Paddling Straight

I’ve had my Pungo 120 for about a month now. No major problems - very comfortable and very stable. I seem to drift to the left. At first I though it was because I am right-handed and/or the wind was blowing me. But it seems to be consistent, any direction or wind conditions even when I paddle half-strength on the right side. Can I correct this with weight on one side (front or back?). It isn’t a lot, but I do have to correct direction every few strokes.

For me it was where I sat
My first kayak was a rec.boat. Wide large cockpit perception america and,like you, I’d tend to drift off to one side…didn’t matter where I held the paddle.

A Fellow paddler,seeing the predicament, brought two 3" thick blocks of Minicell foam on the next paddle and jammed em in between my hips and the seat supports on either side…

Damned if it didn’t stop the drifting to one side.

Because the seat and cockpit are so wide we paddlers (especially new paddlers) don’t recognize we’re sitting off center a bit…and that ‘bit’ (depending on how much you weigh:>)

can affect everything.

Hear hear yes it can, Mcyak

check the hull
with a wet sponge, slide it down both halves to make sure you do not have a depression on the right side of the hull, that would also make the kayak turn left. This is due to less effective wetted surface on the right side, as a result the right side is moving faster relative to the left side and the kayak turns left.

Likely you not the boat

– Last Updated: May-15-06 9:44 AM EST –

Remember when going forward the front of the hull is in cement the back half on marbles due to pressure differences from moving through the water.

For really great practice take out a WW boat and learn to make it go straight! REally!

IF YOUR FORWARD STROKE continues with your HAND still in the water as it nears and passes your hip,

YOU ARE DOING A CORRECTIVE STROKE every time you paddle, This will move you around in the water, and everyone has a dominant side regardless.

To decrease this make your strok more compact and more vertical. This decreases the sweep aspect of your stroke, that is the turning of the boat rather than powering it forward.

Most of us have had your experience. My first boat 25 years ago I was sure my boat sucked because it always seemed to turn to the right (I am left handed).

Pungo drifting

– Last Updated: May-15-06 9:02 AM EST –

My shorter Pungo drifted often enough but not so much I lost too much time.

For the first time I took out the 140 90 days ago and it was very very difficult to keep it going in a straight line. I was also using a paddle I wasn't familiar with. The wind was fairly brisk, actually quite brisk and my face is still sore.

The prior 140 owner said to experiment with placing gear in the back or front depending on which way it blew off course.

Another paddler said I needed more weight in the back to which I said, "I feared I myself was enough weight".

Now someone on here has mentioned sitting square in the middle of the seat. I'm not sure I was, I don't need all 29 inches to sit down even if I am big around.

I'm thinking of cutting apart of some old pool noodles and cradles my seating area - see if that works.

I also noticed that the Pungo 140 sits up out of the water more with me in it than the Pungo Classic, so perhaps more weight is a good idea. In the kayak, not on my overburdened body.

We should keep experiementing and sharing results because in my naive opinion this is a very safe stable boat for learning.

I spent this cold rainy weekend inside cleaning and watched two DVR's from the Pnet store. The Practical Paddler and the Forward Stroke. These were good, I highly recommend them.

Do nothing and don’t worry just wait 100
You likely won’t have to do anything to fix it. I don’t think you’ll need to get hip pads either. Sliding around in a big seat is one of the comforts of a rec boat. I think it’ll just go away in your next 100 hours of paddling time

my new pungo 140 pulls too
Well, my girlfriend and I just got ourselves our first kayaks!

We got out this weekend and were both having problems with our new Pungo 140’s.

I’m a big man (~300lbs) and found myself inconsistantly pulling to one side or another.

Now, I did tend to readjust myself in the seat but wasn’t paying attention to how it changed things for me afterwards.

Anyhow, if it’s a “balance” thing, then it’ll take me a while to get there too!

Glad to be in the boat nonetheless!


Opposite of a bike
Here’s what I bet is happening. You are leaning slightly right in your effort to correct the left drift. This is natural as on a bike you lean left, you go left, lean right, you go right. A kayak is the opposite. Lean right, you go left. So your efforts to correct are making it worse.

not tracking right
If you’re right then that’d explain why it gets worse the harder I try to correct!

It’s frustrating, but being out on the water offsets that thankfully!

I had the same prolem. It ain’t the boat

pungo definitely deformed
Have finally decided it is the kayak after extensive testing and having a friend observe. Sitting on either the extreme right or left, the boat still goes left. It is only a problem (meaning a hard stuggle) when wind is from left to right. When the wind is right to left, not a problem. On calm water, we tested it, paddled straight several strokes, then stopped and sure enough it drifts left real quick. Position didn’t matter, lean didn’t matter. The hull is deformed. We’re thinking about duct tape (matching color of course) to act as a trimtab or whatever they call it to create a compensating drag on the right. The fact that this is a duralite makes me wonder if that is why this Pungo didn’t quite turn out ok.

Also, if I only kayaked in a river, I’d probably not have noticed it. But the wind really makes it a workout across a windy lake.

Call Wilderness Systems
If the boat hull is deformed then you should contact Wilderness Systems and get it replaced under warranty. As a final test I would have an experienced paddler test out the boat on flat water, but don’t tell them about the problem. Just see what they think. Or have a left-hander paddle the boat. Being right handed you probably favor the right side of the kayak which will cause it to go left. (Right handers carry between 60-70% of their weight on their right foot, even when walking - the opposite applies to left handers. It is possible to carve a turn in a Pungo. Holding a slight edge in a Pungo will cause it to start turning slowly and then more dramatically (that is true for any kayak).

Get a Line Level

Like this. They are about $2.50 at Lowes and Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

Put it on your deck in front of you, attach slightly to shock cords if you must so won;t fall in the water. Pick a flatwater, windless day (mornings are best when the wind has died down overnight). Then check the right-left level of your boat as you paddle. 9 times out of 10 it is the paddler and not the boat. Correct your position in the boat by adjusting yourself in the seat.

If you have the boat level, and yet you are way off to one side of the seat, then it IS the boat and your only option is to sell it on eBay to some dolt who cannot test paddle it first (offer free shipping to assure you’ll get a distant buyer) and then sit back and watch their Paddling Straight: Why Can’t I Do It post on Pnet within the next six months.