Newbie basic paddling

I have just purchased a Liquidlogic Remix 10 Kayak and trying to get the set up correct on the kayak. I have noticed that when I paddle on flatwater with the skeg up that I turn hard to one side while paddling almost like a hook turn. Is this due to balance of the weight in the kayak or posture issue? It is not consistent with turning to one side all the time but will at times switch to opposite side. Also on the thigh pads how firm are you supposed to be on them from the foot pegs - is this firm or relaxed with slack?

It is you
That boat turns very easily, and at this point in your paddling you are likely not paddling evenly on each side. Hardly anyone is when they first start.

If you practice edging the boat you will find a comfortable fit between the thigh brace and foot pegs. It you aren’t edging the boat, there is no reason to have any tension on the thigh braces.

What Celia said
The hull of this boat is a modified WW design, which prioritizes maneuverability over forward paddling efficiency. I’m not sure what your intended use is, but it’s not a boat I’d recommend primarily for flatwater paddling.

With practice, you should be able to keep the boat heading in a relatively straight line, but without the skeg down, it is always going to want to turn with very little input, either from you or environmental conditions.

As for your question about the thigh braces, it’s really a matter of personal preference. For just flatwater paddling, you probably don’t need to be as aggressive in terms of your fit. For WW, you’ll likely want a tighter fit so as to facilitate boat control/rolling. For now, I’d suggest you try different setups and see how the affect your paddling.

let’s focus on the basics
balls of feet solidly on the pegs with your knees bent, because the cockpit is huge on the xp you will have to push up to engage the thigh braces (or at least I have to) but you probably don’t even need to do that, I only do that in class 3+ ww where I need the control.

now the xp’s seat angle is made for comfort and not form but right now you’re having difficulty so you need to focus on form- so sit upright, off the back of the seat, head up, chin up, eyes looking ahead, shallow arch in back. Hands are shoulder width apart but you can adjust this as needed, Strokes reaching forward for your toes, shaft nearly vertical, strokes parallel to the center of the boat and near the boat, stopping at the hip, shoulders rotating engaging the core while doing all this

as far as getting the xp to go straight its pretty easy even with the skeg up for me, but I paddle ww mostly and I’ve been at it a while.

so it really is about technique and form

Could be…
That you are bow heavy causing the turning. If not, then it is you.

From my stand point, I like to be somewhere in the middle of pressure on the foot pegs and pressure on the thigh pads.

When I am racing, I pump of the pegs. The only time I put a lot of pressure on my thigh pads is in rough water or when I get caught by a sideways wave and need to throw a quick brace

Jack L

ww kayaks are designed to skid or spin
out very easily, and they will coast in a straight line only with proper technique. Reach well forward, and take each stroke ending by the time the blade reaches your hip. This will tend to pull the boat forward by the nose, and it will tend to run straight. You will notice the bow veering one way and then the other as you paddle. When you stop paddling, with experience, you will learn to finish your last stroke so that the boat tends to coast straight.

But it won’t do that for long. Before it comes to rest, it will veer one way or the other and start to spin out. That is the nature of ww kayaks. The only way to avoid it is to deploy the skeg, or while coasting, use a trailing rudder stroke to keep it coasting straight.

After you have been paddling a while and have some experience, this will no longer seem like an issue.

I had that problem when I started years
ago. It was a combination of things but went away after I gained some strength and speed. It also is affected by the proper position of thigh pads because the energy needs to be transferred from the paddle down to the foot pegs. The footpegs stear the boat more than the seat.

school of hard knocks learning
You may find yourself getting frustrated by tracking issues, over time you will start to make connections in regard to boat control.

Their are many ways tracking is effected, everything you do will make the boat react in some manner. If you cannot take lessons, I would recommend that you focus on one issue each trip out and see what happens when you “tweak” your form. Changing multiple things at once can muddy the waters and you may just be enforcing a bad habit you might have to unlearn later.

Bottom line is have fun, sometimes you just want to spin!

I ran into a similar situation when I first started paddling. I switched to a shorter paddle and had great improvements with staying on track. It seems with the longer paddle I likely was not holding it totally centered, thus having on side longer than the other, causing a slight sweep stroke each time I was holding it off centered. The shorter paddle is much easier in my opinion to monitor when starting out.

When I First Started Paddling
In a 16’ SINK I’d aim at an object in the distance and paddle towards it with my eyes closed. That forced me to focus on my body moments. I feel that helped me greatly to stay on track.

Thanks for the advice
Thanks for all the input I will take the kayak out this weekend and practice. I also need to set the Seat and other items up correctly as I have watched the Liquid Logic videos and did not know about adjusting the seat position and thigh braces. I figured it was bad posture and paddling form causing the issues.

Lots of good advice above
maybe even too much as trvlrerik suggests. I had an opportunity to be in a coaching session with Nigel Foster several years ago. The main take-away was to be quietly mindful of the interactions of the boat, the water, the blade, and your body. And again - have fun - & if you get tired of trying to make it go straight, spend some time seeing how tight a turn you can make.