Technique? Turning left...

I’ve just recently upgraded from a fat and slow recreational boat to a Current Designs Squall - I love the boat (in spite of the rudder), but have found I tend to turn slowly to the left while paddling forward.

I’ve tried to figure this one out - I’m concentrating on my paddling to make sure I’m paddling equally on both sides - my weight is centered over the boat. I’ve tried it in calm conditions, so the wind/current aren’t an issue that I can tell.

In spite of all this, I still find myself turning to the left and constantly having to make corrections.

Any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

To turn a kayak you lean the opposite way you would lean when turning a bike. I am heavier on the right side from farm and construction type work where i might throw a block of wood with my right side. So i have a foam block on my right to keep me pushed out to the left or the boat would turn left because it tendsto lean right and be lower in the water on the right side.

Two Ideas
First, make sure it ain’t the boat. On a calm day get your boat going at a good clip and after you make a nice forward stroke on your left side, stop paddling. the boat should veer somewhat to the right. If it eases back left, your boat may be warped or some flaw somewhere in the hull is causing more drag on one side. Do this in several directions to negate any winds or currents.

The other idea… watch where you’re going. Seriously. I see people looking at their paddle blades a lot.

see if you find anything helpful here …

yeah check the boat first
Plastic boats can get warped. Sight down the keel and make sure it’s straight. Even a little hump can make you turn.

Turning left…
Sounds like Nascar.

Your right side is stronger…

Your old boat pulled to the right and you are over compensating…

Try putting you boat in the water with all your normal gear aboard and see if it floats level.

Check how you are holding your paddle
If you rule out the possibility of it being the boat, take a look at how you are holding your paddle. Perhaps you are putting the left hand closer to the blade than the right hand. If you are holding it evenly, try putting your right hand close to the blade, and keep your left hand further away from the blade. By having the blade longer on the left, you will have a longer stroke there, and maybe this will help you go straighter.

If you have a short length on one side, or more power to the stroke on one side, that will cause the boat to want to curve all of the time.

Good Luck!

Kayak Turning
Have someone else paddle the kayak and see if it does the same thing when they paddle it! Do not let them know why you are asking them to try your boat out so it is an honest evaluation. This way you can honestly see if it is the kayak or you that is the source of the problem.

Thanks for the replies
I did have a look at the boat - the keel line is dead straight. There was a very minor depression in the hull (probably no more than 1mm or so) that was left there from the mounts I used to have on my rack. I’ve since upgraded to the “J” style racks which have solved that problem.

I took the hairdryer and eliminated the oil-can effect. I did notice there were very slight bulges at the points where the bulkheads are positioned in the boat. Again, very minor, and I doubt these would cause any issues.

Next time I go out, I’ll be paying very close attention to my seating position, whether or not I’m unconsciously leaning to one side or the other, and where my hands are on the paddle.

Ultimately, I may have to get someone to evaluate my forward stroke to make sure I’m not just simply doing something wrong that I can’t see or feel.

Thanks again.

Yep, forward stroke
my hubby had this problem with his sea yak when he first got it. I followed closely behind him as I listened to him complain about the boat pulling to one side. His stroke was more of a small sweep stroke on one side and vertical on the other. Pulls the boat every time. Took some concentration to break this, now it only happens when he gets lazy.