I have found
My experience as an instructor has been that most people have a “favorite side” of their body which usually corresponds to their handedness (right handed people usually find that strokes on their right side feel more natural, and vice versa). Without having the benefit of watching you paddle, if I had to place a bet on the culprit, that would be it.

Focusing on torso rotation is always a good idea, but it’s still suspectible to the same problem, i.e., if you have relatively better torso rotation on one side of your body, your strokes will still be uneven.

I’m not aware of any short-circuit solutions to this issue because it involves overcoming well-ingrained muscle mechanics. Time in the boat and plenty of practice, particularly with strokes on your “off-side” would be my recommendation.

We have a Walden Passage too
i think it tracks ever so little extra to one side too.

My t170 does the same
My t170 is visibly bent at the ends. A bit of hull twist causes the keel to curve. It’s probably because it was a rental boat and somehow got extra abuse on one side.

It’s not always the paddler who is the problem. Turn it over and look at it along the keel from a distance.


I pretty much agree with everything in that review still. I did not realize about the tracking issue until I got out of rivers and into some flat water. My Cobra Expedition track the other way and I cannot see anything with either hull. The Cobra has a rudder and I only noticed the tracking when I took the rudder off.

Seems to me that a lot of plastic boats are not perfectly straight and I have only seen this in two composite boats. One was a rowing boat made by little river marine and one is an Impex kayak. The Impex has a plastic skeg that turns the boat when it is down.

you might have just backed up what I was thinking about today as I was cutting hay. I use a scythe(grim reapers tool) to cut the hay. While I am right handed, the power or cutting stroke when using a scythe is a hip and torso rotation to the left. I’m thinking my left side kayak stroke is slightly stronger than my right side kayak stroke due to the scything.

tracking issues usually the paddler
However Walden boats when made were subject to “cheeking” which is very hard to spot and basically means the hull is asymmetrical. Best test ever is have a skilled paddler take a short spin in calm waters. If they track straight and true you can forever stop blaming the kayak.

We blamed ourselves until we switched
It was pretty easy to compensate for naturally so we were not certain it was the boat until we swapped boats on the same day.